I have had to jump through quite a few bureaucratic hoops, most of which would have been difficult to impossible without help. Things such as:

  • Applying to a university.

  • Getting a permanent residence visa.

  • Getting married

  • Getting a drivers license

The running theme through all of these things was getting foreign documents accepted by the local authorities. Which of these, if any, would be a good fit for an "answer my own question" style? And how country specific, can/should they be?

3 Answers 3


I've been doing this, because despite massive amounts of effort going into paperwork and bureaucratic reduction, The Philippines has some strangely complicated administrative procedures, and some very interesting laws that cover odd corner cases.

That's the whole point of 'answer your own question' being right there in the UI. If you want to share something that, if it existed a few years ago when you learned this the hard way would have saved you hours or days of your life, then post it.

Some of my examples:

Can I support a political candidate as a non-citizen in The Philippines?

How do I notify the Philippine Bureau Of Immigration of my new address?

Here's my usefulness criteria. If it:

  • Would save someone a lot of searching through broken, circular government web sites
  • Would save someone a lot of time in a specific government office, or doing a specific thing there
  • Is a law that isn't immediately obvious to someone from my background but could land someone in hot water if they broke it unwittingly

... then I've been getting the information out. My list isn't by any means complete, but it shows how I've been thinking.

  • I will look at your examples. The main problem I am having is how to formulate the question reasonably so that I can answer it, and that it would be useful to others. Mar 19, 2014 at 13:07
  • 2
    Ask on the expats chat, normally someone there who can advise you on how to phrase a question
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 19, 2014 at 13:26

Many of these things are inherently specific to your host country. My experience is that even countries whose legal systems are tightly related have little in common when the paperwork is actually being filed for most of what you listed.

And if you ask "How do I get married in any foreign country?" the answers will end up one-per-country, more or less, because that is what most people have experience with. I think it would be better to have the "genericness" cut along types of documents rather than countries, except where countries are tightly connected (e.g. some island protectorates).


Yes, you are welcomed to share your own experience.

But consider giving time to other people to answer:

  • consider waiting 1-2 days before adding your answer
  • wait at least a week before accepting

It would be a pity if someone able to add some more details or other light would resign from doing so because of seeing accepted answer.

  • 2
    There's no reason to wait 1 - 2 days, anyone else can add answers after they post, and the green check mark for acceptance doesn't make their answer float above a higher scoring answer (on self-answered posts).
    – user100
    Mar 19, 2014 at 12:58
  • I probably wouldn't accept my own answer anyway. There are bound to be people who write better ones. I am just trying to find out how best to contribute and to fulfill my commitment. Mar 19, 2014 at 13:03
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    Many users are more shy to answer if there is already an answer. If the answer comes from OP, they may become even more shy. Many don't want to answer questions with accepted answers. I don't have any statistics, but I see that pattern in me sometimes :) I don't like to accept own answers, but sometimes I have to...
    – user41
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:51

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