This may be a bit of a delayed question - it's been a very busy couple of months - but this has nagged at me for a while.

This particular question was officially unanswerable until about a week later.

My deleted answer actually identifies what the case likely was. I say "likely" because at the time, there wasn't enough information to go on.

I personally don't feel like it's fair that this sort of question got a sort of blind pass by the community. It may be the case that this sort of question falls underneath the future events umbrella, but I'd like to make sure.

The main reason I'm bringing this up is that I recall a moderator making a comment along the lines of adding an "authoritative" answer here, but the real issue was that there wasn't an authoritative answer at that moment in time.

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    I was under the impression that the "future events umbrella" was for out-of-universe things like "is there going to be a season 2", and not for in-universe things like the question you linked. What would you propose we do with it? Close it, and then reopen it later once enough information exists to answer the question? That seems like a lot of work for little benefit. – senshin Jul 26 '15 at 2:59
  • I suppose then the real question would be, why would we want it open in the first place? At the time, the details of the storyline were still being revealed, and no prior explanation had taken place yet. It would be almost equivalent to wondering if Ichigo's Bankai will change in his upcoming battle. What's the point of asking it? No one knows yet. – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:01
  • Who makes the judgment call on whether or not a question is unanswerable at a given point in time? I don't know anything about Naruto, so I can't comment on this particular case, but I can easily imagine scenarios where people who are reading thing X may think that a question is unanswerable, but a person who has also seen side-story Y may in fact know that the answer was revealed in Y. More broadly, I think questions should be closed on their own merits - "What happened to the Tomoe" appears to be a good question, whether or not anyone knew the answer at the time it was posted. – senshin Jul 26 '15 at 3:08
  • If no one knew the answer at the time it was posted, then the entire question devolves into idle speculation. If there was, in fact, something revealed in a side story, it would have been referenced. There simply wasn't any material that would have revealed what happened, nor was there any material to verify any other claims. I admit that I too joined in to the idle speculation, but I still take umbrage towards the way the answer was received by moderation. – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:12
  • How do we distinguish between "nobody on this site knew the answer" and "nobody in the world at all anywhere knew the answer"? The Naruto question is apparently of the latter type, while anime.stackexchange.com/q/7776 is probably of the former type - but how can we tell, a priori? Ideally, people would just not engage in idle speculation when they don't know the answer, irrespective of the reason they don't know the answer. – senshin Jul 26 '15 at 3:17
  • Speculation is fine as long as they have the facts to back them up. Some questions might be unanswerable until we ask the creators directly (sometimes even they don't know or won't reveal them), but like the cart driver question, providing an objective answer based theories are acceptable. You question was converted into a comment because you did no provide enough information to back it up as an answer. – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:20
  • So what I'm getting here is that speculation is OK, so long as it can be backed up with facts. That's fine. What I'd like to know is, was this question capable of being backed up by anything at the time of its publication? As a Naruto fan myself, all we knew is that he had the special tomoe, and now he isn't using them. There wasn't any material to suggest that he had lost it, so I went with the most logical solution. Was that such a poor answer as to warrant deletion? – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:23
  • Again, your answer was not deleted. It was converted into a comment. Rather than having a bunch of "maybe this happened" or "I think this happened" answers that don't explain why cluttering up the answer list, wouldn't rather have a more developed answer saying "this is what I think happen and here is why?" – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:28
  • I may have misspoken; I am aware that it was converted into a comment. At the time, though, the actual answer was "we don't know". The later answer was more detailed, which is a huge benefit to us, but even so...allowing the question to be asked in that situation still feels weird to me. – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:31
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    The idea is that if you're wondering this question, chances are that someone else is, too. What we'd like to attract users wondering the same thing to our site. Sometimes they might bring some insight with their curiosity. It's like having a job posting, you want to leave it up to get ppl's attention. You don't want to put it up only to have it say who filled the position. – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:34

The future events rule is only intended to be a applied to the production and release of on-topic media. In-universe questions about ongoing developments in plot and characters are always welcome even if there are no canonical answers.

As ongoing plot developments will always be a source of discussion amongst fans, so there's no reason to refuse a question or answer (if there are sufficient facts to back them up.)

For answers that cannot be answered, just leave a comment stating so. Until a series or arc ends, or supplemental materials are released, there's no way to give a definitive answer unless it's revealed in the narrative or by the author directly. Answer blindly mentioning "oh we don't know yet" won't help anyone look for answer and since there's no guarantee that the answerer will come back and edit the answer when it's revealed, it's really not a help to anyone. It's better to give an answer that answers the question, that says "we don't know, maybe you should check back later."

When it comes to the inner details and workings behind a production, few are privy to the details. From time to time some of these details get leaked to the public, but without any facts or evidence to back them up, they will remain as rumors. So unless we develop and inside source or precognitive powers questions about future events and release related to anime and manga will be beyond what we can do.

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    It feels like that this sort of rule allows the site to devolve into idle speculation and rumors - even if there are facts which support one theory over another - which isn't what I think we want. – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:13
  • @Makoto not really. That's what downvotes are for. If an answer is poorly supported or baseless speculation, it should be downvoted whether or not a canonical answer exists. – Logan M Jul 26 '15 at 3:17
  • @LoganM: If no canonical answer exists, does it make sense to cast a vote on it at all? – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:18
  • @Makoto if you can prove why you believe your answer is correct. Even if there is no official answer, as long as enough people agree, it can be considered canon. – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:24
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    Alright, I'm starting to come around to this. Your piece about adding a comment makes sense. It still feels a bit weird to permit the question outright though since it really can't be answered, even through supposition. I suppose it takes a bit more practice to discern which questions fall into an answerable pattern then. – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:29
  • @Makoto if you have a suggestion on how to better handle situations like there we're more than willing to listen to what you have to say. – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:31
  • @ʞɹɐzǝɹ I think the situation calls for SMEs in that particular manga to objectively evaluate the question and determine if it is reasonably answerable. Someone would have to know the intricacies of the series to be able to ascertain its answerability, but it could be a new reason to put a question on hold; adding idle answers isn't going to benefit anyone, which is something I've definitely taken away from this conversation. – Makoto Jul 26 '15 at 3:34
  • @Makoto I think you might thinking a bit too much into this. If I need to fix a part of my car, I don't necessarily need to know everything about the interior and exterior part of the car. I just need to know enough about the system and that those related to it, to figure out what's wrong. In the realms of anime and manga, we're really a secondary audience. The primary audience for the media is the Japanese fans, more often than not, those fans will have access to various resources that we don't (e.g., magazines, radio shows, blogs etc.). So more often than not they would know more. – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:41
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    A good answer is like a skirt, it should be long enough to cover the subject (i.e., focus on what is being asked), but should also be short enough not to give away everything (i.e., don't cover things in excess). – кяαzєя Jul 26 '15 at 3:42
  • I am not content with the general policy (opposite to SF's "Future Work" policy), but I'm glad I found this. Maybe the guidelines should be made more precise that future work is not part of the "future events" guideline – SK19 May 11 '18 at 8:51
  • How would you prefer it? – кяαzєя May 11 '18 at 11:38

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