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Take, for example, this question: Will there be a continuation of Sword Art Online?. At the time the question was written, no announcement about a second season of SAO had been made, and so the question was correctly deemed off-topic.

Now, however, the second season of SAO (GGO / Phantom Bullet) has been confirmed to air during summer 2014. Should we reopen that question and answer it, now that there is an answer to be given?

EDIT: The question I referred to above has been deleted. Here is a screencap of the question, for reference: link.

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For the most part, no, we should not be reopening most of these sorts of questions.

The reason we don't allow questions about unannounced future events is that we aren't a news source. We'd be spectacularly bad at these sorts of questions if we allowed them. No one here is likely to have any knowledge related to these things that is not public. Even if we did, it would be impossible without a legitimate source to provide an acceptable answer. As a result, there are at least two big problems with such questions. One is that most of them will never be answered, or even answerable. That isn't the case once an announcement is made, so it isn't an issue for this class of question.

However, the other problem is that once an announcement is made, the question is essentially immediately obsolete here as soon as it is answerable. The information gets posted on every major anime website, literally overnight. ANN, MAL, Crunchyroll, and even Wikipedia will all have the information readily available for anyone searching for it. We aren't helping anyone find information that they couldn't already get by going to any of these places (as any reasonable person would do). That's still a problem for the question in the OP, and at this point even if we reopened it and answered it I'm not sure it would actually help anyone.

The argument above that we shouldn't reopen the question just because the answer is covered other places does have its flaws. We tend to be pretty lenient towards even relatively low-effort questions here. However, there's another good reason we don't want this sort of question open. It sets a precedent for lots of future questions, almost all of which would need to be closed. In that sense, it's a huge broken window. In the early days of Stack Overflow, many questions not about programming were asked, and some had pretty useful answers even if they were off-topic. However, a lot of them ended up inspiring a large number of copycat questions which were generally of low quality. This is a big part of why SO began more aggressively closing off-topic questions. This is probably a good lesson to take from SO despite the fact that we're a very different community in terms of standards. Keeping the question closed helps to avoid this copycat problem.

So no, there shouldn't be an exception for most of these questions. The only ones that deserve to be reopened are ones that a reasonable person might ask after hearing the announcement. For instance, if someone had asked "Which light novels will the second season of SAO adapt?" before it was announced, that question could be reopened after the announcement. The run-of-them-mill "Will X get an anime?" questions should not be reopened though. To phrase that a bit differently, questions asking about and announcement are allowed, but questions asking for an announcement are not.


As a note, in my opinion, questions of the form "Will X get an anime?" should typically be deleted fast enough to avoid this issue anyway. There's really no reason not to delete the questions in this case. There's nothing the OP can change to make it an allowable question. In addition, for whatever reason questions like this seem to generate a lot of undesirable traffic, since they're arriving here on a broken window. We should be deleting them fairly quickly rather than leaving them closed and undeleted indefinitely.

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  • 1
    This is a reasonable stance, but it seems at odds with the comment you made on the question about Fairy Tail ep 176. The SAO S2 question is, at this point (deletion notwithstanding), a question about a future announced event, and thus the same sort of thing as the Fairy Tail question, for which the consensus appears to be "leave open".
    – senshin
    Mar 15 '14 at 19:21
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    @senshin The difference I see between those questions is the following. In the case of Fairy Tail, as I understand it, the break in the anime was always described as a hiatus, meaning that the airing of more was announced. When that would happen was uncertain though. So the question was always on-topic. In the case of SAO, it was likely but unannounced that there would be more, so the question was off-topic when asked. (cont.)
    – Logan M
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:22
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    ...In the case of Fairy Tail, a person who was already aware of the announcement that there would be more to the anime could still reasonably ask that question. The same is not true of the SAO question if it were asked today. If the SAO question had not been "Will there be a continuation of SAO?" but "When will SAO season 2 air?" then I'd be somewhat more in favor of reopening (especially as this info was not part of the original announcement).
    – Logan M
    Mar 16 '14 at 0:23
  • Okay, yeah, that makes sense.
    – senshin
    Mar 16 '14 at 5:55
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No, future events should still be off-topic

I still agree with the previous question:

What do we do with questions about future events/releases?

In that, we are not a news outlet, we are a knowledge-based Q&A site.

Questions that are about future events can quickly get out-dated. For example When will the airing of Fairy Tail episode 176 begin? might be useful now, but once it starts airing again, that knowledge is useless.

I feel that an event being 'announced' or 'unannounced' is irrelevant. If it has been annouced, there are news sites that will cover this information and the question is quickly made obsolete. And it's very hard to get a definitive answer for unannounced events as.. well, they haven't been announced, so not much is known about them publicly.

As regards to @LoganM's sample question "Which light novels will the second season of SAO adapt?" I agree that it is something that could be answered after the event. But it's very likely that question will be edited to "Which light novels do the second season of SAO adapt", becoming a typical question on the site. So I propose the same rules apply, and that the owner could edit their question later on to fit the requirement.

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