According to the FAQ, it requires 5 close votes to put a question on hold. This question only has two listed. Why is it on hold?

2 Answers 2


As a moderator, my vote immediately takes effect, even if there aren't enough votes already. Frank voted to close, and it was waiting for 4 more votes. I voted to close, which was a deciding moderator vote, and the question became closed, listing previous voters and me.

As for why I voted to close it, it's because Frank has it exactly right. This question is not answerable by in-game plot or resources, and is only answerable by a developer. That is a clear close, based on our site precedent.

  • Thanks for the quick response. Would it be possible to get the FAQ updated to reflect this? Neither gaming.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic nor gaming.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask that this would not be an allowed question. Arguments about site precedent would be less frequent if this information was written down for easy reference.
    – Mike R
    Sep 10, 2015 at 16:23
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    @MikeR The close reason itself does have this stated: ""Questions about Game Design and Development are off topic. This includes speculative questions about developer intent, with respect to both mechanics and narrative." I will look into the other locations. Sep 10, 2015 at 16:24
  • Is it really speculation if the developer confirms it?
    – Mike R
    Sep 10, 2015 at 16:26
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    @MikeR We must use metrics that can determine whether a question is on-topic on its own, without accompanying answers (because most questions are judged without an existing answer). In this case, without the answer present, it's impossible to know if there is a canonical developer-given answer, and thus the question is close-worthy, even if there turns out to be such an answer. Sep 10, 2015 at 16:28
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    There's also the argument that just because a developer says a thing doesn't make it canonical; the game itself is the only canonical source. It's an interesting take on things, and also aligns with our decision on how to handle such questions. Sep 10, 2015 at 16:32
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    That's non-intuitive enough that it's probably valuable to explicitly call it out. In many other situations it's valid to consider the author of a work to be a primary source and to consider commentary provided by the author about the work to be valid.
    – Mike R
    Sep 10, 2015 at 16:48
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    @MikeR There were two points made, and only one might be non-intuitive. However, I'm not even sure I agree with that. In fictional works, the canon is defined only by official releases. Brandon Sanderson answers questions that go outside the scopes of the novel all the time, and they're taken at face value for now, but if he were to publish a novel later that contradicts with what he's said, the novel would be canonical and his word would not. The same is true of all fictional media. Sep 10, 2015 at 16:56
  • Isn't that like saying that Miyamoto's commentary regarding SMB3 can be taken at face value for now, but if a future game was released that contradicts the comments, that newer games would be canonical and the commentary would not? I don't see how that refutes my statement. Either way, this type of argument occurs frequently enough to show that many people find it non-intuitive. This is a "Frequently Asked Question" there is value in putting it in the FAQs. We may not agree as a community on what the rules should be but we should be able to agree on what the rules actually are.
    – Mike R
    Sep 10, 2015 at 17:09
  • We do. It's that the game has to answer the question. Not the developer.
    – Frank
    Sep 10, 2015 at 17:10
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    I'm not asking for it to explain everything. I am asking for it to answer things that are asked frequently. You can't complain about people asking off-topic questions while simultaneously hiding the requirements for what makes a question on topic. Thanks for the downvote by the way to whoever added it. How is this question not researched, not clear, or not useful?
    – Mike R
    Sep 10, 2015 at 17:24
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    @Johnathan Do you honestly believe this was explained in the story anywhere at all? I've played through SMB 3 more times than I can count, and I can't recall anything about this fan theory being discussed at all. It plays as a platformer with a bit of story on it. The manual may, granted; I don't recall reading that all that much, although, it wouldn't be speculation if the manual actually addressed it.
    – Frank
    Sep 10, 2015 at 18:47
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    Shouldn't this also be closed on the same grounds: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/61791/…
    – user101016
    Sep 10, 2015 at 19:53
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    @CamelCase That's not relevant. Having a bad answer does not mean that the the question is off-topic. If the question is off-topic now, and the policy did not change, it was also off-topic in 2012. That being said, there are a ton of similar questions in the answer to meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/5325/… Should most or all of those be purged as well? Why or why not?
    – Mike R
    Sep 11, 2015 at 0:02
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    I think the Mario question could work as "What evidence in game supports this theory?" Asking definitively is going to be off topic with how we've defined developer intent - the fact that there is a video where people ask Miyamoto himself about the theory is proof it's not made clear in game.
    – two bugs
    Sep 11, 2015 at 4:05
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    There really has to be something added to the FAQ. It can't account for everything but it is supposed to account for Questions that come up Frequently which this falls under with flying colors. It is literally a weekly discussion. Questions like this get asked all the time. And that's besides the fact that 90% of the time "developer intent" questions that make it to meta are just used in place of "no." Changeability of answers is also irrelevant considering sequels and even updates can retcon just as easily.
    – Reafexus
    Sep 20, 2015 at 5:34

To add to Strix's answer: There are three other scenarios where a question may be closed without the requisite 5 close votes:

  • If the OP of the question confirms a duplicate by clicking the 'Yes, my question is a duplicate' button whilst there is a close vote against their question.

    The question will show as being closed by the original Close Voter(s) and the system user 'Community'.

  • If the OP themselves manually close their question for any reason by clicking the 'close' button on their question.

    It will show their name in the list of Close Voters

  • If someone with a Gold Tag Badge for one of the question's tags votes to close. Gold Badges are awarded to users with 1000 votes on 200+ answers in a single tag, so anyone with this privilege can generally be assumed to know what they're doing.

    This doesn't happen often, there are only two users on the site with Gold Tag Badges, both are for Minecraft, and one of them is a moderator anyway. But it can happen.

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