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I've asked a question about the Digital Deluxe edition of Battlefield 4, which is already being sold pre-release. It's a concrete question and expecting concrete, referenced answers. Yet it was closed as off-topic due to the "not speculating on future release" rule.

I've actually found the discussion of the rule on Meta, where answer states that:

However, if it's not something that's going to need speculation (i.e. there's a strict release date and people have even started pre-ordering the game), then there is a strict answer and it is a valid question, so it doesn't need to be closed.

Another concern brought up there is:

Post release date, it's too localized because it's no longer relevant.

Which isn't really the case here.

So what are the rules exactly?

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    You were asking about something that was just barely announced. I did some fast research, and while EA has announced the pre-orders, they have not announced what they detail. That's the very definition of speculating on future releases. I'm not sure how your question can be classified as concrete. – Frank Mar 27 '13 at 17:45
  • The details you were asking for are not available. That is speculation. – user9983 Mar 27 '13 at 17:45
  • For context, see gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/111726/… (10K only). – Frank Mar 27 '13 at 17:47
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    @fbueckert: you're effectively arguing that to ask a question I first have to know answer to that question. Also you're suggesting that every answer must be instantly answered, which is rarely the case. – vartec Mar 27 '13 at 19:47
  • No, the FAQ clearly says speculation is off-topic. If you are asking a question about unreleased information, that is speculation. You don't have to know the answer, the answer just has to exist for someone to know. – user9983 Mar 27 '13 at 20:24
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The primary rule you're running afoul of is:

Speculation of the future of the industry and of upcoming releases

That's right there in the FAQ. What isn't explained in it is why we don't allow these questions, and that was what I was attempting to explain to you in your question.

The basic idea is that we have to be able to answer a question, at the time of asking. Either through testing the game itself, or being able to troll it out of the depths of the internet. Otherwise, the question will just gain answers that go, "I think rumor X is true.". We'll just gather speculation about what the answer might be, and that runs contrary to the SE motto. The info has to be available somewhere, for someone to be able to answer it.

The very first argument to this tends to be, "Someone can answer it! The publisher/developer knows what information I'm asking for!" I'm sorry, but those people are exempt from the "someone" category. That's insider knowledge which any large corporation will not willingly allow to be leaked, for one reason or another. It interferes with their marketing plan, it conflicts with their PR spin, or any number of other reasons that would prevent people who could answer it, from answering it. We're looking for authoritative, definitive answers.

This is the corollary of why we don't allow, "Why did the devs design it that way?" type of questions. If the only people who can answer it are the developers, then it becomes an unanswerable question, for the same reasons as listed above.

Another argument that gets used quite often is, "This information could be known! We just need to troll enough blogs and articles to find the incredibly obscure info!" In this argument's defense, it could very well be true in some cases. There could even be a dev posting about it. It's still going to get closed because everything prior to release is subject to change. I've lost count of the times devs have announced something, and the end product has failed to deliver. Just because a dev says something doesn't automatically mean it's true.

And lastly, there always, "Well, I expect any answers to be authoritative. If the information isn't known now, just leave it alone until it can be answered." This one, I'm afraid, is the worst one of all. These questions will gather all sorts of speculation, and that's the primary reason we don't allow them. They cause an inordinate amount of headaches and effort to keep clean, to maintain site quality.


Now, pre-orders do fall into an area where we do try to allow them prior to releasing the game. This is because the information being provided has been announced and made available prior to release. This information is a known quantity, and can be quite useful to know when making your purchasing decision.

It falls apart, though, when asking about something where it's only partially available, such as this case. EA has announced a pre-order bonus, the Battlefield 4 Premium Expansion Pack. This information is a known quantity. What has not been announced, however, is what this pre-order bonus entails. Most likely, EA hasn't figured it out themselves. How are we supposed to answer something that the publisher themselves have not made available? Keep in mind that leaks are essentially rumors; they're not at all authoritative, especially behind the shield of anonymity. We have no guarantee that any information leaked won't be changed prior to official announcements, either.

Let's look into the future a little bit, after EA has provided this information. Unless EA's completely off their game, they're going to ensure that that information is readily and easily accessible to those that want it. If, at that point, EA does screw up their marketing, this could certainly be a valid question. The information is available for someone to dig out and post, thereby making it a valid question.

Much more likely, though, EA will ensure that that this wouldn't even be a question. Once the details are known, you can be very sure that it will be easily accessible to anyone at all, at which point, your question becomes completely moot.


The next argument I foresee is, "Well, alright, we don't know it now. Can we re-open it when that information is announced?" For that, I direct you to this question. In essence, the community frowns on attempting to camp the question by asking it prior to it being answerable. Questions should be asked organically, and be an actual problem the asker is having. We ran into this just the other day, and @AshleyNunn phrased it much better than I could. I'd highly encourage you to read it.

In short, your question suffered from a timing issue (speculation, unable to answer the question), and most likely is not a problem (EA will ensure this is a known quantity, and thus not a problem people will have).

Now, in the event EA does manage to train wreck this so that it isn't easy to find out the information, I encourage you to re-ask this question. This could very well be a problem, and ideally, would include something like, "I've looked through EA's website, and they've announced this Premium Expansion Pack, but I can't find any more information on it. What does this pack include?".

TL; DR: You yourself do not have to know the answer. But this information has to exist, in order for someone to be able to find it, and provide it.

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    Sorry, it is a bit of a massive wall of text. – Frank Mar 27 '13 at 20:44
  • Fair enough, although it's not entirely unexpected for EA PR to not give details, while they would appear for example on some DICE's developer's blog. – vartec Mar 28 '13 at 12:25

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