129350 (" How is loot shared on D3 console co-op?") was put on hold today, with the following close reasons given:

  • "Questions about unreleased or illegal content are off topic on Arqade. We only support questions about games available to the general public through legitimate means." – LessPop_MoreFizz, fbueckert, kalina, spartacus
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a game that has not been released yet. - Unionhawk

Prior to that, it had been reopened:

Post Reopened by TZHX, galacticninja, kalina, Robotnik, fredley

Now, as per Meta 6971, we decided that we would not reopen questions about unreleased games, even after the game is released. This time, however, it was reopened, and now we suddenly re-close it, although it is now a valid question?

Could we please point out precisely what we should do in such a situation?

The question was now also re-asked (129762, "How is loot shared on console-based co-op play?"). What should we do about that, then?

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    The problem with leaving it reopened is we are basically letting 5 random 3kers invalidate an entire meta topic. – user9983 Sep 3 '13 at 14:00
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    The problem in this case is that the question should have been deleted, after being closed, as per Badp's response to that meta. – Raven Dreamer Sep 3 '13 at 14:02
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    @OrigamiRobot I would consider this more of an exceptional situation than something that completely invalidates our existing intents and policies. – Grace Note Sep 3 '13 at 14:03
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    We don't act on what "should have" happened, though. It hasn't happened, and this means we re-evaluate the question as it is right now (well, not anymore), after being reopened. (Which, btw, is why I'm not in favour of re-reopening it now either.) It was reopened, and at that point it was a valid question. Instead, it was re-closed, mainly to "correct the mistake that was made", regardless of the actual question. – user98085 Sep 3 '13 at 14:04
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    @GraceNote It changes "Site policy is to do X" into "Site policy is to do X unless it gets overlooked and then it is fine." – user9983 Sep 3 '13 at 14:05
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    If site policy is to close questions that are otherwise valid because we don't like the method in which they became valid, maybe site policy has a problem. Sure, the question should have been deleted and thus never reopened. We failed to do that. The proper response is to suck it up and try harder to get things deleted next time, not close a now completely valid question because we don't like the question ID attached to it. – Sterno Sep 3 '13 at 14:10
  • @Sterno We don't like question IDs now? Be right back, VTCing every question that ends with a seven. – Frank Sep 3 '13 at 14:12
  • @fbueckert If you're closing based on asked date after the fact, that's pretty much the same as closing by ID. – user98085 Sep 3 '13 at 14:13
  • @FEichinger Not really, it's just being consistent. – user9983 Sep 3 '13 at 14:17
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    So to summarise, the question should have been deleted, but wasn't. It became 'valid' (as per the game's release) and was then reopened, but shouldn't have been. It was then re-closed, but shouldn't have been. Personally, I don't think the evil 'question camping' is that big of a problem in this case as it's made out to be. Sure, this question should've been deleted. Sure, our ongoing policy should be to close camping questions (because camping is bad). But as for this question/corner case? Are we really going to remove a valid question for the sake of consistency? – Robotnik Sep 3 '13 at 14:21
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    @OrigamiRobot And yet, if the same person asked it again, it would be fine. – user98085 Sep 3 '13 at 14:43
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    I apologise for my input into getting this reopened, I did not remember the site policy to remove posts that were valid questions but asked before the game was released. – kalina Sep 3 '13 at 14:44
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    @OrigamiRobot - Sometimes rules need to be bent a little – Robotnik Sep 3 '13 at 14:50
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    @kalina That's because it's not the site policy- I don't see any rationale here behind the question being closed to begin with. – Decency Sep 4 '13 at 2:20
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    @Decency But it is site policy. Not all policies are going to be in the FAQ. That's why we have tags on Meta. – Niro Sep 4 '13 at 15:43

There's a few of reasons we have this "no pre-release questions" policy, attached to it rulings about reopening things when time hits. Some are political, others are quite mechanical.

  • It's an invalid question at the time it is asked. We cannot field a question before the game's release, so it counts as a future point in time and is pointedly off-topic for the site.
  • It's unfair to "seed" questions ahead of time, especially potentially valuable questions. This is less why we have the policy and more why we have stock in the policy, if that makes sense. If a question is indeed valuable, then it will naturally get asked post-release.
  • Mechanically, it's a complete waste of everyone's time. A question asked after the release is no cost. Asked before the release, you have 5 people voting to close and then you have 5 people waiting to vote to reopen on the release date. The end results are identical, but we have more work to do that we have absolutely no obligation to perform for anyone.

The entire scenario is not ideal, but the ideal manifestation is that when a question gets closed as such, like a properly off-topic question, it should be deleted.

This didn't happen. So we have a furthermore less-than-ideal scenario on our shoulders. Made further less ideal by people voting to reopen, though it is their vote to have used and while I personally feel that it's somewhat mediocre to do, it is time spent and gone with. So how do we progress with this? Let's review the reasons.

  • It is no longer an invalid question once we hit the release date. It is in fact a valid question.
  • It may be a seed question, but everyone who spent their time reopening it, had all their opportunity to have asked it on their own. They chose to instead reopen it because at this stage, we have the question and it is in a fit state.
  • Any further action is even more of a waste of time. Closing it again, reopening it again, even having this debate at all is a humongous waste of everyone's time for pretty much no good reason. The letter of our policy isn't undermined because we choose to listen to the spirit of the policy. Likewise, the spirit of the policy isn't wholly undermined because we choose to obey the letter of our policy.

Both sides of this argument have been correct. We're indeed screwing up in all directions. Reopening broke the letter of policy. Reclosing broke the spirit of policy. At this stage, the original is now closed and we now have a newly asked version here: https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/129762/how-is-loot-shared-on-console-based-co-op-play. The whole thing is breaking things all over the place, so it's essentially an outside component to the whole of how our site works.

At this stage, keeping a live, valid question on the site has far exceeded anything about how it interacted with our policies to reach this stage. It cannot serve as an example of how this kind of situation can be resolved, it should not serve as such, it does not influence our ability to handle further breaches of policy. What we have is (assumedly, at least) valuable content and at this point, any further discussion or thought on its history is a waste of everyone's time and counterproductive towards the goals of everyone involved.

The entirety of our site is founded towards the production of content. It's our very mission, after all. Policy is important for allowing us to maintain our quality of content, and the livelihood of our site. I don't think for a moment that this kind of slip hampers the intent of policy, even if its history disregards policy entirely at this stage. Because at this stage, what we have is a question that, in some fashion, got asked, and we already squandered enough time discussing policy against content, further would be even more waste.

  • So to confirm: you believe the question should be reopened, and the post-facto duplicate deleted? – Raven Dreamer Sep 3 '13 at 15:45
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    @Raven I would've gone with whichever one was open and simply leave it at that. Now that we're at the stage of all things closed again... one should be opened and the other should be eliminated. My personal position is that this stage, it doesn't matter which one is open because the sense of the policy has long been lost in this debacle and all that remains now is to retain the content we need. For ease of sake let's go with what you suggested. – Grace Note Sep 3 '13 at 15:57

There is an obvious failure here of basic reading comprehension. The FAQ forbids speculation about unreleased games. Just because a game hasn't been released yet doesn't mean that every question about that game can only have unknowable or speculative answers.

In this case, the question already had an official answer from a Blizzard Community Manager here from almost three months ago. I see no reason why this question would thus be considered anything other than a valid and answerable question- OrigamiRobot's answer in the linked meta explictly makes an assumption that simply does not apply here.

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    A question being answerable prior to release does not automatically make it on-topic. We've been over that exact point several times before. – Frank Sep 4 '13 at 1:00
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    @Fluttershy Relevant, but entirely contradictory to both the FAQ and the meta discussion here where the community rather clearly decides that questions about unreleased games are fine as long as they have definitive and well-evidenced answers. – Decency Sep 4 '13 at 1:00
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    @Decency The discussion here is the exception, not the rule. This was a special case in which the community and moderators didn't act in a timely manner, causing quite a bit of confusion. – Niro Sep 4 '13 at 1:03
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    @Fluttershy You can discuss the exception to the rule here if you'd like, but it's about as obvious as it gets that the question being discussed here isn't an example of that exception. There was no necessary action on the question to begin with. – Decency Sep 4 '13 at 1:11
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    @fbueckert As I said, feel free to link to one of those discussions. An oversight by a moderator when adding new close reasons doesn't overrule an overwhelming majority opinion on an already discussed issue. – Decency Sep 4 '13 at 3:45
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    @fbueckert - If you are the one making a point, you have the burden of proof. Our entire site revolves around questions & answers that can be backed up by relevant sources. Otherwise, the Q&As get downvoted for poor research effort. – Robotnik Sep 4 '13 at 4:24
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    @Decency There's a reason many of us have stopped using the word 'speculation' - it's because it's ambiguous and opens up arguments about whether a question is on topic based on it's answerability, which ought never be the measurement by which we determine a questions appropriateness. It was a poor choice of language when the subject was first raised, and being persnickity about that particular word choice is defeating the spirit of the rule by arguing the letter. – LessPop_MoreFizz Sep 4 '13 at 5:19
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    @Decency Close reasons were submitted by and voted by the community. I can confirm however that we do not want questions about unreleased anything, no matter how much official information there is about it, because 1. that's what news sites are for, and we aren't one and 2. no matter how official a pre-release comment can be, companies can always change their minds and 180-spin on it (see also: XBox One.) – badp Sep 4 '13 at 10:46
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    @Decency The meta answer you referred to way back at the beginning clearly says "If a "pre-release" question about a game can be asked and answered without speculation because an alpha/beta/early version exists" That was not the case for this question and is therefore not applicable. – user9983 Sep 4 '13 at 18:22
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    In my opinion, there's a fundamental problem with needing to know the answer to a question before deciding whether or not it should be left open or closed. I've repeated this point in a bunch of different meta discussions recently. In this particular case, developers/marketing/whatever had an answer, but having to go look and find out there is one is a poor measure of determining whether or not the question should be left open. – Sterno Sep 4 '13 at 19:17
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    @Sterno I think there's a fundamental problem with the community when adding difficulty to closing questions is ranked as a more pressing concern than adding difficulty to answering questions. – Decency Sep 4 '13 at 19:32
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    @Decency Way to cherrypick. The full comment reads "#2 is kinda wrong, private betas are okay". That's nothing to do with unreleased games. – badp Sep 4 '13 at 21:24
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    ...and by private betas we do not mean internal-consumption-only or press-only private builds of the game; merely versions of the game that are released to the public on an invitational basis so that people can answer questions based on the version of the game they are actually playing, as explained here. – badp Sep 4 '13 at 21:30
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    @Decency for what it's worth, I have no horse in this race. Close 'em all. Leave 'me all open. I don't care much in this case. Pick whether or not a question category is on or off topic for the site and go with it. Either way it goes, lets just make sure policy doesn't require arguments about if it should be opened or closed every single time one of the questions of that type come up. That just fills the question comments with argument. – Sterno Sep 4 '13 at 21:31
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    @Decency You'll have to spell out the contradiction here, for I am too dumb to see it. – badp Sep 5 '13 at 13:09

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