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The question Does this organization still exist? was closed, with a voter citing the future works policy. However, I fail to see how said policy applies. The question is not about a future work, it's about the backstory to a released film. Not currently having a definitive answer (which is not certain in this case) is not the same as being about a future work, and as outlined here, is not a valid reason to close the question.

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    To me it looks like any information relating to that will be revealed in the future and so is FWP. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 30 '18 at 8:07
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    You seem to be conflating two ideas. The point you mention is quite clearly not revealed in the film in question, as everyone who has seen the film will know. It is however a point in an ongoing film series where more information is revealed on a regular basis. Given this point of information certainly can be known to have been "not revealed", if it is revealed we must await a future work and as such the question has been closed according to said policy. The policy you cite, while not explicit, imo works for finished stories, there is unlikely to be a canon answer and "We don't know".... – Edlothiad Apr 30 '18 at 8:45
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    @thelethalcarrot That is not how the future works policy is meant to be used. Every problematic question listed here is clearly either asking about a specific unreleased work, or a hypothetical future work. The question being discussed does neither, has it is asking about the backstory to a released film. – Rogue Jedi Apr 30 '18 at 10:40
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    @RogueJedi The question may be asking about the back story but the answer is related to a future work. As such that is why it has been closed. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 30 '18 at 10:43
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    @thelethalcarrot Which future work is it related to? – Rogue Jedi Apr 30 '18 at 10:44
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    @RogueJedi Avengers 4, GotG 3 will likely have some potential information in them. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 30 '18 at 10:46
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    @thelethalcarrot Again, I see no evidence that the policy makes any mention that questions without an answer should be closed because they might be answered at some point in the future. – Rogue Jedi Apr 30 '18 at 10:49
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    @edlothiad The question in question is not "not ready yet." It pertains to a released work. Closing it is just failing to follow the 'Questions without answers" policy under the disguise of the Future Works Policy. – Rogue Jedi Apr 30 '18 at 11:01
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    @Edlothiad You say "we don't know" is the best answer you'll get as if that's a bad thing, but questions to which the answer is "we don't know" are perfectly acceptable in general - even if they're about a non-static body of canon, where any "we don't know" is technically "we don't know but we might in the future". – Rand al'Thor Apr 30 '18 at 19:19
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    @Edlothiad That "likely" is the sticking point, I think. Taking Doctor Who as an example universe (because its canon is constantly expanding and I'm familiar with it): a question like "what is the Doctor's name?" might have been closed as FW if it had been posted shortly before the episode "The Name of the Doctor" was released, but in general it's certainly a valid question about the show, even though the answer is "we don't know (and technically might find out in a later episode)". – Rand al'Thor Apr 30 '18 at 19:46
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    @Edlothiad Also, don't presume to speak for "all the voters who voted on the FWP meta". Lecturing more experienced users about what "is quite common practice on this site" also comes off as rude, and I've already deleted one of your earlier comments here for being an ad-hominem attack. – Rand al'Thor Apr 30 '18 at 19:49
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    @Randal'Thor I didn't think I was using a lecturing tone, nor did I intend to come off as rude. Although the same could be said about claiming "experience" based purely by time on site. Either way, a question being put on hold due to the FWP does not make it a bad question. The question wasn't closed because it doesn't fit the scope of the site, or because it's off-topic. It's merely to preserve the question from getting a string of either speculative answers, or a "We don't know" answer, which has a very high likelihood of being rendered wrong in a rather short period of time. – Edlothiad Apr 30 '18 at 19:54
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    @Möoz The point of the FWP is to close questions which are about FWs, or where the answer will clearly be revealed in FWs. We don't close every question where the answer is "we don't know" and the canon is still incomplete. Otherwise there'd be a hell of a lot more closed Doctor Who questions. – Rand al'Thor Apr 30 '18 at 20:25
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    You know it'd be more helpful if someone wrote an answer as an answer, instead of a comment, and then the answer could be fleshed out based on ensuing commentary. – user31178 Apr 30 '18 at 23:14
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    As one of the people involved in the formation of the FWP, I've gotta say, you guys trying to close everything as FW are turning the policy into something far broader than we had originally intended. – phantom42 May 1 '18 at 19:11
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Disclaimer: I don't know anything about the Marvel universe. This is a general discussion of the future works policy.


I think there's a continuum of different types of question to be considered here.

  1. At one end of the scale we have questions explicitly about future works. If someone asks now about what will happen in Star Wars Episode IX, that question should be closed under the Future Works Policy and reopened once it's answerable.

  2. At the other end of the scale are questions with unknown answer and closed canon. If someone asks about the state of the realm in Gondor a hundred years after Aragorn's death (I'm trying to think of a LotR question which isn't answered somewhere in the massive canon!), then the answer might be "we don't know", but that's not enough reason to close, and it would also be unreasonable to close under the Future Works Policy as there's no reason to think any further canon is forthcoming.

In between these two extremes lie questions with unknown answer and incomplete canon. If the answer to a general question about some universe is unknown now, but might be revealed in a future work set in that universe ... well, that "might" is where things get sticky.

  • Sometimes it might be very clear that the answer will only become known after the release of some future work. If you ask about the backstory of a character appearing in the first book of a series, and it's clear from how the book ends that that backstory will be revealed in the second book ... then I could see closing the question under the Future Works Policy.

  • Sometimes there might be no reason to believe that the answer will be revealed in future works. Take this question, for example: What is the Doctor's real name? The answer is unknown, and could in theory be revealed in a future episode, but given the role the question plays in the story, I very much doubt it. (Pertinent information has been revealed in new episodes as the show goes on, though, and this has been edited into the accepted answer as appropriate.)

Where disputes arise, then, is when people disagree on how likely it is that the answer will be revealed in future works. The thing about the future is that we never know for sure what will happen there, so there's often room for debate. Without knowing anything about Marvel, I think that's what's going on with your question: the close-voters think the answer clearly lies in future canon, while the reopen-voters think that's not so clear and the question can be validly answered from current canon.

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  • So, does the future-works policy apply or nah? – Möoz May 1 '18 at 20:49
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    What's certainly clear is the question can not be answered from current canon. It was addressed in a line and never mentioned again, the answer would be "We don't know" and no additional text, because anything else would be purely made-up fan-fiction. An excellent summary of the issue at hand though. – Edlothiad May 2 '18 at 7:24
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    @Edlothiad As you know, "We don't know" is an acceptable answer, and it can often be fleshed out with something much better than "purely made-up fan-fiction". I'd be surprised if it's impossible to say more than three words in a reasonable answer to this question. In fact, if as you say it's "addressed in a line", then wouldn't quoting that line and the fact that it's never mentioned again be a necessary part of a full answer? – Rand al'Thor May 2 '18 at 9:23
  • @Randal'Thor I invite you to try. Any answer could look at what Thanos did to the Asgardians (we don't know, we just saw dead bodies), the people of Knowhere (we don't know we just saw destruction) or he may have simply teleported in and teleported out. Maybe he killed a guard. Maybe he killed everyone. Maybe he had his minions fly in on a donut, kill some people and then fly out on a donut. Maybe he had his army of outriders kill everyone on the planet and he just waltzed in. We have no idea what happened, I could come up with another score of scenarios, each as likely as the last. – Edlothiad May 2 '18 at 9:27
  • [cont] Now you may say "see more than 3 words" but all of those are purely made up scenarios, which all could've happened or none. They're purely based on my opinion and speculation and nothing else. In that case, the question would be better preserved for when the information is released in a future work. – Edlothiad May 2 '18 at 9:28
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    "we don't know, but as stated in infinity war, thanos' MO is to only kill half of the population. it is entirely possible that a sizable portion of the novacorps survived and continues to operate". is that more than three words based on informed speculation? – phantom42 May 2 '18 at 13:11

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