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Last year (2020) saw some changes to the question closure system across the SE network. These included changing the text saying "off-topic" in custom close reasons to "a community-specific reason", which inspired the SFF community to reach a consensus to create a new custom close reason for our well-established Future Works Policy. Essentially, this policy states that if a question is asking specifically about a book/film/episode/comic/etc. that has not yet been released, the question should be closed at least until the release date, to prevent purely speculative answers. (A 2018 clarification ensures that questions about already-released works, even if the answer is unknown and may be in future works, do not fall under the Future Works Policy.)

Rather late, but this meta post is to confirm the wording for the new proposed custom close reason. Note that another of SE's 2020 changes to the question closure system was introducing audience-specific texts for custom close reasons, so that the OP, close voters, privileged users, and the general public can all get slightly different versions of the same essential explanation of why a question is unsuitable for the site. That means we need to write up five different texts and include them when the mod team actually creates the new close reason.

This time, we don't need CM help, as mods can create new close reasons, just not edit existing ones in place. So I'm just going to draft up a set of wordings, get meta feedback and approval, and then we can create the close reason any time.

TL;DR: please read my answer below to check the proposed wordings.


The following image shows the different boxes that can be filled by mods/CMs with different text. The first two appear in the close/flag dialogue before the post is closed; the last three appear in post notices after the post is closed.

  • The Brief description is the bold header for the close reason.
  • The Usage guidance is what will appear in the close menu, advising people when to use the close reason.
  • The Close description will be shown to everyone in the post notice and should be relatively short.
  • The Post owner guidance appears in the post notice and is how the OP should fix the question (if possible).
  • The Privileged user guidance is informative for the people with close privilege regarding what the close reason is.

enter image description here

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  • I did not realise that by agreeing to this change, that we would lose the existing close reason "Not related to science fiction or fantasy". Can we have the old one back as well?
    – Valorum
    Aug 14 at 13:43
  • 2
    @Valorum Well, you did realise, because you were involved in the discussion about it in the previous meta post. Feel free to start a new meta post asking for the generic close reason to be restored, and if it gets enough support we can poke CMs to increase the number of custom close reason slots for SFF. (Mods can't do that alone, since there's a default maximum of 3 which are all currently being used.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Aug 14 at 20:29
  • I believe my least word on it was that we would (or at least should) request more close reasons from SE
    – Valorum
    Aug 14 at 20:31
  • 3
    Sure, but what you last said on an issue doesn't equate to community consensus about it.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Aug 14 at 20:33
  • Indeed. So, can we have the old one back as well?
    – Valorum
    Aug 15 at 5:18
  • @Valorum "Feel free to start a new meta post asking for the generic close reason to be restored, and if it gets enough support we can poke CMs to increase the number of custom close reason slots for SFF."
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Aug 15 at 19:19
  • @TheLethalCarrot - Ta-da!
    – Valorum
    Aug 15 at 19:51
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Brief description

The name shown to flaggers/close-voters when seeking an option in the close menu (currently 21/100 characters):

Future works question

Usage guidance

The description shown to flaggers/close-voters after choosing this close reason (currently 485/500 characters):

This question is about future works. Any answers would be purely speculative, since the question concerns some as yet unreleased material and cannot be resolved until its release. Note that this close reason does not apply if an answer can be written based on already released information. For more details, see Should questions about future works be closed? and What are future works?.

Close description

The text shown to everybody, even non-users, viewing the closed question (currently 144/500 characters):

This question was closed for being about future works. It is currently not accepting answers.

Post owner guidance

The more detailed text shown, under the general close description, to the OP only when viewing their closed question (currently 496/500 characters):

Your question appears to be about a work of science fiction or fantasy which hasn't been released yet. If you can ask purely within the scope of already released works or existing pre-release information, then please edit to clarify. Otherwise, your question can only be reopened after the release date of the work you're asking about. For more information, please see this FAQ and its refinement.

Privileged user guidance

The more detailed text shown, under the general close description, to any 3k+ rep user viewing the closed question (currently 424/500 characters):

Please check whether the work being asked about has been released since this question's closure, and vote to reopen if so. If the question can be phrased specifically so that it can be answered in the context of already released information, then please consider making an edit or guiding the asker in how to do so, or vote to reopen if it's already phrased in such a way.

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  • 1
    I'd like to see a bit more focus on the aspect that the answer is largely speculation now, but trivially answered once the work is out. "Does X survive Next Big Instalment of Franchise?" should be answered "we don't know" before release, but "yes, go watch it" or "no, go watch it" after release.
    – SQB
    Jul 26 at 12:14
  • Also, not all questions about future works are of topic. Some can be answered before the release, because it is not answered by the release itself but rather from other sources. "Will Joe Actor feature in Next Big Instalment of Franchise?" can probably be answered before release and even questions about the contents can be answered if anyone involved in the production has answered that in an interview.
    – SQB
    Jul 26 at 12:18
  • 1
    @SQB Good points; I've made some edits trying to address them. To your first comment, the FWP doesn't just cover questions which would be trivially answered once the work is out. If someone asked "how many regenerations will the Doctor get in his next cycle?" before the end of the Eleventh Doctor era, or (I know this is old, but to prove the point) "who will be revealed as Number One in The Prisoner series finale?" before the finale was released, that'd be FW but also not trivial even after release.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 26 at 13:01
  • One caveat would be the folks who would ask a FWP question and then claim "I was simply wondering if there was an existing work that covered it". We've had that debate elsewhere. Was debated extensively over this question
    – Machavity
    Aug 7 at 0:31

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