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Today I came across two old questions (both by the same user and posted on the same day, oddly enough) which are very similar in form but have been treated very differently:

This seems rather silly. Whatever our position is on such questions, it should at least be consistent. Unless there's some difference I'm missing between these two questions, they should either both be closed or both be open. The purpose of this meta post is to find out which.

What is the community's position on such questions?

If anyone finds more examples like these two questions (whether open or closed), give me a link and I'll edit them in.

Update: the second of the above questions has now also been closed, and the first has been deleted. Seems fairly conclusive.

  • --^ open still. – Mithical Feb 15 '16 at 13:44
  • @Mithrandir that's different; that's not asking "will there be?" but "were there plans for?" – SQB Feb 15 '16 at 13:44
  • @Mithrandir yeah, what SQB said. Which makes a big difference, because the answers to that question aren't going to go out of date. – Rand al'Thor Feb 15 '16 at 13:55
  • Except the answer on Star Trek, right now, is YES -- so what's the position on that? – ThePopMachine Feb 19 '16 at 22:24
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    @ThePopMachine And in the future, when the next Star Trek series has been and gone and there are no plans for a new one? And then there are plans for a new one again - and then that one comes and goes too? As I was once told in my early days on SE, "questions shouldn't be moving targets". – Rand al'Thor Feb 20 '16 at 0:21
  • @randal'thor, yes, I agree, and voted to delete. Just pointing out the existing answers were factually incorrect too. – ThePopMachine Feb 20 '16 at 6:07
  • @randal'thor: I agree with the spirit. But any question that relates to a changing canon is a moving target. Any answer to pretty much anything you can ask about Star Trek or Star Wars may need a modification in the future unless it's about a specific past event/episode. – ThePopMachine Feb 25 '16 at 18:21
  • @ThePopMachine True, but there's a difference between a question that may need modification (e.g. from "we don't know" to "this is the answer") when new canon appears and a question which by its very nature is liable to have answers that go out of date. – Rand al'Thor Feb 25 '16 at 23:07
  • @randal'thor: yep. – ThePopMachine Feb 26 '16 at 0:07
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I believe these questions should be closed because they usually can't be answered and tend to encourage speculative answers. Arguably they're a special case of our existing "future works" policy. Both of the examples linked by the OP contain what I would consider speculative answers.

The exception would be questions that explicitly exclude the future in some way, e.g. "Were there plans to make another X before Y happened?", since the answer to that won't change even if a new X does get made someday.

1

I see these questions as completely objective. Are there any plans1? - you can answer this with Yes or No; and then back up with the appropriate evidence.

Speculative answers indicate a problem with those answers, not with the question.

1 Of course, you really need to ask if there are any plans that have been made public but the gist of the question is clear to me.

  • Down voting because I disagree with Speculative answers indicate a problem with those answers, not with the question. see Ixrec's answer. – AncientSwordRage Feb 15 '16 at 19:19
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    @AncientSwordRage: thank you for the downvote explanation. Ixrec's answer inspired that sentence. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 15 '16 at 19:45

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