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Today is the day of the Tasha's Cauldron of Everything release. Answers quoting its content starting showing up yesterday. Since it is here now, obviously this question does not apply to Tasha's anymore. But the principle still needs to be discussed so it can be put into practice in the future.

Should we refrain from posting answers that rely on quotes from unreleased content?

Some points to consider:

  • The community at large would not yet have access to unreleased content, so the typical community moderation cannot be done - quotes cannot be verified for accuracy.

  • Being able to quote unreleased content is very suspicious. It seems likely such access is gained either through piracy (leaks) or the violation of an NDA, something we are vehemently opposed to.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding "It seems likely such access is gained either through piracy (leaks) or the violation of an NDA..." In this case, where people started quoting a book the day before the release date, the much more likely possibility is that customers got their hands on their legitimately-purchased printed copy early. \$\endgroup\$ – mdrichey Nov 20 '20 at 2:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've got to second mdrichey, here: Being curious about D&D fourth edition, I once wandered into my FLGS and bought a copy of the DMG the shelf - and only found out later that it was the day before the game was supposed to be officially released. I'm still not sure why my FLGS was selling it a day earlier than the official release date. No piracy was involved (it was a legitimate copy of the book); I guess it might've been an NDA violation by someone, but I've no way of knowing. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 22 '20 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would echo the two comments above. There are also pages from the book that were featured on streams where Wizards of the Coast showed pages from the book on stream. Using information from that source does not require either an NDA to be broken, nor some sort of piracy to occur. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Nov 30 '20 at 12:53
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Posts with unverifiable quotes are poor posts - not illegitimate ones

We should treat these types of poor answers the way we treat any on the poor answers - through voting; not through censorship.

There are many ways that advance copies containing confidential information can legitimately enter the public domain. A proof copy accidentally (and I mean legitimately accidentally; not "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" accidentally) left where someone not a party to the NDA can find it is no longer legally confidential information. Whether the finder chooses to disclose it is an ethical question; not a legal one.

It seems to me that we should apply Hanlon's razor: "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity".

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    \$\begingroup\$ I could not possibly agree more with this. Less policy, more voting. Let the site operate by its own mechanics. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Nov 19 '20 at 1:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is my take as well. We don't need a policy; we already have votes. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 19 '20 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I'm being naive, but I'm not reading any discussion of policy in this question or answer. Simply a question asking what we should do in a case like this and this is a very good response. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Nov 19 '20 at 18:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps I'm interpreting the question incorrectly, but I see "Refrain from posting...." as a policy. Likewise, references to putting it into practice, and ruminations about piracy and NDAs make it look like a policy proposal to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Nov 19 '20 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak Then maybe add the policy tag if you think so? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Nov 19 '20 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let's make sure we don't go the magic "tags add whole new meaning to a post" route. Also, I'm not sure what "it looks like a policy to me" means here—we don't have policies vs not-policies, so much as we have things we determine as a community as to how to handle things, which we might arbitrarily call policies or might not. We're determining how to handle things here, and this answer is proposing to just leave it up to voters—no specific special handling neecessary. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 20 '20 at 13:15
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I think the bigger issue is that we can't verify the accuracy of any quotes used.

We mostly can't verify whether quotes came from a leaked copy of the content, an early access copy with an NDA a la an MTG-style partial spoiler, or a legitimate copy obtained via legitimate means. We basically have to take whoevers word for it that they have obtained the information legitimately.

On the other hand, since we don't have access to legitimate copies of that product to verify any claims they might make, we can't verify if the answer is accurate, and that by itself is enough for me to lean towards not allowing answers that rely on unreleased content.

Sometimes Wizards will release pictures of pages from books a few days or weeks before the full release as a kind of preview/teaser. I think any answers quoting text these publicly available teasers should be fine, as long as we can verify that they were released by a legitimate source, like if JC posts a page on twitter, or it's spoiled on wizards.com.

I don't see an issue with people asking questions about it, as the only real negative is that they will have to wait until the official release date to get an answer that can be verified as correct, and we can just close the question until the official release date of the product.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The particular answers were not to questions about Tasha's content, rather the answers provided new information to questions asked well before Tasha's release. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Nov 17 '20 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov: True, I think that was just a tangential point to RevenantBacon's answer, the rest of which is about answers based on content that hasn't been released yet. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod Nov 17 '20 at 19:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Counterpoint: A small number of users might be able to verify the accuracy of quotes from an officially-unreleased product, because it is extremely unlikely that content that's released early (legally or otherwise) is only released to one person. Arguing that we should refrain from posting answers that only a small number of people can verify is tantamount to claiming we shouldn't answer questions about games that aren't widely played. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 22 '20 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe I disagree, as even with a game with a small player base can still be checked for accuracy by anyone. If someone is claiming knowledge of unreleased content, then only a very few people outside of the developers themselves might be able to verify the accuracy of that claim. It is not uncommon for certain game devs, such as WotC, to release certain parts of content to only a single specific person for publicities sake. Take their record with MtG spoilers as an example. Certain streamers or YouTube personalities get sole access to specific cards ahead of time to raise hype on the product. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Nov 23 '20 at 4:23

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