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What is Forcing and How Far?

This hand came up a bit earlier in a Cayne match.  It stimulated quite a kibitzer conversation.

 

North
AQJ9432
A3
94
A4
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
3
?

 

The North bidder bid 4 and that's when the fun began.  Someone said that perhaps

South wouldn't know that 3 was forcing and that's why 4 was bid.

 

Some said Pass would be stronger than 3.

 

Some said that South would be forced to bid over 3 since game had not been reached.

---But then you'd be forcing a weak hand to bid to the 4 level?

 

Which of the kibs do you agree with? 

3 would be FORCING, and that's my bid.
3 would NOT be FORCING, but I'd bid 4 here.
3 is FORCING, but I'd bid 4 here anyway.
3 is NOT FORCING but it is my bid anyway.
Something else.

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