# Should we be more strict about legal questions

Questions like "Is it legal to do X?" or "how to do Y legally ?" are quite frequent on the site and they benefit no one - most of them get closed pretty quickly but still waste everyone's time, including the asker's.

Now that we have a Law Stack Exchange, could we be more strict about legal questions and make it clear that they aren't welcome here anymore and should be posted on the aforementioned SE instead ? This would benefit us, who won't have to deal with (often) unanswerable questions, as well as the askers since they will get better help from law experts on that specific SE rather than security experts who don't always have an extensive legal background especially in different jurisdictions.

Currently we don't have much about legal questions on our How to Ask page. I suggest we modify the "Questions on setting up your home PC antivirus..." phrase into something like this :

Questions on setting up your home PC antivirus may be more appropriate over at superuser.com; questions on the deeper aspects of cryptography belong on crypto.SE, and questions about the legality of something belong on law.stackexchange.com.

If everyone agrees and this is implemented we should probably drop the "Answers on laws, regulations and licencing should not be taken as legally binding..." phrase as well since those questions are now completely off-topic.

• Two thoughts: 1) sometimes questions are off-topic because they are bad questions. Let's not blindly push bad questions to another site. 2) The disclaimer answers on laws, regulations and licencing should not be taken as legally binding still applies to some questions, and doesn't hurt to have up. – Mike Ounsworth Aug 27 '15 at 18:00

## 2 Answers

Just as a moderator pro tem on Law - (hi, InfoSec! waves)...

We have received a number of inbound migrations, and of them, the most successful are those that don't presume domain knowledge - the reason for this is, well, lawyers aren't usually infosec professionals. (I don't even know if I'm using that right, infosec?) Anyway, there are a few that have received little attention because the legal experts on our site just don't know how to answer them, because they don't really understand the questions.

My answer is - yes, feel free to migrate things if they are on-topic for Law, but we will almost certainly need the asker to rephrase in lay terms if it includes even a moderate amount of jargon. (This would be the real-life equivalent of needing expert witnesses to explain the facts around a matter to us.)

• That's definitely something to keep in mind. Be sure to edit & migrate. – RoraΖ Aug 27 '15 at 14:37
• waves It's fun when there's overlap like this. :) I'm but a cog in the wheels, but how can we help? I, and I'm sure others, have had to deal with the legal side of things over the years, such as the e-discovery laws, but I'm not really an expert. I can explain terms, but how else can we help? – user79537 Aug 28 '15 at 1:26
• @hextitan As an example, here's a non-migrated question that might've gotten better responses if it had been clearer as requested in the comments; as it is, it got two fairly broad answers. Even explaining terms can be very useful. – jimsug Aug 28 '15 at 1:38
• I am worried that this may be an even larger problem outside of stackexchange. Too few people with an understanding of both fields would mean an increased risk of miscarriage of justice when such cases end up in the court. – kasperd Sep 1 '15 at 13:47

I don't think you'll find many lawyers who are security experts at the same time, some questions require deep understanding of networking and security.

There is no general rule in my opinion but I disagree with being more strict as I don't see that much of legal questions anyway. Maybe you should add some examples to your question.

• I very much agree with this - especially questions like "how can I do this legally" may require a great deal of technical knowledge. – KnightOfNi Aug 31 '15 at 13:41
• Indeed, the kind of technical knowledge that should only come from an actual lawyer who specializes in this domain. People can get in a lot of trouble for "telling someone how to do something legally" if that person then breaks the law as a result of advice which they took in good faith. – guest Nov 19 '17 at 2:47