I asked this Magic: The Gathering question:

Are Magic The Gathering Proxy cards illegal to print?

It was closed as Off-Topic. The main/first closer indicated that is was because the question was legal/law related.

I am usually very careful to check the Help Center so I don't post off topic questions. There is nothing in there either way about legal questions.

Now, I know that listing everything that is off topic is not possible. But legal questions are a fairly broad scope of questions to ban without indicating that they are not allowed.

Can legal questions be added to the Help Center as off topic ?

  • 2
    Legal questions are not off-topic per se. What SE is trying to avoid is to be considered giving personal legal advice. Some non-lawyers have been sued who ran websites that gave "free legal advice." Your question appeared to be asking for personal legal advice (or some people just decided that it sounded that way).
    – user1873
    Feb 10, 2014 at 5:27
  • 1
    @user1873 - This is exactly what should be in the help page! I know (now) but why not make clear for everyone?
    – Vaccano
    Feb 10, 2014 at 15:18
  • it isn't a problem that needs to be addressed. We don't get a flood of legal questions, and we don't close very many of them. One of the problems with your question is that it is asking several different questions (it is unclear what you are asking) are proxies legal, does WotC have an "official" ruling, is there something you can show Costco.
    – user1873
    Feb 10, 2014 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


I wholeheartedly disagree with Pat's answer, and think that we should be explicit that legal questions are off topic if that is the stance that we are going to take.

We do accept questions that are only superficially about board games. We allow questions about probability (drawing a specific cards by turn X, having Y lands by turn Z, etc.). We even allow questions about Magic Online that have absolutely nothing to do with the physical game's rules.

Would it really kill us to explain up front that legal questions just aren't on topic, period? Are we so concerned about saving a bullet point on the Help Page?

  • Agreed, and the asker here is a prime example of why what is and isn't on topic should be more clearly outlined, perhaps in more places than one. Not everyone reads certain pages, like the tour.
    – Andrew
    Jan 19, 2018 at 18:20
  • I wouldn't mind if legal questions were on topic, but I agree if they're not we should be clear. Jan 19, 2018 at 18:32
  • @doppelgreener I understand why they aren't. First there's a liability issue, how liable are you for answers given, and can you be considered to be practicing law without a liscense? Second, the question is who's law, the law in say Sweden is different from the USA (which is why PirateBay famously laughed off a Disney DMCA notice) and anyone answering would give information on the law where they are, which may not apply.
    – Andrew
    Jan 19, 2018 at 18:34
  • 3
    @Andrew There isn't a liability issue -- contrary to popular misconception, people can advise each other with regards to the law without being liable as lawyers and it doesn't count as practicing law without a license. (That would require actually claiming to be a lawyer.) I moderate another stack where we engage on law questions because it's critical to our hobby. There is simply a choice stacks can make to make these off topic, perhaps due to expertise questions. (I'm not even aware of one here though actually.) Jan 19, 2018 at 18:39
  • 1
    I'm cautiously in favor of adding a bullet point to the help center to clarify this, and can do so if there's enough consensus. The one thing I'm wary of is that it actually is already pretty long, so the odds of anyone actually noticing are relatively slim. I might be more a fan of this if we try to shift some of the details out of the help center and into a canonical meta post, so that the help center can be more focused on the quick lists.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 19, 2018 at 20:27
  • 1
    @Jefromi I agree, conciseness is good if we want people to pay attention. The list of examples is taking up half of the post, and I'm not convinced that we need so many examples. I think most people can figure out what "a board or card game that can be played around a table" is without 16 examples. A smaller list would be fine too, like "Magic: the Gathering, Checkers, or Warmachine". While we have the hood up, can we fix "boardgames" to be "board games", and not capitalize "Board Games" unless we're referring talking about "Board and Card Games"? I wish I had edit privileges on that page...
    – Rainbolt
    Jan 19, 2018 at 21:01
  • @Rainbolt Well I can't grant you access, but: boardgames.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1669/…
    – Cascabel
    Jan 19, 2018 at 21:06
  • @jefromi - I agree that a link from the help center to a "canonical meta post" is great. A concise list is crucial to getting the bulk of the visitors to read it. Just need to have the details somewhere (and have it linked to from the help center so that it is clear that it is "official").
    – Vaccano
    Jan 19, 2018 at 23:27

There is no need to add this to the Help Center.

This information is contained right within the Tour.

Board & Card Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who like playing board games, designing board games or modifying the rules of existing board games.

The on-topic section is attempting to define the boundaries of our charter. As well as excise certain topics within that charter.

Your question is not directly aimed at our charter. A board game expert would not be the best person to answer your question, you need a lawyer.

I should note that not every question that fails to directly score on our charter should be closed. It is up to the community to make that judgement on a case by case basis. As a moderator I'm not likely to overrule such decisions very often.

Consider a couple fake questions:

  • How can I safely store my huge MtG card collection?
  • Are MtG cards safe to feed to my hamster?

Both questions are superficially about MtG, but you wouldn't need to be knowledgeable about the game to answer the questions authoritatively. I'd expect one question to be answered, and the second to get closed pretty quickly.

  • 2
    Even if a board game expert would not be the best person to ask, there is a good chance that they have found or read about similar cases and know how the company that published the games reacted in those cases. It is not completely unrelated.
    – Pablo
    Feb 14, 2014 at 0:26
  • While the 2ndQ, "Are MtG cards safe to feed to my hamster?" Probably would be a better fit for Veterinarian.SE, it might be reasonable that someone who plays MtG knows the composition of MtG cards (quite possibly people who PnP). But, it probably is off-topic because it isn't really about board&card games.
    – user1873
    Feb 15, 2014 at 17:04
  • @user1873 - if it got a great answer fast, it just might survive. :) It's a community call along with each respective questioner. If they want an answer from Boardgamers, they are free to ask. It's just when the question strays away from being directly about our games that the question risks being closed.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Feb 15, 2014 at 22:05
  • Question 2 is entirely on topic for MtG: do not eat the delicious cards!!
    – corsiKa
    Jan 28, 2018 at 16:58

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