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There seems to be some disagreement as to whether legal questions are in fact off topic. The only information I can find on the topic is Card Game Legal Questions are off topic (apparently) can this be added to the of topic FAQ?, which assumes they are off topic and asks that it be written down somewhere.

So, are legal questions on topic or not?

I'm specifically looking for an answer that addresses both of these categories:

  • Legal questions that require knowledge of a board or card game to answer
  • Legal questions that mention a board or card game, but do not require any game-specific knowledge to answer
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  • "Legal questions that require knowledge of a board or card game to answer" - I find it hard to believe there could be situations where you need to know a board/card game to interpret the law. Why can't you just describe the situation with enough detail such that knowledge of the game is optional? – Ken Herbert Jan 22 '18 at 4:31
  • @KenHerbert Who said you can't? Users can absolutely ask questions that only span a single topic, but that doesn't mean they will. I listed two categories of questions, not because I think both are necessary and good, but because they exist. – Rainbolt Jan 22 '18 at 15:19
  • I think you misunderstand my meaning. I am saying that I don't believe there is a real world situation where a legal question would actually require knowledge of a game to answer - it doesn't stop people thinking that as they write a question. – Ken Herbert Jan 22 '18 at 23:40
  • @KenHerbert Fortunately I think the meta question of whether the two categories are on topic is answerable without worrying about whether you ever need to know anything about the game in order to answer the actual legal question. – Cascabel Jan 22 '18 at 23:53
  • @KenHerbert No matter what situation I come up with, you'll respond with "But you could have included <detail> in the question, so then it wouldn't be required." So... you win? – Rainbolt Jan 23 '18 at 1:28
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    Obviously my intentions here are being completely misread, so I'm just going to stop. – Ken Herbert Jan 23 '18 at 2:04
  • Poker. Roulette. Blackjack. There's three games that you would require knowledge of, to answer potential legal questions. Then add any variants and any games that are played in casinos. Such games are often legally defined, so knowledge of game process is absolutely key to answering the legal question. The criticism is not legitimate. @KenHerbert – Nij Jan 23 '18 at 3:52
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I'd strongly prefer that legal questions (of either category) be off-topic.

I get that people are interested in such questions, and it'd be cool to get actual answers. But although legal questions can come up around board games, law isn't really a fundamental part the subject in the way our normal question topics are. On top of that, these questions tend to lead to a lot of semi-informed speculation from non-lawyers. Some meta discussion today on the question you linked even fell into that trap a bit.

So I'd say, let's stick to what we're actually experts on, and people can always try to head over to http://law.stackexchange.com/ if they have the right sort of question. Note that they don't provide legal advice for specific matters, and generally questions need to be clear about the jurisdiction (i.e. not just "is X legal?"), because laws vary.

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  • Not to mention that the laws in question can vary a lot from country to country so a valid answer for USA may not be valid in China. – Joe W Jan 19 '18 at 22:31
  • @JoeW That's exactly why I noted that questions over on law need to be specific about jurisdiction. – Cascabel Jan 19 '18 at 22:37
  • Oh, sorry I missed that part of the answer. – Joe W Jan 19 '18 at 22:52
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It is hard enough to avoid questions which ask for specific legal advice on Law Stack Exchange itself, when we have moderators and experienced users that have fine-tuned the skill to tell apart the questions which are okay from those which are not.

Note that The Workplace Stack Exchange allows some questions of the "is this thing legal/illegal?" form, with the guiding principle being that if a regular human resources department member or a manager should be aware of the legal aspects, it's okay for that site, but again specific legal advice is barred.

As Jefromi has pointed out, the community on B&CG simply doesn't have the experience or knowledge to collectively do this as well as others. Leave legal questions to the legal areas and keep game questions to the game areas.

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    As an active Workplace User, it is true that some borderline-legal questions may be on-topic there, but most of them (+90%) are off-topic there also. To be accepted as a Legal TWP question it should be answerable by users with HR experience, or be a "legal" question answerable by some member of a company. However, as you correctly pointed out, legal advice Qs are also off topic there. In fact, we can conclude that asking for legal advice is off-topic everywhere on the SE network... if someone requires such advice it is better to consult a lawyer. – DarkCygnus Jan 25 '18 at 18:31

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