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I'm here from Worldbuilding.SE where we've been having a discussion on whether legal questions are on topic for our site. A good example of such a question is this one: How many laws would a parkouring superhero like Spider-Man break by travelling around New York? There's also questions like whether Santa's information collection conflicts with the GDPR, and whether he could be sued for withholding welfare.

Now we have been debating whether these questions, though they may be popular, are suitable for Worldbuilding. The argument is that questions that ask to test something fictional and fantastical against real-life law are asking about the law more than about the fantastical, and therefore are more suitable for Law.SE.

But it is important to know whether this SE would even accept such queries. I have previously used it for a hypothetical, originally worldbuilding question, regarding copyright over Beethoven's non-existent 10th symphony. But that question was about an unlikely scenario, not something flat-out impossible like Spider-Man or an actual Santa Claus(e).

I have seen one question here of this nature; but it hasn't gained a ton of traction so I thought I would ask to be certain.

Would Law.SE accept questions regarding fanciful and/or magical events on this site, assuming they otherwise fulfil all the requirements and follow all the rules of this SE? For example, there would not be any such questions about fictional countries or speculative law, for building new systems of law is still under our purview.

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    have a taste of law-in-fiction – Trish Jan 14 at 17:25
  • @Trish half the questions with that tag have zero answers. – KeizerHarm Jan 14 at 17:48
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    Lack of answers could always be due to question quality. Editing to improve them will at least bump them and might attract attention. – feetwet Jan 14 at 18:17
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Hypothetical questions are certainly on topic. I would expect "fantastical hypotheticals" to be on-topic if they comply with the standard guidelines. Particular guidelines that should be considered include:

  • The question is not "primarily opinion-based" – i.e., it is amenable to an objective answer based in real law or legal principles.
  • The question is not too vague or general. So, for example, the what laws do superheroes break question might be considered too vague – it doesn't quite nail down what behavior is in question as "web-slinging" is poorly defined, as is the context (exigent circumstances?).

Caveat: This community does not particularly appreciate rhetorical adornment of the underlying legal question. The "sillier-than-usual" Santa welfare question is an example of unwelcome unnecessary narration. (That question is also bad because there is no such thing as "criminal withholding of welfare.")

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    Thank you very much for your response! Now that I look further I see there are a couple more questions involving superheroes, but it is good to have it certain. – KeizerHarm Jan 13 at 20:30
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Yes, such a question can be asked, as long as...

  • It is well framed
  • It involves actual law
  • The world researched is pretty much our "normal world" and the question derives from the direct interaction.

oh, and add the tag .

A good analysis of some superheroe situations are analyzed on https://lawandthemultiverse.com/ - a blog that mainly ran between 2010 and 2015 with at times weekly analysis on known comics.

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    I don't think that tag is appropriate; doesn't it refer to law in existing works of fiction? Worldbuilding is for creating new worlds. – KeizerHarm Jan 14 at 18:15
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    It refers to the law in fiction of any kind, given the general requirements of Law SE and that the fiction is key to an appropriate answer. A fictional world is no less tagworthy for not yet being published. – Nij Jan 15 at 3:11

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