Multiple issues brought up by What's the statute of limitation on fragging?

  1. The title doesn't mention jurisdiction; the body gives a scenario of the US military and Vietnam but doesn't explicitly limit answers to that; the OP only tagged it but later someone else tagged it . (Impossible to tell if that was the OP's intent.)
  2. Neither title nor body mentions 'UCMJ'. The body does say 'US soldier'; the title doesn't.
  3. 'fragging' isn't exclusive to the US military, nor did it only happen in Vietnam
  • Fragging was common in the Russian wars in Chechnya, and not unknown with the UK in Afghanistan, US in Iraq and presumably other wars unpopular with the troops.
  • The term 'fragging' originated in Vietnam, but is now understood to refer in general to troops killing their commanding officer. But this title will cause confusion, some will think it is synonymous with both 'US military' and 'Vietnam'. If the OP's intent was to get answers for military jurisdiction in general, then at best the body will be confusing. People will be unlikely to post answers about Chechnya, Iraq etc. if they think they won't be upvoted or accepted.

I reviewed the 13 mentions of 'jurisdiction' + 'title' on Law.Meta but there isn't much clarity:

Anyway my personal recommendation for this specific question would be to change the title: "What's the statute of limitation on fragging?" to either "What's the statute of limitation on fragging under UCMJ?" or "...in military jurisdictions?" depending on the OP's intent. Yesterday I had left a comment saying "if you only want answers for UCMJ, then please edit the question to say that" but no response.

  • 2
    This may be relevant: law.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/308/… The custom so far on Law.SE has been to allow answers for different jurisdictions, even when a specific jurisdiction was specified, and especially when the answers for unspecified jurisdictions are particularly illuminating.
    – user35069
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 14:58
  • For reference, RPG have a similar issue with systems. Definitely worth studying how they handled it. Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 10:11

2 Answers 2


I disagree with your suggestion, because ad hoc solutions are not desirable and the problem that you mention is much more general. The proposal is ad hoc because it only addresses a marginal issue with that particular question, and does nothing to address the actual problem of unspecified jurisdiction as it exists on LSE. The existing problem is that we get questions that cannot be answered without assuming a jurisdiction – one which has no basis in the OP. To the extent that there is substantial variation in how jurisdictions treat the subject matter, this is a bad thing because the goal of SE is to ask questions that have a definitive answer, and people vote the question up or down based on correctness w.r.t. that one hypothetical answer.

As you will have detected from Meta discussion, there is no required jurisdiction formula for LSE where every question must specify a jurisdiction (I presume you understand why such a requirement would be highly impractical). Generally, we interpret the totality of facts in the question and do our best to come to a reasonable conclusion. The conclusion that this is about the UCMJ derives from the fact that the question contextualizes this by referring to a "US soldier". It is true that the author could have been thinking "I wonder how Australian law would treat this case", but there is no evidence for that contrary supposition.

There is and should be no requirement for absolute unambiguity of information provided or sought in LSE questions – that is an unreasonable requirement. People ignore jurisdiction clues all the time. People asking these questions are typically not competent to make jurisdiction decisions: "who has jurisdiction" is a complex legal matter that should not be stipulated without good reason. In this case, I see no evidence that the author had in mind some other jurisdiction.

It is also a bad idea to put too much stock in the title. We also have a substantial problem that questions are incoherent when the title asks one question and the body asks a different question. The body of the question should state the question, and the title is just an attention-getting summary.

  • I don't know what you're saying is 'ad-hoc' there's nothing ad-hoc about this: I explained in detail how the problem is general, and presented one example of a general solution: where the title, body and tags strongly disagree about jurisdiction, make the title less ambiguous, where reasonably possible.
    – smci
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 18:55
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    Changing the title in the suggested way is an ad hoc solution – it's not a general solution. You don't suggest a general solution. If you have in mind a general solution, you could say what it is. An ad hoc solution to a general problem is not a general solution, it is still an ad hoc solution. Also, the list of problems is specific to just that question (hence ad hoc): but we have already discussed the general problem of jurisdiction.
    – user6726
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 19:24
  • No, changing the titles of questions whose title implies (or contains) a conflict with the body and tags on jurisdiction is a general solution. That's why I recommended it. Calling a general solution 'ad-hoc' five times doesn't somehow make it stop being a general solution. If you want to suggest a better solution, please do. ("...and the title is just an attention-getting summary." strikes me as dangerous indifference, but also many users disagree with you. I pointed out the damaging effect of discouraging people who might otherwise write or upvote answers on other jurisdictions.)
    – smci
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 20:02
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    Essentially, considering titles fair game to be borderline clickbait (not the specific example I cited, but in general) is not an opinion shared by many users.
    – smci
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 20:05
  • "requirement for absolute unambiguity of ... questions – that is an unreasonable requirement." That's a total strawman, nobody suggested that. I simply recommended that where a vague or conflicting title on a key attribute like jurisdiction can be improved with a simple two-word fix, that's a good thing.
    – smci
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 20:08
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    @smci Can you elaborate on the claim that making titles borderline clickbait is not an opinion shared by many users? Are there Meta.SE threads somewhere on that?
    – feetwet Mod
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 20:35
  • @feetwet: 1 "Instead of clarifying [in] the body while still having a conflicting title, you should instead clarify the title." (Note to user6726 that says "should" not "must", and I even reduced that to "should, wherever possible" i.e. when the fix is only two words.)
    – smci
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 20:56
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    Arguing that titles are some don't-care field where unnecessarily avoidable ambiguity in title is ok and not undesirable, and that the body can clarify any ambiguity in title would allow clickbaity titles like "Is Trump/Biden corrupt?/ Jordan Peterson right? etc." Users could game Law.SE to get the most sensational title on HNQ to get views and upvotes.
    – smci
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 20:58

It's the OP's question - they can phrase it how they like

If you believe it's a poorly phrased question, vote it down.

If you want to edit, do it within the guidelines

In particular (my emphasis):

  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it

Since neither you nor I know what the OP had in mind with their overly broad question, I at least would be reluctant to make the type of edit you suggest because I would not be satisfied that I was not imposing my interpretation rather than clarifying the OP's.

Make a comment

This is explicitly what comments are for (original emphasis):

  • Request clarification from the author;

  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;

The OP may act on or ignore your comment. Either response is fine.

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