This is in regard to Can a landlord ask tenants if s/he can stop paying for an unused, not in lease, security system? and its editing history. It was originally asked in the first person. I edited it to remove first-person forms, add a hypothetical start "Suppose that ..." and designate the parties with single letter placeholders ("L" for Landlord and "T" for tenant) for convenient reference. I did this to reduce the likelihood of the question being closed as a request for specific legal advice (RSLA). (I don't think it was a RSLA even as originally written, but some might have.)

Another user, who has been contributing here for several years, but not very often (He as posted 20 questions and no answers in 6 years) and who was not the OP of this question edited with the summery "removed annoying hypothetical language and L/T designation". A regular poster late edited to restore the hypothetical language, but not the L/T designations.

Am I correct that edits similar to the one I made here are generally favored, and that edits removing such language are generally not favored?

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  • I hadn't seen a high-rep user had made the edits. We often get new posters on Academia asking with overly complex syntax and abbreviations like that because it seems like they're just trying to use advanced language because they're on Ac.SE. I conceded the hypothetical language (so I'd reject the title), not really paying attention that I was on Law.SE. Oct 28, 2021 at 17:57
  • @Azor Ahai -him- I accept that your intent was positive. I am not suggesting otherwise. Conventions differ on different SE sites. I posted this thread because I want to be sure that what I have been doing meets with the approval of the community, and to provide a point of reference for future posters. That is also why i have not`(yet) posted an answer to my own Q in this thread. Oct 28, 2021 at 18:30
  • There's just two questions here - the hypothetical language bit, which seems to be well accepted by the community, and the habit of giving people single-letter names. Including both just muddies the question. Oct 28, 2021 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


Personally, I think "the landlord" and "the tenant" make better placeholder names in a situation where there are clear roles like this. Having to think about L and T is just a little bit less convenient to read. That was why I approved the edit, despite agreeing with the original formulation of it as a hypothetical.

Hypothetical language is good. It makes it clearer that it's not a request for legal advice, and it doesn't add to the burden of reading if the paragraph starts with "Suppose that..." I admittedly overlooked the second "Suppose that" when I did the edit to restore the first one, but I don't think it was essential. It wasn't hurting anything either way, though.


Neither is preferred and the edit is unnecessary

When should I edit posts?

Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks

Posts are not substantially better in either format - a hypothetical "me" is no better or worse than a hypothetical "T" (or "tenant") - and none of the other reasons applies. Also, if you aren't careful, it's way too easy to get the parties crossed in such an edit and/or make the language awkward and opaque. It can also start edit wars.

The use of personal pronouns does not, of itself, make a post a request for legal advice and neither does pseudo-anonymisation behind generic terms make it not a request for legal advice. A post is a request for legal advice when it is clear from the substance that it is, not the particular words chosen to identify the parties.

  • There's three edits mentioned in the question, which one do you refer to? Nov 6, 2021 at 20:18

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