this question on how to file a particular motion was closed by vote as being a request for specific legal advice, which I believe it was not. The initial closure was by a vote of 4 users, the last of whom was Dale M, ending the vote.I voted to reopen in, and it was reopened by vote. In a comment in support of reopening I wrote:

This question asks what the legal procedure is for a particular kind of legal case. That is specifically on-topic as stated in the help center where "Legal process and procedure" is listed as on-topic. This should be reopened asap.

I also linked to the (IMO) relevant meta thread: Excessive use of "specific legal advice" closure reason

Shortly after this was reopened by vote, Dale M., a moderator here, posted a comment which reads:

Legal procedure is on topic in general. However, a specific request that amounts to “how do I file this particular motion for this particular cause of action in this particular court” is legal advice.

I strongly disagree with this assertion by Dale M., as far as I can see it is not backed by anything in the existing policy on specific legal advice.

Shortly after posting this comment Dale closed the question as asking for legal advice, using the moderator's unilateral closure , and then deleted it and then the post author deleted it, perhaps in response.

I have voted for the above question to be undeleted. I now call for it to be reopened. Since it was closed (this time) by a moderator, only a moderator can reopen it. I call on all the moderators to consider doing so.

  • @S.O.S You might want to undelete the post at issue. Otherwise, the mod who keeps closing your post will use the pretext that you deleted it anyway. I plan on answering this LawMeta question (+1) tomorrow. Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 22:17
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    @Iñaki Viggers Note that since user S.O.S has not commented here, nor posted this question, an @ will not place a notification in that user's mailbo, and that user may not see this discussion at all. That is how such notifications work on SE. Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 22:42
  • @DavidSiegel Thanks for your support! I have undeleted the question.
    – S.O.S
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 23:04

3 Answers 3


The question was not closed by Dale M, it was re-closed after having been closed before, as the log tells. While he had cast the 4th closing vote in the first case, there were others that saw the question as problematic.

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  • Yes, as I said above it "was closed by vote [of 4 not 5 users] as being a request for specific legal advice". It was then re-opend by vote of 5 other users, and then closed by Dale overriding the 2nd five users. Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 17:54

You are focusing on the wrong question

The problem is not:

Is the option below the appropriate filing to choose?


Is there a specific document, template or wording that needs to be used?

I agree that the first question is fine if banal.

The second question is a direct request for the skills and knowledge of a lawyer in the particular jurisdiction.

Now, courts will often publish forms on their website or even have a guided form filling procedure to follow. However, that’s not legal advice because a) they’re the court and b) they are providing information to inform your choice, not advising you which choice to make. To my mind that is fundamentally different form saying “this one” when asked “which form do I use?”. It’s the difference between “what should I do” and “how do I decide what I should do” - if the question is edited to be more the latter than the former I’ll happily reopen.

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    Since the question "Is there a specific document, template or wording that needs to be used?" is often addressed in courts' "guided form filling procedure to follow", which you admit would not be legal advice, portraying the former as request for legal advice is like splitting hairs. Your admission that "the first question is fine" reinforces the point that closing the post under pretext of the 2nd question is disproportionate. Providing specific feedback instead of repeatedly closing the post would have been the right move, in part because OPs are not mind readers when it comes to VTCs. Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 22:33

This issue adds to the incessant patterns of arbitrariness and of abuse by the mod you identify.

The post at issue can be paraphrased as: "Q: When filing a motion, should I select for "What are you filing" the option that reads "Motion"?". The question is tautological, and as such it requires no more than basic command of English. It is ludicrous to pretend that an inquiry so trivial entails legal advice.

Where an OP hesitates about something so simple, inquiring of him "Could you elaborate on what makes you think this might not be the case?" sometimes leads to clarification of details that hitherto had gone unnoticed, were omitted, or were poorly worded. This approach toward OPs is in stark contrast with impulsively voting to close their posts under some inadequate pretext.

Reasonableness never depends on the sheer number of votes (this includes VTCs), but the accumulation of five Reopen votes should hint the mod that his censorship of the post might have been inappropriate. You even offered a clear, attestable explanation of why the OP's post falls short of request for legal advice. Some users --be it due to arrogance, bias, or poor reasoning-- might still be adamant that the post should remain closed, but that limitation disqualifies them from using the privileges that SE grants only to moderators, i.e., users who by definition are presumed to be unbiased and judicious.

This mod's decision to repeatedly close the post at issue and, in doing so, to override SE's functionality about Reopen votes has nothing to do with the slogans "facilitation and cooperative approach to moderation" and "light touch" with which he campaigned during the Moderator Election in 2019. Nor are his recurrent, unilateral, and intransigent acts of censorship any consistent with his statements

I am always open to the possibility that my understanding is wrong


I would err on the side of leaving questions open for the community to decide what to do.

He "would", but he does not. Closing a post twice, and on the second time obviating the requirement for four additional VTC to match the five Reopen votes, is the opposite of letting the community decide what to do.

When I asked that mod to stop deleting others' answers, some eluded the actual problem and instead took issue with my "personally targeting a particular moderator". I also got reprimanded in private. Meanwhile, others' posts on LawMeta keep reflecting that the mod's pattern of censorship has not been addressed [by SE] effectively ... or maybe not addressed at all.

Instead of reprimanding me again for openly comparing a mod's campaign statements and his actual practices, hopefully this time all stakeholders will remember that being a moderator is not just about being a celebrity with SE privileges. Any moderator should expect his [mis-]representations to undergo scrutiny by the community, especially where the problem persists and SE does not really hold him accountable.

The post at issue should be reopened and the criterion of "request for legal advice" ought to be applied judiciously, but the root cause of this series of issues needs to be addressed because it involves misuses of mod's privileges.

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