Barely four days ago we witnessed what was then the latest instance of mods' abuse of privileges. Now another instance arises. Given the site's low activity, the recurrence of these incidents shows the need for measures to address effectively the abuse of mods' privileges.

The post at issue asks for references toward teaching environmental law, yet it was improperly closed by a "moderator" whose strong propensity to censor others' contributions is widely known. As of this writing, the post has two upvotes (this includes one by myself); not even one VTC or downvote; only two trivial edits by other users; and both edits implicitly endorse the pertinence of the post. But the mod failed to take a cue from any of these signs.

This time the mod's pretext is that "[t]he question is opinion-based". The OP's "egregious offense" consisted of using the adjective "good". On LawSE something as innocuous as that is enough for a mod to take advantage of privileges that should have been revoked long time ago.

Not only the upper right portion of almost every LawSE page has the disclaimer that "Law Stack Exchange is for educational purposes", but also the page on What topics can I ask about here? includes the explicit item "Legal training, education". Accordingly, it is undisputable that the scope and context of the post are on topic: "teach environmental law", "to undergraduate students", "[t]hese students do not have any background in law". Quite ironic that the only person who believes or pretends that the word "good" outweighs all of this is a mod.

The mod campaigned in terms of "I would err on the side of leaving questions open for the community to decide what to do" and "guiding [...] with a light touch", yet years go by and he is allowed to keep doing the opposite. In regard to the post at issue, a "light touch" would be nothing beyond editing to replace "good" with "some", "available", etc. Even that edit would be totally useless because the rest of us highly doubt that using the term "good" destroys what SE is all about.

The community is mindful of the legend under "New contributor" with the waving/greeting hand: "[OP] is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering". That suggestion was unnecessary for most of us, for we have been doing so since long before the feature got implemented across SE sites. But has [Law]SE considered displaying a legend specific for mods who shut down a post even for trivialities like typing "good"?

The power dynamics that persist on LawSE are quite interesting, in part because they take place in a context that does not even involve --or translate to-- profits in the real world. But mods' abuse of privileges keeps piling up, and on LawSE those abuses are hardly ever reversed. For how long will this pattern be entertained? How will these instances of abuse be reversed?

  • Have you read meta.stackexchange.com/questions/336173/…? It may answer those of your questions that are not rhetorical. Jun 2, 2023 at 23:17
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    @NateEldredge "Have you read meta.stackexchange.com/questions/336173/…?" Thank you. I was unaware of that page. I must say that the bits and pieces that address a mod's bad faith seem rather weak, given how the Code of Conduct is too straightforward to warrant additional "[c]lear, actionable feedback and guidance" in instances of mod's blatant, persistent violations of the Code. Jun 2, 2023 at 23:56

1 Answer 1


The closure is correct, even if the reason is wrong

If anything, the question lacks details that allow to choose if there might be a fitting book. Among other things that could be needed:

  • Which age group are the students?
  • Which aim do the students have? e.g. is it for law students or students of any other field?
  • What state are they in?
  • Which field of law is it about?
  • What aim does the class have?
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    "The closure is correct". That is debatable and, in any case, something to be decided by the community, not unilaterally by someone with too many privileges. The gaps you allege are moot: The OP stated that the intended audience is "undergraduate students [who] do not have any background in law", which obviates most of the items in your answer such as the "need" to know the age group; the field is environmental law, the aim is to learn about it, and it seems safe to assume an introductory level; if the matter varies by state, an answer can specify the jurisdiction to which it applies. May 14, 2023 at 20:16

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