After almost six months being live, on 2023‑07‑28 Pat W. deleted my answer (for reference repeated below). It is in style a full legal opinion as to be handed in at the end of a typical 120-minute written exam at German law schools. The closing comment reads:

This would benefit from edits for relevance and concision.

This begs the question: How educational is too educational? Apparently submitting an answer that is acceptable in teaching at university (≈ education) is deletion-worthy on this site (which, may I remind you, claims to be educational in kind).

What irritates me the most, however, is the educational uselessness of the other (non-deleted) answers (which I presume were also reviewed with the same scrutiny as mine):

  • My answer cites the law, § so-and-so Civil Code. The other answers do not cite any section. Their authors could have just as well fabricated their unsourced claims. Failing to cite the law (even though you could) even deducts points in exams.
  • The other answers fail to name the problematic issues at hand: How to handle default in labor (here outside the CoViD‑19-pandemic context) and the Lehre vom Betriebsrisiko. Identifying and addressing controversial issues is the core subject of any legal question. You will not pass the bar in Germany simply by providing “correct” end results. In law school the way toward a solution is expected from you.
  • My answer also showcases the internal structure (Prüfungsschema) of answering a legal question (concerning German civil law). Evidently things can nest pretty deep but that is how things are; it definitely aides verifiability, splitting a major problem into several “sub-questions”. Unfortunately it also inevitably causes a series of intermediate result sections, yet explicitly drawing conclusions is de lege artis.

It is therefore debatable whether the questioner (or other reader) will be able to answer similar questions on his own after having read exclusively the other answers (= the very nature of educational content).

  1. contractual obligations
    Sajonji may have a contractual claim against employer E.
    1. primary claims
      Sajonji could have a contractual claim against employer E for payment of €3000 on 2023‑02‑01. (Taxes and social security contributions are ignored for the sake of simplicity.)
      1. cause of claim
        Sajonji and employer E concluded, §§ 145 ff. BGB, a contract of employment, §§ 611 ff. BGB, on 2022‑06‑24 obligating E to pay S €3000 after the end of each month, § 614 2 BGB, starting with July 2022. That means the most recent claim became payable on 2023‑02‑01, a date in the past. (Contracts usually deviate from and supersede this general rule of § 614 2 BGB. It’s quite possible payment can be effected within 15 days of each month if your contract says so.)
      2. forfeiture of claim
        The claim may have expired.
        1. performance
          The claim expires by fulfillment, § 362 Ⅰ BGB. For the months of July through December, E effected payment in full. The respective claims expired by means of fulfillment.

          For the month of January 2023, however, E transferred only €2950 into S’s checking account, i. e. €50 short of the owed amount. The employment contract does not stipulate that salary can be effected in installments. The fallback rule of § 266 BGB unmistakably does not grant the right of partial performance. If S does not accept the partial performance at hand, § 364 Ⅰ BGB, this claim has not expired.

        2. setoff (hypothetical)
          If S did not accept the partial performance, S will be obligated to return any unjust enrichment by the rules of §§ 812 ff. BGB. E did not put forward a claim for that as of today. If, however, E paid up the remaining amount today, he’ll be able to set off the claims by declaration, §§ 387 ff. BGB. The setoff amount is limited to the attachment of earnings cap, § 394 1 BGB → §§ 850 ff. ZPO.

        3. intermediate result
          The claim for payment of €3000 to be effected on 2023‑02‑01 still exists. Previous claims have been fulfilled, thus expired.

      3. claim enforceable
        The claim may be subject to inhibitory defenses if brought forward by the respective entitled party.
        1. defense of non-performance of contract
          E could have a right to retain his performance until complete performance of the other party (S) based on § 320 Ⅰ 1 BGB. For that E must have an enforceable contractual claim against S in a set of mutual obligations.
          1. mutual obligations
            An employment contract is characterized by rendering services at the exchange of salary, both principal obligations of this synallagmatic contract.
          2. enforceable claim
            E’s claim against S for rendering of services must be enforceable. It is enforceable if there is a cause of claim, the claim has not forfeited and S does not raise any defense.
            1. cause of claim
              E’s claim stems from a. m. employment contract, which is not suffering from any defects.
            2. forfeiture of claim
              However, the claim may have expired.
              1. performance
                The claim may have expired by virtue of performance, § 362 Ⅰ BGB. The contract stipulates that S owes 37.5 hours of services per week, not necessarily uniformly distributed across business days. In the first four calendar weeks of 2023, S met this goal. Hence, the claim expired for those four weeks.

                In the fifth week, however, E maintains that S has only worked 36 hours, a deficit of 1.5 hours. Yet S claims this deficit was due to a power outage. Indeed, on 2023‑01‑30 there was a power outage lasting about 2 hours. S’s line of work requires electricity, so S could not render services as owed. 0.5 hours are attributed to a mandatory break. Hence, the claim for performance of the remaining 1.5 hours has not expired by virtue of performance.

              2. impossibility
                Rendering services could have become impossible, thus the claim for performance of the remaining 1.5 hours of services may have expired, § 275 Ⅰ, 326 Ⅰ / 1 BGB.

                1. impossible
                  In general, the employee must render services at the specified time. On the one hand, working does not depend on time. Operating a computer, as part of S’s obligations, can be done at a later point in time. On the other hand, the employer needs to (be able to) realize profits from the employee’s services to subsequently pay his salary. Thus performance at a later point in time will prevent the employer from earning enough profits to pay his employee. Therefore, performance on a different date is inherently different than the originally scheduled date (absolutes Fixgeschäft). Performance became impossible.
                2. unless obligee’s fault
                  However, if the circumstance rendering performance impossible is primarily or overwhelmingly the obligee’s fault, his duty does not lapse, § 326 1 | 1 BGB. Being responsible for the fault means being liable in the sense of §§ 276, 278 BGB. That means gross negligence to the very least. The power outage on 2023‑01‑30 affected an entire region, thus cannot be attributed to, for example, a lack of maintenance of the company building’s internal electrics. E contracts a third party to supply the company with electric energy. The used utility company seems to be generally reliable and reports show the outage was due to a snowstorm. Hence there is no indication E deliberately or negligently caused the power outage preventing S’s performance.
                3. not obligee’s fault but in default of acceptance
                  Since the employer does not bear the responsibility for said circumstance, § 326 Ⅱ 1 | 2 BGB may be applicable. The employer’s obligation to pay the employee does not lapse if the circumstance the employer was not responsible for occurred at a time the employer was in default of acceptance, § 326 Ⅱ 1 | 2, 293 ff. BGB in conjunction with § 615 1 BGB.
                  1. possibility to work
                    In principle, it was possible for S to render services on 2023‑01‑30 during the power outage.
                  2. no work
                    S must have completely ceased to perform any work. If S did the slightest amount of work, e. g. cleaning up workspace, this counts toward working time, because the employee gains, as minor as it might be, a benefit.
                  3. offer
                    S must have offered to E to render services, § 294 BGB. An oral offer is sufficient, since E has to provide necessary plant and equipment to fulfill said performance, § 295 1 BGB. On 2023‑01‑30 S asked the supervisor what to do. This can be regarded as an oral offer to perform work, § 133, 157 BGB. Hence an offer has been made.
                  4. non-acceptance
                    E must not have accepted the offer. When the power outage occurred, S’s supervisor representing E gave S the option to leave or wait until energy is restored. Thus there was a chance to accept the offered work, but E declined, i. e. did not accept the offer.
                  5. production risk
                    The default of acceptance must have occurred due to realization of a production risk, § 615 3 BGB. A production risk is any risk that originates the employer’s sphere (Lehre vom Betriebsrisiko). In the present case providing electricity is the employer’s responsibility. He must take account of the possibility of a power outage. Since the power outage was underlying cause of the default of acceptance, E’s production risk materialized.
                  6. intermediate result
                    Albeit impossible to perform his duties, S remains entitled to remuneration because E was in default of acceptance when a production risk realized.
                4. intermediate result
                  E’s claim to demand performance from S has expired on grounds of impossibility § 275 Ⅰ, 326 Ⅰ | 2 BGB in conjunction with § 615 1, 3 BGB.
              3. intermediate result
                E’s claim has lapsed.

            3. intermediate result
              E does not have an enforceable claim.
          3. intermediate result
            The defense of non-performance of contract is not applicable.
        2. result enforceable claim
          S’s claim is enforceable.
      4. result primary claims
        Sajonji has a claim for payment of the outstanding €3000.
    2. secondary claims
      Secondary claims (e. g. damages) beside primary claims are possible. In particular, because E has no defense, it is possible that there is a claim for statutory default interest (currently 6.62% p. a. [with respect to your pre-tax income]), § 280 Ⅰ, Ⅱ, 286, 288 Ⅰ BGB.
    3. result contractual obligations
      Sajonji has a claim against E for payment of the outstanding €3000 (possibly plus interest) by virtue of the employment contract.
  2. tort
    There could be a claim based on § 823 Ⅰ, Ⅱ BGB in conjunction with § 266a Ⅰ StGB. Your damage is the reduced amount forwarded, for instance, to the statutory retirement fund.
  3. unjust enrichment
    Any possible enrichment is justified by a. m. contract, thus there are not any claims based on unjust enrichment.
  4. result
    Sajonji has a claim against E for payment of €3000 plus interest because of employment contract.

PS: There are other similar answers of mine.

Maybe it is warranted to delete them, too?


4 Answers 4



That said, most users don't grade or write issue spotters. We have variety of backgrounds on the site. Even experienced users (including the person who flagged it) had difficulty understanding where these facts came from, why they were relevant to the question, and how to read the issues. I'm not sure that makes it too educational, though

  • Yeah, I interpreted the closing comment as: “Contains too much information.” Hence my question “too educational?” I presume my answer would not have been deleted (and now re-deleted) if it had been shorter and focused on a single issue (1.5h are work time? Yes/no?) and ignored any other legally completely independent issues (Get paid for those 1.5h nonetheless?). Aug 6 at 9:34
  • @KaiBurghardt That seems about right. In practice, issues with lower expected return tend to be omitted or mentioned quickly—e.g., at the end of a brief. Exam formats are often designed to ensure junior attorneys will notice potential issues that can later be prioritized with their colleagues' assistance.
    – Pat W. Mod
    Aug 6 at 13:38

I have flagged your answer again and downvoted it.

Your answer is a spot on "Thema verfehlt" (missed the topic of the question), even for German grade school.

Your answer has no connection to the question. If it weren't for your writing style, based on contents alone it looks like you copied it from a totally different question that you keep referreing to, or an AI hallucinated something.

I double checked the question to make sure it wasn't edited and you maybe replied to an earlier edit. But it wasn't. As an answer to that question, your text made zero sense.

Maybe it would have. Maybe you are 100% correct about the laws behind it. But either you make that connection to the question asked in your answer, or my guess is it will be deleted again.

We are not in law school. On Stack Exchange, your answer will be compared to how useful it is in answering the question. And to me, it failed this bar spectacularly. I have no idea what you are talking about and how the facts that are not in the question came into your answer.

Take your "result":

Sajonji has a claim against E for payment of €3000 plus interest because of employment contract.

What the heck? Who is "Sajonji"? Who is "E"? How come you know an absolute sum of 3000€ when no amount of money was ever mentioned in the question? This is as unhelpful as it may come. How does that help answering the OPs question?

More examples of "facts" you completely made up for your answer:

Sajonji and employer E concluded [...] a contract of employment [...] on 2022‑06‑24 obligating E to pay S €3000

No, they did not. This is plain fiction, nowhere to be found in the question. You are just making this up.

  • Apparently we have a different understanding of the topic. In a strict sense Sajonji (today the user name reads user48892) was asking Do the 1.5h idling qualify as work time? The answer is: No, it does not. The employer does not gain benefits from idling. (My opinion rejects performance, 362 Ⅰ.) This strict reading of the question, however, has – and I’m paraphrasing your post – limited usefulness. S is not interested in a technical answer, but wants his (full) salary for the month. Inevitably you will need to extend the scope of the question so it addresses default of acceptance, too. Aug 6 at 9:09
  • And sorry for augmenting facts. It is necessary for writing a readable/complete opinion. We know Sajonji concluded some employment contract (in the past), and gets paid some amount. The specific figures are of course irrelevant and made up. I could have just as well written “X euros” (literally the letter X), it makes no difference. —— The letter E stands for employer. Right at the top there is “employer E.” It is standard practice to use the initial letter for unknown entities, e. g. buyer B, landlord L, officer O and henceforth use B, L, or O respectively. Aug 6 at 9:18
  • Well, your answer would be better without the facts you augmented, because they are unneccessary. Because they just distract from the answer. Your answer is simply wrong. I think you meant to say that the employer owes the OP the payment for the hours worked, or in this case, ready and willing to work, but unable due to reasons only the employer could change. The employer does not owe the OP a month of salary, as you wrote. You don't even know if they worked the whole month. You are just posting a very misleading speculation of augmented facts.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 7 at 6:17
  • 3
    If you cannot write an answeer without additional facts, at least point out that you made them up to better write an answer. At the start of the answer write something like "For the sake of the arguement and easier calculations here, I will assume you make 1000€ a month, obviously you need to adjust that to your actual salary". Leave out the date, it has nothing to do was anything. Your answer should be as generic as possible, to help not only this person, but a public reading SE.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 7 at 6:20
  • 1
    Yes, the employer owes a full payment of Sajonji’s salary: § 266 BGB says payment in installments is not possible (unless the employment contract contains a clause saying otherwise). Have you even read my opinion? You seem to cherrypick issues. Nobody gets paid exactly €3k/month. A mere reality check will dismiss this. Yes, you can augment facts in an opinion: You simply presume there is no problem (→ do not create extra content/headings/ Prüfungspunkte in your opinion). That means we can presume Sajonji worked full-time the rest of the month (= no problem with rest of salary). Aug 8 at 8:42
  • The point is: if your translation of a "legal opinion in the form law students would use" is so misleading, that it will be taken as completely wrong by a layman, it is not useful to this site. All your unmentioned presumtions and assumptions and augmentations do not help, they only hinder the OP in getting information.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 8 at 9:57
  • 1
    By the way, since I am not a lawyer myself, I asked friends who are, because I was curious why it is acceptable to make things up in answers. The simple answer to my curiosity was: it isn't. It's not a thing. You don't just make facts up. Especially sums of money might change a case's dynamic, because it changes which court the case is brought to. You never make up a sum, just for the sake of it. Hallucinating, sorry "augmenting", facts into your answer is not something law students in Germany are supposed to do.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 8 at 14:38
  • Aha! The layman must be (still) able to understand a thing? Now we’re getting closer to my opening question (how educational is too educational). Could you point me to this Law.SE policy or is it something you made up? There are obviously many legal questions answering them in a short, precise and educational manner becomes too difficult to understand for the uninitiated nevertheless. — By in style a full legal opinion as to be handed in […] at German law schools I meant Gutachtenstil (AFAIK there is no common name describing this in English). Aug 12 at 8:10
  • You’re mistaken. They may not admit it but law students make presumptions all the time. Standard German law exam questions omit lots of facts: P shoves V down the cliff. V dies. Criminal liability of P? Well, first you need to establish that German penal law applies. You will need to establish that P is ≥ 14 years old at the time of the crime. It is not even clear whether the drop from the cliff was lethal (high enough) or something else killed V. And so forth. Nonetheless you can write an opinion augmenting all those unsaid facts and you get a good grade for it despite doing so. Aug 12 at 8:15
  • "Need to establish" does not mean you just hallucinate a fact. You can make an assumption, clearly labeling it as assumption and progress with that assumption. That is fine. Just straight up making up facts and not labelling them as made up is not what you are supposed to do.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 12 at 8:26
  • "Could you point me to this Law.SE policy or is it something you made up?" That the OP must be able to grasp your explanation, or it is unhelpful? That is SE basics, there is not specific Law.SE rule about this. It is basic human social interaction. Someone asks. You answer in a matter that answers their question. You could post a perfectly valid expert law analysis, if it's in latin, it's not helpful, because the OP cannot understand it. If you cannot explain it to a layman, it is not helpful to the average reader here.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 12 at 8:30
  • I think you really want to flag (nominate for deletion) several other answers of mine. I have frequently (and sometimes even extensively) employed the device of supplementing facts without emphasizing that these were not mentioned anywhere before. I think it is in education’s nature that you “make up circumstances” to examine what the result would be, hence pointing out this has not in fact happened is self-evident. – I’ve now added footnotes indicating (most if not all) presumptions. Is it now acceptable to you? Aug 12 at 10:58
  • I seriously doubt this is a general SE principle. It would be surprising if How do I write a good answer? said: Presume the questioner (or other reader) is dumb as a bag of hammers. And in fact many answers here do in fact not explain things from scratch. – There is also a lower limit on how “accessible” answers may be: If answers are too easy (very understandable for layman) you may construe this as unauthorized practice of law. I mean there needs to be some element of teaching (e. g. in my opinion one heading contains the word hypothetical). Aug 12 at 12:05
  • 2
    The footnotes for me moves it from "flag worthy" to "answer I personally find confusing". In other words, I would maybe downvote it, probably not, and not flag it for deletion. But please note that I am no moderator, I do not decide, I am only a single voice. That means others found it flag-worthy before, too, I cannot speak for them. I still think your answer would be way stronger if you just removed the fictious facts, since your answer doesn't need them. For example, neither the date, nor the sum matter. Removing them would be so much cleaner and easier than explaning them.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 12 at 21:39

Just to echo other answers, and please take this in the spirit it is intended.

One thing I have noticed is that short, punchy posts often fair far better than more detailed, long ones - regardless of either's content. I don't know the reason(s), but it is what is.

In my real-life world, the acronym ABC is valued:

  • Accurate

  • Brief

  • Clear

I don't know enough to comment on the accuracy of your answer under discussion, but it appears to me to be niether brief nor clear. To paraphrase Pat W. - it could do with some concision.

Finally, to add support to this little nugget:

What irritates me the most, however, is the educational uselessness of the other (non-deleted) answers

You are not alone, not just in your particular example but others scattered throughout LawSE. There are a number of answers that, although may offer a common sense / practical response and on occasion just pure guesses, they do not in my opinion meet the requirements for a good answer but get upvoted and/or left open anyway. Again, I don't know the reason(s) but we're a diverse and varied crowd with our own particular thought processes (and idiosyncrasies).

I have, on occasion, downvoted and flagged such answers as low quality only to have my flags declined by moderators

I have since decided to ignore them as unavoidable noise and move on with my life.


The form of this answer is highly non-standard for the following reasons:

  • the facts that come out of nowhere
  • the high level of nesting that makes it difficult to determine where in the analysis any particular paragraph relates to
  • it is unclear what aspect of a phrase each citation to BGB is meant to support — normally, one would say what a statute requires and then apply it to the circumstances
  • the lack of explanation of the law before diving into a particular stage of analysis (e.g. paragraphs,, and are not introduced as bearing any relation to paragraph
  • there is one section titled "enforceable claim" and another titled "claim enforceable" and another titled "result enforceable claim"
  • not exercising judgment about what issues are actually likely to be the primary issues in play — being exhaustive actually can detract from usefulness
  • this form would not be useful to any reader I have ever produced content for — for a lay reader, colleague, professor, supervising lawyer, client, or a court — I expect all would have found this form incomprehensible

That being said, I agree with this critique of yours:

What irritates me the most, however, is the educational uselessness of the other (non-deleted) answers

and concur with Rick's position of support on this point.

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