Closing for this reason: there is no single determinative factor
In general, questions that ask for legal advice have the following characteristics:
They use pronouns that indicate a personal relationship
"My mother was involved in an accident around the corner from my house..."
They contain highly emotive language
They explicitly ask "What should I do?" or something similar in the question
They either provide or would require very specific details apparently from the question author's real-world circumstance (e.g. like the wording of their contract)
The only answer that you could safely give is "You should engage the services of a lawyer/attorney"
Important: The presence of these indicators is not absolute proof that the question specifically asks for legal advice, but multiple factors are strong evidence that it does.
Some questions might have the following characteristics, which indicates that they may not ask for legal advice:
- They are explicitly phrased hypothetically: "Suppose I'm in a situation where..."
- They use impersonal language and placeholder parties: "If person A does this to B..."
- They ask for general information: "What legal recourse does B have?"
Again: The presence of these characteristics is not absolute proof that the question is general and does not ask for legal advice, but multiple factors are strong evidence that it does not.
But I have a question that does both!
This is part of the reason why humans vote to close: questions are read by humans, and they sometimes need some interpretation.
In the legal system, a common test is the reasonable person test - this isn't the average or even the typical person, but a reasonable person. Of course, this test can be highly subjective, and again, that's why it takes five votes from trusted users to close.
So a question has all of those characteristics, and I genuinely think it's asking for legal advice. I should vote to close it, right?
If you can edit the question to make it a question that asks for general legal information while preserving the original author's meaning, then you should edit rather than close. This will mean that we have more questions, more answers, and more visitors. However, this may not be possible on all questions, because you may not know what the original author's meaning or intent was.
Here's some more explicit guidance on doing this: How do I ask a general law question?
You should also see the Linked questions in the sidebar to the right (you won't be able to see this if you're in the mobile app or site).