I would like to ask for clarification of rules on asking for advice and off-topic here on Law StackExchange.

In Help Center users can read that:

The best questions are those that have specific answers; You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.


Please don't ask questions seeking legal advice on a specific matter.

My question is, if I am not specifically asking for legal advice, because I am not, I just ask a specific question based on actual problem that I face in real life. How do I make sure I do not waste my time asking the question so it will be closed? It is time consuming to prepare a question especially when English is not my mother tongue, I also love to be efficient. Is there a way to ask question to disclaim seeking legal advice? Where is the line? Consider, that some people just want a second opinion, and some people will newer pay for legal advice as they consider themselves as self-study, have law as their hobby or just DIY everything.

I have some more law related questions, they may be found interesting by fellow businessmen and all of them are actual problems I and my business are facing right now, so it will look like I am asking for an advice, but I do ask these questions also my lawyer, lawyer friends, family, I do my own research. Both of my first experimental questions here on this site I finally answered myself after either research I have done or in second case thanks to e-mail reply from official government source. So is this also seeking legal advice and is this the kind of questions that are not welcome here?

In my personal opinion, if this site is not to become about meta-hypothetical made-up law stuff, and this community wants to gather useful and valuable information here, it must be valuable to somebody one day, take for example tech forums like Stack Overflow, Ask Ubuntu, Server Fault - these sites helped me so much and yes they solve real problems, from homework, real work, they give real technical advice to people in need and save users a lot of time and money, users can learn from other user's mistakes and capitalize on answers to hard questions.

It would be great, if seeking legal advice and giving it here would not be off topic and would be allowed, just let everybody agree to some disclaimer about the risks and let user take responsibility for how they use the information, same as if I accidentally delete my hard drive based on command I found on Stack Overflow, I will not blame anybody but me.

1 Answer 1


The best answers to this question have already been written in response to other questions. Ref:

The reality we have seen to date is that there is no clear line. Some of the best questions are based on common or practical real-world problems that the asker is probably facing in reality, and some of the best answers read like legal opinions.

A great question has enough detail to allow for great answers, but not so much that it's only interesting to one person, in which case the only reasonable answer is often, "You need to get a lawyer for this." There is some subject-variance here: Sometimes the topic is so sensitive or urgent that "get a lawyer" is the only responsible response. Sometimes it requires so much expertise that you just have to accept that you're not going to get it for free on the internet. Often you may not get a great answer, but (again) you might consider that getting anything constructive or helpful for free would be a bargain at twice the price.

You can increase your odds of not having a question closed by including your (hopefully substantial) research on the question, and by making it broadly interesting and/or applicable.

Yes, it can take a lot of effort to write a good question. That's why we have systems to reward them with attention. We also try to salvage questions whenever possible by editing or using comments to clarify or prompt the author to bring it in-line with the norms.

Reading (and voting!) a lot on the site will give you a good feel for what sorts of questions are considered good, and which get good answers. Ultimately, however, only you can decide whether the time to author a question is worth the risk that it may be closed.

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