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I think we should add another close reason: "Non-mainstream legal theory". This is similar to a close reason that the Physics.SE site uses. Physics.SE prohibits "Non-mainstream physics, including pitches for personal theories".

I think we should prohibit questions that ask for an answer based on or rely upon non-mainstream legal theories. Does anyone think this is a good idea?

My idea of a mainstream legal theory is: "a theory that a reputable law review journal would publish." Alternatively, "a theory that has been successfully used in court and was not overturned on appeal."

Would anyone have any other ideas for a definition of non-mainstream legal theory?

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    Given majority vs. minority rules, I'd want to make sure the rule in a minority of jurisdictions doesn't get dismissed outright... – Pat W. Jan 31 '16 at 20:10
  • Yeah it's still a mainstream legal theory somewhere. What this will cover is topics like the sovereign citizen arguments or similar. – Viktor Jan 31 '16 at 20:52
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    VIktor, do you have examples of questions that we might use this close reason for? If they're deleted, can you recall when they were posted or what they were about? If it's just sovereign citizen arguments, my preference would be to build up a number of well-answered questions that debunk it, and close future questions as duplicates of them. – jimsug Jan 31 '16 at 22:02
  • @jimsug a question like law.stackexchange.com/q/6429/917 – Viktor Feb 1 '16 at 2:24
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    I struggle to see what is wrong with that question - it seems on-topic. As for the close votes, they are not off-topic votes, but rather unclear votes (and only two of them), so that doesn't strike me as a bright example. A reason should only be added if a large number of off-topic question warrant it. – Zizouz212 Feb 1 '16 at 3:20
  • @Zizouz212 maybe this was premature, but there have been questions before that I thought were asking people to apply or argue for some very abstract theories. This was just the most recent question that one may think of using this reason for. – Viktor Feb 1 '16 at 3:28
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At this stage I don't see any compelling reason for this close reason to exist.

But more generally:

For this particular reason: what may be non-mainstream in one jurisdiction may be mainstream in another, depending on how unique the theory is.

  1. The custom off-topic reasons are really a sort of shortcut and codify close reasons that we're already using, for the most part. For example, we had numerous questions being closed as off-topic because they asked for legal advice, so we made a custom off-topic reason for that.

    This is an SEDE query that will find comments on questions that start with "I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because". This may help you spot trends.

  2. These questions are questions that people have about the law, and many misunderstandings occur because of them. Sovereign citizen law, for instance: one need not venture very deep into the internet to find forums filled with people claiming all kinds of ridiculous things.

    If we can help to dispel that, even a little bit, I think it would be a Good Thing.

    Of course, this doesn't stop us from closing such questions as duplicates, when that's appropriate.

For now, we'll it - if you notice any patterns of questions like this where we just shouldn't be answering them at all, then feel free to raise another discussion about it.

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