Currently the question Inmate leave to attend funeral overseas? has 3 close votes as "opinion based".

Now, I agree that nobody can tell, for sure, what the judge would do. But there is the possibility to inform the OP of the factors that the judge may take into consideration to decide (e.g. risk of evasion when leaving the country).

Would such an answer be off-topic? Would it be necessary/convenient to ask the OP to modify the question, to make it clear/confirm that he is interested in learning the legal aspects even if a no "Yes/No" answer may be given?

  • Note that questions like that are "On Hold" for a period of 5 days before being marked "Closed." The "On Hold" notice invites edits to bring the question on-topic if possible. (The fact that up to 5 separate users voted to put it on hold, instead of editing it themselves to bring it on topic, suggests that is likely to require significant effort, and it is not always possible.)
    – feetwet Mod
    Mar 16, 2018 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


I don't think answers are generally off-topic. The problem is that we discourage people from wandering from the question asked (e.g. writing an unrelated essay on constitutional law when the question is about parking tickets). A corollary of the desideratum of answering the question asked is, actually asking a question that can be answered. Sometimes there is a modicum of off-targetness which can be worked around; but sometimes, a question is just not answerable as is, and until it is edited, I think it should be closed, and not answered.

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