Law varies from country to country and can vary from state to state (e.g. CA vs NY). Is the generally accepted practice that if the OP does not provide the context for the community to provide the necessary inputs to investigate the question, to assume the location of the OP for the location of applicable law?

This might be nice, in the sense that it save the OP the trouble of always stating the location: that being said, I try to remember to state the relevant location to accelerate the answer and make it easy for responders.

  • This will only work if OP fills in their location (and honestly) though...
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


This has been a perennial problem, because too many people don't know that "the law" is not uniform throughout the world. Virtually all questions require some specification about jurisdiction (which might be implicit in the question itself, such as a question about Florida parking law or Japanese food laws). Even then, people especially in the US do not understand that certain matters are governed by state law and not federal law; and yet, there are currents of uniform law throughout the US to the point that statutes in multiple states can be verbatim identical.

Although you can always VTC on the grounds "too broad" (worst solution) or ask for a jurisdiction, such requests frequently go unheeded. I think the best solution is to make an educated guess about the intended jurisdiction, pick one or two illustrative situations, and make it clear that the jurisdiction matters. Dale M. defaults to Australia, I default to US and Washington, and I think this is the right way to deal with the problem (naturally, since I do it). Adding information that informs the reader about the range of variation between jurisdictions is usually helpful.

  • It would be interesting experiment to have questions posted only if they filled out required fields to confine the jurisdiction. I am sure many would object, so maybe it would be optional and the community could provide favorable treatment to those that follow the protocol
    – gatorback
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 17:01
  • The problem is that there's no way to compute if you have sufficiently answered the question. Some questions are simply about common law, which includes many countries; some questions even require you to specify the municipality. I thought your email question might actually be county-specific, and was mildly surprised to see that it was answered at the state level.
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 17:15
  • I agree it is complicated problem, however, perhaps someone will frame it in a novel manner so that a technology can result the desired outcome. I can see deep learning NLP machine intelligence eventually solving this problem in the distant future
    – gatorback
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 19:16

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