Recently I've come across a couple of answers that acknowledge what the law is, but then advocate the user to openly break the law (without outlining the repercussions of doing so). For these types of answers, I usually flag them but I usually get the same response:

"flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer"

which is fair, and is a measured response based on Law.SE's rules.

Should flags be used to help the moderators to remove content that openly advocates breaking the law?

(Note: I didn't link the answers for a reason, please don't go looking for them. This is a question about the use of flags, not a way to mob these types of answers)

2 Answers 2


Flagging is not the correct solution, instead, downvoting might be. With enough down-votes and delete-votes, you can get the desired effect of obliterating the offending answer, through democratic means (mob action; community consensus). LSE does not generally endorse viewpoint-based restrictions on answers (or questions), so in asking the question, you implicitly invite discussion on other viewpoint-based restrictions on answers. Since Law SE can be reasonably assumed to follow the rule of law, not the rule of men, we would need a specific rule. What viewpoints should be forbidden (either in questions or in answers)? And, more to the point, why should any viewpoints be forbidden? My own opinion is that the good can be distinguished from the bad based solely on the merits of the argument, and not the consequences of the argument.

  • First I have to say thank you for your answer, sometimes meta-questions sit for a couple of days before they are answered. I'm actually ok with bad/incorrect answers but I worry about the health of the answers on the site when answers suggest breaking the law for some type of higher good. Sep 3, 2019 at 12:56
  • For example, someone asked a question about the law surrounding divorce because their spouse cheated on them with their sister, and someone answered saying "you could go to divorce court, but that takes a lot of time and money, you could just kill your spouse, if I were you, then I would kill your spouse". Is that an answer? Well technical yes, that is an answer and it addresses the question telling the person asking the question that they could go to divorce but then it suggest an illegal action, should someone die because they sleep with their spouse's sister, well I bet the spouse thinks so Sep 3, 2019 at 13:01
  • and many other people might think the same (that the husband deserves to die for this type of action), but this is a feel-good answer, it isn't a legal answer, and I'm not sure it would qualify as an answer for this site. Sep 3, 2019 at 13:02
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    I think "viewpoints should be forbidden" solely on the basis that they advocate breaking the law. Civil disobedience is not always bad from a political standpoint, but a site dealing with law can no more be seen to countenance it than a lawyer can advise it. Sep 6, 2019 at 11:55
  • @StephanS In the example you outlined, the best approach is to post a comment or answer explaining why following the suggestion to kill can backfire or be detrimental from both legal and practical standpoints (keep in mind that Law.SE portrays itself as intended for educational purposes). Barely flagging or downvoting that suggestion fails to educate and address a thought which understandably may occur to people who go through such unfortunate situations. Sep 6, 2019 at 20:59

Flags are not an appropriate solution

The appropriate solutions are:

  • downvoting
  • posting a respectful dissenting comment
  • posting a better answer.

That said, most of us live in relatively free countries where breaking the law, while it does have consequences, may be the least bad option. I can imagine good answers that explore this.

  • The chief problem is that the poster, and by extension Law.SE, may be guilty of incitement or as an accessory. Most of us do not live in countries where publicly advising crime is consequence-free. Sep 3, 2019 at 21:03
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    @TimLymington saying "I'd kill the bastard" or equivalent is not incitement or accessory to murder
    – Dale M Mod
    Sep 5, 2019 at 5:31
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    @DaleM If the quote you provided was phrased as a suggestion instead of a statement it might be. I agree that the quote you provided doesn't rise to the level of the charges you've outlined, but one would really have to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to argue that answers that exclusively suggest harm to others without outlining any legal basis to doing so wouldn't fall under "low quality" questions. Sep 5, 2019 at 15:01

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