This question unequivocally asked for legal advice.

Rather than deleting the question or improving it, this answer, providing advice as to liability and advice as to the law in the jurisdiction, was given by a moderator.

The issue I have with this is that by answering a request for specific legal advice a moderator is indicating to the community that the question is on topic.

Due to the dangers this poses to the community with regards to the number one rule of requests for legal advice being off topic. I think we as a community should discuss this matter.

Now I have no quarry with the mod in question, but I do believe this as valid criticism of an ongoing issue with this community, there are plenty more answers made by mods that too ought not to have been posted. I too have answered such questions, but we all know no one should be answering them until those questions have been made on topic.

To ensure that this question is not merged or marked duplicate with "how do we handle answers giving legal advice" I am asking specifically about moderator activity and the fact that a mod answering such a question indicates to other users that the question is on-topic


1 Answer 1


That question is raised here, but not specifically w.r.t. moderators. You can see that there is no consensus, so IMO the answer is "whatever you can live with", precisely because there is no clear guidance for answerers. In general, guidance is about questions, not answers. I believe that moderators should follow the law, but there is no law (and no clear procedure for creating a law). There are antithetical solutions to the problem posted there, and the alternatives "do nothing" vs. "do something" are essentially in a dead heat.

I don't have an opinion about what that moderator should do: my opinions would be about what moderators in general should do.

  • if do nothing ties with do something, should the rule against asking for legal advice be repealed? Oct 5, 2019 at 20:32

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