Proposal: Laws

Considering the large number of countries and regions with their own laws, is it feasible for the community to have a wide enough member/knowledge base for any question (with the exception of US and maybe UK law) to receive a detailed response (that couldn't be obtained from a quick web search)?

  • History.SE also has a large number of countries and regions with there own histories. Oct 30, 2014 at 1:53
  • @Alizter that is not comparable, the history of e.g. Germany doesn't change every second day in a notable amount.
    – Knerd
    Dec 12, 2014 at 10:09
  • @Knerd Actually it might. Depending on the source. Law is quite difficult to change and is a slow process. Dec 12, 2014 at 14:42
  • @Alizter that is true for the big things like murder or so, but taxes and other financial stuff changes (at least in Germany) nearly every week..
    – Knerd
    Dec 12, 2014 at 14:45
  • @Alizter An even closer comparison might be money.stackexchange.com, which frequently deals with finance law in a number of jurisdictions. (In practice, they mostly seem to get questions for the US, Australia, the UK, and India.)
    – apsillers
    May 4, 2015 at 14:09

7 Answers 7


Great question, and I'm glad we can sort this out now early in the proposal.

If we consider the field of medicine, there are many specialties, such as radiology, cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology and so forth. I don't think questions that only a cardiologist can answer however should be off-topic on the medicine proposal. The medicine proposal will hopefully comprise of experts in each of those respective specialties. Similarly, in this proposal, hopefully all experts will be able to provide answers for questions on theories of law, and each expert will have a national specialty, but this doesn't mean they won't be able to assist in questions from foreign nations either, depending on how similar the countries are.

The 193 countries that exist should not deter people from this site. Of these only 57 are English speaking countries. Now even though theoretically we would like to believe we have an even distribution of users from each of those 57 countries, we frankly don't, as most users are from a collection of just a few countries. Now this site will include experts in the theory of law, and also experts in the laws of their individual countries. But often an expert in Australian law may often know about UK laws or be able to use their expertise to find out quickly. So this proposal is no different to other proposals that have specialized fields.

  • 3
    Does it mean questions asking for laws in non English-speaking countries are off-topic? May 8, 2014 at 21:08
  • 1
    @user2284570 I don't think so. As long as the questions themselves are in English, I don't see a problem. Dec 14, 2014 at 8:45
  • @JustinLardinois : Yes but in many other case it is unlikely the people who don't talk the language would get interested in the questions... Dec 15, 2014 at 0:00
  • @user2284570 Just because a country's primary or official language isn't English doesn't mean that it's not spoken there (after all, English is pretty much the world's second language). Furthermore, this isn't without precedent; linguistics.SE has the same network-wide requirement that questions be themselves written in English, but allows questions about any language. Dec 15, 2014 at 0:34
  • @JustinLardinois : In a similar way you can write question in French on french.SE and Japanese on japanese.SE as well as English. Dec 15, 2014 at 12:12

Proposal: Stack Overflow

Considering the large number of programming languages and frameworks with their own features, is it feasible for the community to have a wide enough member/knowledge base for any question (with the exception of Java and maybe C#) to receive a detailed response (that couldn't be obtained from a quick web search)?


I think it will be effectively too broad as long as the question does not ask for a state. 57 states would still lead to many possible answers.

Their should be states tags, and a question should have at list one of them.
The same way, you can't post a question on meta if it don't contain : bug; or feature request; or discussion; or support.

As you can't use more than five tags, it will restrict the number of possible answers.

  • 1
    So what you mean to say is that it would not be too broad as long as you had appropriate specificity as far as jurisdiction and time-period (i didn't downvote)
    – B T
    Aug 30, 2014 at 22:57
  • 2
    Yes, there should simply exist 1 tag for each country (not just states, I understand that sometimes Americans forget the planet does not stop at America). Then a question must include at least one of these tags.
    – user117637
    Sep 6, 2014 at 7:10
  • 1
    @user117637 I believe they were referring to states as in national governments, not the states of the United States of America. After all, he did reference the 57 English-speaking countries figure in the accepted answer. We only have 50 states here in the USA. Dec 14, 2014 at 8:47
  • @BT : you are correct. Dec 15, 2014 at 18:03

As long as you specify an appropriate jurisdiction (and historical time-period where relevant), or specify that you're looking for generalities and not specifics over a wide range of jurisdictions or time periods, this shouldn't be a problem.


One question will typically lead to the very similar answers for many different jurisdictions if not only specific implementations are considered (e.g. which clause of what law to be applied), but if the underlying legal question in the scenario covered by the question is discussed in a generic way assessing the interests of involved parties.

E.g., in consumer protection law, the interests of sellers and buyers are weighed by different jurisdictions in different ways and with different regulatory approaches, but the results are quite often comparable. While in one jurisdiction a contract may be void from the start, in another jurisdiction it might be enforceable but some remedy might be available, so that in the end seller and buyer will be not be better or worse off in any of these jurisdictions.

It might be more ambitious to phrase questions or answers in a way that not only one specific jurisdiction (e.g. German law, to just take one example) is covered, but this should be the approach here and I would be glad to support it.


Some questions will concern laws that have been harmonized across several countries through treaties. For example, a question about the Berne Convention on Protection of Literary Works or other TRIPS treaties will apply to all but the handful of recognized countries that haven't joined the WTO.


My answer for this issue would be structure this a bit differently. We could create a site for each country where people would put questions about something specific about the country like traditions, history or its law.

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