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Proposal: Law

This proposal is not meant to be US-Centric. It should be like Travel for example; it should be used to ask questions about all law systems worldwide.

However, probably the initial audience will come mostly from the US. How do we prevent US-centrism that could lead to unfriendliness to visitors from other countries?

I don't mean you shouldn't ask too many questions about the US. In fact, you should ask as many questions as you like, as long as they are good quality and provide added value to the side. What I mean is how can we prevent making the site as a whole US-centric, which is observed on, for example, Academia, and to lesser extent on Workplace. The negative symptoms I observe there:

  • not tagging US-specific questions as [US]
  • assuming that the circumstances are obvious, while they are US-Specific (specific labour law, regulations about academia, financing public services etc.)
  • using cryptic language (very specific terms without explanation, X-words that nobody outside understand etc.)
  • downvoting questions that apply to the circumstances other than meant but not specified by the OP (because the AP is outside US)
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To address your first bullet, we could consider adding the following feature to the site. It would require the system to acknowledge "locale" tags, but this by itself would get people to realize that the site isn't just about one place.

Warning for absence of locale

  • How narrow would you create that "locale" tags? Country (US/UK/D/F/RUS/...), State (Oregon, Bavaria, Brittany, Zabaykalsky, Cork,...) or even narrower where applicable? If the latter we need to figure out how to handle double-meanings (Georgia for example). Should we use the locales as used by locals (Deutschland) or in English (Germany)? – Angelo Fuchs Feb 25 '15 at 11:14
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer I don't think there's a single answer to your first question. It would be up to the judgment of the asker and the mods to determine the scope of the question. Hopefully the asker has a vague idea of the difference between national and local laws; and if they falsely assume that the question has the same answer everywhere in their country, then correcting them should be part of the answer. – aebabis Feb 25 '15 at 19:41
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    @AngeloNeuschitzer To answer your second question, I'm under the impression you can have synonym tags, meaning we could have both English and German? If not, then I would guess they should all be in English. The reason is that StackExchange's response to popular languages in the past has been to make new sites; there might be a German Law SE someday. – aebabis Feb 25 '15 at 19:44
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    This sounds like a good idea, although for this site "Jurisdiction" might be a better term than "Locale." This would allow for more useful distinctions: for example, some questions might be tagged "US (Federal)" and others "Pennsylvania". – chapka Mar 8 '15 at 18:17
  • Good idea, though of course it is complex. For example where I sit the law of contract applies in my jurisdiction (England and Wales), but the law of unfair dismissal applies to Great Britain and that of immigration to the UK. Subsistence of copyright is EU wide :-). – Francis Davey Mar 24 '15 at 20:47
  • We need the ability to tag broader swathes of jurisdictions as well though. Within the common law, there are many newer areas (eg, Unjust Enrichment), where there is plenty of cross-border influence from various commonwealth jurisdictions- Canada, Australia, Scotland, England+Wales, Singapore, India, Hong Kong etc. – Andre May 11 '15 at 21:43
  • @acbabis : I already proposed it before. :-) – user2284570 May 23 '15 at 20:08
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I agree that each country's legal system is very different, but I don't agree that that means we need separate sites. We're trying to get the generic law site off the ground, and as I said in https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19056/would-it-make-sense-to-merge-intellectual-property-and-law-proposals, if they really do start to diverge, they can be split later.

The only way we can avoid being US-centric is to have experts in other countries' laws answering questions. It's not a unique problem; a large plurality of questions on Stack Overflow, for example, are about C#. But the solution isn't to have separate sites.

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On my opinion, the actual law systems are so different on the world, that even the lawyers can't really understand eachothers without very hard training (i.e. re-learning).

Which would mean essentially mean, that the law systems should be separated by region. With the exception of few topics (general law theory, philosophy of the law and "how is it handled generally?" - like questions), on my opinion, there could different sites exist.

The topic of the Law is at least so big as programming. The single cause, why is there so many programming content on the net, compared to the so few law content, is that the primary playground of the programmers is the net, while the lawyers' not. (And that to be a lawyer is much harder as to ask some trivial on SO.)

I think, to exist different SE sites for the different law systems weren't a problem. If they can't be created (in the lack of followers/committers), then I suggest tagging.

  • The same problem goes for the most programming languages as well and Stack Overflow strives well with the high diversity. In fact there are legal systems where you can't understand one part (Taxes) better then a laymen when you are specialized in another (Traffic). Diversity is not a problem. Tagging questions with locale though is a must-have. – Angelo Fuchs Feb 25 '15 at 11:05
  • @AngeloFuchs Yes, it strives well, but it is a monolithic mess. Having an SO, or having sub-SO for the specific major areas of the programming knowledge would be a much better system. I think, the probable reason of why it isn't implemented, that the SE decision-makers won't change a working system. Now the problem is that although the Law is at least so big as programming, people asking and answering law questions or the net is much fewer. Thus, the general Law proposal (beta) seems feasible, although I am nearly sure I can't ask anything from the law of Nepal there in the lack of experts. – peterh says reinstate Monica Oct 11 '16 at 20:58
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I have my doubts about handling questions of people whose native-speaking laungage isn't English. I am sure that most of that kind of people aren't feeling confident about explaining their legal issues in English to foreign people that have little or no knowledge about how the legal system operates in their country. It is much easier for them to write in their native laungage on local sites, where they can get a fully satisfying answer with a specific reference to statue/codex.

For example, Russian people can ask questions here: http://forum.zakonia.ru

Polish people here: http://forumprawne.org

French here: http://forum-juridique.net-iris.fr/ etc..

I'm not sure if this site is going to "work out" unless you'll somehow manage to attract lots of foreign people and get past "the laungage barrier"

  • I think that the problem in the answer above would be compounded by the fact that most countries where English is not the language used in legal speak also tend to be either Civil law countries with significantly differnt basis for their laws or Sharia law countries which are completely on a different wavelength. Exposing them to this avenue may not be enough to convince these persons that their question can be resolved here, even with apparent experts on their field. – Niranjan Sudhir Apr 28 '15 at 17:28

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