We've had a number of different legal questions about RPG publication over the years, and by and large, I think the answers are pretty good. The problem is that most of us aren't copyright lawyers and case law, precedents, changing understandings of the law, and other things can lead to completely unpredictable situations, especially when juries get involved. Complete answers are far more complex than we can account for in this format, which is problematic with something that purports to be an expert answers site.

Unfortunately, this has the potential to open both StackExchange and the answerers up to lawsuits themselves. If we don't want to close these questions as "off-topic" (which we don't) is there a way we can somehow "announce" on the questions the issues with asking for such advice here? It seems like answers are often couched in definitive terms, even when there are clearly gaps in the information. At the minimum, I think the related tag wikis should be updated to reflect the nature of the advice given. Additionally, a common resource to point people to (such as the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective post) to avoid the appearance that any of us are, in fact, experts on copyright law; as well as the idea that these answers are comprehensive.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Should there be a tag for legal/copyright-related questions? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 20:46
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Honest Question: Has a Web site (or those associated with it) ever been taken to court for offering bad legal advice? (Not that I want to see SE setting a precedent or anything, of course.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you more concerned with querents taking our advice too seriously, or with the repercussions for our community and its citizens if one of those querents decides to take legal action against us? Answers could be very different depending on whether this is an issue of liability or good faith. (eg, tag wikis may be sufficient for liability, but they aren't visible enough for education) \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Both. I am more concerned with potential liability but it seems like the answers are often couched in definitive terms even when there are clearly gaps. I don't know if there's a way to add "headers" without closing questions but even a common resource (like the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective post) would be useful. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Roll that comment into the question, then. "Answers are often couched in definitive terms even when there are clearly gaps" seems like a crucial bit of detail for answerers to have, or their solutions may miss your concerns entirely. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 22:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ That marked question is related but not a duplicate by any means. It does not even begin to address the question asked. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 23:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Now that you've clarified what you're asking, that's more obvious and it's already getting re-open votes. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


No, we should not.

Why? Because on SE, we prefer to solve problems we actually have. It doesn't matter what we're talking about - tags, post notices, other policies. If we really had a problem where people were taking SE answers as Solid Legal Advice (tm) I would bother to think more about this problem. But as we have not had any such problem, it is specifically not worth addressing.

We can all think up thousands of issues that "might happen," and come up with policies and tags and post notices and feature requests to address them. But that's all wasted effort given the limited resources everyone has to apply to this site.

So lacking any real evidence of problems being caused by this on the site, both in this specific case and in any other case where someone is worried about a problem that hasn't actually happened yet, no, action and effort is not merited.


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