Author Topic: Clarification from admins please  (Read 3263 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12941
Clarification from admins please
« on: May 11, 2011, 06:27:39 AM »
Administrators,
I know there is a prohibition against discussing legal matters on the forum and I totally agree with that.  But just mentioning an existing law as it pertains to yourself...is that forbidden? 
There was a thread the other day about dogs in restaurants.  I said that the Feds have regulations against other than service dogs it.  No one reacted by telling me to not discuss any laws or regulations.
Today in byob thread I said a reason I would leave an opened container at the hostesses rather than take it home with me is because an open container isn't legal in a vehicle(I'm in the USA).  I was told by another poster "lets not go there" (meaning into legal questions).
Did I break the forum's rules? 
Thanks for clarifying for me. 
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Spoder

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3657
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 06:51:16 AM »
Bijou, you did not specify that you were referring to an existing law as pertains to yourself. You said, 'as far as I know, an open container of alcohol in a car is not legal', or something similar. We don't all know that you're posting from the USA. And the OP of the thread in question, is in Australia, where it is legal.

That is the reason I said 'let's not go there'. Because it is going to derail the thread when everyone starts debating the legalities in different areas. Which, from past experience, would lead to someone breaking the forum rules, and the thread being locked.

I am sorry if you thought I was telling you how to post. That was not my intention.

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12941
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 07:45:53 AM »
Bijou, you did not specify that you were referring to an existing law as pertains to yourself. You said, 'as far as I know, an open container of alcohol in a car is not legal', or something similar. We don't all know that you're posting from the USA. And the OP of the thread in question, is in Australia, where it is legal.

That is the reason I said 'let's not go there'. Because it is going to derail the thread when everyone starts debating the legalities in different areas. Which, from past experience, would lead to someone breaking the forum rules, and the thread being locked.

I am sorry if you thought I was telling you how to post. That was not my intention.
Apology accepted, Spoder, although I didn't think that.  
It didn't occur to me that my post even bordered on something that anyone would take in a direction, but apparently it did, for you, and unfortunately, that is what happened.  (Your response to that post may make your point.)    
I still think clarification is in order because it seems reasonable that we could refer to a law or regulation without breaking the rules of the forum, but I would like to know this.  To me, this is different than talking about a legal problem or question someone may post to the forum.  I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole.  Twenty or thirty. even.   :-X
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8795
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 08:19:43 AM »
I think discussing legalities in very brief terms can be really handy when the alternative is thinking someone is being rude/off-putting of their own volition. Like if a restaurant had a rule, and the rule seemed rude to a poster, and then another poster explained "Oh, a lot of places, that's in the health code." Or vice versa, in a recent thread where an employee's actions seemed like a contract issue to a European poster but were actually an etiquette issue in the US, not a legal one, due to the labor laws here. So I hope brief mentions of legalities are OK when they help clarify whether there actually is an etiquette issue. The trouble comes when we all start arguing over whether something should/shouldn't be legal, or when the whole situation is legal rather than etiquette.

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8538
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 09:43:26 AM »
I just read the main post from the EHell Dame about posting rules. Surprisingly, nothing is mentioned about legal matters.

I know I have read in several posts from the Admins that legal *advice* is not to be given on these boards, nor is medical *advice*. If I am incorrect, I hope an Admin will correct me.

My interpretation of not giving legal advice is that it is permissible to mention a law, such as the previously mentioned "no open containers in cars," if the law affects how the poster is responding to a situation. And it is permissible to tell a poster that he/she might want to seek appropriate legal advice on a situation that is beyond the bounds of etiquette. But it is not permissible to give specific, actual, legal advice, such as "You need to get a restraining order," "You need to sue him," or anything like that. It's okay to suggest, "This is a complicated situation. You should probably see a lawyer about this," or "The laws on this issue vary from state to state. You should check to see what the laws are in your area." To me, that isn't giving legal advice, but recommending that someone get legal advice.

Same with medical advice. "Go see a doctor if you are worried," isn't medical advice. "You probably have a cancerous mole and need to see a doctor right now," is medical advice.

There are some posters who have interpreted the "no legal advice" to mean that we can't mention laws, lawyers or make any reference to legal matters at all. It would be helpful if the Mods could clarify this.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Spoder

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3657
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 09:49:07 AM »
I thought the same as you, camlan.

Bijou and I had our wires crossed, I think (my fault  :-[). She wasn't giving legal advice, and I wasn't saying she was giving legal advice (although in hindsight, I understand why she'd think I was saying that).

I'll be interested to see what the mods have to say.

Ferrets

  • "Rugby referees are like bees. They communicate through interpretative dance movements."
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2843
  • Dych chi'n moyn dishgled?
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 10:01:33 AM »
I think discussing legalities in very brief terms can be really handy when the alternative is thinking someone is being rude/off-putting of their own volition. Like if a restaurant had a rule, and the rule seemed rude to a poster, and then another poster explained "Oh, a lot of places, that's in the health code." Or vice versa, in a recent thread where an employee's actions seemed like a contract issue to a European poster but were actually an etiquette issue in the US, not a legal one, due to the labor laws here. So I hope brief mentions of legalities are OK when they help clarify whether there actually is an etiquette issue. The trouble comes when we all start arguing over whether something should/shouldn't be legal, or when the whole situation is legal rather than etiquette.

Agreed, and I'd add: if posters do cite such laws, it makes sense to specify upfront which country/region they're referring to. Over the years, I've seen a lot of blanket responses on this site along the lines of "Actually, it's completely illegal to juggle flaming sandwiches on a tightrope", but which are addressed to posters not in the same country/region as the responder, for whom the action might very well be perfectly legal. (The same goes for recommending organisations and so forth which may not exist where the OP is.)

Specific phrasing is helpful:

 - "In the USA it's against the law to [ABC]..."

 - "OP, are you in Australia? If so, you're legally allowed to do [XYZ]..."

 - "I'm not sure where you are, but do you have a local equivalent of the UK's RSPCA?"

And so on, and so forth. :)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 10:03:34 AM by Ferrets »

evely28

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2600
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 02:17:30 PM »
Administrators,
I know there is a prohibition against discussing legal matters on the forum and I totally agree with that.  But just mentioning an existing law as it pertains to yourself...is that forbidden? 
There was a thread the other day about dogs in restaurants.  I said that the Feds have regulations against other than service dogs it.  No one reacted by telling me to not discuss any laws or regulations.
Today in byob thread I said a reason I would leave an opened container at the hostesses rather than take it home with me is because an open container isn't legal in a vehicle(I'm in the USA).  I was told by another poster "lets not go there" (meaning into legal questions).
Did I break the forum's rules? 
Thanks for clarifying for me. 

I would say yes, you broke the rules. I don't know if part of not speaking of legalities is to avoid mis-information, but you made a generalization that may be true of your state but not others. I have erased posts before where I responded based on the laws of my state and realized I needed to keep that out. This is an etiquette site so mixing in law, politics, religion etc. takes us away from that. I think it's OK to allude to possible laws, just not stating what they are. Someone please correct me if I"m wrong.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12835
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2011, 02:59:27 PM »
The bans on legal and medical advice are for the protection of EHellDame, the forum and the posters here.  All we need is one person to act on something that they read here, get in trouble for it, and come back and blame us.

I'm hesitant even about "in my jurisdiction, X is true" because I've read plenty of those posts that were still wrong.  I've read some stuff about copyright in the US that drove me up the wall, but couldn't respond to without violating the ban.  Ah well.  (And yes, I struggle with this and sometimes goof.)

The only advice that's appropriate here is "please see a licensed professional who specializes in your particular medical condition/legal situation for guidance."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5081
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 09:19:29 PM »
I can see how it's a tricky subject, because sometimes a law might have some bearing on the etiquette advice. The example the OP gave is a good one, I think--if someone says, "I brought some alcohol to a party and some was consumed. Is it proper to take the leftover home, or should I leave it with the hostess?" I've seen threads like this before and, IIRC, there's no hard and fast rule--posters usually just chime in saying what they would do and why. And someone could easily say, "Well, in that exact situation, I always leave it with the hostess, because in my area we're not allowed to carry open bottles of alcohol in the car." I think that's as valid a reason as any, and possibly a valuable piece of insight for other posters who might never have thought of that.

BUT--it does kind of peer down the slippery slope. If no one comments on that remark at all, it's probably okay; but if a tangent ensues with people saying, "Actually, you could put it in your trunk, the law just says the open alcohol can't be accessible to the driver," and then someone else says, "Well, the police shouldn't be pulling you over randomly and checking your car," and then a third person adds a story about how their sister-in-law got in trouble with the police for this very thing... That's when it starts to move away from the etiquette aspect into the dangerous legal territory, I think, and invites chastising or even locking.

So should the poster not have mentioned the (legal) reasoning behind their actions? Should it be phrased in a special way, with some kind of disclaimer? Or does the fault lie with the later posters who grab onto the legal comment and drag the thread away from pure etiquette? I am curious what you guys think.
~Lynn2000

rashea

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9663
Re: Clarification from admins please
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 09:51:29 AM »
I think the issue is when a blanket statement is made. So, "it's illegal to have open containers of alcohol in a car" is a problem, at least in part because it will kick off a round of comments on how that isn't true every where.

Copyright laws are so complicated and varied from place to place that I think it's dangerous to give much advice on them beyond, "check with a lawyer". I think any law that lawyers would debate the interpretation of is probably not a good one to talk about at all on here.

I think a statement that "in my area, it is illegal to have a dog off leash off your own property" would be fine. You don't even have to tell what area that is. To me, that's a caution to an OP that there might be a similar law near them, and it's worth checking out.  It's not telling them that having their dog off leash is illegal.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont