I see a lot of answer advising to hire a lawyer. This is not an interpersonal solution. Interpersonal solutions should be exhausted before someone spends money hiring a lawyer and inevitably gaining the resentment from using one. Can we agree that comments and answers involving the law are not satisfactory?

Now, if someone is doing something illegal, then the question would be how can they diplomatically point that out to get them to stop.

I've seen lots of examples on this site but this one has been locked twice. I can't edit because it's locked and each time I create a new one it gets marked as a duplicate even though it gets up votes.

  • 2
    I don't understand, why don't you edit your question here since Em C removed the lock? You will then be able to ask for undeletion and have answers to your question (if your answer fit the criteria for undeletion and unlock)
    – Ael
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 11:27
  • 2
    How does having a question closed as a duplicate and one you got into an edit war over tie in with a question on whether or not legal advice is okay here? It looks to me like you're asking about two things here? Do you have an example of an answer to a question where someone asked about Interpersonal Skills where the answer doesn't provide an answer from that angle? (See also the answer here explaining that the question should invite good answers (so be about interpersonal skills) and should otherwise be edited)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 11:32
  • @Noon how's that fair that the new question gets upvotes, only to be marked as a duplicate and now I need to get undelete votes to the original re-opened?
    – bluevapor
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 13:43
  • @Tinkeringbell it may have been deleted from comments but one of the reasons it was closed was because it could be interpreted as legal situation. There's plenty of other examples of answers and questions on this site that recommend getting a lawyer.
    – bluevapor
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 13:44
  • 2
    Your question/s being closed had nothing to do with legal advice.
    – apaul
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


Advice to hire a lawyer can be an interpersonal solution.

Knowing when to stop interacting directly and involve a third party, either to mediate or to communicate on your behalf, is an interpersonal skill.

Of course the usual policy applies: explain why involving a lawyer is the best option.


Can we agree that comments and answers involving the law are not satisfactory?

I think we already have. We've had more discussions on legal advice here, mainly:

An important quote from an answer to that second one:

It's also worth remembering that this problem doesn't exist in isolation. You've already identified a related problem - answers that do answer the question but contain generous helpings of opinion along side it - but in many cases the questions themselves encourage such digressions by including long or salacious back-stories by way of context; an answer might be forgiven for addressing matters tangential to the question if the question itself obscures the actual problem.

A moderator on Stack Overflow recently observed that when handling Not an Answer flags on certain types of answers he nearly always found himself editing or closing the question as well; certainly it's worth keeping in mind that a question which attracts many responses that don't answer the question may need heavy editing to salvage (if it can be salvaged at all) - simply removing the answers ends up being a game of whack-a-mole otherwise.

If the question just contains a lot of those 'salacious backstories' and can be edited to focus on the interpersonal interaction taking place there, and the interpersonal skills the question asker needs help with, feel free to edit the question and help the asker to get answers to that part. Closing the question may help prevent 'get a lawyer' answers while more details on the actual interpersonal part are gathered (if needed), just 'rephrasing' something from 'what do I do' to 'how do I communicate' may not work if there's no information on the interpersonal aspect of the problem anywhere in the question.

If you ever see questions that can only be answered by hiring a lawyer, feel free to close them as off-topic. Lawyers fall into the 'professional help' category, just like physicians or therapists do.

We've discussed answers not offering an Interpersonal Skills solution before too:

From the answer to that second question:

As a reminder, to sort of paraphrase something Shog's said every now and again: This site is interpersonal.stackexchange.com, not ihaveaproblemandwantanysolution.stackexchange.com. There's a definitive difference.

Now, you could argue that saying 'there's no way another talk with your neighbour is going to make her get rid of her 30 dogs, get a lawyer involved instead' might be an answer to a question about a neighbour having 30 dogs causing noise, smell and vermin. BUT on interpersonal we've long had this policy of respecting the premise of a question, of 'answering the question as it was asked'.

Problems arise when people think "Hm, I can't come up with a good interpersonal solution to this person's problem, buuut I can think of a good non-interpersonal solution" and proceed to post said solution. Allowing that is a pretty slippery slope to go down; it gives an easy backdoor for folks who just want to propose a non-IPS solution and don't care that the asker explicitly wants an interpersonal solution.

'As it was asked' includes the fact that it was asked here, on Interpersonal Skills, and not on the Law or Lifehacks site. This means that people are actively looking for something they can improve in their own Interpersonal Skills set. Telling them to 'go hire a lawyer' isn't helping them have a talk with their neighbour. So, as discussed at length for example here, answer the question as it was asked and help the asker have a talk with their neighbour. If you want, you can add an 'If the above doesn't work, it might be time to get a lawyer involved' to the end of your answer. But it should never be the main course!

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