I'm looking at Form screenshot for legal proof of clicking one of the checkboxes? and it feels like a mostly legal problem rather than a software development question.

We have visited legal questions here on meta before (here and here) and the general consensus seems to be that questions pertaining to copyright, trademark, and licensing are fine but other legal concerns are best left to lawyers.

Our FAQ has also been adjusted to only mention software licensing as a suggested on-topic subject.

So with that in mind and considering that we aren't legal experts, is the question above actually on-topic?

There are other problems with it as well, like being phrased as poll and attracting answers that do nothing but address that "yes or no" part of it, which is not really what Stack Exchange is here to do.

Do we, as a community, want to keep this question as is? Is it going to be helpful to future visitors? Is there an answer to it or is it more of a discussion topic?

2 Answers 2


I think that the "not obviously on topic" parts of question, fit under the "freelancing and business concerns" category. I didn't read it as a request for any of kind legal aid, my interpretation was quite close to what the OP actually meant.

Some answers did treat the question as a purely legal one, but most went into legal territory to illustrate that the best way to convince the client would be to propose whatever alternative local law considers reliable, which would be a fine answer to the question, without going into any legal details.

But there are some evidence it's not a very good question (in SE terms):

  1. Although there are some very good answers, I don't think it's clearly evident which one (or two or three) are the "best".
  2. Several answers overlap,
  3. Some of the latter answers don't really add much.

I think the main problem is that the question is actually three (and possibly more) very good questions, and they would have been better answered as individual questions. Currently the answers are either concentrated on parts of the question, or vaguely addressing all distinct issues. But the different questions are somewhat coupled, and individually they might have raised several requests for clarifications.

Furthermore, several answers comment on the absurdity of the claim, something that's useless in answering the question. I can't really blame any of the answerers, but future visitors may perceive the answers as too noisy.

A minor clean up effort could help, for example remove all comments that fail their purpose, or became obsolete. If there's a general feeling that the question asks for legal aid, we could update it to the more concise and to the point version.

But in the grand scheme of things, I think the question and most answers are (way) above the average, in terms of quality.

In conclusion:

Do we, as a community, want to keep this question as is?

  1. The question has been visited by several 3k+ users (answerers + commenters), no close votes. (but if there where flags, I wouldn't know)
  2. Although popularity is not a good measurement, the fact that there isn't a single downvote on the question or any answer should be considered.

I'd say we definitely want to keep the question.

update: Two downvotes on answers appeared after I wrote this. Still, too few, considering the total sum of upvotes.

Is there an answer to it or is it more of a discussion topic?

I think the question has been answered, not by a single answer unfortunately, but still answered sufficiently.

Is it going to be helpful to future visitors?

Well, predicting the future is off topic :)

Strictly speaking, it should be closed. It's overly broad and I don't think it will generate any more good answers. But far worse questions slip through all the time, and there are all these old ones that still survive. I'd prefer for this one to stay open. We could just add a notification for longer answers instead (seeing how there isn't an accepted answer yet).

Since it's community wiki already, I guess one approach would be to write an answer that definitively answers the question. Any volunteers?

  • Thanks for the detailed response!
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 26, 2011 at 18:08

As the OP, I'd like to put in my 2 cents: This question wasn't meant as seeking legal advice. It was meant to find out if this client's request was technically logical.

I've gotten plenty of answers, and they all back up my gut feeling that the request doesn't make sense, and also gave me solid explanations as to why screenshots aren't more reliable than saving in DB. In addition, some posters gave me good alternatives, and some gave me a direction to look in, in case I do go with the client's request (in the comments to my question).

Having said that, if you do decide to close the question, I won't mind, since - as I said - I feel I got what I came for:

  1. Solid evidence as to the illogicality of the client's request,
  2. Good alternatives to that request
  3. Ways to go about implementing the request.
  • Thanks for the clarification on what the intended purpose of your question was.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 26, 2011 at 18:09

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