We've some questions where the OP has asked for translated anime/manga without specifying explicitly that they are looking for a legally licensed release. Some examples are Where can I find spanish subtitles for Dragon Ball legally? and Can you tell me where to find this manga? (before edits).

Our policy is that questions asking for "illegal copyrighted and/or licensed materials" are off-topic. This is something I think everyone agrees on. However, it's not clear with the above questions whether the OP is looking for a legal version or an illegal one. Hence, this is a bit of a grey area. There are (at least) 3 ways we could treat these questions.

  1. Always interpret ambiguous questions as asking for a legal version. Do not close questions unless they explicitly ask for something clearly illegal. If there is no legal version, post that as an answer. If another user posts an answer linking to illegal torrent/streaming site, downvote/flag the answer.

  2. If the question is ambiguous, edit the question immediately to make it clear that the OP is looking for a legal version. This could also be accomplished by a moderator notice on the question, but we'd need SE to create such a notice. Again, if a user posts an illegal release as an answer, downvote/flag.

  3. Close the question and leave a comment to the OP stating that the question has to be explicitly asking for a legal version. If the OP edits the question themselves then reopen it, but do not edit it ourselves as it would change the intentions of the OP.

What method should we use to deal with these questions?


I suggest we take the second approach of editing the question to make it clear that we're only looking for legal releases. This makes these posts acceptable. Whether or not it exactly matches the OP's intentions is not completely relevant, because future visitors may also look for the same information. The reason for the edit privilege is so that users can improve questions which have minor problems, and this seems like a canonical example of that by fixing a small clarity issue. Comparing to the first option, I can't see any significant disadvantages, as all the edit does is improve the clarity of the question.

It also gives the OP the benefit of the doubt while simultaneously improving the question. If the OP is looking for a legal release, it hurts nothing to specify this (large net positive over option 3). If they're not, then we either convert a close-worthy question into a decent one if they abandon it (small net positive), or we end up closing it eventually anyway after they revert the edit (net neutral, but with a small amount more work). By contrast, if we close the question, this gets rid of a potentially decent question just because of how the OP phrased it, even if they actually were looking for a legal version.

Finally, this seems like the least maintenance, at least of the three methods I've described. The first is the only one likely to generate answers which need to be removed. The third one requires five close voters to agree to close the question. The second only requires a single edit adding a few words or a sentence, which can typically be made in a few seconds by a single high rep user.

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