The question Does an Employer moonlighting clause relate to personal side projects, and do I need permission? has been closed by five community members as off-topic.
The question could somewhat be construed as an employment law issue. While we're not lawyers, we do have workplace experience, and our experiences may still be valuable, so long as the questions aren't directly asking "Is this legal", as we're simply not qualified to answer that.
Focus on whether or not Workplace Experts can answer
On day 2 of private beta, Andrew asks Are employment law questions off-topic?. Thomas Owens comes up with this guideline to help determine if an employment law question is on topic:
Could I, in a professional environment, be expected to know the answer to this question?
I personally know many people who work on side projects where it's both encouraged and allowed, in addition to their own work; and I've also worked in places and have had friends who have worked in places where this is not allowed. While I couldn't give a definitive legal answer like "if you don't tell your employer, you'll be sued for X amount", I can offer steps to help that person determine the right course of action for their unique situation.
Based on this criteria, for this situation, I would not have closed it.
Additionally, Tangurena says the following when referring to the open question on sharing salary information with others:
Many questions are going to wander into matters of law. As an example, the question on whether folks should share salary information ends up squarely in the domain of a regulatory agency in the US. While almost none of us will be lawyers, and thus we cannot be giving legal advice, most employment matters are covered by laws and regulations.
In the salary example, and in the personal project example, both questions drift into a legal area, but there is also a professional Workplace component to them, one that can affect a person's relationship to his/her boss. Specifically, this is a trust component.
It's subjective, of course, but this entire site is about a subjective topic, and as long as we get good answers based on facts, references, or specific expertise, I'm inclined to think the question is acceptable.
Using Answers As a Guide on Borderline Questions:
From the blog post Real Questions Have Answers, Jeff states the following:
...the six guidelines above depend partly on the questions, and partly on the answers.
Out of two answers, one of them is really good. (The other doesn't drift into the legal area, it's just doesn't provide much explanation). Thus, if faced with a question that could be answered by a lawyer, but that doesn't have to be answered by a lawyer), if it's getting good answers, can we use answers to justify keeping it open?
Summary of proposed guidelines when evaluating questions:
Assuming lawyers can answer the question, could we, as workplace members, also answer the question with facts, references, or specific expertise?
If a question is getting good answers, should this help justify keeping the question open, using the same logic Jeff uses for polling questions in Real Questions Have Answers.
What are reasons for and against these guidelines as it pertains to the Workplace SE?