I see a lot of questions closed for being off-topic because they are about “company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies.”

What should be “in” and “out” given this description of off-topic questions?

For example, a question was recently closed as company-specific, but it was asking about the behavior of equity compensation in general - the question is relevant to any firm offering equity compensation. This seems like it would be a helpful question to have on the site and is broadly applicable to many different work situations, but was deemed too specific.

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    It's likely that this particular question was closed due to "Questions seeking legal advice should be directed to legal professionals." We have some folks who would rather vote to close than do anything else. Sometimes they stretch for reasons to vote. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 2:32
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    @JoeStrazzere I'm part of the people who flagged that specific question as being a request for legal advice. Debt settlement and pay obligations are regulated by local laws and I think OP should be seeking legal advice from a qualified local lawyer, especially because no further details are given (location? type of legal entity?) Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


Personally, I only consider things "company specific" if the person seems to be asking a question about something we would expect to be in their company's policies, and which we would have no legitimate way of answering unless we knew that company's policies or practices. In other words, there are often questions that fall into a gray area, and may be salvageable or answerable versus just knee-jerk VTC'ing anything that is remotely company specific.

Some over-simplified examples of topics that seem to attract company specific VTCs:

  • How far in advance do I have to request a PTO day?
  • Can my boss let me take a day off even though I don't have any PTO remaining?
  • Should my team lead be changing who is assigned to which project?
  • Should my project manager be the one approving my time sheet?
  • Who should I get to approve my expense report?

While the literal answer to these questions may in fact be written in a company policy somewhere, I find that this does not always mean that voting to close is the best reaction. What I usually try to do in these cases is:

  • If the question is in a gray area, post an answer that explains "you might want to check with your company policy, but typically such and such is the case..."
  • If there is a "generic" on topic version of the question, and it would still likely give the asker what they're looking for while running less risk of attracting VTCs, edit the question to make it less company-specific.
  • If it's not clear what they're asking, or it's not clear if a generic version of the question would be helpful, leave a comment asking them to clarify.
  • If the question is clearly company specific, leave a comment advising them that the best way for them to get an answer will be to check their company policy or ask their boss. I find that specific, personal comments like this are more helpful than just VTC'ing, which gives the generic statement you're quoting, plus the generic "legal advice" statement Joe quoted. This seems to confuse the few people who actually read the VTC text and try to stay engaged, because "company specific" and "legal advice" get globbed together. Plus, in general, people rarely seem to stay engaged and respond appropriately to generic text, while comments do sometimes keep the asker hooked long enough to continue participating.
  • As a last resort, if none of the above applies, and/or the asker doesn't re-engage or respond to comments at all, vote to close.

I'm going to answer with another question - is it possible to make separate VTC for "Company-Specific" and "Legal Advice"?

This specific case provided in the question is attracting a lot of VTC (including my flag) because it is request for legal advice - even if the OPs for both the original question and this one don't see it like that.

Debt settlement, bankruptcy, company disbanding and "who needs to pay what to whom" type of procedure is defined by local laws and regulations, which can be very convoluted in some countries - this question is also missing location, so the usual assumption is that OP is sitting in the US which might or might not be the case - so the best course of action given the question parameters would be "seek advice from a qualified professional", in this case it would be either a lawyer or a chartered accountant.

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    You should probably ask this in a separate question, rather than as an Answer. ANd you might mention what added value would be provided by having two VTC reasons, rather than the combined one as exists now. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 11:18
  • @JoeStrazzere will do :) I'll also link back to this question as to provide the rationale Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 11:48

I've always found the "company specific" to never apply unless it is actually company specific. (strange, I know) I actually can't think of a specific example.

Therefore, I almost never invoke that one.

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