Sanctions applied to topic areas, especially topic bans, may be characterised as broadly construed.
As described by arbitrator SirFozzie:
- Broadly construed means that one shouldn't attempt to "nibble around the edges", so to speak. If there's problems in topic area A, we don't want people to move on to "related topic B" and continuing. If there's doubt, don't do it, and get clarification first.
Whether or not a particular edit violates a sanction is determined on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, other editors are unlikely to be impressed by defenses based around the precise wording of a restriction, or other reasoning that is not obviously based in a genuine misunderstanding. In the case of personal sanctions such as topic bans, breaches are also likely to be interpreted as attempts to evade the sanction and/or as attempts to continue the behavior which led to it.
"Broadly construed" is also used when defining the topic areas affected by discretionary sanctions. In particular, if there is any plausible dispute over whether DS applies in a specific case (for example, definitional disputes: whether a particular issue counts as a type of American political issue, whether a particular practice counts as a type of alternative medicine, etc), that is normally taken to mean that it does.