When I answer questions on the EE site I always wonder, and worry, about this open ended part of the whole setup.

Reading the SE terms and conditions, it is apparent that they have written them in such away as to remove any liabilities on their part for anything posted by the users.

  1. Warranty disclaimer

Stack Exchange has no special relationship with or fiduciary duty to Subscriber. Subscriber acknowledges that Stack Exchange has no control over, and no duty to take any action regarding: which users gains access to the Network; which Content Subscriber accesses via the Network; what effects the Content may have on Subscriber; how Subscriber may interpret or use the Content; or what actions Subscriber may take as a result of having been exposed to the Content. Much of the Content of the Network is provided by and is the responsibility of the user or subscriber who posted the Content.

That of course, means we, as users, are responsible for our own advice.

Granted, as an Engineer, it is my responsibility to convey the appropriate advice to the OP, which is as it should be. However, I have no way to control what might happen tomorrow, or even two years from now. Someone may think they have a similar issue and apply the advice given inappropriately ending in an unfortunate loss, and a potential lawsuit.

That leaves me rather concerned, almost to the point of wanting to add a disclaimer, as a footnote, to the bottom of every answer, which of course, would quickly turn into a rather ugly situation with everyone using different disclaimers. Legally speaking it might be prudent to have a common user liability agreement which gets tagged as a link on the end of answers.

Or perhaps something else... it gets tricky..


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  • \$\begingroup\$ For a moment there I assumed you were from the U.S. \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Dec 3 '17 at 0:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you just want to know what you are really liable to with these terms, and make sure there are no actual risks for you, without necessarily requiring the terms to be changed, maybe that would be something to ask on law.stackexchange.com. You may get more factual, relevant answers than on the main meta site, where passionate opinions might quickly color the debate, as @laptop said. \$\endgroup\$ – dim Dec 13 '17 at 10:16

I think it's a fair question. Something like it has already been asked on the main SE Meta site as mentioned in the answer from @laptop2d and closed because it's not related to the running of the SE site software itself, but it was then re-asked on the SE Legal site:

What legal liability does one's participation on Stack Exchange carry?

Unfortunately, the accepted answer begins with "I imagine that..." which is never a good sign.

However, it does make good points regardless. In a nutshell, it comes down to whether we as participants can be proved in court to have a duty of care towards other participants and concludes that it's extremely unlikely.

I certainly make sure to advise seeking professional help when I consider it's necessary, especially when anyone starts messing around with mains power, high voltages or dangerous components.

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You do realize that you would have to run this through the people that actually run the site and program it, in which questions like this should be directed to the meta.SE site. They are unlikely to make a change if it 1) there isn't a good reason for a change 2) if it doesn't fit into the grand mission of SE

I can almost guarantee that a question for a site revision like this would get shot down almost immediately, but you are more then welcome to try and see how many votes your question got on the meta.SE :) I'm willing to bet you would be redirected to read the legal disclaimer (that is at the bottom of every page)

Make sure you know what your talking about, and do some research before posting, here are some related questions:

What legal liability does one's participation on Stack Exchange carry?

Liability with advice

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes Laptop. I have read all those, and none of them cover the user/subscriber. They cover MEMBER, but that, in legalese is something different... see thebalance.com/…. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Dec 2 '17 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ You need to read Section 5, Warranty disclaimer carefully, there you sign away SE from any liability for anything you may post. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Dec 2 '17 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ "In no event shall Stack Exchange, its directors, officers, shareholders, employees or members be liable with respect to the Network or the Services for (a) any indirect, incidental, punitive, or consequential damages of any kind whatsoever;" \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Dec 2 '17 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ To my knowledge, If you read questions on the site, you are bound to the TOS \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Dec 2 '17 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Again .. you are reading Member as members of the user-group. Members.. means members of stack-exchange the company. Totally different thing. the TOS means you cant sue stack exchange, the users who give the advice on the other hand, SE has washed their hands. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Dec 2 '17 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ As I said, it is legalese, but if you can read the latter, you will see the users who submit answers are on their own. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Dec 2 '17 at 23:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, then we'd all better stop posting because we could get sued \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Dec 3 '17 at 0:36

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