What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 128 Stack Exchange communities.

Although my question is specific to Super User, I feel it does affect all the sites.

People come to the forum for advice, some times the advice given is not ideal.

For example, suppose someone had a computer issue and I proposed a solution. In this contrived example, my advice was to get a more powerful PSU and do something which would affect the warranty of the machine, which in turn, fried the entire machine and wiped the data etc.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's up the individual to know what they're doing IMO, but the advice someone has received from these sites has caused the issue (in this case, a broken computer). This issue could affect all the sites (where one could give programming advice which has undesired results could lead to wasted money or un-scalable applications, for example).

Is anyone concerned about this? I haven't read the T&C and we know, most people don't. Coupled with, I don't understand most T&C's / disclaimers any way, but, are we (the individuals posting answers) covered by any disclaimer on behalf of the SO sites?

share|improve this question
    
A fair question (my gut instinct is that the default case protects those giving the advice as long as it's given outside a professional setting [lawyers, doctors...], but it's surely interesting to find out for sure). Related: Question asking for medical advice -- is this a liability problem? –  Pëkka Jan 8 '13 at 15:44
    
I would say that it is the responsibility of the OP to think about the answers and any damage they might result in. Especially, if the OP is a professional working for a company (and should have prior knowledge) –  Veger Jan 8 '13 at 15:47
    
I guess it's not on you, because the user should definately think for himself, what he is doing. For example, he should not delete the grub, If I say to delete it. He should question himself what and why he is doing. –  mtk Jan 8 '13 at 15:48
    
@Veger, even if we think about it and give generally the best advice we can, sometimes, we get it wrong (if we miss-understood the question or the question wasn't clear, for example). –  Dave Rook Jan 8 '13 at 15:49
    
I'm hoping there is a dislcaimer when we sign up which says "any advice taken from the forum is up to the person asking the question to ensure is valid and will not break things". I would suspect the site takes no responsibility, but I doubt I'm part of the site! –  Dave Rook Jan 8 '13 at 15:50
1  
@DaveRook, exactly! The OP should realize this and check the provided answers (instead of blindly following the given advice) –  Veger Jan 8 '13 at 15:50
    
It seems are all in agreement, but I wonder what the elves here who control it all think? –  Dave Rook Jan 8 '13 at 15:51
12  
If there was any liability about community websites giving out stupid and dangerous advice then Yahoo Answers would've been taken down long ago. –  JonW Jan 8 '13 at 15:51
    
This problem is considerably worse for us on The Workplace because many questions are related to career decisions and bad advice there can, well, have far worse consequences than a broken computer.... –  enderland Jan 8 '13 at 19:51
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It looks like there is some liability protection here.

From the Stackexchange legal page:

To the fullest extent allowed by law, Stack Exchange disclaims any liability or responsibility for the accuracy, reliability, availability, completeness, legality or operability of the material or services provided on this Network. By using this Network, you acknowledge that Stack Exchange is not responsible or liable for any harm resulting from (1) use of the Network; (2) downloading information contained on the Network including but not limited to downloads of content posted by subscribers; (3) unauthorized disclosure of images, information or data that results from the upload, download or storage of content posted by subscribers; (4) the temporary or permanent inability to access or retrieve any Subscriber Content from the Network, including, without limitation, harm caused by viruses, worms, trojan horses, or any similar contamination or destructive program.

Also:

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; (b) damages for loss of use, profits, data, images, Subscriber Content or other intangibles; (c) damages for unauthorized use, non-performance of the Network, errors or omissions; or (d) damages related to downloading or posting Content. Stack Exchange's and the Network's collective liability under this agreement shall be limited to three hundred United States Dollars. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to Subscriber.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I think we're covered by the Terms of Service. See section 9. Limitation of liability (emphasis added):

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; (b) damages for loss of use, profits, data, images, Subscriber Content or other intangibles; (c) damages for unauthorized use, non-performance of the Network, errors or omissions; or (d) damages related to downloading or posting Content. Stack Exchange's and the Network's collective liability under this agreement shall be limited to three hundred United States Dollars. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to Subscriber.

share|improve this answer
1  
Highly related is my answer here, the second half of which appears to have been fixed by your bold text. The first half hasn't though... –  ben is uǝq backwards Jan 8 '13 at 16:11
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .