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This question on the Bicycles beta seems to be a bit of red flag, liability-wise:

What do you do to heal yourself more quickly after a crash?

I started a thread about my concerns in the meta.bicycles site: On or off topic: Medical advice

Has this ever come up before on other sites?

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That's some photo. –  Peter Ajtai Sep 15 '10 at 3:07
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Came up on Food as well. But seriously, drink used marinades. They're tasty. –  Shog9 Sep 15 '10 at 3:14
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I know one site where this will not be a problem: The Apocalyptic Defense site when it gets resurrected one day. Medical advice will be fair game there, as it always relates to a situation where there is no more civilization, hence, no lawyers who could sue you for bad advice. –  Pëkka Sep 15 '10 at 4:19
    
    
Related: proposal for a health stack exchange site. –  Garrett Mar 9 at 6:10

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On Stack Overflow the community have generally gotten behind "Ask a doctor, not the internet" type answers and comments.

On sites relating to more physical activities the culture may be a little different, but you could start by trying "See an expert" type advice and seeing if the community goes with it.

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I think there are sites where disallowing anything medical would really take away a big chunk from the site's question base - e.g. cycling. –  Pëkka Sep 15 '10 at 3:57
    
@Pekka: In which case I imagine the community won't go for it. Any martial arts related site will be like that too. On a camping/hiking type site you would expect first aid to be a topic of some interest. This is going to have to be thrashed out where and as it comes up, but I think that suggesting a professional opinion is fair more-or-less every time. –  dmckee Sep 15 '10 at 4:09
    
absolutely. I imagine most pieces of advice would contain a "You should ask a doctor about this, but..." part, which is fine –  Pëkka Sep 15 '10 at 4:22

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Part (a) seems to be applicable in this situation.

Section 9 of the Terms of Service.

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That's good to know, but is it still a good idea to allow this sort of question? Do we want to stomp a question like this? (Crashing a bicycle is a pretty common situation.) –  Neil Fein Sep 15 '10 at 3:08
    
@Neil Is there a good reason not to allow it? For example, is it off-topic according to the A51 example questions? –  waiwai933 Sep 15 '10 at 3:10
    
Aside from potential liability issues (addressed about), I can't think of any reason. The community isn't really weighing in on this, which is another problem entirely. –  Neil Fein Sep 15 '10 at 19:50

Wikipedia has a medical disclaimer that gets linked to from every page.

Maybe these could be adopted, and shown a bit more prominently e.g. if the question has a specific tag (medical, legal....)?

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In general, mosts answers have side-effects; anyone who tried to come back against a StackOverflow answer with "your coding snippet failed in my production system and we've lost orders worth $LOTS_OF_CURRENCY_UNITS" would be laughed at.

Medical liability is a particularly obvious edge case, but the general defence of "you should have consulted a professional" seems sound.

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