Anonymous asked this question on 4/13/2000:
Please experts, make sure you know exactly what you're talking about before you give a reply to a request for advice. An answer based on hearsay or opinion especially in this case is totally unacceptable and can do more harm than good. Case in point - the recent request for advice on ECT. If you are not a trained professional who is thoroughly familiar with this procedure or a patient who has gone through a series of treatments, how can you conscientiously answer this person? Please, stick to what you really know about. Nobody's an expert at everything. Just because you're signed up here doesn't mean you have to answer every post.
CeeBee gave this response on 4/14/2000:
Hi, Concerned --
Your concern is exactly why I did not respond to the ECT question. I am not a psychiatrist who administers ECT treatments, nor have I ever experienced it myself. My only knowledge of it is what I have read and from a grandmother and an uncle who underwent many ECT treatments during their lifetimes. For them it seemed to work in that it pulled them out of cyclic and profound depressions so that they could return to a normal life for years until another bout of depression felled them.
Also, I have listed myself on only one site. That's all I can handle and still give thoughtful and helpful answers, even though I believe I am qualified for other pages. I try on this depression page to meet the questioner where he/she is and help find a reasonable, probably temporary, answer to get through the worst until a real-time professional can be consulted. I avoid questions on the board if they are beyond my capabilities.
The AskMe site is frequently suggested by librarians to patrons who are in need of quick and useful advice. For that reason alone (since I'm part of that profession and have a stake in information dissemination), I wish honesty and ethical performance were true of all the experts AskMe.com. I respect and value the experts who do their best to give clear and useful and accurate answers.
The average rating for this answer is 4.2.
Anonymous rated this answer a 5.
That's exactly what I'm talking about. See, you have the common sense and caring to answer when you can and to refrain when you're not qualified. There are some who don't and it's to them that I make this request, so they won't give potentially misleading or even dangerous answers.