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.
pain1 gave this response on 4/14/2000:
AT LAST !!!!
For ages now I have been concerned about members having so many sites with their profile on them..you are right to say it is not possible for anyone to be an expert, or to have experienced so much in all these areas..particulaly some of the younger members.
I guess, from your comments, you may well be an ex/or current patient who underwent some ECT teatment? I may be wrong and you may either know someone who has or indeed be a doctor yourself..none the less your point is very valid in all areas of this site.
I have, as you will see from some of my answers, asked several people to send their question on because I am not able to give a real, sensible, answer..or a safe one. I do get to know some people on the site, specialists and so on and would rather refer them on than take a chance at giving misleading advice. I have an arangement with two Ortho Doctors who are very happy for me to pass people on...that is..I feel..a great help in itself. Just because I can't answer the question doesn't mean I can't help...I can by giving the questioner a name to link to.
I have long been worried, as you may have seen, that some people are giving advice that could be both misleading and, in the worst case, dangerous. Some of the members here, despite all good intentions..are registered on far too many subjects to be giving good, sound advice.
Thank you for making the point so well and I look foward to seing some of the answers you get..I have, as yet, not had time to read any..but I will...and I will be suprised if most don't come from those members I have been talking about !
Best wishes and good luck to you.
The average rating for this answer is 4.3.
Anonymous rated this answer a 5.
My point exactly sir! You are correct in assuming that I've been a patient. I'm not a professional and I know first hand how damaging it can be for unqualified people to give advice. It's most incorrect for some to assume that the people who post here for advice will know how to sift through all of the answers for the right one. Your willingness to thoughtfully consider your qualifications and to be humble enough to decline answering in certain cases only shows that you are the type of person who belongs on this site!