Author Topic: Discussion Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???  (Read 1063 times)

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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I have read several posts recently, and not so recently, where support and sensible advices crossed into the realm of legal and medical diagnosis and advice in my humble opinion.  I personally see this as a potential legal red flag for the forum and the persons giving the advice.   

This is not a medical or legal hotline where qualified professionals have full protection of the laws.

What is the boundary here on the forum?

Another ‘Code of Conduct’???  Sorry, mods...

« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 06:41:21 AM by Acorn »
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Online Treasur

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 06:49:01 AM »
Makes sense to me, Acorn. Also bc in an online environment we have limited information about the individual.

Fine to suggest 'seek legal advice' or 'you might want to talk to a doctor' or 'this is a good book' or 'AlAnon was helpful for me'
And to say 'when I was doing mediation, I found it helped to do x' or 'when I felt like you, I found y medication or vitamins helpful'
But we all need to tread with care bc we are often dealing with others at their most vulnerable and just bc something worked for us it doesn't mean it will be good for someone else imho.

Three kinds of situations occur to me:
- when posters talk about suicide or self-harm
- active legal issues
- significant physical or mental health issues
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
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Online nah

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 06:59:55 AM »
Personally I like the old saying on here, "here's my advice, take it or leave it"

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Offline Thunder

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2019, 07:07:39 AM »
Acorn I agree with you but sometimes the medical or legal advice that has been given here but more just to answer a question one may have.

Things like how spousal maintenance is figured out, types of visitation rights, what you can negotiate over in Mediation, lawyers fees and how to cut down by doing certain things yourself, etc.  But they don't cross any lines.

Most of the time the information is also given with a warning that they need to check THEIR laws where they live because they could be very different in different states and countries.

Of someone is giving serious legal or medical advice it does cross the line. 
Like you said we are not experts in the legal field or medical field, and certainly not experts on their situation.  At least most of us aren't.

So I would say if it's general information, fine.  No more than that though.  You could be making matters worse for someone.

jmho   :)
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Offline OffRoad

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2019, 07:09:46 AM »
It depends on what is called "legal" or "medical"  advice, imo. In my case, I worked for an attorney and believe letting someone know " In my experience, this is something you might want to know so you can make an informed decision" is helpful.

I can't recall where someone said "Here is your diagnosis for cancer and a prescription for it" or anything like that, nor do I see where someone was told "If you do X, you can get off of a charge ".   I do see suggestions for what people could do, should be aware of, might consider, but then I take this as a forum of opinions, not facts.
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Online Mitzpah

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2019, 07:34:33 AM »
I think OR has it right :)

If I remember correctly, some time ago we had it written somewhere - possibly in the introduction to the mentor program? - that we were not professionals, therefore we could not give legal, medical opinions as such.

Personally, I will preface any comments on these subjects as being my opinion or experience, however, the person must have professional advice on subjects that merit it.

I cannot comment on legal aspects at all since I live in a country that is very different to the US or the UK!

I see the areas of concern that Treasur posted as pertinent and I think that most of the time, when these issues pop up, the advice given, in general, has been appropriate - pointing to local suicide hotlines, advising to consult lawyers/attorneys/solicitors and encouraging people to go to their local GP/psychiatrist when needed.

I don't find "in depth" discussions on specific, serious health issues (like when we had a thread on BVFTD...), legal issues (simply because laws vary from place to place) helpful because they take the focus off what this forum is for. There are forums which deal with these issues, if one is so inclined. I remember that I joined a forum for parents of children with cancer when I needed it, then, later I joined one on hysterectomies (!) which also helped at the time.



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D 24
BD 13 Dec 2010
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"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

Offline forthetrees

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2019, 07:51:16 AM »
Any licensed doctor or attorney giving personal advice on this forum would endanger their license. I think it´s fair then to assume that any advice or suggestions falling into the medical or legal realm given on the forum are from non-professionals. If you ban those topics, you lose out on information gained from personal experience.

When my Dad had pancreatic cancer, I was on a forum and those folks provided lots of useful advice that eased his suffering.
I am on a forum for the drug I take for MS and have gleaned useful advice for avoiding side effects.

For a forum that has members going for palm readings and astrological readings, I think we´re ok as is:)
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Offline Nas

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2019, 08:17:21 AM »
Good question, Acorn.  Many, many people here are dealing with serious health issues.  One would hope that a person dealing with a serious illness would have a team of professionals, or at least one primary care physician who is monitoring them and treating their illness. 

My guess is there are many people here who have health issues that they don't even share on the forum.
 Some do and some don't.  There's been a suggestion that in order to appropriately interact with a person on the forum, we need to take their illness into account and become educated about it.  I'd argue that our comments should not be different whether we do or don't know about an illness they might have.
 There's absolutely no reason why any of us should be concerning ourselves with someone's health issues or chronic illnesses because we should not be offering advice about health issues.  Beyond showing empathy for the additional challenges those health issues might pose, or sharing anecdotes ("I've heard that X is helpful for the illness you have, maybe you can ask your doctor about it...") there's nothing we can or should be doing. 

Most people preface their comments with "This is just my opinion" or something of the sort.  We all have a responsibility to act in our own best interest, and in cases of health or legal issues, that includes doing our due diligence in the real world.

Offline Ready2Transform

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2019, 08:31:49 AM »
Quote
If I remember correctly, some time ago we had it written somewhere - possibly in the introduction to the mentor program? - that we were not professionals, therefore we could not give legal, medical opinions as such.

This DID exist! And it was somewhere here on the main forum because I remember RCR posting about it that LawProfessor was helping her sort it. I'm not seeing where that is now, but it might be a good time to revisit it.

I 100% used to give nutritional supplement info every chance I got because (for me) that was the number one helper in re-establishing stability in both mind and body. In the earlier years my tunnel vision was very much geared toward still being a fixer. Now it's much easier to suggest things but know that not only is everyone going to heal in their own way, but they're also grown people who can discover that way on their own. It's just easier to detach.

There are some basic truths that I'll admit, it's a relief to see that a general consensus can see when there are red flags in a situation legally. I'm sure most of us enter this process without a lot of experience with the court systems, and the encouragement to not be naive and think there will be a movie-like emotional outcome in most situations is for the best. But always, "Talk to your attorney" is the only advice that matters because that's the person that will be standing there with you, who knows the law in your jurisdiction, and more importantly, knows the judge! Many times s/he is the game changer in our cases.

We all mean well. But we gotta learn when to shut up.  ;D ;)
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Offline Nas

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Re: Support and advice on the forum. Where do you draw the line???
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2019, 08:39:15 AM »

but they're also grown people who can discover that way on their own.


This.

 

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