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Old 09-27-2016, 04:13 PM   #1
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Forum advice liability

Just wondering about the liability involved with giving "advice" online. Being a surveyor and ABYC certified master tech, I see way too many "contributors" without a clue. Wouldn't be hard to go back in the event of a loss and prove who the contributor was. Is there a blanket disclaimer when you join these forums stating such? I just get tired of arguing with clueless idiots, and give up.

Unfortunately most people looking for advice do so because they are trying to save a buck, and the cheapest/easiest suggestions always seem to be taken.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:29 PM   #2
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Don't get mad at me but I disagree on what you said.
I am a beginner so bare with me for giving my opinion on the subject.
If some are seeking advice it can be for self education or to get a second opinion.
It is the responsability of everybody to do his homework and think before just applying advice.
If someone advise me to bang my head on the wall because it is a relief when you stop, if I do it I am a bloody idiot and responsible to be one.
Moreover I don't think that any certification prevent someone to give a bad advice as it has also to see with knowlege, ethic, interest and many other things.
I would risk a parallel with some mechanics who will tell you that you need to do 2000$ of repair when they know the issue is a 2$ fix. This does not mean all mechanics are bad but not all are good too.

It would be too easy to say I did something wrong because that guy on the web told me to do it. A forum is a source of information like any other media, your duty to check the information before believing it.

Sorry to argue with you
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:12 PM   #3
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Well this promises to be a lively little thread
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sealife View Post
Just wondering about the liability involved with giving "advice" online. Being a surveyor and ABYC certified master tech, I see way too many "contributors" without a clue. Wouldn't be hard to go back in the event of a loss and prove who the contributor was. Is there a blanket disclaimer when you join these forums stating such? I just get tired of arguing with clueless idiots, and give up.

Unfortunately most people looking for advice do so because they are trying to save a buck, and the cheapest/easiest suggestions always seem to be taken.
In your case (being a professional) it may be different. For us non professionals, think someone would have to prove intent of malice to get anywhere in court. Don't think any court is going to hold a person (not a doctor) liable for telling someone else to take 2 aspirin for a headache, and then it turns out he had a brain tumor.

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Old 09-27-2016, 05:33 PM   #5
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heck I could just go back and show my surveys as a yardstick.....wouldn't be even a roll of the dice between giving advice over the Internet versus a person doing an inspection with so many errors.

I don't blame surveyors as their job to find stuff without taking stuff apart or destructive testing is nearly impossible to bat a 1000.....so how can someone giving advice over the Internet be held liable unless it is so precisely laid out that it is obvious malice was the intent.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:38 PM   #6
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Of course you will find both good and bad advice on forums; from novices and from professionals. It's the internet. Is there someone who thinks it is all true?

There seems to be a paranoia about liability with so many things, even when there is absolutely no risk of litigation.

(Disclaimer - This may not be true)
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:44 PM   #7
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:28 PM   #8
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My first opportunity to work on a boat was at the age of 10, seems I was the only person who could fit in the back of a neighbors Chris Craft. My mentors were grateful for it and I've been working on boats since then and continue to learn something new everyday. Just today, after returning from a trip of a lifetime, with the main compass, auto pilot and Raymarine chart plotter that none of them would sync up with the same heading, we found that the monitor I installed to plug into the IPad was giving off a strong magnetic field that effected them all. Took it out, an surprise, they all worked out fine.

I was raised to accept responsibility for your own actions. No matter how painful it may be, look in the mirror first before you blame someone else.
In today's society, people tend to wanna blame someone else first. And That's a shame. We have become a sue happy society. And why not! Were bombarded with advertisements daily by ambulance chasers.
I for one really appreciate the advise given on this forum. My hope is that we will continue to freely do so as we have done in the past.
And I will willingly give advise if it helps a fellow boater out. Just remember that advise on the inter web is just that.
Cheers!
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:29 PM   #9
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The way I've rationalized it, is to give as much weight to advice given on Internet forums as one would give to conversations overheard on a bus. The responsibility is mine to confirm accuracy/relevance.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sealife View Post
Just wondering about the liability involved with giving "advice" online. Being a surveyor and ABYC certified master tech, I see way too many "contributors" without a clue. Wouldn't be hard to go back in the event of a loss and prove who the contributor was. Is there a blanket disclaimer when you join these forums stating such? I just get tired of arguing with clueless idiots, and give up.

Unfortunately most people looking for advice do so because they are trying to save a buck, and the cheapest/easiest suggestions always seem to be taken.

Just because your a so called surveyor and ABYC certified master tech how good is the advice your given on the forum is it any better than the burger tosser from Mc Donald's
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:49 PM   #11
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Read TOS for the forum.
Good call.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:11 PM   #12
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psneeld, we have all had a bad survey experience, it's actually the reason I went for training. I thought there has to be a better way. And yes, there is never enough time to look at what the insurance and finance companies want, and cover everything the buyer wants. At least not with out doing more than the few hours the broker wants to give you.

Donna, TOS? Excuse my ignorance, I'm pretty new to forums.

Crusty Chief, I agree its a sad state of affairs. But my Lawyer sister is always up my a.. about such things. SAMS recently polled its members about interst in errors and omissions insurance. It's getting ugly out there.

gaston, I understand Australia is very different, as I just had a discussion with a guy building his own fuel tank! It's funny how people without credentials always want to argue about the worthlessness of credentials. You go ahead and hire a burger tosser if it makes you happy. Just don't complain when it bites you in the a..
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:57 PM   #13
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Anyone who relies solely on anonymous, no accountability, crowd-sourced information to make a decision is a fool. All it gives you is some clues or hints. Worth exactly what you pay for, and that is the extent of any "liability".

TOS is "terms of service" by the way.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:01 PM   #14
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I think that the concept of liability would stem from a relationship between you and the person you're giving advice too. I think lacking a financial relationship, the advice you've given which is free would not be subject to any errors or omissions

And to the OP, don't take this the wrong way but being a certified anything doesn't mean squat to me. It's the substance of the advice you give that has importantance, your credentials are unimportant.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:02 PM   #15
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George, I totally agree, most people do. I'm not asking about right, wrong, or common sense. I'm curious as to the legal aspects. I'll try to find TOS, I would have to think it is in there, you know the 5000 words everyone always accepts without reading for everything these days! Your signature line sums it up perfectly.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
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The way I've rationalized it, is to give as much weight to advice given on Internet forums as one would give to conversations overheard on a bus. The responsibility is mine to confirm accuracy/relevance.
That about sums it up, and the best explanation I have heard emerge. It is still basically, buyer beware, and no guarantee offered, in my view.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:53 PM   #17
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gaston, I understand Australia is very different, as I just had a discussion with a guy building his own fuel tank! It's funny how people without credentials always want to argue about the worthlessness of credentials. You go ahead and hire a burger tosser if it makes you happy. Just don't complain when it bites you in the a..

Pfft credentials mean nothing its whats behind the credentials that matters. I would have more faith in a nurse trained in Australia than a PHD doctor from India and in the past sacked more ppl with credentials than without. It also seem the ones with credentials love ppl to know they have them
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Old 09-28-2016, 02:50 AM   #18
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Something I observed many times - education is a poor substitute for intelligence. There is at least one of us here that is not impressed with the job many surveyors do.
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Old 09-28-2016, 03:15 AM   #19
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We seem to have moved from liability for advice given on TF, to shafting in advance any professionals, including the OP, who might give it.
There is/was law in the UK and Australia(maybe followed elsewhere) that someone who gives gratuitous (meaning without fee, not meaning offensive) advice they are in the business of giving, in circumstances when they know or expect the advice will be followed, can be liable for advice given negligently. Malice is no requirement.
But, that`s all far too serious. Look at all the input on a issue, and make your own decision. If you prefer the advice of the unqualified over the advice of the qualified, that`s your choice. Based on the above, if he`s wrong and you suffer loss he`s off the hook and was probably never on it.
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:49 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Sealife View Post
Just wondering about the liability involved with giving "advice" online. Being a surveyor and ABYC certified master tech, I see way too many "contributors" without a clue. Wouldn't be hard to go back in the event of a loss and prove who the contributor was. Is there a blanket disclaimer when you join these forums stating such? I just get tired of arguing with clueless idiots, and give up.

Unfortunately most people looking for advice do so because they are trying to save a buck, and the cheapest/easiest suggestions always seem to be taken.
For the most part, forum owners and moderators in the United States are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Their immunity was upheld in several court cases especially when the TOS of the forum were very clear. TOS can be considered as a contract which has the force of law between the contracting parties and consequently produces effects.

Having said that, actually I'm surprised that a so called professional "surveyor and ABYC certified master tech" wish to call our honorable friends 'clueless idiots'. Our knowledge is mostly acquired through direct experience, we simply use whatever skills we have which we bring on the table, just exchanging views, practices, analyses, recommendations and interrogations with those of other on what sounds true or good to us. Because nobody and nothing is perfect, we have come here to learn and to share.

Well, we must be realistic enough to understand, as Peter B well said "it is still basically, buyer beware, and no guarantee offered" which is the principle of a forum. We often say "IMO" - implicitly or explicitly - in this cautious way that we will recommend thing and advice.

We often lack the necessary knowledge, we are ignorant (even if some people here don't like the word) in many topics, starting with me. Therefore if however a substantial mistake may be showed, since you are a professional, nothing prevents you to chime in and to give recommendations for corrective measures, you are very welcome to do this.

I always welcome guidance and advices, but I don't like people who simply act by giving lessons and pointing the finger. If you think that some of us are clueless idiots enough for you, you know what to do, we are not holding you prisoner here.
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