There’s been worry before, and talk about, actually prohibiting threads asking for medical and legal information or “advice” completely. At one point, Creative Loafing - the then owners of The Straight Dope Message Board - was concerned that they, not a poster, might be sued if a post containing potentially harmful or ineffective suggestion were made and someone actually followed it. Or so the scuttlebutt went.
Whether any website has been sued over bad advice before is something I just don’t know, so I can’t speak as to whether it’s a realistic concern or not. Putting in very specific disclaimers has become something of an unspoken compromise, or at least that’s how I use it. I’m willing to make a halfhearted attempt to cover their ass if it keeps the lawyers happy.
Plus, yeah…I’m a nurse. I’m not *your *nurse. I can speak in generalities but I can’t speak to your case with any certainty. Nursing requires hands-on assessment for most things; I can’t tell you if what you have is a boil, but I can link you to pictures of boils, tell you the most common treatments for boils and pros and cons of each. I’m honest about whether I think you should seek medical attention; I don’t automatically say so, because I don’t think it’s always necessary, and I know it’s often not realistic, given the state of healthcare access in the US. It’s nice when an OP posts an acknowledgement of that and saves me the effort of posting the disclaimers, especially since I often put fairly significant effort into my responses as it is.
I am not an Official Board Historian. Nothing in the post should be taken as advice or dogma, or as the opinion of The Straight Dope Message Boards, its heirs, thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, nor a few total dipsticks.