How to go about people seeking medical advice on Socratic?

I see an increasing number of questions from people seeking medical advice. I don't think these questions belong on Socratic and I don't feel comfortable answering these. I do however see other contributors answering these questions. What is the standpoint of Socratic on this? Is there a way to either mark these questions or have a standard answer?

5 Answers
Jul 8, 2016

Asking questions (perhaps in anatomy, for example) could be for one's education or self interest. I find nothing wrong with asking a question, as long as it belongs in that subject, for whatever reason.


I can see why it doesn't feel comfortable. Socratic was meant (primarily) for education, and asking about your health issues can be awkward.

But Socratic is also a center for asking questions, regardless the topic. I think it is 100% reasonable to ask any medical questions here, again, if they are found in the appropriate subjects.

You can't always tell for sure whether someone is asking for their knowledge or not, but it shouldn't matter.

I just gave my opinion on this. I would still wait for someone more 'official' to answer though.

Jul 8, 2016

I would suggest that any answer to a question which seems medically related should include a disclaimer directing consultation with a medical professional.


Depending (perhaps) on the country you are in, providing medical advice (especially if you are not a licensed medical caregiver) might leave you (and ? libel to being sued.

Following up on prior comments, I think it's important that no one on the site give "medical advice" (differentiating that from "medical knowledge").


There is a big difference between receiving "medical information" such as "how does one get a bladder infection" and asking for advice, such as "how does one treat a bladder infection". The legal implications aside for a moment, we need people to understand that, by dispensing advice, they are potentially putting someone into harm's way (DISCLAIMER/CONFESSION - I dispense advice at times when answering English grammar questions that are concerned with writing, essay composition, and other forms of communication.)

To perhaps overstate the importance of this (or overstate it more - lol), if Socratic fields a question such as "Should I get vaccinations for my kids?", or "Can I treat HIV using a raw food diet?", or even "I think I may have a cold, what should I do?" - any answer could do more harm than good.

And since we're on the topic of the difference between "information" and "advice" - there may very well come a time when we're dealing with taxes, finances, or other topics where the ability to dispense advice that can potentially cause harm is present and we'll be bringing this question up again.

Jul 15, 2016

Argh! I wrote an essay (seriously it was probably 750-1,000 words) expressing my concerns, then my computer's battery died. That's humbling. I'll post a response (a shorter one) tomorrow.

Aug 18, 2016

I think Socratic can become a great platform to make people aware about their diseases , but obviously this platform should not be used to provide 'medical advice'.


I would like to share something in this regard with you all: once I met a distraught mother who had a beautiful albino daughter. She could not accept the fact that her child was not 'normal'. When I explained her that the child could be an albino only because both her parents are carrying the 'gene' and that its a matter of chance that her child has been affected, she felt empowered. Since then she has stopped cribbing about her child's condition. And I think it has done more good to the child as she is not anymore bogged down by her condition.

I regularly come across people who want to know more about diet, cancer, diabetes, hypothyroidism, autoimmunity, etc. This could be due to the fact that in India doctors are so overworked that they do not often have time to explain the diseases they treat.

If someone comes up with questions regarding their diseases I hope resource persons on this platform will be able to help them. At the same time, diagnosis and treatment will definitely remain beyond the objective of socratic.