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Here on Mi Yodeya, we are careful to remind people that they should not rely on this or any website for practical halachic decisions. Nonetheless, it is almost certain that some people take what they read on Mi Yodeya as the final word on halacha. What kind of responsibility do people who answer questions here bear for the halachic mistakes of people who read their answers? Does it matter whether the answer was wrong or the reader simply misapplied the principles outlined in the answer?

I read in a biography of the Chafetz Chayim that he refused to take a position as the local halachic authority because he would be responsible for the transgressions of the people in town. Might the same issue apply here if people are using Mi Yodeya as a halachic authority?

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    The position akin to the Ch"Ch's would be to refuse to be designated as the posek of the Internet, or whatever, which we've done. He didn't refrain from writing. – Isaac Moses Sep 19 '14 at 13:18
  • @IsaacMoses that doesn't mean he wasn't responsible for what people did as a result of reading his writings. Maybe he assumed that anybody reading his work would be able and willing to follow it properly. Not the case for us. – Daniel Sep 19 '14 at 13:24
  • I guess the average person likely to open a Mishna Berura is slightly better-equipped to use the information properly than the average person likely to read MY, but not tremendously so. – Isaac Moses Sep 19 '14 at 13:27
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    See my argument in the third paragraph of this answer. – Isaac Moses Sep 19 '14 at 13:34
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I recognize the irony in answering a halachic question on MY about how careful one should be when answering halachic questions on MY, and furthermore, that I’m doing so based on another answer to another halachic question on here. So with my CYLOR disclaimer out of the way...

I’d previously asked about teaching Torah to non-Jews, and I received an answer quoting Rav Weinberg that it’s completely permissible to answer a non-Jew’s Torah query, as the prohibition is violated by his intent, which you have no control over.

Drawing a parallel to this case, there’s nothing you can do about what someone does with your answers on here. We have CYLOR disclaimers all over the place, and we close questions asking for psak. If someone wants to take information here halacha l’maaseh, that’s not something we have control over, and therefore, we shouldn’t have to worry about it.

But, uh, ask your Rav before following this advice.

  • I might just add to this important answer that The type of people that actualy follow whats written on the website for Pesak cannot be considerred transgressors, as they assume this is what the Rabbi would say if enough people agree to the answer. – user15464 Jan 27 at 11:01
  • @user15464 By the same logic we can’t be worried for how people will use the answer when we upvote. – DonielF Jan 27 at 16:00

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