I recall learning that one is not allowed to "venue shop" by asking a series of rabbis for a practical halachic ruling and following the opinion you like. I was taught that one should ask and be bound by the answer he receives (in fact, in my community, the women kept a loose track of which rabbi was most understanding for which type of question and would choose a rabbi to ask based on the desired, or at least expected, outcome).
A couple of related questions develop from this:
- How binding are volumes of Sh"UT? If I look up a halacha in one of them, is that my "ask and answer" process or can I reject it, and read more responsa, or then ask a rabbi?
1a. Are sifrei halacha binding? If I read one code, may I then go and read another if I am looking for a particular answer?
- Are online chats and "ask the rabbi" emails binding?
- Are websites which catalogue psaks and allow the user to plug in a question and get an answer binding? (I tried the http://www.practicalhalacha.com/ site and after a very machmir answer to my question, it also said CYLOR)
Mi Yodeya takes great pains to say that issues are not paskened here and one should, for any practical question, consult a rabbi. Other websites don't make that demand and seem to say that they are valid structures for adjudicating issues so I am wondering the parameters of their authority.
A final bit of clarification -- I am asking about the theory of practical halachic rulings, not FOR a halachic rulling. I don't think.