Our existing meta topics on dangerous things discuss people either:

  1. asking to do something dangerous (drilling into a tank o' diesel while it still has fuel in it, working on live electrical lines)
  2. or giving dangerous advice (improvised electrical splicing, for instance)

But what do we do if someone comes to us with a question and it reveals a dangerous situation that's not necessarily the topic of the question? For instance, I have seen several questions where the OP was asking about electrical equipment they may not know is hazardous -- and worse yet, in one of them, several community members failed to recognize the hazard posed as well.

So far, I've adopted bib's approach of screaming loudly about it, along with providing at least a little bit of detail about the hazard in question -- in all three of the linked cases, it's the FPE Stab-Lok gremlin, and its perils are fairly well documented.

How far should we go in providing replacement advice, though, since "replace your panel" could be seen as a frame challenge by other folks who aren't aware of the hazard, or draw downvotes in the future based on perceived off-topic-ness or "why are you telling someone to spend a bunch of money?" false-penny-pinching.

Also, should we have a central thread (either on the main site or on meta) about IDing dangerous service equipment? The lack of awareness displayed by most of the answers on this question in particular worries me...

1 Answer 1

  • Answer the question they've asked, and include a warning about the equipment.
  • Leave a comment warning about the equipment.
  • Down vote any dangerous answers you see, and leave a comment why it's dangerous.

Aside from those options, there's not much you can do.

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