Are there any best practices (e.g. formatting) for safety warnings in answers?

I’ve found a couple of answers where I might want to add an explicit safety warning that what’s being described is dangerous.

Blockquote? Bold? Emoji? 💀 ❗️⚠️

In the absence of guidance I’d propose the following style and seek your comments:

⚠️Warning — Adjusting garage door springs can be extremely dangerous. The spring can move suddenly, causing serious injuries. Before you touch your own springs, learn how to release the tension safely.


⚠️Warning — Never work on live circuits. Turn off the circuit breaker. Use a noncontact voltage sensor (“hot stick”) to make sure the power is off.

Note— this isn’t a question about whether SE terms of service require warnings or whether all Answers ought to have them, only a question as to how to format them when adding them.

Another angle: should safety messages use the internationally accepted definitions for “DANGER”, “WARNING” and “CAUTION” in ANSI z535.6 and ISO 3864?

Danger— death is likely:

⚠️ Danger — Do not push down the plunger on the Acme dynamite controller.

Warning— death or serious injury is possible:

⚠️Warning— Do not go under a suspended anvil.

Caution— serious injury is possible:

⚠️Caution— Wear eye protection before digging in the desert.

  • Sorry, don't trust "non contact sticks" give me my Fluke digital voltmeter or my AVO multimeter. And, I always test after disconnecting a breaker - you never know if some "ape with a screwdriver" has cross connected circuits. But good idea for the warnings.
    – Solar Mike
    May 5, 2019 at 21:08
  • Thanks @SolarMike. Don't worry, my non-contact stick is a Fluke, too. May 8, 2019 at 10:06

1 Answer 1


Yeah, that sounds like a good idea! But how do we make it happen? Who has that power?

Standards are like "neverland" from Peter Pan, or Santa Claus, or the value of money: they have power only as long as we believe in them. You asking this question is already a good step to establish that. Since there is nothing better, this question might as well serve as the standard document we can refer people to. So, we can do that, we can lead with example, and tell people about the standard.

Will that work? Will people start using this style just because someone tells them to? No idea. One way to make it more likely is to make it easy - so maybe edit your question to provide a copyable template of all three variants. At the far end the site could of course implement features to automatically remind people of it, but I think that is pretty far down the road...

  • 1
    Thanks Ludwik. I'll leave this question open for awhile longer to achieve some kind of "quorum" and allow some time to pass but let's do as you suggest. May 8, 2019 at 10:08

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