While you're at it, maybe you could address this question:
If DIY advice is already prohibited (as always has been), then why is giving advice (non-DIY of course) limited to Pro* members?
Are you a Profession in the field? How do we know? Have you been verified to be in this industry? How does the New Guest know the difference between someone that has been verified and someone that has not? Would a New Guest take the word of another Guest over a Pro?
For example, as a HO, if I give another HO my advice that most contractors will oversize and explain why they do it, this advice might actually be more valuable as it comes from the viewpoint of another informed HO.
The liability will be reduced as we show reasonable care. We show reasonable care by checking to see each Pro is in the business via the Membership Committee. We also show reasonable care to limit what can be said within the rules. If you post outside the rules what liability are you creating for yourself?
Then, it seems like you are saying that only the OP (presumably a HO) and Pro* members should post in AOP. If that's the case, why not just state that posts in AOP from anyone else are not allowed, and delete such posts? Ambiguity eliminated and problem solved!
There, I fixed the AOP rules for ya:
The Professional Members of this site have been vetted as qualified professionals in this industry or qualified consultants (manufacturer's representatives, engineers and the like). To identify those members who have been vetted as qualified, look beside their "Professional Member" title for an Asterisk (*) This designates that they have been approved for posting in the AOP section of this site. Posts from anyone who isn't a Professional Member with an Asterisk (*) by their title should be ignored.
The AOP rules have been tweaked many times and as I have stated over and over it is a work in progress. The rules will be tweaked again. We want this experiment to work. The alternative is to stop all DIY discussion and be hard core about it... then what fun would that be?
I appreciate your questions.
Another issue with the above would be that we would be sanctioning the pro content which would be a admittance of liability. Work with the AOPC. I'm sure they would enjoy your comments and ingenuity.
Other than the original question from the OP, I would think that most posts would be considered to be advice of some sort, unless the post is a related question. That advice could be very general (i.e. "the ROI on 20 SEER systems is too long") or specific, which is where you get into the danger of giving advice that could be used for DIY.
Let me ask you to look at things from another point of view for a moment.
Let's put the Professional Member shoe on your foot for a minute. Let's say that, like many here, you've been a member in good standing here for a long time and are suddenly asked to submit to yet another level of membership in order to post the same advice that you've likely been posting for year.
You do so without complaining because you're a guy who tends to follow the rules rather than flaunt them.
Now, here comes a non-pro, non-*, unproven guest of unknown qualifications. This person then is able to post all sorts of advice, some good and some bad.
How does the Professional Member * then look? What is going through that member's head as he reads the posts that either precede or follow his?
What we're looking for is a baseline. The Membership Committee has set qualifications for Professional Membership, and we've set qualifications for AOP Membership. We've also made exceptions for Engineers, Factory Reps and others that may not quite qualify for Professional Technical Membership.
I've got a few other ideas, but they are just that at this time and I don't want them out in public. If they come to fruition, then you'll hear about them.
OK, I'm not giving advice here, but something like this would clear it up:
The Professional Members of this site have been vetted as qualified professionals in this industry or qualified consultants (manufacturer's representatives, engineers and the like). To identify those members who have been vetted as qualified to give advice in AOP, look beside their "Professional Member" title for an Asterisk (*). This designates that they have been approved for posting advice in the AOP section of this site. Advice from any member who isn't a Professional Member with an Asterisk (*) by their title should be ignored, as the qualifications of such a member have not been established.
This problem reminds me of the science fiction stuff about the parodox of time travel; trying to restrict free speach while at the same time trying to not restrict it.
What a lousy time we live in. Someone goes to the trouble to provide something nice and beneficial to everyone, but the fear of one stupid law suit ruins it for everyone.
Isn't there some kind of form that this site can make everyone fill out & sign that removes any right they may have from sueing anyone? Pay a lawyer to fool-proof the darn thing, maybe make people fill out a question & answer form that show they've read the thing before signing their rights away?