All we know that some procedures are dangerous in chemistry, should we notify the reader with some labels or themes if the question or the procedure mentioned in the answer is dangerous, and we can not take responsibility that the above procedure can be run safely. In some translation of wikipedia there is something like this::enter image description here

The information contained herein are for illustrative purposes only. Wikipedia gives no guarantee of validity of the content: Read the warnings.

EDIT Why don't use a tag "dangerous question" for notify the danger of the procedures explained in the question? maybe with a symbol of danger incorporated like the andorid tag of stackoverflow? enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ We have, in the past, warned people to consult with a knowledgeable professional in that particular area of research, but we don't have a legal responsibility to do so. This is a good point to bring up, though. If you see an absolutely egregious case, you can probably flag it for someone to take a look at. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ I think this falls under the premise of simply providing the best possible answer and the community's responsibility to improve the content through wiki-style editing. If a question or answer warrants some form of caution, it should be edited into the post to make it even better for anyone who might find that information through search. That doesn't require some sort of official labeling system. Just do it. The folks posting here will imitate what they already see on the site. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ @jonsca is not a matter of legal responsibility but moral one. I know maybe a theme would be to difficult to implement with this site, but why not a label instead of hold-on or closed, a "pay attention" label I think this should be helpful... $\endgroup$
    – G M
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ @GM Modifying the UI of the sites to suit our purpose is not likely to happen. Also, it's impossible to gauge someone's ability level in terms of what they may be capable of handling in a laboratory. We'd have to warn school children of a sudden release of CO2 when mixing acetate and bicarbonate, etc. It's up to the individual to make their own judgements, as there's lots of dangerous info on the internet, and so I don't think there's any moral responsibility here, either. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for offering your advice @RobertCartaino, I think that's a good suggestion. We do what we can. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 9:36

1 Answer 1


Answers should be adapted to the experience level of the asker, and they should state clearly the dangers that are associated with a specific experiment or reaction. If I have the impression that the asker does not have the necessary expertise for a certain reaction I'd strongly warn about this and I would emphasize the dangers of the reaction.

But I don't think we have to extensively warn about the dangers of every chemical mentioned in an answer. I would mention any unusally dangerous chemicals, but if you're answering an experienced chemist there is no need to spell out every single possible danger. For an amateur even simple chemical compounds like diethyl ether would need a warning, this would be excessive in an answer to a professional. But for more dangerous stuff like e.g. BuLi I'd probably throw in a warning even if I'm pretty sure that the asker knows about the danger.

I don't think a general warning label is useful, how dangerous a procedure is depends strongly on the experience of the person performing it. The difference between what I would consider dangerous enough to warn an amateur about and what a professional chemist would consider dangerous is pretty large, and no simple warning system can accomodate that difference.

What might be useful would be integration the safety information of all chemical compounds in a post and display the danger signs as well as the GHS hazard statements. But that would be a huge modification, and I don't think this would be possible any time soon.


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