I’m starting to feel that, in a perfect world, not only would every blog have a disclaimer but every site would have one as well. I’m not talking about the sort of typically cowardly disclaimer that often goes along with businesses, about not being responsible for anything under the sun, and generally granting them the power to do whatever they want, whenever the want. Those are no fun. I’m talking about genuinely useful disclaimers.
I suppose that the disclaimer I put on this site partially falls under that categorization; however, being that I’m not directly selling anything through this blog, it is not as if I have to cover my tail out of fear from all sorts of future indemnities and other lawsuits that would arise out of misuse of my product.
I wrote that disclaimer to be polite because not everyone is an open minded as they could be and as understanding of other people’s opinions as they should be.
I also wrote it because I realized that in the event that someone stumbles upon this site and has absolutely no idea what’s going on, then at least they could have an idea of what this is all about, thanks to my handy disclaimer.
That’s what got me thinking.
Wouldn’t it be nice (Brian Wilson) if every site out there had an equally informative, truthful and marginally inoffensive disclaimer as the one I wrote for my blog? I feel that this would be especially useful in this day and age considering that any jackass with a mythical university degree and a laptop can sit in a coffee shop and write articles on Wikipedia which will then be read by countless undergrads and unintentionally used to humourous extent in their term papers.
Having a very readable, and truthful, disclaimer would cause untold amounts of good in the world. Just imagine:
After having lived under a rock for the past 15 years, you emerge from your subterranean lair and by some cosmic misfortune the first website you visit to find out what you missed happens to be Fox News. Reading article after article you discover that the world is a terrible place, everyone is attacking North American values, Hitler has re-incarnated himself in the form of a Black President and God hates Democrats. You’re just about to return to your rock home for another 15 years when you notice the big, red button that says “Disclaimer” and you click on it. Immediately you realize that life outside of the cave isn’t so bad, because Fox News isn’t actually a news group that gives you factual news, but wildly distorted medieval right-wing evangelical fantasies. You have a good laugh, and decide to stay on the surface. Welcome back!
Disclaimers like this would also be especially for less-than-reputable sites. Say you land on a sketchy Russian website in search of a torrent containing your favourite Friends season: check the disclaimer. Yup, this site will give you a virus, and then hack into your email account and steal your identity. Thanks for the warning, you’re welcome.
As well, I feel quite certain that it would help countless businesses, myself included. Disclaimers rightfully identifying the frauds, scams and charlatans amongst the countless myriads of portfolios and business sites out there, would be an invaluable service to the honest, learned and genuine professionals among us.
It’s really quite ridiculous how often I speak with a client and hear them tell me that some other guy is promising twice as much for a quarter of the amount. In situations like this I could simply ask the client if they read that person’s disclaimer or not. As well, I could always read the handy disclaimer that client keeps in their pocket to know if they genuinely plan on paying me once the work is complete.