Sometimes, people ask things that have a time-sensitive nature and are related to troubling personal emergencies or crises. Example:

Saw a dead person on the way to work

Do we have a standard response for these? If not, should we? While there may be an ultimate question of whether or not any specific example fits the "stack exchange model" in terms of asking/answering questions, the compassionate side of my brain wants to direct the asker in the best way possible regardless of site policy or structure.

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  • No, we don't. For an emergency we should know to call 911, or whatever emergency response number for your area. A question about how to deal with such a horrific site on the way to work could be on topic...potentially. – Neo May 10 '18 at 13:48
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    I do think those duplicates and the answers below address my original question. As I've been thinking about this I think I have a broader, related question but I'm not quite sure how to phrase it yet so I'll post once I've thought it over. Thanks everyone. – dwizum May 11 '18 at 15:26

Stack Exchange isn't an emergency helpline, and answers should really be applicable to the purpose of the stack - i.e. to give workplace related responses.

Sure, a question like

My boss just cut my arm off with the office guillotine, should I tell HR?

Should be met with

No, call for an ambulance with your remaining arm.

But in all seriousness, time sensitive/compassionate questions like this are far and few between. There's usually someone around to say the obvious thing before any flagging process takes effect.

You'd hope that people facing urgent issues would seek out relevant real-world solutions before leaping to ask the internet....

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  • Excellent way to make the point good sir. – Neo May 10 '18 at 13:47

An asynchronous communication mode is not suitable for emergency responses. If your kitten is trapped in a drain pipe, you won't write an email to the Emergency Services, you would make a phone call.

If you see a post on StackExchange that needs "emergency" response, do the following:

For example, consider my answer to that question. I did not provide advice on how to deal with the mental trauma of seeing a dead person because I am not qualified to do so. However, as an experienced professional and a (sort of) manager, I feel qualified to offer advice on dealing with the workplace situation, so I did that.

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  • This is about what I was looking for, thanks. I do have a broader question in mind as well so I'm going to edit my original question appropriately. – dwizum May 11 '18 at 14:25
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    If your kitten is trapped in a drain pipe, you won't write an email to the Emergency Services, you would make a phone call -- Genius. – Neo May 11 '18 at 14:25

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