Consider The Source

By Jeremy Stillwell

The internet can be a wonderful resource but BEWARE: Not everything you read on the internet is true or accurate.  It is also not a substitute for professional advice.

Sometimes, bad internet “advice” is easy to spot.  For example, hopefully none of us will fall for headlines like:  “How spending $162,301.42 on Clothes Made Me $692,500″, “African Billionaire Will Give $1 Million to Anyone Who Wants to Leave America if Trump is Elected” or “How to Make a Million Dollars in One Month.

Identifying unreliable information isn’t always so easy. Have you ever started reading something that looks like an “article” only to realize that it is an advertisement?  Have you ever gone to an internet “forum” for information and guidance?  Some of the “professional guidance” found in internet forums is cringe worthy.

What is the value of an in-depth internet discussion on community association legal issues that cannot be resolved without 1) applying the right law and 2) reviewing the applicable governing documents?  These forums can be a good place to exchange thoughts and ideas, but they are not reliable “authority” for purposes of making decisions.  Not all states have the same laws and almost every association issue is impacted, if not decided, by the governing documents specific to that community.

Relying on internet forums for legal advice is a lot like relying of a Google search to diagnose a medical issue.  It’s just not a good idea.  Your headache probably isn’t a symptomatic of a brain aneurysm or carbon monoxide poisoning.  Are internet sites that list these as possible causes of a headache correct?  Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that you should rush to the ER for a CAT scan or start treatment for poisoning the next time you get a headache.  The point is, if you have questions or concerns about your community Associations, feel free to do your own research but before you take action, seek advice from someone that can address your specific issue and provide advice tailored to your community.