There are a number of questions related to Brexit on this site. I have lots of questions related to Brexit, but I don't ask them because nobody can answer them. I propose we close those questions, because:

  • Although the electorate voted to leave the European Union, it is still not formally certain that Brexit will happen.
  • Nobody knows yet what will happen now that the referendum resulted Brexit.

Therefore, any answer to such questions is speculation at best and giving false hopes/promises at worst.

Some affected questions:

  • 3
    The problem is, currently, those questions are impossible to answer. At the same time, they are the theater of interesting discussions, without politics (which is really cool !). Closing it because the answer is only theorical might be a possibility, but at the same time, we got a lot of other informations from those topic (international PhD infos, etc...).
    – Gautier C
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 11:39
  • 2
    @GautierC I agree that speculation can be fun and interesting, but it's not what Stack Exchange is for.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 11:57
  • 2
    It is impossible to give a 100% answer, however there a lot of people with experience of dealing with the UK from outside of the EU. There are also valid points about what is prefunded and what is funded on going bases. Given “project fear”, I think some of this fear can usefully be taken away.
    – Ian
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 12:25
  • PS, I think the likelihood of a Brexit is close to 50% (+- 25%) and no one that claims to be able to predict the outcome knows what they are talking about. (But that the likelihood has increased in the last few weeks.)
    – Ian
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 12:27
  • @Ian But it's unknown whether UK's relation to the EU will be like Norway and Iceland, like Switzerland, like Canada/USA, or a new relation altogether. This is unknown in general, and it's unknown for academia specifically. If this becomes clear in 1, 6, or 12 months, we can address those questions based on experiences by academics already outside the EU. (I agree that the overly precise number of 38% is not very meaningful.)
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 12:32
  • 1
    @gerrit, but if you can say that a student from the USA and a student form the 3rd world would both be allowed into the UK to do "X", it is reasonable to assume a student from the EU post Brexit would be at least as well off.
    – Ian
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 12:39
  • @Ian True; there is a reasonable assumption on a worst case scenario.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 14:04
  • 2
    The Brexit questions remind me of the question about Muslim students' PhD applications being affected by the rise of ISIS (here). I'd argue that if you're going to consider questions with geopolitical "what-ifs" to be unanswerable, you'd have to do the same with that question as well. More specifically, (in my opinion), by the standards you proposed, it's also unanswerable.
    – tonysdg
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 3:53
  • 1
    Well, at least for the first point, we now know that it did happen. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 8:11
  • 1
    @MassimoOrtolano We know that a vote for Brexit did happen. Until the UK triggers Article 50, Brexit is not certain to happen. Arguably, the longer the UK waits, the more likely politicians will find an excuse to ignore the result or hold another referendum.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 10:05

2 Answers 2


The questions may not be answerable now, but they will be answerable in the future. Leave them open, maybe with an answer or comment that we don't know yet, and then they can be answered when the time comes that the answer is available.

Article 50 has been triggered and the process of figuring out the answers has formally begun.


There is a high frequency of questions that ask "How can I best navigate some future event?" most of which are perfectly acceptable to answer despite people needing to account for an inordinate number of unpredictable variables.

"How do I best apply for school."

"How do I best respond to so and so."

All of those types of questions would ideally require a knowledge of the people involved at least but people still answer them based on, at best, a bit of data generalized to an almost entirely unknown situation.

Estimating the exact impact of a global, national, or local economic trends is no easier than estimating the exact impact of a global, national, or local interpersonal trend. Brexit at least has a news cycle that can update the question. But this forum isn't designed to keep people current, it is designed to entomb information and then is misapplied to things that are changeable.

If you are trying to form some sort of consistency then no keep it open, or block both. If you are going to on a whim block things that appear too frequently, then sure, but it shouldn't be on the pretense that they are unanswerable.

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