The original version of this question How will the academic boycot of Israel (BDS) infulence my career if I get a PhD in Israel received two close votes (among the other votes) for the following reason:

""Shopping" questions, which seek recommendations or lists of individual universities, academic programs, publishers, journals, research topics or similar as an answer or seek an assessment or comparison of such, are off-topic here. (See this discussion for more information.)".

The question is about political implications of getting a PhD from a specific country.

Does it qualify as a shopping question?

2 Answers 2


Often times once the first person chooses a close reason everyone jumps on that reason even if it is not the best. The original version of the question was not worded in the best way and I would have been inclined to vote to close it as either unclear or depending on "individual factors", but I would not have called it a "shopping question". The edited version makes it much easier for me to see and understand what the question is.

In summary, we often do not use the best close reason, which is obviously not as helpful as we can be.


To expand on StrongBad's answer, the original question was not a "shopping" question. It wasn't asking directly about what university to attend; rather, it was asking about the impact of a particular phenomenon on people studying in a particular country.

The problems with the original question are that

  • the actual impact of boycotts is mostly a matter of opinion; people have been talking about boycotting Israeli academia for at least as long as I've been in the business and nothing much has really ever happened;

  • the question of whether it's better to take this potential risk or wait a few years and do a PhD elsewhere is very much an individual factors thing. For some people, there might be little down-side to waiting; for others, it could be a disaster; for most, it's probably somewhere in between.

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