What is the motivation behind the close votes to Do I have to sit again for TOEFL?? It seems like a perfectly reasonable question to me. Please explain.

  • "The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors" --- but the underlying question 'do I have to sit again for TOEFL if I have one that expired shortly and/or I did my master in an English-speaking country" seems very broadly applicable to me. Especially since TOEFL scores last 2 years, and the typical duration of a master degree in Europe is 2 years.

  • "This question is not within the scope of this site as defined in the help center" --- PhD admissions are not within scope now?

  • I think there's a tendency to close questions when the answer is along the lines of "it depends on the institution, but there are a two or three possibilities" even though the question generalizes well and a good answer could address this. As for the newer question, it seems to be about Australian visa rules rather than academia.
    – Anyon
    Sep 19, 2018 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


The "individual factors" close reason is often used when the answers amount to "it depends on the institution" - if you notice from the answers that were given, this is true of all of them.

See in particular the section "Questions on a university’s, course’s, or similar’s rules" in the meta question/answer Why was my question put on hold for depending on individual factors?

I am not sure why close voters noted the question as out of scope, they may have simply chosen the wrong reason. In my opinion the majority "individual factors" close reason is the correct and relevant reason.

  • 1
    "In general no, but ask and maybe you can have it waived" looks like a general informative answer to me, that applies to most institutions. Aug 22, 2018 at 15:18
  • All I can do is point you to the meta discussion I linked. The community has decided to close questions where the answers have to be that generic. My understanding is that this is largely because of how frequent these types of questions are. Also, not to accuse you of this, but those questions also often come out of people not really doing their own research ahead of time to try to answer the question for themselves, like checking the website of the institutions they hope to apply to.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Aug 22, 2018 at 15:21
  • Note that I am not the person who asked that question (as your "accuse you" seems to imply). Aug 22, 2018 at 16:42
  • Whoops, hadn't bothered to check any names, sorry about that. Especially not meant to accuse in that case :)
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Aug 22, 2018 at 16:43
  • Also hadn't noticed your rep and that you've spent quite some time here - if you think the policy should be changed it might be productive to open a new meta discussion on the topic suggesting a change in that close approach. Otherwise given that you've been around here a bit I'm surprised that you would be unsure of why the individual factors close reason was used here (I agree the others are more puzzling).
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Aug 22, 2018 at 16:46
  • Personally I think that the policy is fine, but it is wrongly applied here. The bit with "it cannot be generalised to apply to others" does not apply to this question, for instance. Aug 22, 2018 at 19:06

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