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Some time ago, I had a question closed and marked as a duplicate. I found the experience to be quite bizarre-- the post many claimed answered my question did not, from my view-- I had in fact read that post in detail before deciding to write my own question. Furthermore, I revised my question multiple times to make the differences clearer.

I wonder if part of the issue is that my question deals with possessing two PhDs at once, the very notion of which seems to trigger many academics. I suspect that many of the closers did not actually read the question or its revisions in detail, instead defaulting to the "two PhDs is bad/sad/mad" opinion and taking action to close the question.

So my meta-question is: how can I get the "duplicate" notice removed from my question? Someone already provided a great answer (which I accepted), so I'm not necessarily looking for further attention. It just feels silly for the "duplicate" marker to remain, as it undermines what I think is a distinct and real issue for many people.

  • Did you actually vote to close your own question as a duplicate? Or for some other close reason? – scaaahu Nov 19 '19 at 8:59
  • I did, out of annoyance. My thought was, enough people got the question to answer it, might as well speed up the judicial hammer and move on. – artificial_moonlet Nov 19 '19 at 9:07
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    You were the fourth one to vote. If you did not vote to close, the question could survive. Now, it's hard. Re-opening a question is always much harder. It takes five votes or moderator intervention to reopen . Next time, please don't vote to close your own question unless you really want it to close. – scaaahu Nov 19 '19 at 9:23
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    @scaaahu Considering how close-happy people are on this site, I doubt my question would have remained open. Furthermore, it seems impossible to get a question re-opened because there aren't many avenues for advertising a "damned" question. Sure, it'll move to the top of the queue as having been edited recently, but people will still see the duplicate or closed label and move on. – artificial_moonlet Nov 19 '19 at 9:55
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Your question is pretty broad and has a lot of background. I think it really boils down to

I want to know what to expect if I start pursuing a PhD in an unrelated field altogether, given that I have a PhD already. (Something like this post.) Possible considerations that don't have to be precisely answered: could my current PhD be a hindrance in getting accepted into a new program? Will my supervisors and colleagues see my past PhD as an asset, or as weird-looking mole they will try to politely ignore? What are other questions should I ask myself to make sure this is something I really want?

At the highest and broadest level

I want to know what to expect if I start pursuing a PhD in an unrelated field altogether, given that I have a PhD already.

and

What are other questions should I ask myself to make sure this is something I really want?

seem very related to the linked "duplicate" question and do not seem like great fits for the site. In this case the problem with the question being broad is that it overlaps with other things and it becomes difficult to focus on the unique aspects of the question. The rest of the gist seems different from the duplicate question and a much better fit.

Could my current PhD be a hindrance in getting accepted into a new program?

and

Will my supervisors and colleagues see my past PhD as an asset, or as weird-looking mole they will try to politely ignore?

Why not ask those two questions as stand alone and separate questions. Maybe from there you will see a way forward to getting at the deeper aspects of what you want to know.

  • I'm having a hard time understanding why it's considered so broad, given the range of "acceptable" questions on academia.SE. The sub-questions are meant to flesh out the main one-- what to expect-- asking them separately would get hyper-focused answers that aren't helpful. – artificial_moonlet Nov 19 '19 at 9:33
  • @artificial_moonlet I think it's broad because of the word "unrelated" you use. Chemistry and Theoretical Computer Science are unrelated in some sense. Material Science and Japanese Study are also unrelated in another sense. – scaaahu Nov 19 '19 at 12:00
  • @scaaahu I specify the fields in the question... should the title of the question itself should be burdened with details? – artificial_moonlet Nov 19 '19 at 12:04
  • @artificial_moonlet You have "let's say" in the question. I do not take it as you specified the fields. Had you said jumping from STEM to Humanity without "let's say", I think it would be better. – scaaahu Nov 19 '19 at 12:12
  • @scaaahu I'm not revealing my actual fields. But I'm consistent with the two I've stated. – artificial_moonlet Nov 19 '19 at 12:15
  • @artificial_moonlet Still, it could be considered a dup. But, the problems you might encounter while applying for admission and studying would be worthwhile asking, imo. – scaaahu Nov 19 '19 at 12:21
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    @artificial_moonlet I edited the answer to try and make it clearer is that the issue with your question being broad is that it overlaps other questions and it is difficult to see the unique bits. – StrongBad Nov 19 '19 at 13:55
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I agree it's not a duplicate of the linked question, but I also agree with StrongBad that it's quite broad. If you like, we could change the close reason to "too broad." Given the excellent answers already there, I would not want to substantially rewrite the question at this point (though you're welcome to open a new, more focused question as StrongBad suggests).

I wonder if part of the issue is that my question deals with possessing two PhDs at once, the very notion of which seems to trigger many academics.

Maybe, but I suspect (another) part of the issue is concision: your question is very long and contains a lot of extraneous information. I suspect you could easily reduce the length by 50%. Of course, this shouldn't affect the determination of whether it's a duplicate -- but reviewers are not perfect. It's easy to just read "a bunch of personal factors....two PhDs....yeah, it probably boils down to the same question."

  • I agree I could trim the narrative-- at the time, some of the context felt important. – artificial_moonlet Nov 19 '19 at 9:33
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Apparently, I'm responsible for initiating the close reason. I did read the question in detail, but not the revisions that had not happened at the time. Here is why I voted to close:

Your question was "What should I expect if I do X?" The correct answer is "Don't do X." Therefore I consider the question to be a duplicate of "Should I do X?" because they have the same answer. There's no reason to have both questions on this site.

As edited, your question is primarily opinion based, so I don't feel it should be reopened.

I'm sorry you didn't like our answer to your question. You are not likely to get a better one elsewhere, because few people have two PhDs, and most of them are not like you.

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I have looked at the latest edit, and now it looks like the question comes down to:

The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalised to apply to others. (See this discussion for more info.)

Which is another reason it is not suitable for our format, so I have left it closed also.

  • I'm actually fine if it stays closed. But it shouldn't be marked as a duplicate. Anyway, I just earned the reopen vote privilege and was excited to exercise it. :D – artificial_moonlet Jan 24 at 12:42

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