I have a question about my Academia Stack Exchange post: Concern data is too limited for thesis chapter

I asked a question yesterday requesting advice from anyone who has experience writing a PhD thesis on how to deal with scenarios where your experimental procedure isn't extensive enough, and I explained the circumstances why.

Instead of anyone tackling the question, I got a downvote and a snide comment that questioned my account of my own experience. Is there any point engaging on this platform, or am I more likely to be judged and dismissed?

  • 2
    One downvote means almost nothing. Your question is unlikely to get a useful answer from anyone who has not seen your data. Aug 5, 2020 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


A few quick reactions:

  • Your post didn't get much attention (good or bad) - only 54 views. Most questions do eventually get an answer, so I would hang in there. Not sure why you were downvoted, but downvotes can be capricious, especially when it's just one single downvote. Example: just today, we had a highly-upvoted feature request, and my reply (let's do it) was downvoted. Baffling.
  • I don't think scaahu's comment was judgmental or dismissive -- on the contrary, they were asking for a useful piece of information. In fact, you should edit your post to incorporate the information, rather than simply replying.
  • A bit of editing can go a long way. For example: your title has no question mark, ICP-OES is undefined, there is only text (as opposed to bullets or bold text), and there is little attempt to separate the general question from your specific situation. Not a big deal -- your post quality is about average, I'd say -- but anything you can do to make your question more readable is likely to lead to more views, which leads to more votes/answers.
  • 1
    Thank you for the advice, I updated the question as advised; it's easy to forget that ICP doesn't anything to most people when it's been my life for three and a half years! I found the comment snide because of the quotation marks around faulty, I'm maybe defensive because of my experience at my university when dealing with the technical staff; it was not nice being made to think for years that I was at fault and not knowing where the issues lay, the sneering was nauseating!
    – user18483
    Aug 5, 2020 at 0:55
  • That does sound infuriating! RE your edits -- not exactly what I meant. Would you mind if I took a stab at editing?
    – cag51 Mod
    Aug 5, 2020 at 1:12
  • Wouldn't mind at all! Would be grateful in fact!
    – user18483
    Aug 5, 2020 at 1:36
  • Thank you so much! Your writing style is infinitely better than mine, huge help!
    – user18483
    Aug 5, 2020 at 2:35
  • 2
    For what it is worth, ICP-OES is inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. It is a powerful method for ultra-trace metal determinations, but it is not something that just runs without needing frequent calibration. Simple things like gas flow changes, solvent issues, nebulizer issues, etc., always must be carefully considered. And internal standards are used: an ICP is not a black box like, e.g., a simple single beam spectrophotometer.
    – Ed V
    Aug 5, 2020 at 22:31
  • 3
    @user18483 Cag51 said most of what I want to say. I am going only to say what they didn't know. I did not downvote the question. In fact, I asked you the question because I saw the downvote, I was trying to help you to resolve the possible downvote reasons. That's all.
    – Nobody
    Aug 7, 2020 at 5:19
  • @scaaahu thank you, everyone has been of great help and i am very grateful.
    – user18483
    Aug 15, 2020 at 9:11

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