Author Topic: Need for PSAs?  (Read 128 times)

marshwiggle

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Need for PSAs?
« on: November 24, 2021, 07:31:52 AM »
On the old RMP forums, there were certain recurring topics. One in particular was about "prof crushes"; every few weeks or months some starstruck student would post about being attracted to their prof, etc.
Eventually there was a *PSA created for that topic, which was reposted every few weeks, containing the gist of the arguments that came up each time. Because it was a PSA, people could be pointed to it, and the tone of the PSA was more measured than some of the responses to the annoyingly predictable posts.

Would something like that be useful here? Some common topics might include:
  • I'm thinking of doing a PhD. Should I?
  • I'm thinking of taking a job at <type of institution> even though my goal is <other type of institution>.
  • Should I write a book based on my research topic?

(This was particularly inspired by a discussion on another thread, which has gone from the original OP's question to the tone in which advice ought to be given, whether or not it seems to be heeded.)

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mamselle

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2021, 07:34:01 AM »
Isn't that what the "sticky threads" are set up to do?

Maybe they need more prominence, though...

M.
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Ruralguy

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2021, 08:27:14 AM »
The reason why this never works is because everyone thinks their situation is different and deserves tailored advice.

mamselle

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2021, 12:50:39 PM »
True.

Maybe we could make an effort to redirect first, and let them come back to their thread with the exceptions and differentials after that...

Like, say, "That comes up a lot. Have you read...《LINK》already?

Does that shed any light on your situation?

Or is it still different, somehow?"

And then see where that goes...

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2021, 03:22:54 PM »
Isn't that what the "sticky threads" are set up to do?

Maybe they need more prominence, though...

M.

Yeah, that was the idea. Polly put quite a bit of work into re-creating those threads when this board was in its infancy.


But, now that I've gotten around to looking at it... they're not actually stickied. So that doesn't help! (I thought I remembered them being so, or being collected in a thread somewhere, but maybe I'm misremembering the early days of the new Fora?)

I'll comb through over the next while and sticky at least a few. I'll check back in next week, and if you guys see other things that should be stickied, I can do it. (We don't want to have too many in each sub-forum, but some definitely > none.)
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Parasaurolophus

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2021, 07:19:49 AM »
Isn't that what the "sticky threads" are set up to do?

Maybe they need more prominence, though...

M.

Yeah, that was the idea. Polly put quite a bit of work into re-creating those threads when this board was in its infancy.


But, now that I've gotten around to looking at it... they're not actually stickied. So that doesn't help! (I thought I remembered them being so, or being collected in a thread somewhere, but maybe I'm misremembering the early days of the new Fora?)

I'll comb through over the next while and sticky at least a few. I'll check back in next week, and if you guys see other things that should be stickied, I can do it. (We don't want to have too many in each sub-forum, but some definitely > none.)


Well, I've stickied what seemed appropriate. Let me know if there are threads I missed which you think ought to be stickied.

As you guys suggested, it'll be more useful over the longer term to have a single sticky FAQ thread for each sub-forum. But that's a longer-term job, and for another time.
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Caracal

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2021, 07:23:28 AM »
The reason why this never works is because everyone thinks their situation is different and deserves tailored advice.

I'm sort of sympathetic to that perspective. For all of the examples, the answer really depends on discipline, individual circumstances, and personal makeup. I'm really not a fan of the "you shouldn't go to grad school" genre. It strikes me as presumptuous to tell people what they should do as if I've arrived at some universal correct answer. Of course, sometimes the questions people ask betray a lack of understanding about the decisions they are making and its fair to address that. I've also seen a lot of answers that also display a real lack of knowledge as well...

marshwiggle

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2021, 07:38:33 AM »
The reason why this never works is because everyone thinks their situation is different and deserves tailored advice.

I'm sort of sympathetic to that perspective. For all of the examples, the answer really depends on discipline, individual circumstances, and personal makeup. I'm really not a fan of the "you shouldn't go to grad school" genre. It strikes me as presumptuous to tell people what they should do as if I've arrived at some universal correct answer. Of course, sometimes the questions people ask betray a lack of understanding about the decisions they are making and its fair to address that. I've also seen a lot of answers that also display a real lack of knowledge as well...

This illustrates the point. Every time this issue comes up, the same points get made. Summarizing those points once could lead to:

Here are some guidelines for when grad school  makes sense:
  • It is totally funded. (i.e. You don't have to go into debt for it.)
  • It's in a field with good graduation job prospects. (Could include a list here....)
  • You're at a stage of life where you can afford the time. (Examples)

Here are some guidelines for when grad school doesn't sense:
  • It is totally unfunded. (i.e. You have to go into debt for it.)
  • It's in a field with poor graduation job prospects. (Could include a list here....)
  • You're at a stage of life where you can't afford the time. (Examples such as sole breadwinner, kids in school, etc.)

This doesn't preclude someone saying "But my situation is different!!!", but it does make it easier for people to point out why it's not. (And potentially allows the PSA to be revised if it brings up some good points.)


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mleok

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Re: Need for PSAs?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2021, 04:36:43 PM »
Think of the PSAs like a syllabus, they don't necessarily cover every possible situation, but they do address the common ones. The reality is that the vast majority of questions will be covered in a well-written PSA.