Things that frost my shorts - reply to all edition and support of junior scientists

Mar 05 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

The clinical society to which I belong is doing something good, although I shouldn't  sound shocked or cynical.

This is a small meeting, with no concurrent sessions. It has one session with 3-500 people, depending on where it is. There is lots that is wrong with this meeting, and the society. But, they've decided its time to recruit, welcome and bring more young people into the fold.

The presentations, oral and poster, are limited and peer reviewed. For the 100 posters permitted at the meeting, they (the ubiquitous they who run things) have decided that too many young, but good, folks get ignored. They  have come up  with a really good idea to enhance the poster session (posters are up the whole meeting).

They have assigned two senior people to each poster of a first time presenter. They are asking the assigned senior people (not all BSDs) to take 10 minutes to reach out to "our assigned poster presenter".

I think  this is both really good, and kinda pathetic. It's good in that anything that makes senior people talk to junior (or new to the society) people is likely to be good. OTH, that this society has to assign people to do things that one should be doing in any case is a reflection of what is  wrong with senior people in the first place.  There are only 100 posters, folks. The posters are up for the entire 3 day  meeting. There are three 1-2 hour blocks with time dedicated to view posters. As an aside the overlap between this meeting and SfN is very small. There is no culture of the-best-stuff-is-in-the-posters at this meeting.

What frosts my shorts is the response to the email that went out to about 50 people asking them to do this. So far about 20 people have said  yes, but needed to "reply to all"  to make sure we all knew that they were going to do this. Yes, my dear senior jackass, you are important enough to be asked, and  of course, you  are wonderful enough to deign to give your time to the poor, unwashed starving children who need your charity.

In a day and age where the interactions among generations is highly visible and more contentious than  in the past, anything that is a positive step should be welcomed. But I  am concerned this is just a Band-Aid over an arterial wound. I don't doubt that people organizing this truly want to help and to build this society.  There ought to be  more.

9 responses so far

  • whizbang says:

    The reply-all button should be at least 3 menus away from plain old reply. That's the only solution I can see to have it function as intended.

  • attheslac says:

    I love reply all for the unintentional comedy that ensues.

  • Duke of Neural says:

    Two alternative, less cynical explanations for the reply all thing:

    1. Maybe they want to set peer pressure for those who would be sitting on the fence or dismissive. "(le sigh) I have to talk to younger people? What a waste of god's extraordinary gift to mankind that is my mind, I'm not going to bother, I'm going to do more important... OH, Dr. Bigwig is excited about it... well he's almost half as much of a genius as I am, can't let him show me up..."

    Or, more likely

    2. Some of the older generations still haven't mastered the art of not clicking "reply all" and don't realize it's worse manners than farting into the microphone after a presentation.

  • DJMH says:

    Huh, I see reply-all in a positive light, as in pressuring their colleagues to do the same thing.

  • pyrope says:

    I go to a meeting that is in the 500 person range, and one thing that they do really well with poster sessions is allow poster presenters to invite up to 5 attendees to come visit their poster. This is all done through the society website, and once any one person hits 5 invites they can no longer be invited, so no one gets swamped. I think it's a great way to make poster sessions more interesting.

    • potnia theron says:

      that is also a good idea, but stand by my point - you shouldn't have to encourage people to do this.

  • […] That thing that frosted my shorts earlier this week? It's back with a vengeance. Here, with my comments is the latest incarnation: […]

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