09 January 2014

Hung low

Lots of people take pictures of themselves presenting their poster. Like Zoe Amber, who tweeted this picture from the fiftieth anniversary Annual Discussion Meeting of the Quaternary Research Association:

Or Anna Bourne and Peter Abbott (tweeted by Swansea Tephra Group):

I’ve seen a lot of bad practices that conference organizers have inflicted on poster presenters, but this might be one of the worst. First, the bottom poster hangs from knee to nipple line. For someone to read the poster midsection closely, to look at the key data, means that they have to be looking down... almost exactly at the level of the presenter’s crotch.

People should never have to squat, crouch, or bend to read posters. Just a horrible, horrible decision.

Even putting the inadvertent gaze problem aside, having two posters on top of each other is a poor decision because the viewers of one poster will block the viewers of the other poster.

If the idea was to present the posters at alternate times... I have yet to be at a conference where people pay close attention to “Odd numbers at 2:30, even numbers at 3:30” sort of scheme. Poster sessions are too unstructured, too much of a free for all, and viewers will stop and look at whatever poster happens to get their attention.

Disappointing, Quaternary Research Association. What on earth led to this decision? Did nobody stop to say, “This might not be a good idea?”

Additional, 13 January 2014: I asked QRA50 attendees for their reactions to the poster session on Twitter. Drysdyk replied:

Lying together on the floor did add to the QRA fieldwork feel - and at least one of the winning posters was a lowy :-)

Hat tip to T. Davies-Barnard for bringing this to my attention!

1 comment:

Mark Gurwell said...

Wow. I've not ever seen something this bad. I'd like to hear why this decision was made. Either shorten the poster hang times to allow for turnover, get a bigger space, or limit the number of posters.