09 December 2021

Posters should not be rated like Yelp reviews

WHhn I was on the PolicyViz podcast, there was one joke I left on the floor that I wish I'd told. When Jon asked me about poster competitions, I should have said, “I know: academia isn’t competetive enough. Let’s organize the backstabbing.” Molly Gordon describes her experience at an ASCB conference:

When someone rates my poster 1 ⭐️ at the American Society of Cell Biology... my thesis work, that I pushed forward through a pandemic, poured my heart and soul into, and did my absolute best to summarize into a 5 minute video.

Also, it is not unnoticed that my labmate got a single ⭐️ as well. Someone is actually out there targeting research from certain labs with bad reviews? Geeeeeeez science feels hopeless at times.

If you thought my research and or presentation style was that abysmal, why not offer advice or critique in addition to your rating? Thanks for making the field a more inclusive space ❤️/sarcasm /rant.

I have no idea what is going on here. Neither the meeting’s poster information page nor information for presenters say anything about this rating system. Molly confirms that the ratings are anonymous.

ASCB replied that this is part of the meeting platform and they cannot turn it off. So... maybe a good reason not to use that platform? The person in charge of their Twitter account wrote:

Hopefully we won’t have to organize a virtual meeting on this scale again. It takes all year and 1,000s of hours of planning and team work. It just goes to show you, it’s always something.

I know that the person running a social media account is not the entire leadership of the organization, but this response is a too low key for my taste. If this kind of behaviour took place in a face-to face environment, it might violate a code of conduct.

The ASCB Twitter account also took a moment to complement Molly but not apologize.

Update: ASCB says most one star ratings were  “accidental.” The society does have a code of conduct. It was just hard to find, because it was under “Meeting policies and terms.”

Aside: The ASCB poster template is pretty shocking.

No alignment, switching reading order, and more.

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