[PCST] What makes a PCST conference unmissable?

Toss Gascoigne director at tossgascoigne.com.au
Tue Mar 29 02:20:59 CEST 2011

Well, let me say what can make a conference disappointing:

1. Millions of papers, obviously accepted indiscriminately, squeezed  
into too short a time and therefore necessitating numerous parallel  
sessions and some very small audiences.

2. The feeling that the most interesting discussions aren't part of  
the programme at all but must be taking place privately among groups  
of insiders.

3. Conference fees that are so high that hefty profits are obviously  
being made or money is being creamed off or diverted in some way.

4. Conferences with fees in exotic currencies having to be paid in a  
complicated way so that a hefty proportion of the cost ends up  
profiting an obscure bank.

5. When the Proceedings are not freely available on the web and are  
not finally published until years afterwards.

6. Not being in a nice place.  Would you attend a conference in  

7. Everybody else being twenty years older than I am.

8. Everybody else being twenty years younger than I am.

9. Everybody being glued to their laptops, iPads, tablets, slates, etc.

10. Prima donnas who arrive at the conference late, present their  
paper, then fly off again before the end without bothering to listen  
to anybody else.

11. When the conference is in a normally pleasant city but clashes  
with a Formula 1 Grand Prix or the World Conference of Cardiologists  
or a G8 summit or a volcanic ash cloud.

12. Conference dinners where there isn't enough food to go around  
(yes, it happens!)


Martin Counihan

counihan at soton.ac.uk

Toss Gascoigne
PCST Network

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