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Open and Reproducible Conference Questions [ Project ] #65
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At a glance
What are we working on during the do-a-thon? What kinds of support do we need?
Our "How might we…?" session gave us the idea of creating a list of questions we could ask (respectfully) at conferences when speakers are not open about their research in any way. e.g.:
We would like to curate not just the questions but also resources for us to prepare for asking these questions at conferences.
How can others contribute?
Drop in suggested questions below this issue! We'll try and build a website to host them during the do-a-thon.
This post is part of the OpenCon 2017 Do-A-Thon. Not sure what's going on? Head here.
Seeing as #33 is discussing a very big amount of OpenConference ideas, I would actually prefer to collect the questions in this thread instead for a better overview. :)
I am just going to start:
Setting: Talk is finished. Organizers are frantically looking for somebody to ask any question, so the discussion starts. Nobody raises a hand. Awkward/ Nervous silence.
(more input and question ideas are more than welcome!)
referenced this issue
Nov 13, 2017
Firstly, I LOVE this idea. This will challenge people's behaviours, mainly the other listeners. Three thoughts:
As a way to help people ask these Qs, would it be useful to circulate business card size cards with prompts on them, that you can slip into your conference lanyard, and look at before asking? And maybe a cute animal drawing in the corner to give you courage?
Also, it may be sufficient to ask the question, but the scientist in me is also fascinated to understand what happens next:
Is there an anonymous way for people to provide this feedback so it can be aggregated and understood and the project can learn from it?
Here are some more variations of phrases that could come after the "thanks for your great talk" intro:
Not all of them are suitable for guerilla tactics, but I guess quite a few of them could be, perhaps with some tweaking.
Awesome thread. Two thoughts:
(1) Should we create a resource that specifically discusses a few question+answer scenarios? As @npscience suggested I think that talking about the rationale and potential follow-up conversations would be cool
(2) It would be amazing if we could create a guide from this. I could totally imagine that such a document could be very helpful for journal clubs and/or as a teaching resource.
I thought this was a great and fun idea to come out of the workshop!! Looking at the progression of this thread though, my only concern is that those using these tactics should be careful about how they are communicated. I feel like it could come off as extremely passive aggressive or patronizing, depending on how it was delivered and who was asking the question (for instance, let's keep in mind the power dynamics between an older white male researcher asking say, a junior WOC researcher).
Yes, the power dynamics are very important, and the precise wording/ intonation has to fit with the situation, which may well turn out to be difficult, especially if speaker and asker do not know each other, if they stand far apart on the openness spectrum or if they have to use a language that differs from their native one(s). Some people will be offended by this kind of question no matter how politely they are being phrased, and the simple act of asking them might be considered impolite or otherwise inappropriate. Potential guerrilla questioners should keep this in mind.
I have asked versions of almost all of the above questions on occasion, and found significant differences in terms of
For some of these (or any other) questions, the speaker may also not be the best person to address them, since others — e.g. supervisors, postdocs, collaborators/ competitors, conference organizers etc. — might have more of a say or more information on the matter.