When I’m at a meeting, I sometimes wonder how the organizers assigned rooms to the various sessions. Such thoughts especially strike me when there’s a disparity between room size and attendance, such as a ballroom with a sparse crowd. A few people scattered about a large room emphasizes poor attendance. A smaller but full room is preferable to a cavernous but practically empty room. Did the session organizers think they were going to attract a huge crowd, or were they the victims of random room assignments? I’m sure we’ve all attended sessions in rooms that were the wrong size.
A related issue…have you ever been in a session where it was basically you and the speakers? Perhaps you’ve even been one of those speakers. How did it make you feel to have such a small audience? As a reporter, I’m not sure how to interpret sparse attendance, especially at a meeting like the ACS national meeting where so many sessions and divisions compete for eyeballs. Does it mean that the research being reported just isn’t that interesting? Or is it just unlucky timing, an inconvenient location?