Remarks by Paul Weissman, Guy Consolmagno, and Mark Sykes
As of December 1, 1999 we have received 237 responses to our meeting format survey. Responses continue to trickle in at a rate of 1-3 per day. Fully 140 responses arrived on the first day, 190 after two days. Members were not shy about responding: several responses came from individuals who had not attended a meeting in the past 5 years.
The raw totals are given below. Note that in many cases the totals for each question do not add to 237: in some cases members were given the option to check multiple answers; in other cases they provided multiple answers when they weren't asked to (One member responded by checking both answers of a "Yes/No" question). Members also declined occasionally to answer some questions, including the personal information ones.
In reviewing the surveys, it is very clear that these are responses from 237 individuals. There is no standard set of answers. The members' feelings with regard to different aspects of the DPS meeting are each unique. We have attached the numerous comments from the survey, and there are strong and diverse opinions on almost every issue. One aspect of this is that there is no meeting format that will make everyone happy.
In general, the membership voted for the status quo. There is a strong majority vote for the standard 5-day meeting format, held in the fall. Of the remainder, an all-poster meeting held a modest advantage over a triple-sessions meeting. It is probably significant that 25% of responders favored a summer meeting time. A winter or spring meeting time was very unpopular.
The majority of the membership is happy with the current frequency of European meetings, though 25% wanted more European meetings. However, this is one question where there was a strong correlation with location. Among North American/Hawaii responders the vote was 36-19-138 (more-less-okay with current frequency) whereas with European/Asian/Other responders the vote was 28-1-13 (more-less-okay). Clearly, Europeans prefer the convenience and lower costs of more meetings in Europe, whereas the Americans and Canadians do not.
There is strong interest in having a DPS meeting in Asia or the Western Pacific. However, we should note that we received only 3 responses from this region of the world (2 from Japan, 1 from Australia), so the necessary numbers of people to organize such a meeting may not exist.
Members support triple sessions for all of the reasons given (except very few thought they should be used to allow multiple papers by a single author) but the largest number of responders, 40%, suggested that we should never have triple sessions.
Members strongly supported moving future mission papers and instrument papers to posters in order to avoid triple sessions. Just short of a majority supported moving some science papers to posters for the same reason. Adding hours to the day or days to the meeting were generally not favored.
Members did not want all-day sessions devoted to a single aspect of the meeting.
There was an almost even split between holding special sessions in the evening after dinner, versus in the late afternoon before dinner, with a modest edge going to the former.
There was not strong support for regular Future Spacecraft/Technology sessions, with the largest number of votes suggesting that these be presented in poster sessions. Members felt that Historical/Cultural sessions should be presented only occasionally. However, there was a strong vote, just short of a majority, for having Education sessions
at every meeting. Members felt that tours should only be included occasionally, with the largest number preferring that they be on the days preceding or following the regular meeting.
A strong majority of members felt that NASA night should be part of every meeting.
A strong majority of members want posters up all week. Responses were equally divided between presenting posters in one large versus several small rooms.
A majority of members want a mix of invited talks in plenary and parallel sessions.
This summary is essentially only for the raw vote. We have the information from all of the responses entered into a spreadsheet so it would be possible to do more in-depth analyses of the voting if desired, though it would take a bit of programming. For example, would the votes be any different if we consider only those from members who have been to 2 or more meetings in the past 5 years?
The Raw Votes
1. Which of the last five meetings have you attended? _140_ 1995 Hawaii _156_ 1996 Boston (should have been 1997) _163_ 1997 Tucson (should have been 1996) _166_ 1998 Madison _152_ 1999 Padua 2. Where do you presently live? _195_ North America/Hawaii __37_ Europe ___2_ Asia ___3_ Other 3. What is your professional status? __15_ Student __29_ Post-doc _187_ Professional, i.e., researcher, teacher, etc. ___3_ Retiree ___1_ Other The Questions: 4. Of the last 5 meetings, which format do you most prefer? _149_ Standard 5 day meeting (e.g. Hawaii, Cambridge, Madison) __44_ All posters and invited talks (e.g. Tucson) __33_ Triple sessions and afternoon excursions (e.g. Padua) __11_ No preference 5. What time of year do you prefer to have the meeting? _145_ Fall (current time) __60_ Summer (e.g. Cambridge) ___7_ Spring ___8_ Winter __30_ No preference 6. Presently, the DPS meets in Europe once every 6 or 7 years. Do you __64_ want more European meetings __20_ want fewer European meetings _151_ like the current frequency of European meetings 7. Would you be interested in a DPS meeting in Asia or the Western Pacific (e.g. Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand)? _155_ Yes __71_ No 8. Do you favor triple parallel sessions (check all that apply) __66_ to make time for tours and special events __71_ to allow longer oral papers (4/hour) __10_ to allow multiple papers by a single author __55_ to make time for more or longer invited plenary papers __67_ to leave more time for posters, unstructured time, etc. _101_ never 9. How would you avoid triple parallel sessions (check all that apply)? _111_ Force some science papers to posters _162_ Force future mission papers to posters _171_ Force instrument description papers to posters __35_ Meet for more hours each day __48_ Add another day to the meeting schedule __20_ Other_____________________________________________ 10. Would you like to see all-day sessions focused on one aspect of the meeting, e.g. all day poster sessions, all-day plenary sessions? __54_ Yes _171_ No 11. Should special sessions (NASA Night, Business meeting, Education) be held _102_ in the evenings after dinner (8-10 pm) __83_ following regular sessions before dinner (5-7 pm) __13_ during regular meeting time (8:30 am-6 pm) __49_ no preference 12. How do you feel about Future Spacecraft/Technology oriented sessions? __69_ Should be a part of every meeting __52_ Occasionally, not every year __31_ Evenings only __91_ Poster only ___9_ Not interested 13. How do you feel about Historical/Cultural sessions? __50_ Should be a part of every meeting _100_ Occasionally, not every year __59_ Evenings only __23_ Poster only __14_ Not interested 14. How do you feel about Education sessions? _110_ Should be a part of every meeting __24_ Occasionally, not every year __48_ Evenings only __32_ Poster only __30_ Not interested 15. How do you feel about afternoon tours in place of meeting sessions? __28_ Should be a part of every meeting __65_ Occasionally, not every year __43_ Foreign meetings only __93_ Place on days preceding or following the regular meeting __23_ Not interested 16. How do you feel about NASA night? _147_ Should be a part of every meeting __52_ Occasionally, not every year ___8_ Poster only __20_ Not interested 17. How do you feel about poster scheduling (check all that apply)? _133_ Leave posters up all week, even if it means more crowded area __83_ Change the posters after half of the meeting is over, to provide more space/variety __81_ Split posters into smaller rooms, by subject matter, to hold down crowds __86_ Put all posters in one large room __67_ Provide longer periods for poster presentation, even at the expense of oral sessions 18. How do you prefer invited papers to be presented (other than prize lectures)? __55_ 15 or 20-minute invited talks within the parallel sessions __54_ 30 or 60-minute invited talks in plenary sessions _119_ a mix of plenary and parallel session invited talks ___5_ no invited talks
Note: edited only for format and spelling. New paragraph usually means a new speaker.
- Foreign meetings
- Other comments on foreign meetings:
- Foreign meetings and expenses:
- Other comments on meeting venue/logistics:
- Costs of DPS meetings in general:
- Time of the Year for meetings:
- General Comments about meeting format:
- Comments on formats of previous meetings:
- Special Sessions
- Other Ideas for Sessions
- Invited Talks
- Length of Talks
- Gripes about Triple Sessions at Padua
- Triple Sessions in General
- Are More Poster Sessions the Answer?
- About Posters In General
- Some of the other comments we received
6. Presently, the DPS meets in Europe once every 6 or 7 years. Do you want more European meetings ?
could be every 4 years
7. Would you be interested in a DPS meeting in Asia or the Western Pacific (e.g. Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand)?
Yes (in place of one of the European meetings)
Why not? However, in a country with a significant planetology program. Probably Japan should be considered.
Quite happy to go elsewhere so long as a credible host is willing to support the meeting.
Unaffordable for me.
Asian meeting only in Japan, and only if substantial Japanese involvement. I'm not interested in going to tour, but only to establish scientific connections.
Yes VERY MUCH SO !
No. Way too expensive for an American-based society.
Yes - but it would probably be too expensive for me to attend.
Pacific Rim meeting of DPS is needed, especially with the advent of the Japanese spacecraft missions (Nozomi, etc.). I am a member of the Nozomi NMS team and would be willing to participate on an organizing committee for such a meeting in Japan. (signed: S. W. Bougher, LPL/Arizona).
People will probably disagree about which meetings are foreign :-)
Remember that US meetings are *foreign* to our European etc. members, Also, this is highly site dependent.
I really liked the meeting in Padua.
European (or Pacific or whatever) meetings should be roughly in proportion to the fraction of our membership in that region. I think we are close to the right proportion now for Europe. I don't think we have many members elsewhere.
The Brazilian planetary community is rather significant. In addition to, or instead of Asia, Brazil should be considered as a meeting site.
While I don't suggest changing the current frequency, it is getting more difficult to attend with shrinking budgets. I support an Asian/Australian meeting, but again the cost may be prohibitive for many people (myself included).
Because many younger scientists can't go, the foreign meetings have tended to be duller.
Note that I was not able to attend Padua because of JPL foreign travel quotas...it would be nice if DPS could lobby/convince JPL (and NASA) to treat it overseas meetings (of which I would like to see more) as if they were U.S. meetings (sometimes classified as "heavily attended")
Are DPS meetings outside the US a problem at NASA HQ? They are a cause of much unhappiness among junior scientists at JPL, and require an enormous administrative pushup. Do other NASA centers have this problem?
I pay my own way to these meetings, so overseas ones are always ruled out by cost. I think there is value in having them about as often as is the current practice, but let's keep in mind that the DPS is a division of the _American_ Astronomical Society.
Biggest advantage of DPS meetings is the fact that they circulate to different, often interesting locales. In years when DPS is somewhere interesting, I try to make an effort to go there instead of another visit to Houston for LPSC. Hawaii and Italy weren't really much more expensive than a CONUS location would have been.
The main objection most people have to foreign meetings is travel cost. So, meetings on other continents should hopefully be held near very major airports, preferably with direct US connections. Clearly, hotel cost may also be a factor in some of the largest cities.
More attention to venue. Abano meeting (Padua) suffered from poor transportation logistics, was too remote from Padua to enjoy that city, and Abano itself offered few attractions and facilities (dinner, lunch) for attendees. However, this was mitigated by the extraordinary effort of the LOC and generosity of local business, providing food and drink on many occasions.
Additional small meeting rooms are more necessary now, as members attempt to arrange meetings of their research group, mission team, and so on. These should be many and available on-the-spot at the meeting, scheduled at the meeting if necessary, first come first serve.
The DPS committee *really* needs to be careful that there is enough space to accommodate the meeting.......
Re: Cambridge (1997). NO MORE DORM ROOMS. (And that means no more meeting sites 1/2 mile from the nearest hotel.)
One question you didn't ask concerns accommodations: It is sometimes important to me to be lodged very close to the meeting site and at a reasonable cost. Cambridge was poor in this respect.
Another question you didn't ask concerns cost. The DPS registration fee has crept up (skyrocketed?) to a point that bugs me. Please consider allowing attendance on a per-day basis that is more nearly on a par with weekly attendance (e.g., 3 days for ~ 3/5 the cost).
I'd like to see a move to reduce the hotel and reservation costs associated with the DPS meetings. Having the DPS meeting at the beginning of the fiscal year has recently translated into scientists at US government centers having a difficult time attending.
I find DPS tends to be an expensive meeting. I was unable to go to the Hawaii one even though I had been authorized for a travel grant (student at that time). The upcoming JPL location is good as I will be able to find cheaper accommodation than that conference hotel.
5. What time of year do you prefer to have the meeting?
No preference (so long as conflicts with other meetings can be avoided)
For those of us with teaching schedules, there are big advantages to meeting when classes are not normally in session.
Keeping the DPS meeting about six months away from the LPSC is ideal for me, since I usually attend both.
Under no circumstances should DPS meetings be held in Spring because this conflicts with the LPSC. Most academics can't arrange to take a whole week off twice in one semester.
My main complaint is the timing of our DPS meeting. In the past twenty I have attended nearly all of them, however at great expense to my teaching schedule. Summer meetings are much preferred.
Summer is a terrible time to hold DPS meetings, due to all the other meetings in the summer. I don't have a strong preference, but have some preference for talks rather than posters. But, triple sessions are terrible, at Padua I missed 1/2 the talks that I wanted to hear. Also, don't have parallel sessions with similar or related topics. Don't put Jupiter against Io, have Jupiter and some Asteroid or Comet sessions going on at the same time.
The format I most objected to was having the meeting in the summer in Boston close to the time of the IAU meeting. I was not able to attend this meeting because of that, and did not like having to miss the annual DPS meeting.
I like standard meetings and poster meetings, but did not like sacrificing time for science to go on lots of tours. I'd love to see meetings in Sept. to avoid civil servants missing them because of the fiscal year switch. I don't like them in the summer.
If there is only one change to make it is to not have the meeting in October!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Having the meetings in October is really bad for federal employees, probably the worst month of the year. Many years the federal budget hasn't been passed and very often only critical travel is allowed. Even if it were to be passed on time, it still takes a while to trickle down to the trenches to allow for meaningful budgeting for the year. On the other hand, almost every year there turns out to be (surprise, surprise) year end travel money available comes July/Aug/Sept and you can almost always get travel money even if you didn't plan ahead.
AVOID first few weeks of US GOVT Fiscal Year.
A fall meeting during Columbus-day week allows academics in certain states (like Massachusetts) to attend more days of the meeting. If enough are in favor of it, this could become the traditional week for the DPS during most years.
By "fall", I mean the second or third week of October, as the DPS has voted on time and time and time again! I most definitely do **NOT** mean anywhere near Thanksgiving. I protest in the strongest terms the DPS acceptance of the bid for the New Orleans meeting. The scheduling of that meeting is one of the stupidest things the DPS has done
The meeting time does depend on where we are meeting. For Boston, summer was a great choice, while Tucson, meeting in the cooler month of October was certainly a better choice than summer. As for New Orleans 2001, meeting late in the fall as is scheduled is practical to avoid any potential hurricanes.
Before ever considering rescheduling time of year of meeting, determine first what time of year the maximum number of members submit their proposals for funding, and avoid holding the meeting any time in a span leading up to or following this period.
I think DPS meetings are far superior to AGU meetings. Please do not change them to be more AGU like.
I enjoy time off during the meeting - whether for cultural excursions or even to provide more time for the various side meetings that invariably take place. However, I would not favor going beyond 5 days and I would not favor more parallel sessions. Thus the solution is to move toward more posters - but then it is crucial to have plenty of space for the posters and to have refreshments near the posters.
4. Of the last 5 meetings, which format do you most prefer?
I have liked a mix of these formats, actually, and couldn't say that I prefer one above all the others. Each has its attractions and drawbacks.
Five day meetings generally too long. Would prefer triple sessions, less invited papers, most efficient use of daytime hours for contributed papers to achieve the goal of a shorter meeting.
I think we cannot and should not prescribe the meeting format. It is going to depend strongly on the site. For example, Padua could not have possibly done anything but triple sessions. As it was I also thought the poster space was WAY too tight there. The DPS committee needs to critically look at these things. I refuse to even look at posters if I have to elbow my way through a crowded room. Frankly, I don't like posters at all, because I cannot tolerate standing for long periods to read them, and STILL most people do terrible posters that require you read paragraphs of text! If one has any posters, they should be set up as spaciously as the Tucson meeting - with lots of time and lots of space.
The Program and Local Arrangements Committees need to have some flexibility in designing a meeting to meet the constraints of the area or facility. They can be encouraged to be creative to meet the multiple and conflicting demands, while crafting a meeting that is scientifically invigorating as well as enjoyable for the participants.
The questions tend toward absolutes. Leave some flexibility for the local committees to deal with specific circumstances for a given meeting. For example, some places may not accommodate posters up all week, some may have no problem with it.
Poster sessions should be an important part of the meeting. In Padua they were relegated to two small rooms for only a limited time during the meeting. The format in Boston was probably the best balance between oral presentations and posters.
Subtle facility issues can make a noticeable difference: 1) Catered lunches, as in Hawaii, should be encouraged. 2) Adequate seating/tables near meeting rooms and posters foster discussions 3) Single-building meetings, as in Madison, are very easy to navigate. 4) Theatre-style seating, as in Padova, is awful. All told, the best facility/organization was Madison. Let's go back, and aim for comparable facilities elsewhere.
At MIT the conference organizers set up television screens outside of the conference halls with information concerning current talk in each parallel session. This was clearly above and beyond the call of duty, but it made session hopping very easy. My point is that if you have parallel sessions, they have to be run _on schedule_. I did not go to a single session that did not run over. It is most likely because the oral presentations are too short. I would suggest either lengthening the presentation time to 10 minutes or doing away with oral sessions
Standard 5-day meeting (Madison was particularly nice, with SOME extras offered, e.g. the view alone! or deJong's educational 3-d presentation)
The 1999 DPS Conference was the most poorly organized conference I have ever been to. The AV situation was terrible. The excursion to Padua was a complete disaster. In the future, conference organizers should take a more active role in ensuring that the conference locale has the appropriate facilities for presenting talks and posters. Two of the conference rooms were much too small and the poster session was so crowded that I could not see anything.
The Italy meeting seemed to have more than its share of logistical problems: parallel sessions on similar research areas; large crowds in small rooms for both talks and posters; etc. Some of this may have been due to the facilities available, but I'm not sure all of it was: for instance, the corporate tables took up much space in the upstairs area that could have been (better?) used for science posters instead. Other problems could have been solved with better scheduling by the LOC -- e.g., reliable estimates (perhaps based on previous meetings) of the audience size in each session.
I felt this Padua meeting was held in a meeting space too small for the DPS and was poorly organized. Poster sessions were held in small, crowded, out of the way rooms, and to make matters worse, were only up for half a week so that it was especially difficult to find time to see all of them.It was nice to have a vacation in Italy - but the reason I went to Italy was not for play, it was to attend a meeting. I'm not sure that tax payer dollars should be spent on my getting what turned out to be primarily a vacation. Those wanting a vacation should stay after or before the meeting when they are on their own dime, and not a government grant.
The rooms the sessions were held in in Abano were much too small. If there are going to be three sessions at once people need to move in and out of rooms easily, and without disturbing everyone else, so that they can go back and forth between the sessions. The tiny, crowded rooms that two of the parallel sessions were held in made it impossible to do this. Perhaps the DPS has grown large enough that we can only hold meetings in spacious convention centers such as the Madison or Tucson meetings.
16. How do you feel about NASA night?
Should be a part of every meeting - this is the quid pro quo for NASA $$ in support of the meeting.
NASA night is unavoidably necessary.
You talk about NASA night. What about other space agencies?
NASA night is largely uninformative, often irrelevant, rarely necessary.
I usually reserve my NASA night for the LPSC.
14. How do you feel about Education sessions?
Should be a part of every meeting - should be short and focused.
Workshops only, should be a part of every meeting
This is a tough one, but I think its a different subject than the science, and somewhat like weighing down the meeting with "engineering" sessions on future missions, etc. I'd hate to see this interpreted as saying education isn't important, though. The education establishment needs to be taught, however, that science education needs to grow out of the science, not (as in current mode) watered down, "hands on," special techniques for teaching science. (It is possible in modern universities to get degrees to teach science without ever taking a course in a science department! DPS should not foster this separatist culture.)
Education sessions in past meetings have been held before or after the meeting or in evening sessions. These have generally met with very limited participation. With the greater emphasis by Code S on Education and Public Outreach, I believe it would be appropriate to (1) hold these sessions during the regular hours of the meeting, (2) expand "Education" to "Education and Public Outreach", and (3) have occasion plenary session invited talks that address appropriate topics in E/PO, including helps to writing effective E/PO proposals, how to meet our obligation to communicate what we learn in solar system exploration, what helps are available at little or no cost, where to obtain solar system E/PO products, how to become involved effectively in E/PO efforts with relatively little time investment and without necessarily entering the classroom or giving public talks.
13. How do you feel about Historical/Cultural sessions?
Occasionally, not every year -- if the location favored this aspect
should be a part of each meeting (those who forget history are doomed to recapitulate it!)
12. How do you feel about Future Spacecraft/Technology oriented sessions?
Should be a part of every meeting if there is enough new to talk about.
Life's too short to convert DPS into engineering meetings.
Should be a part of every meeting but more restricted.
New technology and new missions are largely a waste of time. More often than not neither is real.
Future missions was one of the best attended sessions at Padua.
Some events, like NASA nights and special technology sessions can be either good or bad but it would not be good to routinely have technology/mission sessions - they should occur only occasionally and only when there is a good reason to do so.
Whether any given activity (Future Spacecraft/Technology, Historical/Cultural, Education, etc.) should be a part of every meeting should depend upon there being something NEW to present. For example, we do not need to hear more than once about what NEAR or SIRTF will do once they reach their destinations.
These sessions should be scheduled if enough quality presentations are offered. They are most effective as oral sessions with possible exception of future missions/instruments/technology which could also be done as posters (or mixed with sponsors/vendors, where they could be exposed for the full week).
General comment: I come to DPS meetings to hear science results, which for me include the invited reviews and plenary sessions. (NASA Night is also highly important since NASA's role in the field is so large.) Everything else, however, is secondary for me and I'd prefer to see these topics pushed into "off-time" slots -- before or after the main meeting or in the evenings.
Evenings OR posters. I consider items 12, 13, 14, and 15 all to be peripheral to my reasons for attending the meeting, so I don't want them occupying regular session time. I do have some personal interest in future spacecraft/technology, but not much in historical/cultural/educational stuff.
Evening activities are fine, generally speaking: when I go to a meeting I intend to spend most of my time doing meeting activities. It is important to leave enough time for a reasonable dinner (particularly in locations where it is difficult to seat the entire DPS in nearby restaurants), either before or after the evening event. Ample time for lunch in "lunch crunch" locations is also helpful.
The business meeting is not in the same class as NASA Night or Education sessions. This is the DPS's annual meeting. Everyone who is here is here to participate in this societal function. More people should be involved in the business of the society, and thus the business meeting should be scheduled during prime time. NASA Night and (to some degree) the education session, on the other hand, are matters of personal preference, and should be off prime-time (evenings).
Special sessions in the evening. I don't care whether before or after dinner.
It's virtually impossible to meet for more hours each day! Force some future mission papers to posters, and possibly instrument description papers to posters (the only chance one has to see the instrument in sufficient detail, anyway). However, DO make sure that posters aren't second-class citizens, as they surely were in Padua.
In some foreign countries it is not practical to eat dinner early, so evening sessions should be from 5-7 instead. Otherwise, allow a few hours for dinner and come back in the evening for sessions.
Young PhD students should be invited to give invited talks. They are at the very frontier of science, and they should get the opportunity to show their face. Not the same old boring club of senior scientists, many of them tell the same story year after year.
10. Would you like to see all-day sessions focused on one aspect of the meeting, e.g. all day poster sessions, all-day plenary sessions?
No (It's good to break up the day for variety)
The mix each day allows for some "recuperation" time and keeps the meeting from monotony
18. How do you prefer invited papers to be presented (other than prize lectures)?
More than 20 min talks by invited speakers tend to get to rambling and too technical, except with a very few exceptional speakers.
Invited talks should NEVER be in parallel.
Short invited talks in the regular sessions were very successful this year.
less invited talks, but longer
Invited talks never in parallel. Can be 15-20 minutes.
I think 20-25 min is about optimum.
Invited talks should be limited to 30 minutes, including the prize talks.
I would like to see invited talks limited to plenary sessions with about 30 minutes for each. There should only be 2-3 per day, and they should be given on "hot topics" by GOOD SPEAKERS. The parallel sessions should be 15 minutes per talk (strictly enforced -- if they use it up talking, there are NO questions). That means more people are forced to posters, but that's life. Hopefully, the presenters will take responsibility for indicating the forum (oral/poster) best for their topic (i.e., a detailed description of a spacecraft
instrument should be confined to a poster, but an overview of a concept could be done in a talk). Finally, it might be interesting to have tutorials. Other scientific meetings have these (1-2 per day for about an hour each), and they seem like a nice way to introduce a subject to people not familiar with the area. These would be for the meeting attendees rather than the public at large (i.e., scientific rather than garden-variety).
I like the shorter 15-20 minute invited talks, but it seems contrary to the purpose to hold invited talks with other sessions in parallel. Often the invited talks are a good way to get an overview of a sub field outside your personal expertise; however, if they are held in parallel, such a talk could overlap with a contributed session "closer to home".
15. How do you feel about afternoon tours in place of meeting sessions?
Place on days preceding or following the regular meeting. Sightseeing at government expense is not justifiable
NOT AT ALL interested
Depends upon uniqueness of tour!
It is an attractive idea to have time off during a meeting for group tours, so one doesn't have to choose between science and some attraction which may have been why the meeting is held in a particular location. This obviously depends a lot on the local attractiveness.
I'd say a one-afternoon break is optimum. Since DPS is part of a US astronomy organization, it is appropriate to use the word "foreign" and to propose more tours organized in countries outside the US. It seems a little foolish to spend many days on special DPS tours around, say, Detroit.
I appreciated the sightseeing time we were allotted for the Padua meeting. I think it is appropriate for European meetings.
Tours are useful, valuable, depending on the venue, and in some cases will prevent attrition. Be flexible and tailor the plan to the venue, e.g., beach time in Hawaii over long lunch breaks, or a day trip to Venice, and so on. Padua meeting tried to do too much in that regard, and the boat trips to glass factory was too much of a tourist trap maneuver. One trip to Venice without the lengthy boat rides would have been perfect.
Having scheduled sightseeing on the formal meeting schedule is a foolish thing which could cause serious repercussions if someone had a bone to pick with government funding being used to attend the meeting. Personally, I would not have wanted to show the Padua schedule to my tax-paying neighbor.
Foreign meetings (only) *principally* -- otherwise, important observing facilities
While excursions are great, this is an extravagance that I don't think should be built into meetings. Fine to allow an hour or two out of a session at the end of a day (e.g., Yerkes tour in Madison was excellent, and didn't impact sessions much), but this taking off entire days to go on excursions does not seem in keeping with attendance of a scientific meeting.
Sightseeing in General: I appreciate it when the host offers to provide guide service to a unique local spot or event. But I'd like to keep the meeting itself compact. If I have time, I'll add touring to my personal schedule before or after the meeting. Daytime special events within the DPS envelope should be kept to a minimum. I didn't attend the Padova meeting, largely because I didn't have the time to travel. But a minor contributing factor was my perception that more time than necessary was being excised from the technical sessions for tourism. Colleagues who attended were also disappointed because the in-meeting tours duplicated some of their own pre-meeting travel and because they didn't find the tours themselves to be as interesting as expected (and they were trapped once started).
I find large organized tours are a real pain, but I have no objection if others want to go on them--that leaves a little time for me to do my own thing.
Tours during the regular session (as in Padua) should be avoided at all cost. We are not at the meeting for touristic reasons. Triple sessions, where the parallel sessions are closely related topics (also in double sessions) should be avoided. I really did miss invited talks this year. Oral talks are great for faculty teaching the broad topic of planetary science, to quickly find out what is new and hot. Invited talks are great for postdocs and students (plus those of us who admit not to know everything)
The meeting in Padova was an excellent chance to meet with Planetary Scientists not always able to travel to the United States for meetings. The afternoon tours were a great idea, though they were somewhat disorganized. I think maintaining a certain level of exposure to local culture should be considered at every meeting, even if it is simply a bus tour of the city or an excursion to the sponsoring University.
I enjoyed the extra time to tour Italy, but I felt that it forced the three parallel sessions and made the meeting a very weak one. I missed many of the talks that I would have liked to have seen, because I was trying to talk to people before they left to go touring. When I did attend talks, I often missed others that I was interested in because of the three parallel sessions. (e.g. an asteroid session should never be held at the same time as a comet session.)
Tours are fun and can help build the personal networks that are important for any community. Thus they also serve an important and valuable role. The last meeting had two such excursions. I would think one would normally be sufficient.
I was very disappointed that the Padua meeting turned into a travel junket, dominated two days by tourism, so I left early. All the talks on subjects important to me were in triple parallel sessions, so I could only see a small fraction of what I wanted. Then I was stuck with essentially nothing to do for the last few days while many people went on a bus tour to Venice. Please don't ever let that format occur again. It would be much better to let people have their tourism before or after the meeting. That way, busy people can schedule their time for work and not be stuck. I definitely appreciate the need for foreign outreach, on the other hand. Let's just do it in a reasonable manner.
Tours/organized sightseeing is more appropriate at foreign meetings. Perhaps the meeting could be a bit longer to make up for the time spent in tours (additional day or longer hours on some days). The Padua meeting needed more time for poster sessions (2 slots of ~ 2 hours would be good). If the posters are in one large room, then they should stay up all week. Split week posters are appropriate if there is limited display space.
These are difficult issues as the number of assembled scientists continues to grow; however, there is in my mind few things less useful than a 7 minute scientific talk!
5 minutes for contributed talks is completely ridiculous and not taken seriously by many people. Also, students are the most conscientious about fitting into the time commitment--the older researchers feel free to run to 10 or 15 minutes even though it messes up the schedule and makes it difficult to session-hop.
With short talks it is very difficult to ensure that all the sessions are in synch, so I only caught half of a lot of talks in Abano.
Anatomy of a 5-min DPS talk: 1. Speaker presents some background. 2. 5-minute buzzer goes off. 3. Speaker talks really fast, skips 5 view graphs, puts up conclusion slide.
The time allotted for regular oral presentations is way too short. It should be 12-15 minutes.
At another meeting I recently attended, they had morning invited talks and evening poster sessions with the afternoons off; two afternoons had tours. Even though I did not attend in Padua, I could see missing too many interesting papers with triple sessions. Conflicts arise with parallel sessions unless an organizing effort is made to provide different topics where overlapping interests are minimized. If there is problem with time for oral papers, I favor fewer, but longer ones (about 30 - 45 minutes) where a review is made of an area of research or an individual's work.
Biggest problem with DPS meetings is the short time limit on talks. Anything that can be done to increase time available to the average speaker (not including plenary or invited speakers) should be given high priority. It's nearly impossible to communicate anything useful in the 5+5 format currently used.
I recommend 15 minute talks (10 minutes nominal plus lots of time for questions) but fewer of them, strictly synchronized, with poster talks getting high visibility (e.g. like the Tucson meeting). Those giving posters would get 1 minute at the podium, during each corresponding session, to advertise their work, so many would prefer to give a poster. (These 1 minute ads shouldn't be at the end of the session, since so many people have the rude tendency to get up and leave. Let's have it right after the first two talks after the coffee break.)
I think we should stop the 5mn-presentation format. It's not efficient enough and traveling all across USA or part of the world for a 5mn talk is a waste of time/money. That's why I believe the all-poster format that was adopted in Tucson should be strongly consider for the next meetings. It gives more time/flexibility for the presentation and can accommodate a large number of participants.
I prefer less time for oral presentation if necessary. A good contributed oral talk can be given in 5 minutes if the speaker sticks to 3 or 4 visuals. One talk per person; avoid giving time to each of many coauthors who will expand one story into several.
I would like to see a mix of fewer, more carefully chosen oral presentations in carefully scheduled double parallel sessions (more work for the program committee), 1-2/day carefully chosen invited review and prize presentations in plenary or parallel session (depending upon projected appeal to a specific or general audience) and more posters in a carefully planned Tucson-like setting. This would require more work by the Program Committee, but a whole lot of people would benefit. Tours should be before and/or after the meeting, which should be doable in 4 days (lets face it, most of us become brain-dead and just want to get home after 5 days of meetings - seems only those having to make presentations are really into it on the fifth day). Mixing plenary, oral and poster sessions throughout a day breaks up the monotony.
Another idea, common in other disciplines, is to allow oral talks only to those who have already submitted their paper for publication. This would be hard to enforce, but it would drastically cut down the number of oral talks.
I think it's useful to experiment, even trying unfavored formats again. But after the recent experiments, I prefer the traditional format. The Tucson logistics were well-done, but I didn't like the schedule. Typically I would attend 2-3 of 5 days of a DPS meeting. In Tucson, although there was poster space all the time, authors came and went on my preferred schedule (2-3 of 5 days) so I had to be there all 5 days to catch a couple important ones each day. This may have simply been a scheduling anomaly unique to Tucson; but I came away feeling that I had not been able to use my own time very effectively with the poster-only format.
Scrap the single paper per author rule, and judge each abstract on worthiness of the science alone (many of us are juggling at least several projects...why make us choose which science is more important?). At the very least, allow "Title Only" submissions.
The most unfavorable rule which is better to change is one talk per speaker. Due to this rule, most of my work is reported at the EGS meetings where this rule does not apply.
Allow for the saturation factor. More free time is not a bad idea anyway, since some of the best benefits of the meeting arise from informal discussion with colleagues.
A large number of people come to DPS to talk to colleagues and find that they get very little out of 5 min talks. This year, for the first time I *did* get something out of 5 min talks...... but I usually don't, and give up on the sessions entirely. I have been to a couple other meetings recently which were VERY fulfilling! These had single sessions with ONLY invited talks from good speakers (30 min slots) and some contributed oral talks (15 min). I really learned some science!! The rest of the papers were in poster sessions which were not crammed full of people, and the posters were well received too.
DPS is a meeting where people should attend sessions not corresponding to their immediate interest. A rare opportunity to know what is being done in other areas, to know better some colleagues one only sees at colloquia and review meetings. Save this aspect. DPS should not be a series of specialized meetings with a schedule such that one can only attend the one most closely related to what one is doing.
The single most important criterion for me is to leave adequate "unstructured" time for one-on-one communication with colleagues. This can be poster time or just "free" time, but needs to be at least 2, and preferably ~4, hours each day WITHOUT oral sessions going on. I can't find people I want to talk to if most of them are sitting in sessions. I really don't care how that open time is created, whether by multiple sessions or forced posters, but making longer days of oral presentations in any way is exactly the opposite of what I want.
How would you avoid triple parallel sessions? Don't schedule so much unstructured time.
I think that the format of the meeting is also related to the location and to the actuality. For instance the last meeting was held in an area with an extremely rich historical environment (the city of Padua and Venice). More time than usual had to be devoted to a minimum discovery of these unique sites, which explains the adopted format, but which must remain exceptional. On the other hand, there were no very special events as had been in past recent meetings (the Magellan images, the SL9 encounter, the Galileo descent ...) which called automatically for plenary sessions.
I found the triple sessions at Padova particularly annoying because in one part of the week I wanted to be in all three sessions and at another part of the week I could easily have skipped all three sessions. This is just a scheduling problem but having triple sessions does make the schedule much harder to do than with double sessions.
The main thing is to have good topical sessions, and then try to find the optimum mix so that people interested in one topic won't be torn between two concurrent sessions. This was a mess in Abano Terme. On top of which more popular sessions ended up in smaller rooms, while less attended sessions were sometimes in cavernous rooms.
My major concern was related to the fact that the first part of the week was mostly related to small bodies, while the second part was related to giant planets, etc. With such an organization, you have a low probability to listen to all the talks of interest for you (in 3 parallel sessions), and a low probability to talk with your colleagues (who may decide just to stay for 2 or 3 days)...
The triple sessions in Padua resulted in too many conflicts between sessions in which I had interest. I did not feel that the time put into the other activities merited the introduction of these conflicts.
I wouldn't mind if the future missions and instrument sessions were the third parallel session - I don't like having three science session at once. However scheduling should be done better than at this last meeting when a comet session was parallel to a comet mission session where science results were being reported. How are we supposed to be in two places at once?
In Padua, all small bodies were scheduled the first 2.5 days, large bodies the last. This maximized conflicts and should be avoided.
When parallel sessions are scheduled, they should not compete with each other, e.g., comets vs. asteroids, Mars atmosphere vs. outer planets atmospheres, etc.
More care needs to be taken in scheduling parallel sessions so they don't conflict - for example, at Padua the only two Io sessions were Friday afternoon at the same time.
I like the idea of triple sessions but they need to be scheduled in such a way as to minimize overlap of common interest (e.g. Mars surface opposite Jupiter atmosphere rather than Mars atmosphere opposite Jupiter atmosphere)
A major problem with the Abano Terme meeting was that subjects of interest to a particular subset of DPS members (e.g., planetary atmospheres of Mars and Jupiter) were scheduled simultaneously, so that it became necessary to miss some papers of interest in order to attend others of comparable interest. As a further example, the first days were devoted to small bodies, comets and asteroids, again, of interest to the same subset of members. A much more logical organization would have dissimilar topics scheduled at a given time, so people interested in atmospheres could attend non-simultaneous sessions on Mars, Venus, Jupiter, etc., while those interested in major planet geology could attended sessions dedicated to that
Group sessions by topics that are of interest largely to a particular group, not of general interest.
I have no objections to triple sessions - HOWEVER, there has to be great care in what gets scheduled against what!!! This year, it was unfortunate that comets and asteroids and space missions with comets were scheduled against each other at times!! This should have not happened.
I thought the three parallel sessions in Padua were a mess. It is possible to schedule 3 sessions at once, but it should NOT be done all the time, and when it is done it should be done with extreme care as to what topics are scheduled at the same time.
Triple parallel sessions may have worked if they had been better planned. I found all the talks in my field were squeezed into the first three days - two of which were 1/2 days, and that I basically had Thursday and Friday free, after having had to miss many interesting talks due to everything going on at the same time.
Triple sessions in rooms far from one another is difficult; when you run to catch the talk in the next room, you get there all out of breath, and after hearing whatever can be said in seven minutes (basically very little), you wonder if all that hustle was worth it. Or this scenario: you run down the avenue, late for this morning's session, grab an espresso and run in to catch the most important science in the world -- and then sit through a series of talks that either tell you things you already know, or tell you new things in a very hurried and confused manner. In either case, the solution is longer and fewer talks in two (at most) parallel sessions. Or there could be a third session for special topics, e.g. missions and space technology, with science occurring in two adjacent salons.
Maybe some colleagues were quite unhappy with the three parallel sessions and the free afternoons at the Padova meeting.
I didn't attend the Padua meeting, so I don't know how the triple sessions went over. It may be an acceptable thing to do.
Two parallel sessions is tolerable usually but triple sessions causes too many conflicts. The remaining talks should be put into poster sessions. As compensation the poster sessions should receive somewhat more emphasis by scheduling them at prime times and, perhaps, adding food or drink as an additional inducement.
I would hope triple sessions could still be minimized. In fields as closely related as planetary sciences, it is extremely difficult to choose only 1 of 3 possible topics. Perhaps a membership survey to indicate which topics have the least overlap in interest would facilitate this practice if it becomes necessary. Finally, in any case of parallel sessions, even only 2, proximity of the rooms and a talk schedule outside each room (crossed off when completed) is key.
9. How would you avoid triple parallel sessions (check all that apply)?
These are loaded questions: normally we can avoid triple sessions without much pain, by doing all the above in moderation. It was just the nature of the Padua facilities that forced triple sessions this time.
Don't spend time that could be spent on science sessions doing tourist stuff.
Eliminate "sightseeing" time
I think it depends on the quality and timeliness of the individual paper, whether it should be a poster or oral talk.
No excursions during meeting.
Don't really think triple sessions need to be avoided.
Accept only papers with significant new results
Suppress the free afternoons (let people skip what they don't want to listen to)
Don't take afternoons off for excursions. Triple sessions have to go. I heard many complaints (and have a few of my own) about wanting to be in three places at once. At least with only double parallel sessions there is some hope of getting to a significant number of the talks you want to hear. With triple sessions (and the usual drifting off-schedule) it becomes impossible. Most people I know work across a variety of fields and objects. The afternoon excursions/afternoons off should be ditched in order to prevent triple sessions.
8-9. Triple parallel sessions will come when pressure overcomes volume. This is reminiscent of the discussion which preceded adoption of dual parallel sessions. I don't think anyone wants more than a 5-day meeting. None of the options in 9 will affect pressure more than marginally.
8. Do you favor triple parallel sessions (check all that apply)
to make time for tours and special events -- ONLY IF IT IS VENICE OR THE LIKE!.
never!!!!!!!!!! (I needed roller skates and a computer program with the schedule!)
I would like triple sessions and longer talks.
Conflicts are bad enough with _two_ parallel sessions; with three...!? (The LPSC really suffers from this, with often four simultaneous sessions. Argh.) I suppose the all-purpose answer to overcrowding is simply to be more selective in what is accepted.
LPSC does mostly fine with four parallel sessions, if scheduled correctly so similar topics aren't pitted against each other.
I favor the AAS method of defining, prior to the deadline, the number of oral talks. Then, these slots get filled in the order abstracts are received and anyone late automatically gets put into poster. This puts the onus on the person who insists on an oral paper. The AAS has a 1.5 hour coffee + poster session in the morning and a 1.5 hour cash bar + poster in the evening, so posters are not second class citizens. However, they are only up one day. We can probably avoid that. Posters should be up at least 1/2 the meeting.
The ideal meeting would more carefully choose the best submitted abstracts for oral sessions. This puts more pressure on the scientific organizing committee to create a fair balance of topics and to give access to young researchers instead of the usual suspects. However, ultimately the judgement should be based on the quality of the abstract as it is in many other fields. The competition for oral slots might increase the quality of abstracts and talks alike.
9. How would you avoid triple parallel sessions (check all that apply)?
All contributed papers should be posters; only invited talks should be oral (as in Tucson)
First move all upcoming mission & technology papers into posters, then start shifting science papers to posters. I also checked having a longer day, even though I know there's a fatigue factor that sets in. Perhaps have posters in the evenings only.
Triple parallel sessions should definitely be avoided. also, most of the 5-minute talks should be presented as poster papers, leaving more time for invited talks. very little comes across in 5 minutes, especially since sessions run late and there is no way to tell when the talk will actually happen. with posters, at least you can go see the poster you're interested in, instead of having to sit through 6 other talks waiting for the one you're interested in.
Triple sessions don't allow people with multiple interests to get to everything of interest. All poster format did not work well (Tucson) because people cannot be at their posters long enough and simultaneously talk to other people.
I particularly like the system where all papers were posters. In this way, there was a great deal of flexibility and the oral plenary sessions were easier to commit to. This was particularly important for creating time to talk with others. If you went to all of the sessions, then there was little time to talk with (or find) others
Question 9 is poorly worded, and reflects an unfortunate prejudice. "Force some science papers to posters" implies that the writer of this survey (and presumably the DPS committee also) feels that poster papers are not science papers! It should read "Force some oral contributed papers to posters". Similarly, the other options should have read "Force all future mission oral papers to posters", etc.
I'd prefer a MOSTLY poster-based alternative. Consider beginning each session with a parade of 1-minute overviews by each speaker in the session, then adjourn to the posters to get the detailed story. This format has the advantages of (a) giving presenters a chance to "hook" the audience, albeit briefly, (b) providing a more relaxed, productive format to interact with presenters at their posters, and (c) allowing presenters to show more detail than they could describe in a 5-min talk. This most significant advantage, however, is that the "parades" could be staggered to avoid ANY overlap, not to mention that there would be more schedulable time for invited talks and plenary sessions.
Limit the number of different topics which can be followed or suppose to move all the time; force more papers to posters which led in the case of the Padua meeting to divide the time where the posters were up.
x!!!!! Force instrument description papers to posters
17. How do you feel about poster scheduling (check all that apply)?
no preference as to large/small rooms, as long as THERE IS ROOM!!
provide longer periods for poster presentation, even at the expense of oral sessions
Put all posters in one large room (and set up like Tucson did)
Split posters into smaller rooms, by subject matter, to hold down crowds and to ensure you run into your colleagues.
Depends on the circumstances of the meeting- obviously all posters up all week in a large room (with refreshments) is best if facilities allow, otherwise some of the above compromises may be necessary.
I thought DPS meeting guidelines made it clear to meeting organizers that they have a responsibility to provide sufficient poster space that **ALL** posters may remain up for the entire
meeting. If this is not part of our guidelines, it should be.
Won't it depend completely on the facilities available?
It depends, obviously. If the alternative to lining the corridors with posters is to change them after half the week, then change them after half the week. If there's room for all the poster submissions, leave them up all week.
Room options are facility dependent, but do keep crowds down but posters up all the time is a MAJOR attraction of DPS over other AAS meetings.
Having a buffet dinner at the place where the posters are is, I believe, a good idea because it forces people to stay about.
Papers that have been given in a very similar form should be forced to posters (compare with EGS, AGU, ACM, Cospar abstracts/proceedings). Such boring examples are many of the future mission presentations. I guess there is not a single person in the audience who does not know about it already. Many of these talks are repeated several times per year and over many years.
POSTERS! DPS should *require* that posters be up all week, that there be a large amount of space for them, that the area be comfortable, pleasant, and well-lit, and that a large fraction of the meeting, perhaps even 50%, not have talks scheduled. Some of these times should be "targeted poster sessions" for people to present in front of their posters, as the Jupiter session (and many others) did in Tucson. In this scheme, everyone presenting in the session meets in their poster area. They take turns giving 3-minute summaries of what's on their posters, and take a few questions. Then everyone moves to the next poster. This gives the individual exposure we are used to from talks, and interests people to come back later for more
in-depth discussion. I learned more at that meeting than at any other, and made more contacts.
Poster scheduling depends more on facilities than DPS desires. Posters up all week in rooms divided by subject matter would be best. But I have no objection to a single hall. AGU hangs posters for only one day; I think that's too short. But a couple days, synchronized with oral presentations on the same subject, would be OK.
The problem with poster sessions is that they are usually in crowded rooms and there is not enough time, because the 5-minute-talk sessions ALWAYS run overtime, taking away whatever poster session time there might have been. well-organized poster sessions (like an entire afternoon) will allow people to see all the papers they are interested in.
Also, short poorly set-up poster sessions are annoying to the people presenting the posters because then we don't get to see the other posters we are interested in the most - the others in our area of study!
We need more time for posters and more space for posters than happened in Padua. Madison and Tucson poster space was great, and made for very useful poster sessions. The crowds and limited time in Padua made it very difficult to get as much out of the posters as is desirable.
The poster sessions at Padua were a great failure: very little time was set aside for poster viewing, the posters were crowded together, and worst of all, they were not placed adjacent to coffee breaks. In my view it is essential that poster-viewing and coffee breaks be together. My observation was that few participants bothered to look at posters.
Recognizing that space is an issue, I still really like the meetings which make plenty of time and space for posters. Perhaps meeting sites could be chosen with poster space in mind. Tucson was fabulous for this, as was Boston. Madison posters were split between rooms, but they were close together. Hawaii posters were nicely laid out, too, if I remember correctly. Posters in Padua were highly sub-optimal, in terms of length of time and space available.
An important part of what made Tucson so successful was the size and arrangement of the poster space. Other meetings have crammed the posters in as an afterthought, and kept them up only half the week. People don't want to do posters because they feel their results deserve better treatment and won't be seen by as many people as would attend a talk. I think that if each meeting declared in advance that they would have a Tucson-like poster space, with lots of dedicated time and poster-review periods as described above, we'd see more
people opting for posters rather than papers.
I thought the Tucson meeting was an outstanding success, and would like more in the same vein.
For me, the most productive session was the Tucson meeting. I could ignore the papers I was not interested in (unlike oral sessions), and it allowed me the opportunity to talk with the authors while I was looking at the data (slides did not have to be backed up, and there was no time limit to the questions). Additionally, other bystanders
would often offer useful insights and comments. Having comfortable chairs near the posters was also a big help. I did look at every poster, and had the opportunity to learn things in other areas that I would have missed had they been presented as oral papers in parallel talks... About the only thing I did not like was the 1 minute abstracts for the recent Ph.D.'s It looked too much like a "cattle-call," where these select people were paraded in front of the group to gawk at. I found it somewhat demeaning. I would have preferred a few oral sessions where the graduate students and recent Ph.D.s would give 5-10 minute oral papers in order to practice their paper-presenting skills. However, since many of these young scientists go to meetings other than the DPS where all the papers are oral, it's not clear that the DPS needs to always provide opportunities for these students to practice their speaking skills. The poster sessions were actually better for these students, as they would have to repeat the information multiple times, and in a far more relaxed atmosphere. They also have the opportunity to *meet* other scientists, which to me is more important than standing before a sea of nameless faces presenting multiple years of effort in a short five minutes. The Tucson meeting was also the most relaxing, as I did not feel obligated to be in the convention center every minute for fear of missing something important.
If more weight were given to posters, allowing the 1 minute advertisementsduring the plenary session would be nice - worked well in Tucson.
I thought the Tucson meeting was great! Not everyone can get a poster room that large, but that is definitely the way to go. Schedule several times when authors can be at their posters and nothing else is going on. Make sure there are lots of tables and chairs *nearby* for folks to sit down and collaborate-- that's what the meetings are all about!
I do think the poster only format in Tucson worked well, and though I wouldn't want to see it happen every year, it is a nice occasional change of pace.
While I greatly enjoyed the Tucson meeting, I did not like the format of all posters versus all invited talks, since it made too clear of a division between the muckety-mucks and the plebians. I'd suggest having a hundred or so talks, and several hundred posters, but don't make a distinction of one being "invited" and the other being, well, not invited. The decision of who gets a talk will be no less difficult than it probably was for the Tucson organizers to decide on their invitee list, but probably no more difficult either. Alternatively, the organizing committee could just have a fixed allotment of talks and let first come be first served. In either case, make the posters be preferable to some people.
I REALLY liked the Tucson format where the only oral talks were the invited ones, and the posters were all in one big room.
Although the Tucson format was generally "vetoed" by those who felt cheated by their lack of opportunity to orally present their material, looked upon by an individual such as myself who attends DPS meetings to improve my understanding of solar system science overall more than to "toot my own horn", I found far more opportunities to learn than in normal meetings, because: (1) I was not forced to miss talks altogether because of parallel session conflicts or DPS responsibilities, (2) the posters stayed up all week, giving me more time to peruse the posters and absorb their content, (3) the posters were more up to date and included much more information than the DPS abstracts, (4) the poster surroundings were open and pleasant, and most of the activity of the meeting centered around the poster room itself, instead of having them in relatively small rooms at remote locations, and (5) I could time my perusal of the posters to a schedule and rate more consistent with my ability to concentrate on their contents. I would love to see more DPS meetings organized in the same fashion.
I think talks give one more visibility.
Apropos panel discussions: I'm against turning these into "debate" formats. I feel that the debate format is not appropriate to scientific discussion. DPS should not foster any format where speakers are trying to "win." From this perspective, I thought the "space weathering debate" (in Hawaii, I think) was an embarrassing exercise treated by the audience and organizers as pseudo entertainment for the attendees, as much as real science.
Leadership derives from strength of character, not opinion polls and focus groups. The other should be called followership. "Supposing is good, but finding out is better" - Mark Twain
I was surprised that there were no questions about using new technologies such as the web, so that people can participate without traveling.
More and more, I think, conference organizers need to think ahead a bit about options for single parents who need childcare during the conference. We made the mistake of not being prepared for this at the ACM.
Thanks for asking!
This survey is a good idea! I hope that you get lots of responses.
OK 'nuff said, those are my $0.02
Thanks for doing the survey --
Keep up the great work! Thanks.