My frustration with AGBT is mounting a bit, but it’s not the blogging policy itself that is annoying me. I’m really happy with the wording of the policy, albeit the execution was a bit rough around the edges. Instead, it’s the people who are choosing not to allow their talks to be blogged or tweeted, for what appears to be no obvious reason.
Frankly, if you’re going to show unpublished data, or are presenting someone else’s talk, then that’s great. I’m happy to keep my notes private – I’m all about sharing data and open source code and all of that, but I know where the limits are.
I just find it to be completely disrespectful to say “no blogging” when you’re presenting published work, or work that’s in press. You don’t need to hide that data, but choosing the “no tweeting” option basically has a dual effect of stifling conversation and burying your data. Tweeting is how many (mostly young) scientists communicate with their peers, and a forum by which your work can be advertised.
To me, banning twitter is like saying “You may not discuss this talk over beers”. I fail to see the difference, except beers have a physical limit to the number of people who can participate in the conversation.
Of course, one might object to disseminating sensitive information, but the bloggers and tweeters are usually the ones with a high enough profile BECAUSE they’re the ones doing it with respect. I’ve counted 4 people using phones and cameras to take pictures of posters, and 2 doing the same during talks. Those people aren’t deterred at all by the no-tweeting policy, and it won’t stop them from taking those photos home and showing them to their colleagues.
Rather, those people who choose to discuss your work in the public – where they are accountable for their comments – are the ones you’re stopping. In protest, I think the proper course is simple: If you can’t give me a good reason why I shouldn’t discuss your work in public, I just won’t discuss it in private either. Problem solved.