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[Computational Complexity] Any Questions?

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  • Lance
    A speaker in a seminar talk loves to get questions during the talk for this means that at least one person is trying to follow the talk. A talk with no
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7 7:16 AM
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      A speaker in a seminar talk loves to get questions during the talk for this means that at least one person is trying to follow the talk. A talk with no questions means everyone is either completely following the talk or is completely lost, most likely the latter.

      Each question though involves three parties: the questioner, the speaker and the rest of the audience. A good talk has a certain rhythm and questions can disturb that rhythm. So how does the audience feel about the questions? Depends on the question.

      1. Questions that clarify the model or some aspect of the proof. We need these questions to properly follow the talk. When others ask these questions, I learn that I really hadn't understood the model when I had thought I had.
      2. Questions that argue against the model or results. Usually entertaing but can often degenerate into a long argument. The host needs to become a moderator and has to give one of those one-time nerd jokes that have become standard lexicon: "Take this discussion off-line."
      3. Questions that point out mistakes. Usually annoying and serves no purpose unless, of course, it takes down the whole proof.
      4. Questions that prove how smart the questioner is. The most annoying. I cringe whenever I hear a question starting with the word "So".
      At the end of the talk the questions usually suggest various extensions to the work that can often go on forever. Most of the audience just wants to escape but is too polite to leave. The host again needs to end the discussion. Having food in another room to continue the discussions in can help immensely.

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      Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity at 5/07/2008 09:15:00 AM
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