Q&A best practices: Introduce yourself

At COLING 2018, we’ll be asking question askers in the Q&A sessions to introduce themselves (name and affiliation) before asking their questions, because we’d like to see this practice spread as a norm in the community. When our field was smaller, it may have been the case that most everyone knew everyone else on sight and could recognize each other’s voices. That’s surely not true now!

We want to emphasize that this advice is for everyone, regardless of whether you expect most people to know who you are. The speaker whose paper you’re asking a question about might well have heard of you, but not recognize you on sight. And the speaker might appreciate the chance to follow up with you later! Likewise, people in the audience appreciate knowing who is asking questions. Even if you’re pretty sure everyone in the audience knows who you are, it’s still important: perhaps not everyone can see you. Furthermore, if the more well-known speakers adopt this practice, it makes it more comfortable for less-established scholars to do so.

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