I have been invited to give a talk at a workshop in a scientific community that I don't know well (and that I would have described as only tangentially related to mine before discovering I knew two of the research groups that were present).
A number of things have irked me.
1. Someone thought that toilet brushes dripping in bleach were a good idea. My pants are ruined. They were my nice talk pants.
2. The wifi was terrible. Emails managed to arrive and leave but I couldn't even log into Twitter.
3. I was the only invited speaker to be a woman. Out of six.
4. The food was Majorly Unsavory and there were no vegetarian option. If I'm going to eat meat I'd like it to be tasty, thank you. Also vegetables aren't a swear word, you can put some in my plate. (Flageolet beans and mushrooms don't count as vegetables. Mushrooms aren't even plants, okay?)
5. One of the invited speakers ran 15 minutes overtime. At 1pm. When there was another speaker scheduled after him before lunch.
6. No one thought of providing water for the speakers. This one speaker forgot her own water bottle in her room and was mightily thirsty after her 40 minutes talk.
7. I was given a list of posters to rate at the poster session. No one asked me "Would you be so helpful as to rate a few posters for us?". No one said "It would be very nice if you could rate a few posters." No. I was just given a list of posters to rate.
8. Someone's doctoral work was apparently consisting entirely of a literature review. I am skeptical. Not of the value of the work, but of it qualifying as PhD material.
9. Someone's poster consisted in applying existing methods to existing data and not getting any results out of it. When I asked what was coming next, it looked like the student had never thought about that question before.
10. Someone's poster presented a new, complex method to analyze complex phenomena, as simulated through a complex simulation model. After ten minutes of discussion I gave up on explaining to the student why I thought it interesting to ask whether the complex method was performing as well as existing, simple method in simple cases (that are specific cases of the complex simulation model).
11. My hotel room smelled like someone deep fried something in it. Possibly smelly old socks.
12. Someone with Jewish name asked me if I was related to a researcher with the same last name as me (I am, and I am used to the question). Then said something weird about religion. What was I supposed to say, "Hi five, we're both Jewish, except not really, because my mom's goy"?
13. In case you were wondering, yes, young woman who say "She always complain about unwanted attentions. I don't get any attentions at all" do exist. I'm for erring on the side of compassion, and I do feel for her, but I also sort of wanted to, I don't know, slap her head into outer space.
14. The workshop booklet was printed in Comic Sans.
15. In one of the other invited talks, someone used a blanket statement about some methods I happen to know well that was so blatantly wrong my head snapped up and I laughed out loud.
16. Everything was in French, because it was A French Thing, even though some of the PhD students don't speak French (or not fluently). Then I overheard French PhD students complaining they find it hard to follow online courses because the one they're interested in are usually in English. Is this how we're preparing our future scientists?
17. I overheard people saying they didn't want anyone asking questions at their poster. THIS IS SCIENCE. Our purpose is to ask questions.