Written 10/1/08, posted later
This is the second post from the grant agency meeting.
Many of the "questions" are comments that bring up something about the speaker's research that was left out of the presentation or relate the commentor's research to the talk. Such exchanges do not initiate very good discussion.
I'm trying to decide if this group is too heterogeneous or too homogeneous to generate really good discussions. I'm leaning towards both.
They are too heterogeneous in that there are a few distinct cliques in the group who work on a particular phenomenon or project together. These are the people that comment on talks rather than ask questions.
On the other hand, they are too homogeneous within these cliques. As a result, they have largely the same view on the overall results and only reinforce each other's views rather than critically questioning them.