This week I'm attending the annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association in San Francisco. There are lots of interesting talks on the program, but I find myself noticing some of the habits of philosophers that are on display in the question-and-answer periods at the end of the talks.
For example, philosophers seem to have a hard time asking a concise question. It's not obvious that this is always a problem -- providing a bit of context with the question can make it easier to get an answer to the question one is trying to ask -- but sometimes the queries come with so much background that it's hard to identify the actual question. And sometimes it's just that the questioners are just trying to ask too many things at once. (To be fair, some philosophers recognize this, including one this morning who started, "I have two questions, but I'll try to reduce them to a single one ...") Then too there are the questioners disinclined to yield the floor, persisting with follow-up queries even as the session chair is indicating that they should shut up so other people can get their questions answered.
My impression is that some of these behaviors are generational (or maybe related to status within the professional community), but others strike me as behaviors characteristic of philosophers.
Are there patterns of engagement in professional meeting Q&A that you take to be distinctive of your discipline? Any behaviors you think are dying out, or surging forth? And, if you're one of those interdisciplinary creatures, are there exotic Q&A behaviors you notice when you go to professional meetings with folks from the other side of a disciplinary fence?
(I'm now thinking I might start collecting some more precise data on questions for the remainder of the meeting, to see how measurements square with my impressions.)