Ok, it’s an unscientific poll, only a small number of people (162) voted compared to how many attend the ESA meeting, and those voters probably comprise a non-representative sample of ESA meeting attendees. But still, there are clearly two leading options to address the issue of low attendance on the final half day of the ESA meeting.
The most popular option, preferred by 39% of voters, is to go to a full day on Friday. So this is worth looking into, although I’m guessing there may be issues with this of which I’m unaware (e.g., does it increase the cost to ESA of renting the convention center?)
Close behind, with about 32% of the votes, is the idea of swapping the Monday morning activities (mostly workshops) and the Friday morning talks, with the awards ceremony probably moving to an early evening slot one night during the week. That way, only people attending workshops have to stick around for the final half day on Friday. This would be easy to implement and wouldn’t cost a thing to try. So personally, I’d be very much in favor of trying this next year and seeing what happens.
The ideas of scheduling talks 15 minutes apart or increasing the number of parallel sessions attracted much less support. Hardly anyone liked my half-baked idea of trying to free up time by going to late-evening poster sessions. And hardly anyone voted for ESA to try something else that wasn’t listed, so I think my list of options pretty much covered the reasonable possibilities.
And the least popular option, preferred by only 2% of voters: the status quo.