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Jul. 26th, 2011 (UTC)

I think this is very much about the function of the moderator--whose job it is to keep directing the topic (and the participation of the panelists) back to That Which Actually Interests The Audience and/or Addresses The Topic.

In addition to writers behaving poorly, I've also see panels where an agent or an editor, too, takes over and dominates the panel with some personal verbal journey that has nothing to do with the audience and/or the topic, or which may be self-indulgent, rude, insulting, embarrassing, or nonsense, rubbish, and self-aggrandizing manure... while the moderator sits there in compliant and enabling silence for 30 minutes, not doing a thing about it.

I've also seen panels where a moderator did nothing to manage the problem of an obnoxious audience member who kept interrupting, or who gave no one else a chance to ask questions, or who TALKED ON A CELL PHONE while in the audience, or several people talking together while in the audience--loudly enough to disturb everyone, etc.

Obviously, yes, it places too much of a burden on the moderator when panelists (or audience members) are badly behaved. But when someone badly behaved dominates the panel, the moderator hasn't moderated effectively.

OTOH, yeah, the writer who doesn't dominate the panel, but whose comments are nonetheless all, "In my book blah blah blah," is harmong no one but themselves. Do they REALLY think anyone's going to rush out and buy the book of someone so self-absorbed and tedious?

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