May be this is also a case for some other conferences, but as for me, I’ve been introduced to this practice only at last year ICDE, and so far haven’t seen anything like this at any of the other conferences.
At most of the them “a poster” basically means, that the paper was not good enough to be presented and/or published, but the Program committee still decided to give the authors a chance to show their work, because there was still something good in it… So, very often for the conference participants attending a poster session is a kind of charity. At the best the people with poster submission have a chance to present a demo at one of the demo sessions.
This is not the case at ICDE, and I like a lot their way of doing it. At ICDE almost all of the submitted papers have their “poster versions”. This year almost all papers, which were presented on Tuesday, had their poster versions presented on Monday during the welcome reception. I do not remember for sure, whether it was indeed so strict, because I didn’t pay attention first, but I I definitely checked out most of the Wednesday presentations on Tuesday during lunch (because it was dubbing as a poster session as well), and I know that on Wednesday only the Thursday presentations where available.
I think this is really great for both the authors and the other participants as well. In the situation, when there are six or more sessions going on at the same time, it is very difficult to make a choice which session to attend, and the short abstracts are not always helpful. But when you have the authors standing by their posters, you can ask for a private presentation just for yourself, you can ask any stupid questions you want, you can really understand, what it is about. You can decide, whether to attend this session or not, also, if you really have a conflict and want to go to some other session, you still didn’t miss this presentation completely. And this also gives the preventers an opportunity to practice their talks, so get a feeling, whether their presentations will be well understood, whether something get to be changed.
If you check out the ICDE 2015 program, you will see the green “poster” buttons by almost all of the papers – this means, that you can view the poster online. I know for sure, that there were more posters, just not all of them got submitted.
As for me, I’ve learned about the most interesting presentations from the poster session, and in the next couple of days I will try to write more about the ones I especially liked.