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I recently submitted an abstract to a talk as a contributed paper. I was informed, through email, that the paper was scheduled to be presented in person on XXX date. The email also said that I could look for my name on a link mentioned in the email; going to the link, I found that my name was not on the list at all. I checked it multiple times, but my name was simply not there.

I found that the time at which I was assigned to give my presentation was on the list, but with someone else's name and paper title. I assumed that this was a timing and/or update problem, and left it at that for some time. However, this was not resolved even after two days. Thus I sent an email regarding this situation to the email address that was in the email, saying that if I had any questions I could email that address. I still have not received any email, and the conference/talk is coming up in about a month. This is the very first presentation that I will be giving, and I am not sure what to do in this situation. My questions are as follows:

  • Did I deal with this situation correctly, sending an email to the "query'' email address?

  • What must I do if I do not receive an email in a few days?


P.S. As it was inquired in the question, the conference that I submitted this to is the AMS Fall Sectional Meeting in San Francisco.
Edit: It looks like the situation has been fixed and my name is now on the list. Thank you to all who offered me advice!

  • Additionally, I am not sure if this is a common situation in academia, as I am extremely new to all of this. – user11539 Sep 19 '14 at 1:54
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    One small comment, since you mention being new: some large conferences have multiple sessions in parallel. Are you sure this isn't what is happening here? – Klaus Draeger Sep 19 '14 at 11:20
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    For those in other fields: AMS (American Mathematical Society) sectional meetings are reputable regional conferences. The number of attendees is typically in the hundreds. They are typically organized by a local committee of academics, assisted by some professional staff from the Society. They do run multiple parallel sessions. – Nate Eldredge Sep 19 '14 at 22:38
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Now that you've identified the conference as the AMS Western Section meeting in San Francisco, I looked at the conference's program web site and your talk is definitely listed. It's in the Session for Contributed Papers I, Saturday October 25 at 10:30 AM in Thorton Hall room 325. (If you don't see it, try searching the web page for your name.)

Perhaps you overlooked it the first time? Or else they originally omitted it, and it has since been fixed.

  • I think that they had omitted it and it's now been fixed, as my name was not there yesterday night when I checked it. Thank you! – user11539 Sep 19 '14 at 22:55
  • @sdeva: You're welcome! I expect within a few days you'll get a reply to your email with an apology for the error. Enjoy the conference and good luck with your talk! – Nate Eldredge Sep 20 '14 at 2:43
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I do not think this usual. How big is the conference? If it is small, it is possible that the organizers made a mistake without realizing it. Inquiring over the email was absolutely the right thing to do. I would follow up a week from your original inquiry if you don't hear back from them sooner.

  • The conference that I submitted this to is the AMS Fall Sectional Meeting in San Francisco. – user11539 Sep 19 '14 at 22:29
  • I think that they had omitted my name and it's now been fixed, as my name was not there yesterday night when I checked it. Thank you! – user11539 Sep 19 '14 at 22:55
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Don't run! Walk!

Keep in mind that organizing conferences usually involves a huge amount of work including organizing the received abstracts and papers, managing their reviewers, managing the conference place and preparing packages, etc. They have to solve your problem but don't expect them to answer you instantly, they may have other emails to answer. Be patient for another two or three days (if this does not disturb your deadlines and schedules).

Did I deal with this situation correctly, sending an email to the "query'' email address?

Yes, sending the email was your only way to contact the conference. Could you travel to the city of the conference sooner to ask your question? No!

What must I do if I do not receive an email in a few days?

I suggest you to do these things;

  • Send them another email and ask your questions again;
  • Search the website of the conference to see if there is another email address provided in the webpages and forward your email to them too;
  • If they have any fax number, send them a fax and ask your problem;
  • If there is a phone number provided, call that number too.

However, I usually do not trust a conference which does not answers it's emails and do not care about their participant's problems. At least, it's your right to contact them and consult them such problems.

Once it happened to me that I had some questions about the conference deadlines and schedule and I sent an email to the conference's contact person's email address; but they did not answer my email. They did not even answered my phone calls or another emails too (even after one or two months).

I did not send them my full paper and did not continue my application process for that conference. I simply brought out my paper from that conference. After that, I learn a very good lesson from this: I never send my papers to the conferences which are not well-known in my field.

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    Minor nitpick - what's the relevance of the stuff in bold to the answer? – 299792458 Sep 19 '14 at 12:59
  • @New_new_newbie Don't run! Walk!? He would better wait some more than two days; as stated in the first paragraph of the answer, and not become nervous soon. – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 19 '14 at 13:04
  • The conference that I submitted this to is the AMS Fall Sectional Meeting in San Francisco. – user11539 Sep 19 '14 at 22:29
  • I think that they had omitted my name and it's now been fixed, as my name was not there yesterday night when I checked it. Thank you! – user11539 Sep 19 '14 at 22:56
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You should definitely call the Conference organizing committee three days after sending an e-mail. They have to clarify this situation.

Be sure to have the e-mail in front of you when calling.

Your message could be lost in tons of those other complain emails from other members.

I have organized a few congresses myself and this is definitely a technical problem that the organizer has to address.

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    I have never seen an academic conference in my field with a phone number listed for the organizing committee. – ff524 Sep 19 '14 at 6:27
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    @ff524 In my field, it is usual to see a phone number, fax number and postal address of organizing committee office besides their email addresses in their contact us page. However, I don't think it is a field-related custom. – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 19 '14 at 6:30
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    @ff524 Sure, but the members of the organizing committee have personal work webpages, and office phone numbers are usually on them. – Federico Poloni Sep 19 '14 at 6:57
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    @Federico in my field, it would generally not be considered appropriate to contact academic conference organizers at their work phone number for matters related to the conference, unless they list the number on the conference website or otherwise encourage you to call it. (The exception to this would be if it's someone at a professional society whose job is organizing conferences. Or if the situation is really urgent, which this isn't, yet.) – ff524 Sep 19 '14 at 7:06
  • Usually, there is also a phone number to a secretary, who is doing the administrative tasks. – Vladimir F Sep 19 '14 at 8:37

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