Grand Rounds: To Theme, or Not To Theme?
There are grumblings in blogosphere about Grand Rounds again.
First, we were yelled at oh-so-sweetly by Kim when the number of posts was getting too high to comfortably read them in a sitting or so, and to keep it real (medical, that is.) Her points were felt to be valid by the general public (defined as those interested in GR) and hosting has subsequently taken on a more editorial flavor. Well and good.
Now the concept of "Themed" Grand Rounds is being batted about. Two different things appear to be at issue: first is the style of presenting non-directed posts into a thematic presentation (Coffee Shop; Holy Grail; Charlie Brown; TV listings, etc.) Second is the practice of soliciting posts on a specified theme of the hosts choice. Both of these limitations (some would say "structures") on GR have been met with their admirers and detractors.
It appears to me that Themed Presentations run about 50-50 in terms of acceptance. Some folks think they're cute; others think they're silly. But overall there's a sense of "host discretion" and general acceptance.
GruntDoc and Dr. Sid have recently come out against Themed Submissions. Their commenters to date appear to agree with them, but this may be subject to "agreement bias" (people who disagree being unwilling to rock the boat, perhaps out of fear of being perceived as rude, or just not caring enough about it one way or the other.) Because their comments are still relatively new, it is not yet clear whether or not there is a true consensus on this point.
For what it's worth, I do give Nick Genes tremendous credit for continuing to give hosts full latitude and letting the chips fall where they may. I find it interesting that the actual work of Grand Rounds -- week after week of host interviews, talking nervous bloggers through the technical aspects; all in the midst of an ER residency -- seems to be such that he leaves these discussions to the rest of us. It's his baby; he's letting it grow and develop on its own. I find that impressive, whatever others may think of which way it's going.
Eyeballing the Grand Rounds archives does seem to confirm the rise of the use of a theme. Some like it; some do not. Those in the latter camp may stop reading or submitting, yet there seem to be plenty more willing to take their place. All things evolve; even, apparently, Grand Rounds. What better emblem of something truly "coming of age" than to have folks bitching about how it "isn't like it used to be"?