It cannot be taken for granted that merely arranging for an assemblage of knowledgeable people in an appropriate place within a given time span will produce effective results. Regardless of the quality of the individual participants and their skill in articulation, the ultimate success of most conferences will be related to the effectiveness of the conference leader. It is his responsibility not only to arrange for all the physical appurtenances of the conference, but also to ameliorate conflict, abrasion, and disagreement, while effectively intergrating a variety of points of view toward the desired goals of the conference. When it happpens that a leader becomes aware of his inabily to cope with problems precipitated by overly animated interaction, he shies away from encouraging participation to an increasing extent, thus sharply reducing the value of the conference.
Two years ago I moved to a new neighbourhood. There seem to be very few people in this area who are without telephones, so I expected to get a new phone quickly. I applied for one as soon as I moved into my new house. "We aren't supplying many new phones in your area," an engineer told me. "A lot of people want new phones at the moment and the company is employing fewer engineers than last year so as to save money. A new phone won't cost you mush money, but it will take a little time. We can't do anything for you before December." You nees a lot of patience if you're waiting for a new phone and you need a few friends whose phones you can use as well. Fortunately, I had both. December came and went, but there was no sign of a phone. I went to the company's local to protest. "They told me I'd have a phone by December," I protested. "Which year?" the assistant asked.