This is a pet peeve of mine. Not deadlines on their own. We need deadlines – they’re really often a large part of a goal. But it’s people who whine about deadlines that drives me nuts.
I’m involved with a small conference system. The papers “published” don’t count as refereed. It’s more of a chance for a lot of undergrads, grads, and post-docs in a network to get more experience writing a paper, writing reviews, and the whole conference system. However, in my experience, these “small” systems are a very accurate reflection of what actually happens in the real world with bigger systems.
In this case, I’m highly annoyed by the emails we’ve received about the paper deadline – which had already been extended. People who somehow missed the multiple emails in the week leading up to the final deadline (including one the day of the deadline). These people wanted the deadline to be extended so they could submit. Or the people who asked for another extension – because they really just need a few more days.
Deadlines are important. They give us something to aim for. They keep things moving forward. They mean that people aren’t constantly waiting for those few others who just can’t seem to get things in gear.
I like deadlines. Yes, sometimes they’re really hard to meet. But that’s a challenge. It gives you a chance to see what your limits really are. Maybe you can write a program/essay/paper in only 24 hours after all.
And deadlines rarely sneak up on people. The people who claim they do just haven’t been paying attention. I can’t think of any times I’ve ever had a deadline “appear” and have less than a couple of days to do something. And even those short ones – they’re never giant projects. In this case, where some students claimed they were just told they needed to submit? Well, they had received a zillion updates and reminders and their supervisor had received a zillion updates and reminders. Besides, the paper was only 4 pages! It’s tiny!
I wish more people would learn to just suck it up.