This afternoon here in Prague was the ACL business meeting. A few interesting points were brought up. As well all know, ACL will be in Columbus, OH next year. It will actually be joint with HLT, which means that (as I previously expected), there won't be a separate HLT next year. Combining with the fact that when ACL is in north america, there is no NAACL, it looks like there will only be one north american conference next year (unless EMNLP--which is now officially a conference--chooses not to co-locate with ACL/HLT). The paper submission deadline looks to be around 11 Jan -- calls will be out in September. EACL 2008 will be in Greece.
The new information: ACL 2009 will be in Singapore, which was one of my two guesses (the other being Beijing). This should be a really nice location, though I'm saddened since I've already been there.
A few changes have been proposed for ACL 2008 in terms of reviewing. None will necessarily happen, but for what it's worth I've added my opinion here. If you have strong feelings, you should contact the board, or perhaps Kathy McKoewn, who is the conference chair.
- Conditional accepts and/or author feedback. I'd be in favor of doing one of these, but not both (redundancy). I'd prefer author feedback.
- Increased poster presence with equal footing in the proceedings, ala NIPS. I would also be in favor of this because already we are at four tracks and too much is going on. Alternatively, we could reduce the number of accepted papers, which I actually don't think would be terrible, but going to posters seems like a safer solution. The strongest argument against this is a personality one: ACLers tend to ignore poster sessions. Something would have to be doing about this. Spotlights may help.
- Wildcards from senior members. The idea would be that "senior" (however defined?) members would be able to play a single wildcard to accept an otherwise controversial paper. I'm probably not in favor of this, partially because it seems to introduce annoying political issues "What? I'm not senior enough for you?" (I wouldn't say that, since I'm not, but...); partially because it seems that this is essentially already the job of area chairs. There may be a problem here, but it seems that there are better, more direct solutions.
- Something having to do with extra reviewing of borderline papers. I didn't quite get what was meant here; it didn't seem that the proposal was to have fewer than 3 reviews, but to ask for more in case of confusion. I would actually argue for being more extreme: have a single (maybe 2) reviewer to an initial round of rejects and then get three reviews only for those papers that have any chance at all of being accepted. I doubt this idea will fly, though, but it would be interesting to check in previous papers how many got in that had one reviewer give a really bad score.... how many got in that two reviewers gave a really bad score. If these numbers are really really low, then it should be safe. Anyone have access to this data???
I'll post more about technical content after the conference.