(NA)ACL Suggestions from Don Blaheta (May 15, 2000)

Hi!  As I mentioned at the conference, I wanted to send along a few
suggestions for improvements that could be made for next year (both for
NAACL and ACL itself)....

* This time there were two message boards, one for official messages and
  one for all other.  There really ought to be multiple "other" message
  boards, because the one got completely too crowded.  Specifically, I'd
  suggest having one for jobs postings, one for conference and workshop
  announcements, and one for other stuff like personal messages.

* I personally would vastly prefer a university venue to another hotel
  conference---the atmosphere is completely different, and better.  (In
  general, I found this year's NAACL to be far too corporate for my
  tastes, but I suspect that was a combination of its collocation with
  ANLP and its sponsorship by MS and Boeing.)

* Regardless of whether it's at a college or a hotel, the screens need
  to be set up a little differently: either find a sloped auditorium, or
  raise the screens higher.  At almost every talk, the bottom 1/8 to 1/5
  of the screen was blocked by people's heads.

* Related to the last bullet: for the main rooms with the huge screens,
  there should really be a long pointer (and not laser) for people to
  use in pointing to things.  Most of us couldn't reach past the bottom
  third of the screen. :)

* It seems like laptops are becoming more and more ubiquitous... it'd be
  cool if the conference ran an extension cord and six-plug outlets to
  various locations in the auditorium, so that the laptoppers could plug
  in instead of running on battery.  (Not a big deal, but it seemed
  fairly easy to implement.)

* And finally, my most important suggestion: it would be unbelievably
  cool if the proceedings (or some subset) were available on the web in
  advance of the conference itself.  Most people end up putting their
  papers on the web anyway, so this shouldn't be a big deal---if there's
  any concern, it could always be an opt-in sort of thing ("check this
  box if you want your paper in the online proceedings"), or even just a
  big page with links to people's local copies.  I volunteer to do any
  web work associated with this, if that's an issue.  But I think it
  would be wonderful if we could check out people's papers before we
  hear their talks, without having to spend hours poring over the book
  right there at the conference.  For that matter, it'd be nice if it
  *stayed* up on the web, so that we could refer to a paper from our
  desktop without digging out the book.  There shouldn't be any
  copyright issues, particularly if this were maintained simply as a
  page of links....

Ok, so that's it for now.  Thanks, by the way---you do a great job, and
I can't even imagine how much work you must put in to this!