Lets kill spam conferences and make our existing conferences better

Fellow researcher @jordicabot posted on Twitter (https://twitter.com/JordiCabot/status/1429723198283829252 ) that we take this opportunity to “kill” a bunch of conferences because they were small and bloated with keynote speakers and panels disguising the lack of a deep scientific program. See: https://jordicabot.com/lets-kill-some-conferences/.

This is the beginning of a good debate but it would also have been instructive to see a proposal for such a “kill list”.

I suggest that the problem may at least be partly elsewhere. Let me explain why.

(1) I can’t see an ECR advocating the loss of an opportunity to disseminate their research. Established researchers can chose to give those small conferences a miss if they want. The choice is theirs!

(2) Lets target our “killing” of conferences to those that are spam. You know the ones.

(3) CS conferences are very rarely abstract only, full papers are the norm and are archivable (IEEE, ACM, Springer etc.) So the value of long standing conferences (albeit small now) remain long after the event. Further, National reviews of research (e.g. UK REF2021) don’t care about the publication outlet, they care about the quality of the research reported.

(4) Finally, lets fix our big conferences so they are more transparent in their makeup of PCs. A cursory glance at the big 5 would show that the make-up of PCs of conferences only really change at the margins.

(5) Perhaps what we need are programme chairs to think creatively and see how how conferences can combined where there is significant overlap. But that requires putting aside egos. So I agree in one respect:
“Lets be brave, put our sentimental reasons aside and improve our current “conference model”.”