CHI ’24: Overview of the Post-conference Survey

Author: Caroline Appert

Thank you to everyone who participated in the CHI post-conference survey, which was open for approximately two weeks after the conference (from May 29 to June 10). Overall, 613 people participated in the survey, representing approximately 15% of the total number of CHI attendees (3,995 in total). This compares with 17% of the total number of attendees in 2023.

This article provides a concise overview of the survey findings. The interpretations are based on a thematic analysis of the open comments (the thematic analysis was done by Caroline Appert and Simone Barbosa).

Attendees’ experiences

The following chart shows the distribution of respondents based on their type of attendance at the conference. The green bar represents respondents who attended the conference in person, while the brown bar represents those who attended virtually. Among the respondents, approximately 15% attended the conference virtually. This percentage is close to the actual virtual attendance, which was approximately 17% for CHI ‘24.

Bar chart showing number of attendees from 0 to 500 on the Y axis against attendance type. Two bars are shown. On the left, the bar for “attendance type = virtual” goes up to almost 100. On the right, the bar for “attendance type = site” is slightly above 500.

In the survey, 78 respondents shared their reasons for choosing virtual attendance over on-site attendance. These reasons are reported in the table below (respondents were allowed to select multiple reasons).

What factor(s) did influence your decision to attend the conference virtually rather than in person?
————————————————————————-
| 56.41% | My decision to attend virtually was influenced by ecological reasons. |
| 14.10% | My decision to attend virtually was influenced by cultural reasons. |
| 03.85% | My decision to attend virtually was influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.|
| 42.31% | My decision to attend virtually was influenced by personal reasons. |
| 38.46% | My decision to attend virtually was for other reasons. |

The distribution of responses to the question “How valuable was your CHI experience?” is presented below, using a breakdown by attendance type: virtual attendance on the left and on-site attendance on the right. The chart shows that on-site attendance was highly valued, mostly because it offers opportunities for networking (connecting with people and meeting new people) and for getting up-to-date with scientific content that is timely and of high quality. In contrast, feedback from virtual attendees was less positive. In their open comments, virtual participants highlighted the lack of networking and interaction opportunities (both as attendees and presenters), the fact that there was little to participate in and insufficient synchronous/hybrid interactions for the sessions they could participate in.

Two histograms, one per attendance type, that report on the distribution of answers to the question “How valuable was your CHI experience?”. Possible values are along the x-axis with min value being “Not at all valuable” and max value being “Very valuable”. Counts per value are reported along the y-axis. The histograms show two opposite trends. The negative trend for virtual attendance on the left. Positive trend for on-site attendance on the right.

The survey included a series of questions where respondents rated various aspects of the conference, including sessions and activities (such as papers, demos, posters, panels, SIGs, student competitions, workshops, and keynotes) as well as conference events (such as receptions, exhibits, job fairs, and town hall meetings).

Overall, attendees gave mostly positive feedback about the sessions and activities, with all venues receiving a similar level of appreciation. However, some on-site attendees noted that activities in the exhibit hall could have been better. The most frequently mentioned issues included the lack of conviviality in the exhibit hall (quality of food and price of drinks during the reception), the perceived suboptimal poster layout for visibility and interactions, the limited number of demos during Interactivity, and the reported lifelessness of the Job Fair session. Virtual attendees, who did not experience the exhibit hall, gave consistently positive feedback across the sessions and activities they accessed. However, the low number of responses collected from virtual attendees makes it difficult to draw general conclusions.

Respondents also had the opportunity to evaluate how well different tools and aspects of the conference met their needs. This included the conference website, the Progressive Web App (PWA) used to navigate the program, and the different types of content offered by the conference, such as streamed content, recorded content, and the Sli.do application for handling questions and answers (QAs). The distribution of their responses is presented below.

Feedback regarding the PWA was mixed. Some attendees liked it, while others reported issues with getting the app to work on some mobile devices and found the navigation model confusing for such a large program. Attendees also suggested that the information on the conference website, especially instructions for presenters and remote attendees, should be better structured and clearer. Respondents mentioned that some information was included in specific blog posts that were not easy to find. To promote a better balance between remote and on-site participants, attendees were instructed to submit questions through the Sli.do app regardless of their mode of attendance. However, comments revealed that on-site attendees found this experience to be not fluid, and they quickly avoided using the app to ask questions during sessions. As a result, the appreciation of the Question and Answer experience was mixed. Finally, feedback regarding asynchronous presentations was notably negative, likely driven by the lack of interaction possibilities with pre-recorded videos.

Six bar charts laid out as a 2x3 matrix that report on the distribution of answers to question “How did the following meet your needs as an attendee?”. Histograms are labeled: PWA Navigation, Website, Streamed Content, Recorded Content, QAs, Asynchronous Presentations. Each bar chart shows a breakdown per possible values along the x-axis (values range from “Poor” to “Excellent”). The histograms reveal a positive trend with about 75% or more answers belonging to categories “Good” or “Excellent”.

To enable asynchronous presentations, presenters had to submit pre-recorded videos. For papers, case studies, and alt.chi presentations, the duration of these videos was capped at 15 minutes. For posters (including LBW, student competitions, and the Doctoral Consortium) and demos (Interactivity), the duration was set to 3 minutes. In the survey, we asked respondents to provide their feedback about whether these durations were suitable from both attendee and presenter viewpoints.

The charts below illustrate how well these durations aligned with what people expect either as attendees or as presenters. The large grey areas in the bars indicate that a significant proportion of attendees did not watch these videos. Regarding the duration of the videos, the trend for the 15-minute videos is that they are generally considered either appropriate or too long, while the trend for the 3-minute videos is that they are either appropriate or too short. Compared to last year, where long videos were 8–10 minutes long, a larger proportion of respondents this year mentioned that shorter videos would be preferable. In the comments, some attendees mentioned that the duration of videos should match the duration of on-site talks. As presenters, they also wish these videos to take less time to prepare and would like to receive instructions further in advance.

Four histograms, one per video type (paper, poster) x perspective (attendee, presenter), laid out horizontally that report on the distribution of answers to the question “How was your experience regarding the durations of videos?”. Possible values are “it worked well for me”, “I would prefer videos”, “I would prefer shorter videos” and “I did not watch any video presentation”. Overall, each bar has a large proportion of gray (did not watch) and then blue (worked well). Paper videos have a notabl

Accessibility

Among the respondents, approximately 2% requested an accessibility-related feature at the conference. The chart below indicates that these requests contributed to a positive experience. Very few accessibility-related issues were reported by CHI participants in the survey. Some of the issues reported included lack of food options, lack of air-conditioned spaces or difficulty using the PWA.

Histogram reporting the distribution of answers to question “Did you have negative accessibility experiences?”, using a breakdown per attendance type. Both virtual and on-site bars are predominantly “no”.

Transportation

The question about local travel in Hawai’i during the conference revealed that the majority of local travel was made on foot, and by car to a lesser extent.

How did you undertake local travel in Hawai’i while attending the conference?
———————————————————-
| 90.26% | On foot |
| 42.69% | By car |
| 03.48% | By metro (skyline) |
| 02.78% | By bike |
| 12.76% | Other |

Willingness to attend CHI ’25

In response to the final question on the likelihood of attending CHI ’25 in Yokohama, Japan, the majority of respondents will probably or definitely attend the conference physically, although some indicated that this would depend on the acceptance of papers or the availability of funds. The chart also illustrates that a very small number of respondents indicated that they would attend virtually, with a few stating that virtual attendance was not worth the effort.

Bar chart showing the distribution of answers to question “How likely is that you will attend CHI ‘25?” from 0 to 250 on the Y axis. Four bars from left to right: “Virtually” (about 30 on the Y axis), “Not attend” (about 65), “Probably physically” (about 250) and “Certainly physically” (about 75).

As a final note, we would like to thank all the respondents who took the time to provide valuable feedback. We have carefully read and analyzed all the detailed comments, categorizing them into relevant themes and summarizing the key points. The input and insights shared by the attendees are very valuable to everyone involved in SIGCHI, the CHI Steering Committee, and the overall organization of CHI.

CHI ’23: Overview of the Post-conference Survey

Author: Caroline Appert

The CHI post-conference survey ran for two weeks after the conference. We closed it on May 14. Overall, 832 persons took part to the survey, accounting for approximately 17% of the total number of CHI attendees (4,722 in total). This article gives a concise overview of the survey findings. Interpretations are based on a thematic analysis conducted to analyze the responses received for the open-ended questions.

Attendees’ experiences

The following chart depicts the distribution of respondents based on their attendance at the conference. The green bar represents respondents who attended the conference in person, while the brown bar represents those who attended virtually. Among the respondents, approximately 10% attended the conference virtually. This percentage is slightly lower than the actual percentage of virtual attendance, which was approximately 17% for this year’s conference.

Bar chart showing number of attendees from 0 to 800 on the Y axis against attendance type. Two bars are shown. On the left, the bar for "attendance type = on site" goes up to almost 800. On the right, the bar for "attendance type = virtual" goes up to almost 80.

The distribution of responses to the question “How valuable was your CHI experience?” is presented below, according to a breakdown by attendance type: on-site attendance on the left and virtual attendance on the right. The chart shows that on-site attendance was highly valued, primarily due to the opportunities for networking and the quality of scientific content presented at the conference. In contrast, feedback from virtual attendees was less positive. Analysis of respondents’ comments revealed two main reasons for their dissatisfaction: 1) remote presenters did not receive sufficient visibility during the on-site conference, and 2) virtual attendees expressed a sense of isolation as they were unable to engage and interact with other conference participants. These factors contributed to the less positive evaluation of the CHI experience among virtual attendees, as compared to those who attended in person.

Two histograms, one per attendance type, laid out horizontally that report on the distribution of answers to question "How valuable was your CHI experience?". Possible values are along the y-axis with min value being "Not at all valuable" and max value "Very valuable". The histograms show two opposite trends. Positive trend for on site attendance. Negative trend for virtual attendance.

The survey included a series of questions where respondents individually rated various aspects of the conference, including sessions and activities (such as papers, demos, posters, panels, SIGs, student competitions, workshops, and keynotes) as well as conference events (such as receptions, exhibits, job fair, and town hall).

Overall, attendees provided mostly positive feedback about the sessions and activities, with all venues receiving equal appreciation from on-site attendees. However, comments from some on-site attendees highlighted the need for improvements in the organization of the poster venue. Specifically, respondents mentioned that the spatial layout of the hall can be confusing, and the program schedule too packed, leaving insufficient time for interaction with poster presenters. This issue was further reflected in a subsequent question, where 32% of respondents stated that they were unable to see or interact with some posters or demos they had intended to.

In contrast, feedback from virtual attendees was consistently negative across all venues, although some comments mentioned that certain SIGs managed the hybrid experience well. Concerns were also expressed regarding the Job Fair event, as it lacked significant engagement. Additionally, comments revealed that some attendees expected the town hall sessions to allocate more time for discussing important topics, such as the environmental costs associated with the conference location.

Respondents had the opportunity to evaluate how well different tools and aspects of the conference met their needs. This included the conference website, the Progressive Web App (PWA) used to navigate the program, as well as the different types of content offered by the conference, such as streamed content, recorded content, and on-site presentations. The distribution of their responses is presented below.

Overall, people highly appreciated the on-site sessions. However, ratings for streamed and recorded content were lower, which is likely due to the limited availability of such content. Regarding the PWA, feedback was mixed, with some attendees expressing their satisfaction with its features, while others expressed certain concerns. Usability issues that were brought up by respondents have been compiled and will be taken into account by SIGCHI to the best of their abilities.

Five histograms laid out as a 2x3 matrix that report on the distribution of answers to question "How did the following meet your needs as an attendee?". Histograms are labeled: Website, PWA navigation, Streamed Content, Recorded Content and Onsite Sessions. Each histogram shows a breakdown per attendance type. Overall, Onsite sessions have a positive appreciation while other histograms show a more mitigated distribution.

To accommodate the hybrid format, presenters were requested to create pre-recorded videos, which has become a standard practice. For papers, case studies, and alt.chi presentations, the duration of these videos was set to 7-to-10 minutes. For posters (including LBW, student competitions, and Doctoral Consortium) and demos (Interactivity), the duration was set to 3 minutes. In the survey, we asked respondents to provide their perspective on whether these durations were suitable, considering both the attendee and presenter viewpoints.

In the charts below, the large grey areas in the bars indicate that a significant proportion of attendees did not watch these videos. This observation is particularly pronounced for poster presentations. This is not very surprising given that a majority of survey respondents attended the conference on-site. However, many comments expressed satisfaction towards these videos, emphasizing their role in facilitating asynchronous consumption of content. It is worth noting that there were some comments that highlighted the amount of work involved in producing these videos for presenters.

Regarding the duration itself, which was the primary focus of these questions, a majority of respondents assessed the current durations as suitable (indicated by the blue bar in the charts). Very few respondents expressed a preference for shorter videos (represented by the light purple bar). We can conclude that the current video durations should not be reduced.

Four histograms, one per video type (paper, poster) x perspective (attendee, presenter), laid out horizontally that report on the distribution of answers to question “How was your experience regarding the durations of videos?”. Possible values are “it worked well for me”, “I would prefer videos”, “I would prefer shorter videos” and “I did not watch”. Each histogram shows a breakdown per attendance type. Overall, each bar has a large proportion of gray (did not watch) and then blue (worked well).

Evolution of the selection process

The survey included a series of questions about the selection process at CHI. In particular, we were interested in the comparison between the previous system based on rebuttals and the current system based on revise and resubmit (R&R).

The first question aimed to determine the percentage of respondents who had previously submitted a research paper and their experience with each system. Notably, over 40% of the respondents had submitted papers using both systems, enabling them to provide insightful comparisons as users of both approaches.

Have you already submitted a research paper to CHI?
————————————————-
| 43.06% | Yes, in both the previous system and the current system |
| 20.68% | Yes, in the current system (R&R) only |
| 10.73% | Yes, in the previous system (rebuttal) only |
| 26.44% | No |

The charts below provide a comparison between the two systems, based on different criteria. Green bars are when rebuttals are considered better, brown bars when R&R is considered better, and grey is “no difference”.

On the first line, we consider 1) the quality of papers, 2) the quality of the dialogue between authors and reviewers and 3) the quality of reviews. Overall, the quality of the review process is perceived as better with R&R than with rebuttals.

On the second line, we can observe the drawbacks associated with R&R. Specifically, the charts illustrate how respondents assessed the workload for authors, reviewers, and Program Committee (PC) members. The large green bars indicate that, in comparison to the rebuttal system, R&R increases the workload for all participants involved in the process.

Six bar charts laid out as a 2x3 matrix that report on the distribution of assessments which can be “Rebuttals are better”, “Rebuttas and R&R are equivalent” and “R&R” is better. The six bar charts are respectively about: (First line) “Paper Quality”, “Dialogue” and “Review Quality” and (Second line) “Author Workload”, “Reviewer Workload” and “PC Workload”. The top line has large bars for “R&R is better” while the bottom line has large bars for “Rebuttals are better”.

The survey concluded with a final question that aimed to assess respondents’ overall preference between the two systems. The results indicate an inclination towards the revise and resubmit (R&R) system:

Overall, what system do you prefer?
—————————
| 40.72% | R&R |
| 19.94% | Rebuttals |
| 39.34% | No preference |

Accessibility

Among the respondents, approximately 2.79% requested an accessibility-related feature at the conference. The survey also explicitly inquired if attendees had encountered negative experiences in terms of accessibility. The chart below gives an overview of the responses, revealing that some respondents did report negative experiences.

Upon analyzing the comments provided in response to this question, the negative feedback is primarily attributed to the challenges faced by virtual attendees in interacting with the conference. Regarding experience on site, a few comments mentioned how overstimulating it can be for some individuals.

Histogram reporting the distribution of answers to question “Did you have negative accessibility experiences?”, using a breakdown per attendance type. On the left, a small bar for virtual attendees which is equally split between “no” and “yes”. On the right, a large bar for on site attendees which is predominantly “no”.

The survey included a couple of questions regarding positive experiences and suggestions for improving accessibility. Respondents provided valuable insights and mentioned several positive experiences that contributed to their overall satisfaction. Specifically, they highlighted the availability of sign language, captions for content, the presence of a quiet (desensitization) room in the conference center, and support for families (childcare).

Furthermore, respondents also provided suggestions for enhancing accessibility. In terms of virtual attendance, they want more support to interact with attendees and presenters on site and remote. As for the on-site experience, attendees expressed the desire for a wider range of food options with clear indications regarding their composition. Additionally, they would like more seating areas where they can rest and relax.

Transportation

The series of questions related to transportation revealed that approximately half of the attendees arrived by train (note though that a large proportion of respondents come from Europe). During the conference, participants either traveled on foot or took the train. This was greatly facilitated by the provision of complimentary passes for public transportation in Hamburg, which were included with the conference registration. The respondents expressed a high level of satisfaction regarding this initiative, with half of them stating that it had influenced their travel plans in some way.

How did you travel to Hamburg? (select all that apply)
—————————————-
| 58.08% | Plane |
| 53.48% | Train |
| 5.43% | Car |
| 4.04% | Other |

How did you travel around Hamburg while attending the conference?
——————————————-
| 82.61% | On foot |
| 73.71% | By train |
| 6.40% | By car |
| 3.62% | By bike |

Willingness to attend CHI ’24

In response to the final question about the location of the CHI ’24 conference, we received a diverse range of opinions. When asked about the likelihood of physically attending the conference in Hawaii, respondents were divided. Approximately half of them expressed a strong interest and stated that they would like to go or were likely to attend. On the other hand, the remaining half indicated that they would not attend or would prefer to participate virtually.

In the free comments section, respondents raised several concerns regarding the conference being held in Hawaii. These concerns primarily revolved around the carbon footprint associated with long-distance travel, the time and cost involved in reaching the destination, and the potential negative impact on the local communities in Hawaii.

Bar chart showing distribution of answers to question “How likely is that you will attend CHI ‘24?” from 0 to 300 on the Y axis. Four bars from left to right: “Virtually” (about 100 on the Y axis), “Not attend” (about 200), “Probably physically” (about 300) and “Certainly physically” (about 75).

As a final note, we would like to thank all the respondents who took the time to provide valuable feedback. We have carefully read and analyzed all the detailed comments, categorizing them into relevant themes and summarizing the key points. The input and insights shared by the attendees are very valuable to everyone involved in SIGCHI, the CHI Steering Committee, and the overall organization of CHI.

Picture of parents and kids around the CHI 2023 big letters that were in the entrance hall of the conference center.

Open Call 2024 for Expressions of Interest for CHI Leadership Roles (CHI 2027/CHI 2028)

Call closes 1 October 2024

TL;DR The CHI Steering Committee (SC) is seeking expressions of interest (self-nomination or nomination of others) for people interested in serving the CHI community in future key leadership roles: CHI conference General Chairs and Technical Program Chairs for CHI2027 or CHI 2028. Note: We expect an open call will be repeated in later years.

CHI Conference Leadership 

We invite Expressions of Interest from people, or nominations of people, who are willing to take on CHI conference leadership roles of General Chair (GC) and/or Technical Program Chair (TPC) for CHI2027 and CHI2028 (CHI2026 leadership team is already in place). These roles require significant organisational involvement with prior CHI Conferences, or chairing other SIGCHI conferences, and managing significant budgets or managing the technical program of a conference. 

Work in these roles is substantial. Tasks are expected to start ~2+ years prior to the appointed conference, with more intensive work in the year leading up the conference, and wrap-up tasks in the 6 months beyond the conference. See below for role-specific information.

Note: Given the scale and complexity of the CHI conference, and needing to plan multiple years in advance, the SC will have already made decisions related to geographic location and venue before the appointment of GCs and TPCs for that year. These decisions are publicly announced at the CHI two years in advance but will be shared confidentially with invited chairs as input to their decision-making on whether to accept the role or not.

General Chair

The key overall responsibilities of General Chairs include:

  • Create and lead a diverse team to deliver the organisational aspects for the conference
  • Set the overall conference direction, e.g., deciding the conference theme, attendance modality, etc., in line with the ‘Core to CHI’ policy and the strategic directions from the CHI Steering Committee
  • Manage the CHI conference budget in conjunction with ACM
  • Ensure that appropriate SIGCHI policies are adhered to in delivering the overall conference experience
  • Liaise with the logistics contractor (currently Executive Events) to oversee all logistical and organisational details
  • Work effectively with the Technical Program Chairs and other organisation committee chairs (not under TPC oversight) to deliver the conference experience

The key criteria to serve as CHI General Chair include:

  • Senior level or significant involvement with prior or upcoming CHI Conference
    Organizing Committees; and/or experience as a senior organiser of a SIGCHI-related conference and managing budgets
  • Regular participation in the CHI conference as an author and attendee
  • Ideally, support from the employer for the time needed for the role

Technical Program Chair

The key overall responsibilities for Technical Program Chairs include:

  • Create and lead a diverse team to deliver the technical content for the conference
  • Liaise with ACM to oversee the publication process
  • Manage the schedule and virtual content of the technical program of the conference 
  • Manage the allocation of venue space and layouts 
  • Ensure that appropriate regulations and procedures are adhered to in delivering the technical content
  • Work effectively with the General Chairs to deliver the schedule for the conference

The key criteria to serve as CHI Technical Program Chair include:

  • Senior level or significant involvement with prior or upcoming CHI Conference
    Organizing Committees; and/or significant experience in the technical program organising committee of a SIGCHI-related conference 
  • Understanding/Willingness to learn the systems and tools used in the SIGCHI publication process: TAPS, PCS, Templates, etc.
  • Regular participation in the CHI conference as an author and attendee
  • Ideally, support from the employer for the time needed for the role.

PROCESS

Submission of Expression of Interest / Nominations:

You can nominate as an individual or as part of a GC or TPC pair, or as a combined GC and TPC team or part thereof. Each person will need to submit their own EOI and name their team partners/roles.

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) will include a short biography along with a brief statement of the specific role you are interested in, how you meet the criteria noted above, and preferred future CHI year(s) in which you would be willing to serve. 

Nomination of another person should also address the same content, and in addition, make clear that the person has agreed in advance to being nominated.

Please fill out this short Survey Monkey form by 1 October 2024. 

Decision process:

The CHI Steering Committee will make the decisions about future CHI leadership teams. The EOIs will serve as one set of inputs to the decision-making process, along with other considerations, e.g., about diversity of gender, geography, institution etc, mix of expertise, and location-specific needs.  

Towards this process, the SC and its SC Future Chairs and Volunteer Development Director:

  • Will help publicise the call for Expressions of Interest
  • May identify and approach potential candidates directly to assess their interest 
  • Will review all potential candidates and Expressions of Interest
  • Will create a short-list for the CHI SC chair to take to the SIGCHI Executive Committee for final approval – the short-list will be based on:
    • Record of SIGCHI conference leadership
    • Record of CHI involvement
    • Response from the annual open calls
    • Suggestions gathered from SC, OC, and EC
    • Conference location (Note that CHI GC and TPC selections occur after the conference location has been selected. However this is still confidential until it is publicly announced at the CHI two years prior. Selections will, therefore, also be mindful of the local and diasporic communities of researchers connected to that conference location.)
    • Team diversity
  • Will make formal invitations once approved (Invited persons will be informed confidentially about the conference location to include as part of their own decision-making process)
  • Will follow relevant and latest SIGCHI and ACM policies, including but not limited to the following: the SIGCHI Bylaws, the SIGCHI Conflict of Interest Policy, and the ACM Conflict of Interest Policy, along with guidelines to check the ACM Violations Database.

Working Group on Peer Review of Full Papers at CHI: Call for Volunteers

Review Working Group Co-Chairs: Regan Mandryk and Sven Mayer

TL;DR: The CHI Steering Committee is putting together a working group on peer review of full papers. There are three ways to contribute (member of the working group, expert panelist, community stakeholder) described below, with expected time commitment and responsibilities. Volunteer by July 15, 2024 at https://forms.gle/mhfCRGVWaCrZ5SZD7.

The CHI Steering Committee is forming a working group to reimagine peer review at CHI. According to our policies (https://chi.acm.org/policies-processes/working-groups-policy/), working groups are short-term committees expected to deliver on a specific mandate within a particular remit. This working group will focus on articulating challenges with the peer review process of full papers for the CHI conference and articulate proposals for changes to address these challenges. Members of the working group will engage with the community through interviews, focus groups, and surveys, and will analyze existing data held by the CHI Steering Committee. As part of our remit, this working group will establish several expert panels that will provide input from different methodological perspectives reflected in research published at CHI and groups of community stakeholders that bring specific perspectives. 

Mandate: To engage with the broad CHI community on challenges and solutions for our current process of peer review of full papers at CHI. The working group is tasked with considering the following: 

  • Articulate what is a ‘CHI paper’. 
  • Formulate a policy and process for desk rejections and assisted desk rejections at CHI.
  • Provide a recommendation for whether CHI should implement the CRediT system, and if so, provide a process for inclusion into the review pipeline.
  • Draft policies for CHI on open review, anonymous submissions, revise and resubmit at CHI, minimum qualifications for reviewers/ACs/SCs, submission limits, paper lengths, reviewer incentives/disincentives, the use of artificial intelligence in review, inter-conference review sharing, and citational justice after discussions with the community.
  • Create author and reviewer resources focused on the logistical aspects of publication at CHI, including: accessibility, templates, and the proceedings pipeline.
  • Create reviewer resources for CHI on reviewing interdisciplinary work, and best practices for review (may be subdomain specific and ever changing, e.g., including positionality statements, asking for quantitative or intercoder reliability for qualitative work).
  • Manage the transition of CHI to ACM Open. 
  • Consider the current subcommittee structure at CHI and propose changes as necessary, including the keywords used in PCS.
  • Consider other issues of peer review as raised by the larger community in discussions. 

Remit: The working group will be concerned with full paper publications, as reviewed for and published by the CHI conference. Although there will be findings that may apply to other tracks (e.g., extended abstracts) or venues of publication (e.g., other SIGCHI conferences), and the working group will share knowledge with various stakeholders, the final report will be specific to full papers at CHI.

Timeline: The working group will conduct its activities over one year and deliver on a final report by August 2025.

Call for Volunteers

Members of the Working Group

Description: The working group (WG) will be responsible for leading the community discussions around peer review at CHI, will analyze data related to full papers at CHI, will generate proposals for changes, and will gather feedback on these proposals. The WG will aim to reflect the diversity of the CHI community, in terms of geography, epistemology, identity, career stage, and career type. 

Expertise: We expect members of the working group to have significant expertise in terms of peer review of full papers at the CHI conference, either as paper chair, technical program chair, or paper subcommittee chair and to have published full papers at multiple CHI conferences. 

Expectations of Contribution:

  • Analyze data from PCS and surveys gathered by CHI Steering Committee
  • Gather knowledge from other research communities in peer review practices and challenges
  • Design and deploy surveys to larger CHI Community
  • Process survey data and distill findings
  • Conduct interviews and focus groups with expert panels
  • Lead community sessions with various stakeholder groups
  • Propose new plans and articulate them in blog posts

Time commitment: Twice monthly meetings for one year with additional workload when focus groups and interviews are being conducted and interpreted

Members of the Expert Panels

Description: We will have multiple expert panels that reflect the methodological diversity of research approaches in the CHI conference. The members of the expert panels will provide specific knowledge related to gold standards of evaluation for a method, problems of evaluating research contributions using this method, and potential solutions for addressing problems within peer review. Across the expert panels, we aim to reflect the diversity of the CHI community, in terms of geography, epistemology, domain, methodological approach, identity, career stage, and career type. 

Expertise: We expect that members of the expert panels will have experience reviewing for and publishing full papers at CHI. Further, we expect that expert panelists will have served as an Associate Chair for one of the CHI subcommittees. 

Expectations of Contribution:

  • Participate in interviews and focus groups with WG
  • Edit survey questions and provide input on interpretation of findings
  • Provide feedback on proposed changes to peer review at CHI
  • Recruit input from community members on proposed changes

Time commitment: 6–8 meetings over a 12-month time frame

In addition, each expert panel will have a chair, who will be the lead point of contact for that group.

Community Stakeholders

Description: There are various community stakeholders who may wish to represent their perspectives to the WG and expert panels in a deeper way than participating in community sessions or providing survey data. These stakeholders could be related to career type, stage, identity, geography, or other perspectives that we haven’t yet considered. 

Expertise: We expect that community stakeholders are part of the SIGCHI community, and have published and reviewed full papers at CHI.

Expectations of Contribution:

  • Participate in interviews and focus groups with WG
  • Provide feedback on proposed changes

Time commitment: 2–3 meetings over a 12-month time frame

To Volunteer

Please fill out the volunteer form at https://forms.gle/mhfCRGVWaCrZ5SZD7 by July 15, 2024. We will get back to all volunteers by August 15, 2024.

CHI Conferences Format & Finances Part Four: Proposed Format Changes for Future CHI Conferences

Authors: Regan Mandryk and Caroline Appert, with support from Anna Cox, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Katherine Isbister, Marta Cecchinato, Simone Barbosa, Cliff Lampe, Aaron Quigley, and the entire CHI Steering Committee.

Purpose of this blog post: We present the format changes planned for the CHI conference, moving forward, beginning after CHI 2025. Many of these format changes were also financially motivated, and we will justify those decisions throughout. 

TL;DR: The CHI Conference will move in a future year to a 5-day event (Monday to Friday) that will provide paper sessions in one half of the day, and interactive content (in five tracks) in the other half of the day. Exhibitor booths will be replaced with other formats for sponsor engagement. 

Our starting point for discussion of the conference format changes was driven by two main factors: finances and format (see Parts One, Two, and Three of the blog posts for details). To summarize these, the CHI conference has made significant budget cuts over the last decade by removing services and turning to volunteer and author labour that has a cost to our community and volunteers; additional budget cuts require removing conference elements. Beyond the financial issues, the format of CHI keeps scaling to accommodate our growth—we keep adding parallel tracks, resulting in a bloated, overwhelming, and difficult to navigate program with little structured networking time or time for discussion of content or ideas—we have lost the ‘confer’ part of our conference. 

Our solution is to spend half of the day learning about the state of the art in HCI through paper presentations of refereed content. In the other half of the day, we construct the future together through interactive content (e.g., workshops, SIGs, panels, roundtables, provocations, mentoring events, student competition venues, other discussion formats, and posters)—venues that would be reviewed1. This would have the benefits of increasing time available for conferring in structured formats and also increasing the time for discussion around each paper. However, we would necessarily decrease the time in the schedule devoted to paper talks. At our January meeting, the CHI Steering Committee voted in favour of the following motions: 

Proposal 1: CHI moves to five days from Monday to Friday.

By removing the weekend program, we reduce the cost of the venue rental. By leaving half of the day for interactive content, we move the nature of the pre-conference interactive events (e.g., workshops, doctoral consortium) into the main conference program. 

Proposal 2: CHI removes schedule conflicts between paper sessions and all other sessions 

We devote half of each day to paper presentations, allowing both for greater parallelization and supporting attendees in not having to choose between seeing the paper presentations and attending the interactive elements (e.g., panels, posters) that are harder to access after the conference. This also promotes discussions as a result of seeing the state-of-the-art content.

Proposal 3: CHI non-paper contributions are bundled into five flexible conference experiences (i.e., workshops, panels, meet-ups, extended abstracts, interactive demonstrations) that focus on building community and co-creating the future of the field.

In the other half of the day, there are a variety of structured networking events that support people at various career stages to access and contribute to the CHI conference in myriad ways. These interactive events are bundled to better streamline the conference program, reducing bloat, supporting a smaller organizing committee, and reducing the amount of needed professional organizing support, which is one of our major budget line items. We describe each of these tracks below, and also provide example CFPs for each track in this google doc

Proposal 4: CHI sunsets exhibitor booths, but provides new opportunities for sponsor engagement (e.g., invited talks).

By removing the exhibitor booths, we expect that we will see major savings to the budget. It is true that exhibitors paid for booths; however, the cost of building the booths, powering them, paying professional staff to manage them, and paying for the venue space to house them greatly outweighed the revenue collected by exhibitors. These have been a financial loss to CHI; however, they have been a key part of the CHI coffee break experience and it will be sad to see them go. Doing so will, however, open the option for booking CHI in large hotels (or hotel clusters) as opposed to convention centres, which can be significantly more cost effective, and also opens new possibilities for different cities and countries to host CHI. To replace the industry engagement generated by the booths, CHI will turn to sponsor talks—which have proven to be very popular in the last few years—and will also innovate new ways of highlighting our relationship with industry partners. 

Proposal 5: CHI redesigns the career development opportunities for doctoral students and early career researchers to be more inclusive.

One of the ways in which we want to improve the CHI experience is to provide better, more inclusive and accessible career development opportunities for doctoral students and early career researchers. The CHI doctoral consortium has been increasingly difficult to manage with a growing, diverse field, and can only be accessed by a small number of students each year. Instead, we plan to offer a range of more inclusive programming for students and early career researchers through the workshops, panels, and meet-up formats. 

Proposal 6: CHI retains the student research competition in a format that meets the requirements of the ACM.

Although the other student competitions will no longer be offered, we are committed to continuing with the student research competition (SRC), as our winners attend the ACM-wide SRC and represent the field of HCI in the larger field of computing. The SRC will continue, and will be integrated into the Extended Abstracts track of CHI.

Proposal 7: That the CHI SC moves to multi-year balanced conference budget planning.

If you have read our previous posts on finances and our post on site selection at CHI, you will know that conference budgeting varies dramatically between North America and the rest of the world. This financial cost is why the CHI conference had a standard rotation of East Coast North America, Europe, West Coast North America, Asia, Wildcard until 2022. While in North America, CHI conferences could ‘save’ money that could be ‘invested’ into locations in which venues are more expensive. In 2022, the rotation was changed to be North America, Asia, Europe, Wildcard to better reflect the geographical location of CHI attendees and widen participation for attendees from a range of locations.

To give an idea of a typical CHI conference program, please see the “A Day at CHI” figure. Opening and closing keynotes will still be present (Monday morning and Friday afternoon), as will the conference reception (Monday evening). Papers are given in the mornings, and afternoons are devoted to the interactive events. In the afternoon, there is an extra long coffee break in which authors of extended abstracts will present their work as posters. Additionally, poster presenters will be given the opportunity to participate in the poster lightning talk session, in which they are given 30–60 seconds to pitch their poster to attendees. Interactive demonstrations will take place both during the conference reception and potentially during the coffee breaks.  

Descriptions of the Interactive Tracks at CHI

Each of these contribution types require a submission in PCS, are reviewed—not refereed (meaning that they can be developed into archival contributions in the future), and are included in the CHI Companion Proceedings in the ACM Digital Library. 

A Workshop at CHI is a structured event aimed at communal knowledge creation, typically lasting for a half day during conference days. Workshops may take various formats, such as mini-symposia, interactive co-construction sessions, structured discussions, or instructional courses, and rely on contributions from participants before or during the event to foster discussion and synthesis of ideas.

A Meet-up at CHI facilitates informal discussions among attendees with shared interests, lasting for 90 minutes and providing a platform for dialogue and collaboration. Unlike workshops, meet-ups do not require predefined contributions from participants, focusing instead on fostering discussion, exchanging opinions, and questioning ideas.

A Panel at CHI serves as an interactive forum for discussing topics of broad interest within the CHI community, featuring panelists and a moderator to encourage audience engagement. Panels differ from workshops and meet-ups in their structured format, typically involving presentations by one or more panelists and moderated discussions aimed at eliciting audience participation and dialogue.

An Extended Abstract is a short written contribution that provides attendees with an opportunity to present new and exciting contributions that showcase innovative technologies, extend prior research conversations, detail short self-contained studies, or provide provocations for new work and ideas to emerge. Extended Abstracts will be presented both in lightning sessions and as posters in a dedicated slot in the conference program.

An Interactive Demonstration is a live demonstration on-site at CHI. The Interactive Demonstrations track is for hands-on installations to share novel interactive technologies, and stage interactive experiences. As the Interactivity track focuses on the in-person experience, it is allowed to submit work that has previously been presented as papers, as long as the demonstration adds a new and unique aspect to the experience.

For those interested in the details, we provide a detailed description of each of the tracks in this sample CFP document. Note that these are not the actual CFPs for future iterations of the conference, but are working documents used to identify problems and a timeline, that will be provided to future CHI conference organizers to work from. 

What about my Favourite Track that no Longer has a Name? 

Case Studies

Case studies no longer exist as their own track. However, we encourage authors to submit case studies to the conference as either a Full Paper or an Extended Abstract. Community members could also organize a Workshop for case study presentations. 

Courses

Courses no longer exist as their own track. However we encourage authors to submit courses to the conference in the Workshops track.

Doctoral Consortium

The doctoral consortium no longer exists as its own track. However we encourage students to submit descriptions of work in progress to the conference in the Extended Abstracts track. The CHI conference will continue to support doctoral students in their career development through the provision of relevant Workshops that specifically address career development for PhD students. We encourage doctoral students to apply to take part in the relevant workshop.

alt.CHI

The alt.CHI becomes integrated into the main program, rather than existing as a separate track. We encourage authors to submit speculative and provocative work to the conference in the Full Papers and Extended Abstract tracks. We also welcome proposals for Workshops, Meet-Ups, and Panels that center on provocations and speculative work.

SIGS

The SIGS track has been subsumed into the new Meet-Ups track.

Late Breaking Work

The Late Breaking Work track no longer exists as its own track. It has been subsumed into the Extended Abstracts track.

Student Game Competition

The Student Game competition no longer exists as its own track. Submissions of research related to human-game interaction can be submitted to the Full Papers track and the Extended Abstracts track as appropriate to the size of the contribution being made. We also welcome proposals for Meet-Ups and Workshops on related topics. For researchers who wish to provide interactive experiences of their games, please submit to the Interactivity track.

Student Design Competition 

The Student Design Competition no longer exists as its own track. Descriptions of design research can be submitted to the Full Papers track and the Extended Abstracts track as appropriate to the size of the contribution being made. We also welcome proposals for Meet-Ups and Workshops on related design topics.

Video Showcase 

The Video Showcase no longer exists as its own track. Videos can be submitted as supplementary materials for all tracks, and may be required when submitting to Interactivity.

Interactivity

The Interactivity track has been renamed into the Interactive Demo track.

Process that Generated the Proposals

In Conference Finances and Format—Part One: Prior and Current Context, we described the financial and format constraints of CHI. In Part Two: Shaping the Future of CHI, we articulated several proposals to address those constraints. In Part Three: Insights from the Community, we presented the findings from our survey and two community sessions that we conducted over zoom. In January, 2024, the CHI Steering Committee met over three days to consider the community feedback of our proposals, and to design a new format for CHI that would be both financially self-sustaining, and would provide more structured discussion time at the conference itself. In this blog post, we present the format changes planned for the CHI conference, moving forward, beginning after CHI 2025. Not all of these changes will be integrated as early as 2026, as planning for that conference is already underway by general chairs and technical program chairs, and we want to have time to gather community feedback on these proposals. In future posts, we will present a five-year budget model for a financially sustainable CHI conference, and a proposal for formalizing virtual CHI—an annual online conference that will also be proposed to begin after 2025. 

Closing Thoughts

We understand that change is sometimes difficult or even unwelcome. We are also keenly aware (from our conversations and our survey data) that different aspects of the CHI conference program are the favourite part of CHI for a subset of our community. However, as with most institutions, it is easier to keep adding things to the CHI program, and harder to remove elements. We are at a point where it is no longer sustainable—for financial and experiential reasons and to be able to continue to manage the program with volunteers. We need to streamline the conference experience to ensure that we are providing a valuable experience for attendees that is worth the cost of registration and travel, and that is a responsible choice in the face of the carbon costs of air travel, and that responsibly manages the efforts of our volunteers. 

If you have thoughts, we invite you to share them with us. You can join us at CHI 24, when we will have a community panel on the topic (tentatively scheduled for the session preceding the town hall). We will host an online community session after the CHI 24 conference. You can also reach out to any member of the CHI Steering Committee and share your feedback. We look forward to discussing these format changes with you and presenting a revitalized CHI conference experience in the very near future!

  1. Note that these tracks would be ‘reviewed’ by the ACM’s definition. ACM considers refereed and formally-reviewed material to meet the requirements of rigorous peer-review suitable for archival publications. As the tracks other than full papers are reviewed, it would not prevent future publication of those works in an archival venue. Also note that ‘reviewing’ differs from refereeing in that there need not be written reports and statements for record. ↩︎

CHI Conferences Format & Finances Part Three: Insights from the Community

Authors: Caroline Appert, Simone Barbosa, Regan Mandryk

In Conference Finances and Format—Part One: Prior and Current Context, we described the financial and format constraints of CHI. Given those constraints, it is the CHI Steering Committee’s (SC) responsibility to evolve the CHI conference to offer a model that is both financially self-sustaining that allows for a better attendee experience with time for structured discussion and conferring.

In Part Two: Shaping the Future of CHI, we explored ways to address those constraints. In order to open the discussion with the community and assess the changes that the community is willing to make, we asked the community to comment on those proposals through both a survey and two Zoom sessions on shaping the future of CHI.

This blog post reports on the observations that we made.

Over the two Zoom sessions, there were approximately 50 participants, primarily attending from North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. In the sessions members of the CHI SC gave a presentation of the history and current situation regarding the format and finances of CHI, and then described a series of proposed changes, asking for community feedback after each proposal. Finally, a time was allocated for asking for new ideas on addressing the challenges facing the CHI conference series. 

Overall, 323 persons took part in the survey. When interpreting the results reported below, it is important to keep in mind that this sample is relatively small in comparison with the community size (4,722 attendees for CHI ‘23). The geographic distribution of respondents and their CHI experience are reported in the two charts below. As 17 respondents stated not having yet attended a CHI conference, they were excluded from the subsequent analysis.

Chart of locations of respondents and how many conferences they have attended. There were 151 from Europe, 91 from North America, 60 left their country blank, 13 from Asia & Pacific, 6 from South or Latin America, 1 from Africa, and 1 from MENA.Chart of how many CHI conferences respondents have attended: 52 had attended 10+, 4–9=100, 2–3=82, 1=37, 0=17, and 35 left it blank.
Alt Text: Charts of locations of respondents and how many conferences they have attended. There were 151 from Europe, 91 from North America, 59 left their country blank, 13 from Asia & Pacific, 6 from South or Latin America, 1 from Africa, 1 from MENA. In terms of previous CHI attendance, 52 had attended 10+, 4–9=100, 2–3=82, 1=37, 0=17, and 35 left it blank.

The survey consisted of a series of proposals, each aligning with one the following three objectives: 1) increase participants’ time for conferring, 2) reduce the conference expenses or 3) increase the conference revenue. Survey participants were requested to express their level of support for each proposal by assigning a score between 0 (No support) and 10 (Full support). Respondents were also systematically invited to share open comments. In all charts below, the median (M) is used as a central measure of respondents’ scores.

1. Increase the time for conferring

1a. By changing the presentation format

Proposal: All papers give lightning talks, followed by parallelized discussion time in a ‘scrum’ format.

Histogram of responses for lightning talks. Median value is 5; highest value (10) had most support. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 23 responses; score 1 had 17 responses; score 2 had 18 responses; score 3 had 22 responses; score 4 had 19 responses; score 5 had 33 responses; score 6 had 31 responses; score 7 had 21 responses; score 8 had 22 responses; score 9 had 12 responses; score 10 had 35 responses.

As illustrated above, respondents’ scores to this proposal were quite uniformly distributed over the full [0-10] range. In their open comments, respondents feared that the talks might become too short, resulting in a format that might be stressful for non-native English speakers who might need more time to convey important messages and some difficulties for attendees to absorb enough substantial content. Also note that we did not suggest a specific duration for the lightning talks, so participants’ assumptions about that may have increased the variability of their responses. In the Zoom sessions, participants were supportive of this proposal, but echoed concerns about the different type of ‘performance’ required in a short well-produced lightning talk.

1b. By increasing the parallelization of the talks.

Proposal: We increase parallelization of the talks.

Histogram of responses for increasing parallelization of the talks. Median value is 4; lowest value (0) had most support (37 responses). The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 37 responses; score 1 had 24 responses; score 2 had 17 responses; score 3 had 19 responses; score 4 had 13 responses; score 5 had 32 responses; score 6 had 13 responses; score 7 had 25 responses; score 8 had 10 responses; score 9 had 6 responses; score 10 had 18 responses.

With a median of 4 and a distribution skewed towards more negative reactions than positive ones, we can infer that CHI has reached a level of parallelization that should not continue to increase. The detailed proposal suggested doubling the number of parallel sessions, which stirred some apprehension among respondents who deemed such an increase as unsustainable. Despite this, some respondents explicitly expressed a preference for this option over one where not all authors would have sufficient time to present at the conference. In the Zoom session, some participants noted that they had attended large conferences with highly parallel small paper sessions, and that the experience was not enjoyable for the presenters.

1c. By decreasing the number of presentations

The survey made a series of proposals that would decrease the number of presentations at the conference:

Proposal: We present only the top 5%–10% of papers as talks. 

The other 90%-95% of the papers would be available to attendees either 1) as pre-recorded videos only or 2) as pre-recorded videos + posters.

Left: Histogram of responses for videos only. Median value is 2; lowest value (0) had lots of responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 57 responses; score 1 had 26 responses; score 2 had 29 responses; score 3 had 14 responses; score 4 had 13 responses; score 5 had 26 responses; score 6 had 9 responses; score 7 had 13 responses; score 8 had 7 responses; score 9 had 6 responses; score 10 had 17 responses. 

Right: Histogram of responses for videos plus posters. Median value is 4; distribution is more uniform, but highest response was still no support (0). The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 41 responses; score 1 had 16 responses; score 2 had 25 responses; score 3 had 19 responses; score 4 had 15 responses; score 5 had 27 responses; score 6 had 20 responses; score 7 had 21 responses; score 8 had 13 responses; score 9 had 10 responses; score 10 had 19 responses.

Presenting the large majority of papers as videos only (Left) was very unpopular, with respondents being concerned about the almost zero value for authors to attend the conference. The possibility of complementing the video by a poster (Right) was slightly better perceived but raised concerns regarding the additional work it represents for authors for a limited exposure at the conference. But, most importantly, these two proposals caused negative reactions due to concerns related to the selection process of these “top papers” and the elitist atmosphere it would create at the conference. In the Zoom sessions, participants were also concerned about selection mechanisms for what would be considered as the “top papers”.

Proposal: We could accept only the top 5%–10% of papers as talks.

Histogram of responses for accepting only top 5-10% of papers. Median value is 1, with the lowest score (0) with a large majority of  responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 83 responses; score 1 had 26 responses; score 2 had 12 responses; score 3 had 12 responses; score 4 had 8 responses; score 5 had 16 responses; score 6 had 11 responses; score 7 had 8 responses; score 8 had 7 responses; score 9 had 6 responses; score 10 had 12 responses.

This even more radical proposal that would consist in drastically decreasing the acceptance rate was strongly rejected. Respondents argued that adopting an exceedingly low acceptance rate would introduce a considerable degree of randomness and inequities into the selection process. Respondents estimate that the selection would be decorrelated from the scientific quality of papers and would inherently reduce the diversity in papers accepted at CHI. Participants in the Zoom sessions were concerned about the effects on career development for more junior academics.

Proposal: We could limit the presentations by limiting the number of submissions per author or by instituting a submission fee.

Left: Histogram of responses for limiting the number of submissions. Median value is 6; highest value (10) had most responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 33 responses; score 1 had 11 responses; score 2 had 13 responses; score 3 had 10 responses; score 4 had 12 responses; score 5 had 32 responses; score 6 had 19 responses; score 7 had 13 responses; score 8 had 16 responses; score 9 had 19 responses; score 10 had 52 responses.


Right: Histogram of responses for instituting a submission fee. Median value is 1; distribution is skewed to less support, with no support (score 0) receiving the highest number of responses.  The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 74 responses; score 1 had 26 responses; score 2 had 21 responses; score 3 had 15 responses; score 4 had 5 responses; score 5 had 18 responses; score 6 had 4 responses; score 7 had 4 responses; score 8 had 17 responses; score 9 had no responses; score 10 had 7 responses.

Although limiting the number of submissions per author (Left) was assessed slightly positively per respondents, the comments highlighted the risk of such a proposal to be unfair and potentially toxic for students in large groups and the difficulty of defining a criterion to define the limit. Instituting a submission fee (Right) was largely rejected by respondents mostly because of the equity concerns it would generate between well-funded groups and less well-funded groups.

2. Reducing expenses

2a. By removing exhibitors

Proposal: Remove the exhibitors

Histogram of responses for removing exhibitors. Median value is 8, with the highest score (10) with a large majority of responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 17 responses; score 1 had 11 responses; score 2 had 13 responses; score 3 had 15 responses; score 4 had 9 responses; score 5 had 29 responses; score 6 had 21 responses; score 7 had 27 responses; score 8 had 43 responses; score 9 had 20 responses; score 10 had 83 responses.

While a few respondents acknowledged that exhibitor booths might facilitate connections for young researchers with companies, a majority of respondents’ comments pointed at the limitations of an exhibit hall as an effective platform for companies to recruit researchers. The concerns raised also included the predominantly US-centric representation of companies and the perception that corporate interests often do not align with advancing scientific knowledge, which should remain the driving force of CHI. Participants in the Zoom sessions noted that exhibitor booths are not the only means of engaging with companies at CHI.

2b. By removing or reducing interactivity

Proposal: Remove or Reduce Interactivity

Left: Histogram of responses for removing interactivity. Median value is 3; lowest value (0) had lots of responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 42 responses; score 1 had 28 responses; score 2 had 29 responses; score 3 had 25 responses; score 4 had 18 responses; score 5 had 32 responses; score 6 had 11 responses; score 7 had 16 responses; score 8 had 20 responses; score 9 had 3 responses; score 10 had 17 responses.


Right: Histogram of responses for reducing interactivity. Median value is 7; distribution is skewed to more support with full support (10) receiving the highest number of responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 14 responses; score 1 had 5 responses; score 2 had 15 responses; score 3 had 16 responses; score 4 had 11 responses; score 5 had 28 responses; score 6 had 30 responses; score 7 had 44 responses; score 8 had 38 responses; score 9 had 7 responses; score 10 had 52 responses.

In general, respondents perceive Interactivity as a fundamental aspect of CHI, considering it an indispensable platform for engaging with cutting-edge technologies. Consequently, there was a tendency to dismiss the idea of eliminating the Interactivity venue altogether (Left). Instead, respondents leaned towards the proposal to scale down Interactivity (Right), advocating for a refinement of the curation process. Some respondents also suggested potentially showcasing fewer works through several sessions in smaller rooms. Participants in the Zoom sessions agreed.

2c. By reducing our geographical diversity

Proposal: Move to a new format in which either: 1) we meet physically every 2 years and virtually in between or 2) we rotate CHI around 2-4 known locations.

Left: Histogram of responses for alternating between physical and virtual CHI. Median value is 6; highest value (10) had most responses (57 responses). The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 28 responses; score 1 had 21 responses; score 2 had 9 responses; score 3 had 19 responses; score 4 had 7 responses; score 5 had 33 responses; score 6 had 12 responses; score 7 had 12 responses; score 8 had 28 responses; score 9 had 17 responses; score 10 had 57 responses.


Right: Histogram of responses for rotating CHI around 2 to 4 known locations. Median value is 5, with most responses (52 responses). The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 19 responses; score 1 had 16 responses; score 2 had 15 responses; score 3 had 21 responses; score 4 had 12 responses; score 5 had 52 responses; score 6 had 23 responses; score 7 had 30 responses; score 8 had 26 responses; score 9 had 10 responses; score 10 had 28 responses.

Respondents acknowledged the positive aspect of reducing our carbon footprint by having virtual CHI conferences every two years (Left). However, they also expressed concerns regarding the potential impact on students’ careers. Virtual conferences, compared to physical ones, were perceived as less efficient for students to present their work and engage with an international audience. This would be particularly detrimental to students in countries where PhD programs are limited to 3 years. The shift to a virtual format every two years could mean that such students would have only a single opportunity for such valuable exposure during their PhD. Regarding the proposal to rotate CHI around 2-4 established locations (Right), respondents’ scores were quite uniformly distributed and rather neutral on average. While it could be more practical if the locations are strategically chosen to facilitate access and create as less friction as possible (regarding e.g., visa concerns), it would privilege the same regions repeatedly. Numerous respondents advocated for a more dynamic approach, emphasizing the importance of regularly exploring new locations and periodically reassessing and diversifying venues over the long term. In the Zoom sessions, participants raised the possibility of regional meetups for people who live in areas in which there is more possibility for idea exchange in HCI, but also noted that many CHI attendees live and work in areas in which geography or lack of density in HCI researchers make this challenging. They further noted that it would reduce their opportunities to meet internationally with colleagues in their specific subdomain of HCI.

3. Increasing revenue

3a. By charging a submission fee or presentation fee

Proposal: Charge a submission fee and/or a presentation fee.

Left: Histogram of responses for charging a submission fee. Highly skewed distribution, with median value 1 and lowest score (0) with large majority of responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 94 responses; score 1 had 18 responses; score 2 had 19 responses; score 3 had 9 responses; score 4 had 4 responses; score 5 had 17 responses; score 6 had 4 responses; score 7 had 8 responses; score 8 had 12 responses; score 9 had 3 responses; score 10 had 11 responses.


Right: Histogram of responses for charging a presentation fee. Highly skewed distributions, with median value 3 and lowest score (0) with most responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 71 responses; score 1 had 15 responses; score 2 had 12 responses; score 3 had 11 responses; score 4 had 14 responses; score 5 had 19 responses; score 6 had 16 responses; score 7 had 8 responses; score 8 had 16 responses; score 9 had 1 response; score 10 had 16 responses.

These two proposals were largely rejected by respondents, with a lot of comments raising the risk of increasing inequities. Respondents also mentioned that, if implemented, stringent criteria should be meticulously crafted to grant waivers to less privileged groups. This precautionary measure aims to address the potential difficulties these fees might pose for less privileged groups to access the conference.

3b. By securing more industry sponsors

Proposal: Secure more industry sponsors.

Histogram of responses for expending more effort securing industry sponsors. Median value is 7; highest value (10) had the most responses (77 responses). The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 11 responses; score 1 had 10 responses; score 2 had 17 responses; score 3 had 12 responses; score 4 had 10 responses; score 5 had 31 responses; score 6 had 14 responses; score 7 had 28 responses; score 8 had 35 responses; score 9 had 20 responses; score 10 had 77 responses.

Although this proposal was scored quite positively by respondents as it would be more money without a high impact on our current conference model, a lot of respondents adopted a cautionary tone in their comments. Participants expressed concerns about the ethical implications of a strong reliance on funding from the industry. Some emphasized the potential unreliability of this funding source, which depends on economic fluctuations. Additionally, there were comments about the high pressure it could place on CHI organizers to secure sufficient and reliable sponsorships. In the Zoom sessions, participants representing industry noted that the landscape of sponsorship was changing in the tech industry and that shrinking budgets meant less opportunity for sponsoring academic events. Further, they noted that sponsorship often came from budgets devoted to recruiting activities, which had been frozen in an era of increasing layoffs. 

3c. By stopping subsidizing student registrations

Proposal: Stop subsidizing student registrations.

Histogram of responses for stopping subsidizing student registrations. Median value is 3; lowest value (0) had the most responses. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 52 responses; score 1 had 31 responses; score 2 had 18 responses; score 3 had 31 responses; score 4 had 18 responses; score 5 had 24 responses; score 6 had 4 responses; score 7 had 7 responses; score 8 had 4 responses; score 9 had 3 responses; score 10 had 12 responses.

The distribution of respondents’ scores is negatively skewed, reflecting a consensus on the significance of facilitating student access to the conference. Some respondents mention though that a lower level of subsidization may likely not be an obstacle for students’ access overall. In the Zoom sessions, there was a lively conversation on the inequity of subsidizing discounted registrations for students from well-funded institutions by the full-price registrations of non-students from less-well-funded institutions. Furthermore, participants noted that there was too big of an incentive to cheat the system when there are large student discounts. 

3d. By cutting the student volunteer (SV) program

Proposal: Cut the student volunteer program.

Histogram of responses for cutting the student volunteer program. Median value is 5; distribution is more uniform. The detailed response counts are as follows: score 0 had 29 responses; score 1 had 22 responses; score 2 had 20 responses; score 3 had 14 responses; score 4 had 22 responses; score 5 had 32 responses; score 6 had 21 responses; score 7 had 27 responses; score 8 had 22 responses; score 9 had 11 responses; score 10 had 26 responses.

Respondents’ scores exhibit a balanced distribution regarding this proposal. Comments revealed that it is not clear for all that the cost of the SV program has such a significant share in the conference budget. However, as noted by many respondents, it is not clear how much could be saved by cutting the SV program altogether. SVs undertake tasks that would otherwise require contracting a vendor. Some respondents propose exploring alternatives, such as having SVs contribute a small registration fee, to reduce costs without eliminating the program. Furthermore, concerns were raised about the perceived inequality in accessibility to the SV program, with the current lottery-based selection process seen as a potential barrier for some students. In the Zoom session, participants echoed these benefits, drawbacks, and inequities of the current SV program.

Summary

We would like to thank all the respondents who took the time to provide valuable feedback, and all attendees of the two Zoom sessions who contributed thoughts. We have carefully read and analyzed all the detailed comments. All this feedback will help the Steering Committee propose a new model of CHI to the community, for further discussion and implementation as soon as 2026. Stay tuned for our suggested redesign in Part Four.

Announcing new CHI Steering Committee ECR members

Author: Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Following the Open Call in November, the CHI Steering Committee is excited to announce the following Early Career Researchers as the new members of the CHI Steering Committee:

  • Ignacio Avelino
  • Marta Cecchinato
  • Passant Elagroudy
  • Thomas Kosch

Collectively they bring significant organising committee (OC) experience through prior senior CHI service roles, including being assistants to General Chairs and Technical Program Chairs, as well as Proceedings Chair, Data Chair and Web Chair. The SC determined that this level of in-depth OC experience in key roles was the most important criteria for selection at this time, given the current critical discussions around re-thinking the finances and format of CHI (as started in the recent Open Sessions and online survey). 

As further background, we were surprised and delighted to receive 36 complete Expressions of Interest. This also made the short-listing and decision making process very challenging. We had only intended to appoint 1-2 people and in the end we expanded the number of offers to join the SC to four people.

Alongside the significant OC experience noted above, the expansion to four people also enabled us to increase diversity by offering different backgrounds, gender and individual connections to different geographical regions through cultural background, prior work experience and networks in different countries. 

It is exciting for the future of the CHI Conference series that so many early career researchers were interested in serving the community and shaping the future of the conference and we look forward to working together for the future of our CHI conference community.

CHI Conference Finances and Format Part Two: Shaping the Future of CHI

Author: Regan L. Mandryk

Purpose of this blog post: In this post, we describe the future of CHI—both in terms of models for a financially self-sustaining CHI and models for a format that will allow for a better attendee experience with time for structured discussion and conferring. 

In Conference Finances and Format—Part One: Prior and Current Context, we described the financial and format constraints of CHI. Please read it for details, but the takeaway message is that CHI has grown in full paper submissions much faster than in attendees. Further, no major changes have been made to the format or fee structure in a time in which paper submissions have more than quadrupled and the interest rate has risen by 43% in the USA. Each year, we make small changes by adding additional parallel tracks, reducing the length of talks, and squeezing more out of our budgets in the face of increasing expenses and stagnant revenues. Because the finances and format of CHI are intertwined, we consider these issues together. 

The CHI Steering Committee (SC) has formed several working groups to consider how to address the scale, format, and finances of CHI. We have presented the situation regularly to the SIGCHI Executive Committee and have worked closely with the ACM to consider options moving forward. 

Future Finances

Continuing to make budget cuts is not a viable plan for the future of the CHI conference.  We have to raise revenue and decrease expenses by changing the conference format to make CHI financially self-sustaining in the future. There are some format and budget changes that we do not support (e.g., removing accessibility supports, choosing a singular inexpensive location in the USA); however, here we list some of the format changes that we could combine with a small registration hike to create a balanced budget: 

We could remove the exhibitors. While this would change the face of CHI, it would also allow us to keep growing without increasing registration fees, because we would remove the exhibit hall, opening up more large hotels as site options, which can be cheaper than convention centres, and would avoid significant costs associated with exhibitor booth construction and access. However, many students and first-time attendees really value the exhibitors and attend primarily to meet potential employers from companies like Google, Microsoft, and Meta. The exhibit has provided CHI with a ‘wow factor’ that differentiates it from other academic conferences. 

We could remove or reduce interactivity. Many CHI attendees state that this is their favourite part of CHI (on the post-conference surveys) and a big differentiator of CHI from other conferences. However, the program is very expensive to run in its present form. Expenses like drayage (paying people to carry boxes), shipping, electrical drops, lighting, and tables add up to a significant expense for the conference and most attendees do not even understand that CHI must pay for these fundamental supports to the interactivity showcase. Removing the track or reducing the track to a smaller form would eliminate these expenses; however, would fundamentally change what has been an integral aspect of CHI for a very long time. 

We could charge a submission fee or presentation fee. This would allow us to separate out the costs of presentation and publication, while also keeping fees low. However this may privilege people from the global north or well-funded institutions.

We could move to a new format in which we met physically every other year as an international community and virtually in between. This would reduce the venue costs and allow us to earn revenue every other year, as entirely virtual conferences are significantly lower in expenses. However, it may have an impact on important networking opportunities for early career researchers and PhD students, who may only have the option to present physically at a single CHI conference during their degree. Hosting a virtual CHI by choice may also affect our ability to recruit willing volunteers into major organizational roles. Although some community members could organize regional events, this is not possible in less populated areas without a large HCI community and would privilege people in HCI-dense areas. 

We could stop subsidizing student registrations. Currently, student registrations are subsidized by non-student registrations and set at no more than half the cost of a full registration, yet providing all of the conference supports to students is the same cost as for non-students. There is no rule that prevents us from changing this model. However, this may impact the ability of students to attend and grow their HCI networks, particularly if they are not from well-funded institutions or research groups.

We could cut the student volunteer program. The student volunteer program is as expensive for the conference as holding interactivity—we spend a significant amount of money (well over $200,000 per year) to keep the SV program going. However, the program provides students with valuable experience in community service and networking, and allows many to attend with reduced costs. Anecdotally, most of our conference leadership was at one point in the student volunteer program. On the other hand, the vast majority of student attendees cannot access the benefits of the SV program (due to the lottery system), so spreading the benefits more broadly around our student attendees may have more community benefits. 

We could rotate CHI around 2-4 known locations. This would save the conference logistic costs and may allow us to negotiate better prices in longer-term contracts. However the choice of these locations would probably reflect past structural biases to the global north and we lose the opportunity to move the conference to new places to aid access for different parts of our community across the world. 

We could expend more effort on securing industry sponsors. Some conferences gain revenue through sponsorship from major companies. CHI’s sponsorship revenue has traditionally been very small. However, increasing industry sponsorship would yield space on the exhibit floor and time in the program to sponsors in return. Further, in the post-conference survey, members of our community have expressed concerns with vetting the ethical practices of companies who wish to sponsor CHI, creating additional labour for our volunteers who coordinate sponsorships.

There are many options for the future of the CHI conference to host a valuable and meaningful event without increasing costs, but it will require new ways of thinking about why we confer and what we expect from our annual meeting. The Steering Committee is actively considering all these options in collaboration with past, present, and future CHI organizing committees. In January 2023, the CHI SC had a design session to generate a short list of possible versions of CHI that are financially self-sustaining.

The question for the community is: what aspect of CHI are you willing to change to see CHI become financially self-sustaining? 

Future Format

Beyond the financial issues, the format of CHI keeps scaling to accommodate our growth, without any major redesigns. When we have too many papers, we simply add another parallel papers track (current modeling suggests this needs to happen every other year). When we have too many posters, we contract larger exhibit halls, further limiting our site selection options. This has resulted in a bloated, intense program in which attendees struggle to plan a daily schedule that allows them to see what they wish to see (according to the feedback on our post-conference surveys). Further, there is little structured networking time or time for discussion of content or ideas: we have lost the ‘confer’ part of our conference

Based on the CHI 2030 visioning exercise, the CHI SC formed a working group in 2021 to address the scale and format of CHI. We came up with the following guiding principles for a re-imagining of the CHI conference program: 

  1. CHI provides a range of opportunities to participate and engage around content and ideas
  • There are diverse ways to attend and engage in meaningful ways (i.e., range of content maturity) 
  • There are many ways to fund the ticket for attending CHI (i.e., not just through full papers)
  • There are ways of engaging people at all stages (i.e., students through senior leaders) and from multiple perspectives (e.g., practitioners, researchers, teachers)

2. CHI provides structured mechanisms for connecting people

  • The post-CHI surveys show that we continually fall short on focusing on structured mechanisms to provide networking and connection opportunities that are desired by attendees and this needs to change

3. Papers are the key element that needs to be addressed in a CHI re-design, as it’s such a huge number and one of the main constraints on venue space and program time

  • Too many parallel talks
  • Takes space away from other interactive engagement
  • Too much content absorption and not enough time for discussion
  • But papers have traditionally been the core of the CHI experience
  • Our program is too large to ‘curate’ sessions; we need to rely on tools for session formation

We came up with several solutions to the scale of CHI, but all of them involved not presenting all of the papers as talks. Our favoured solution involved spending half of the day learning about the state of the art in HCI through paper presentations of peer reviewed content. In the other half of the day, we construct the future together through interactive content (e.g.,  workshops, SIGs, panels, roundtables, provocations, mentoring events, student competition venues, other discussion formats, and posters)—venues that would be juried or curated. This would have the benefits of increasing time available for conferring in structured formats and also increasing the time for discussion around each paper. However, we would necessarily decrease the time in the schedule devoted to paper talks. Examples of how we could reduce the number of talks include: 

We could have all papers give lightning talks, followed by parallelized discussion time in a ‘scrum’ format. If we reduced all talks to lightning presentations, each accepted paper would be able to present to a larger audience through less parallelization. Then, attendees could discuss the papers asynchronously with authors in parallelized discussion scrum, allowing for greater depth in discussion. However, this makes it harder for newcomers to engage with content and does require social interaction for content access. 

We could present only the top 5%–10% of papers as talks. The remaining full papers would be either presented asynchronously on YouTube or given a poster slot. However, we would need to come up with methods of determining which papers were presented as talks in an already overloaded review process. Further, we need to consider how we differentiate late-breaking work or work-in-progress posters from full paper posters. 

We could accept only the top 5%–10% of papers. Other large conferences have very low acceptance rates. However, this might decrease the number of people willing to attend CHI and could affect the review process in negative ways. 

We could increase parallelization of the talks. We currently have around 13 parallel tracks of paper talks at any given time. We could double this, essentially halving the audience of each paper session. However, this would make an already packed schedule even more challenging for attendees, and may make room booking impossible for technical program chairs. 

We could limit the number of submissions. To return to the submission and acceptance numbers of a more manageable era, we could simply limit the number of papers that an author can submit. However, this would cause issues in large research groups in which a professor advises a number of PhD students. We could also institute a submission fee, to help authors think carefully about their submissions; however, as noted above, this might privilege individuals from well-funded institutions and research groups. 

The question for the community is: what are you willing to change to increase the time available for discussion and conferring?

Continue the Conversation… 

We invite you to consider this historical context, current situation, and future formats by joining us at one of two sessions in which we will work together to shape the future of CHI. We will listen to your values and concerns, and hear your ideas for the future of our conference. We will ask the hard questions about what you are willing to trade off for the parts of CHI that are most important to you. We will take what we hear in these sessions and propose several future models of CHI to the community at large, for further discussion and implementation as soon as 2026. These decisions will be in line with the CHI SC’s Vision and Values Statement

Synchronous Sessions on Shaping the Future of CHI

You can join us at one (or both) of two zoom + miro sessions on shaping the future of CHI.

Session 1: Tuesday, December 5, 16:00 UTC
Vancouver: 08:00, New York: 11:00, Paris: 17:00, New Delhi: 21:30, Tokyo: Wed 01:00, Melbourne: Wed 03:00 (https://dateful.com/eventlink/3895171221)

Zoom link is being sent to SIGCHI members via email.

Session 2: Wednesday, Dec 6, 05:00 UTC
Vancouver: Tues 21:00, New York: Tues midnight, Paris: 06:00, New Delhi: 10:30, Tokyo: 14:00, Melbourne: 16:00 (https://dateful.com/eventlink/1334330769)

Zoom link is being sent to SIGCHI members via email.

Contribute Asynchronously on Shaping the Future of CHI

You can provide your degree of support and opinions on each of the proposals by completing our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5XDGSCN.

An image of a hand holding a lightbulb.

CHI Conference Finances and Format Part One: Prior and Current Context

Author: Regan L. Mandryk

Purpose of this blog post: This blog will explain the context of CHI’s finances and format, and how these have not evolved since 2008, while the world (and our HCI community) has significantly changed in that same time frame. In Part Two, we propose actionable plans to change the CHI conference, so that it can sustain itself both financially and in terms of its format. 

TL;DR: 

  • CHI has reached the end of its ability to make cuts in spending with its current format. It needs to raise revenue and change its format dramatically to balance a budget.
  • The CHI papers program has grown beyond what we can support in the time and space that we have for CHI, and has left little room for discussion and connection.
  • The experience of the conference and the financial sustainability of the conference are intertwined.
  • The CHI SC has considered and proposed several models of changing the CHI format, using insights gathered as part of the CHI 2030 visioning exercise, and several working groups addressing the format and finances of CHI. These ideas are presented in Part Two: Shaping the Future of CHI

Prior Context: Finances and Format

Finances from 2008

CHI registration fees have not increased since 2008. In this same time frame, inflation has risen—for example, by approximately 43% in the USA. Also in this same time frame, the financial support provided by the CHI conference to address inequities and improve access have risen (e.g., childcare, subsidized registration to economically developing countries, accessibility accommodations). Additionally, hybrid presentation—which comes with significant costs—has been both necessary due to pandemic and desired to increase equity. This combination of increasing expenses, without an accompanying increase in income through registrations, has resulted in a continuous squeezing of CHI General Chairs (GC) to reduce the controllable parts of their budgets through cuts. Each year, CHI GCs have done more, with less. 

Since the CHI Steering Committee (SC) has been in place (2016), we have reduced expenses through the removal of the printed proceedings, the digital proceedings (USB), the printed conference program, conference bags, and advertising outside our venue. As many of these changes were actually initiated through sustainability arguments, and replaced by access to services (e.g., SIGCHI Progressive Web App for the conference program), we were able to remove them without affecting the conference experience in a significant way. We also reduced costs through the gradual removal of the physical CHI Program Committee (PC) Meeting, which was held for the last time in December 2018. As we moved to virtual PC meetings, we saw significant savings and reduced impact on climate, but also have identified potential quality challenges in our reviewing process introduced by meeting virtually that need to be addressed. We then removed all publication production support (e.g., Sheridan), moving this effort to authors and volunteers. Further cuts to the conference experience include removing the Wednesday evening reception, the newcomer reception, expenses associated with keynote speakers, graphics design costs (moving this effort to volunteers), committee recognition gifts, printed conference program at a glance, and significantly reduced course instructor honoraria. Conferences also give an overhead to the ACM on behalf of the SIG: for CHI 23, this figure was calculated as 15% of its expenses.

For 2022, we offered a hybrid conference experience that included both the physical event and the virtual one.  Running each of these formats carried expenses that were similar in scale. For example, the hybrid conference platform was similar in price to a physical convention centre rental; the logistics support for the virtual conference was double that for the physical conference; the AV 1support for the hybrid conference more than double the cost of a physical-only conference.  For 2023, we offered a mixed hybrid conference experience that eliminated the online platform, instead using the SIGCHI Progressive Web App and YouTube, with support from Discord and Zoom for asynchronous experience of most conference tracks. This decision reduced some of the accompanying AV costs, although the costs to support some synchronous hybrid experience (e.g., keynotes and workshops) were still quite high. This compromise was reported by online participants in the post-conference survey to be less engaging. CHI 2024 has written about their intentions to support hybrid engagement at a low cost: https://chi2024.acm.org/2023/11/09/hybrid-experience-at-chi-2024/,  

Still, since 2016, it has been increasingly difficult to balance the CHI budget, and General Chairs and the Steering Committee have been asking the SIGCHI EC for permission to raise the registration fees. However, given the financial wellbeing of the SIG itself (note that SIGCHI and CHI operate with different budgets), the SIGCHI EC has been able to instead underwrite the CHI conference in various ways, preventing a registration rate increase that would increase the financial cost for attendees. For example, the SIGCHI Executive Committee (EC) has covered all but $150,000 of the venue rental expenses (which in 2023 exceeded $1,000,000), and has covered accessibility costs that exceed $25,000 (in 2023, accessibility requests cost $83,000). The position of the SIGCHI EC over the years was that until CHI took a financial loss, we should not increase fees. We expected that loss to occur sometime in 2018 or 2019 but an unexpected increase in onsite attendee registrations both of these years avoided a loss. The same was expected for 2020 or 2021, but COVID changed everything as the 2020 conference was canceled and 2021 took place virtually (CHI 2020 lost money, whereas CHI 2021 made a large surplus; however, both of these balances were related to the conference venues agreeing to rebook the rental contracts in future years. Otherwise, the conferences would have lost millions in each year). Finally, in 2022, CHI experienced a loss of $484,886, largely due to increased costs related to a fully hybrid conference experience alongside the lower cost of online attendance. Once their closing budget is finalized, CHI 23 will experience a much larger (and expected) loss, even though it was the largest in-person CHI to date, it responsibly covered the 19% VAT (required every time CHI is held in Europe) through registration, and the chairs secured both corporate sponsorship and a national grant. The cost of convention centres in Europe typically exceeds $1million for rental of the space alone, which makes it impossible to break even with our current pricing and format, and places a significant burden on all volunteers to balance a budget. 

Summary of CHI budget from 2013 to 2022. The trend of the numbers shows that the cost of certain uncontrollable expenses (e.g., logistics, management) increase whereas controllable expenses or ones that can be moved to volunteer effort (e.g., publicity, committee, program, food and beverage) decreases over time.

The figure shows how costs that we cannot control (e.g., logistics, management, registration, financial) are rising, and we are balancing the budget by reducing experiences (e.g., food and beverage costs per person2), and shifting the burden of organization to our community volunteers (e.g., organizing committee, proceedings production).

Format from 2008

In this same time frame, the format of CHI has not changed substantially; however, its growth and unique space demands for plenary, parallel tracks, interactivity etc means an increasingly limited number of conference venues that are able to fit CHI in its current format (see the CHI SC blog post on site selection for more details ). The four days of conference program, which is made up of paper talks, special interest groups (SIGs), panels, and keynotes, with the two days prior for workshops, symposia and the doctoral consortium is relatively unchanged over the years. The exhibit hall has hosted exhibitor booths, poster sessions, coffee breaks, receptions, and interactivity. There are a few tracks that have come (e.g., alt.chi) and gone (e.g., art track) and changes have been made within tracks (e.g., interactivity during opening reception or during coffee breaks); however, the general format of CHI has not seen drastic changes in decades. What has changed, however, is the scale. Throughout the 90s, fewer than 400 papers were submitted to CHI, and a general 25% acceptance rate meant that fewer than 100 papers were presented. In 2008, paper submissions had not yet crossed 1000 (714 papers and 341 notes)—157 papers and 61 notes were presented in hand-curated sessions. Since 2008, paper submissions have grown year over year, with CHI 24 seeing 4046 paper and short paper submissions. If CHI 24 has a 25% accept rate, there will be more papers accepted to CHI 24 than were submitted to CHI 08. Every few years, we add an additional parallel ‘track’ of papers to accommodate this growth, further dividing the audience, who are not growing at the same rate. To prevent adding an additional track every other year, we have also seen continued shortening of CHI paper presentations—from 30-minute slots to under 10, with no time for discussion of meaningful Q&A.

Current Situation: Finances and Format

Current Finances

For the physical conference, fees have been the same since 2008 (http://www.chi2008.org/registration.html; see CHI 2018 as a comparison point https://chi2018.acm.org/attending/conference-fees/ ) and are graduated by timing (early, standard, late) and by role (ACM membership, student, emeritus).  We have further added a reduction in fees for attendees from economically developing countries (as defined by the ACM) similar to the online rates for CHI 2021: 80% rate for category H and 25% rate for category I.  Considering historical attendance from these countries at past CHI conferences, this decision has not meaningfully affected the budget. However, virtual conference fees can make a very large difference in the budget of the conference. In 2022, the conference had about 2000 in-person attendees and 2000 remote attendees. Remote registration was held to the very low 2021 price structure, even though in 2021 they did not have the $500k in expenses related to AV needs 2022 had to support. The low registration fee for virtual attendees in 2022 in no way covered the expense of their inclusion, and was subsidized by the in-person conference fees. In 2023, there were fewer remote attendees and more in-person attendees. Both 2022 and 2023 experienced large—and expected—financial losses, given that registration rates were not raised but expenses continue to rise. The CHI SC and the SIGCHI EC agree that we need to make changes so that the CHI conference can operate with a balanced budget. 

Current Format

Beyond the financial considerations, we cannot continue to scale the growth in the CHI conference papers track by simply adding an additional room every few years. The CHI 24 papers submission blog post (https://chi2024.acm.org/2023/10/16/papers-track-post-submission-report/) does a great job of highlighting how submissions continue to increase, and how continuing to present all of the accepted papers in increasingly parallelized tracks (as we have done in the past) may not be a viable option moving forward. Posters are only present at coffee breaks. The conference days are quite long. Other than SIGs and workshops (which are highly parallelized themselves), there is no time built into the CHI program for structured networking and community building. CHI 2023 had more than 20 parallel content sessions at any given time. Official conference programming started as early as 7am and continued for 12 or more hours, with hosted social events continuing into the late evening. 

We address the SC’s ideas for the future of CHI’s format and finances in Part Two of this post.

———

  1. As with food costs (see below), these are more than you can imagine. Wifi access will cost between $80,000 and $250,000. Audiovisual between $250,000 and $1,000,000 depending on the level of hybridity being offered. ↩︎
  2. The Food and Beverage costs seem like a lot of money, and everyone who has attended CHI knows that the food, while appreciated, is not *that* extraordinary. But what is not known to most attendees is that the cost of food at event centres is not what the cost of food is at stores, or even hotels. Prices vary dramatically by location, but cookies for coffee break cost $50–70 USD/dozen, a can of pop $7–10 each, $75–200 for a gallon of coffee, and it costs about $100–200 each time we fill up a water cooler. A box lunch with a sad sandwich, apple, cookie, and bottle of water will cost $40–75 USD. A self-serve buffet lunch will greatly exceed that for even the cheapest option. And venues do not allow you to bring in your own food; there is no option for restaurant delivery at a convention centre. This is true for convention centers all around the world. CHI used to provide food; now it—at best—provides snacks. ↩︎

Open Call 2023 for Expressions of Interest for Early Career Members of the CHI Steering Committee 

Call closes 12 November 2023

TL;DR The CHI Steering Committee (SC) is seeking expressions of interest (self nomination or nomination of others) for Early Career Researchers with experience on the CHI organizing committee interested in serving the CHI community as a member of the CHI SC. Fill out the Survey Monkey form.

CHI STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP:

The CHI Steering Committee (SC) is appointed by the SIGCHI Executive Committee and tasked with overseeing the objectives and vision for the CHI conference series and takes responsibility for the issues that have impact across the series – see https://chi.acm.org/home/ for more information.

As described there, a key criteria for SC membership to date has been senior level or significant involvement in the CHI conference series. To broaden the range of expertise and perspectives brought into SC deliberations, the SC is seeking to add representation of Early Career perspectives from those who have been involved in the CHI organizing committee (e.g., assistant to a chairing role, student volunteer chair). Early Career is broadly defined as being within 5 years of being awarded a PhD.

SC Voting members​ are expected to attend meetings, participate in discussions, and vote on motions, including but not limited to motions on the SC membership, future CHI conference locations and chairs, and the strategies and implementation of the CHI Conference series. There are also specific Director roles that members play, as noted in the policy document below. 

SCHI SC membership is by invitation from the SC (via the Chair). The appointment is for 5 years. There are 9-12 SC meetings per year, the majority of which are held online at a rotating time to accommodate different timezones.

You can find more details in the policy document of the CHI SC about roles, responsibilities and voting policies: https://chi.acm.org/chi-sc-terms-policy/ 

PROCESS: 

Submission of Expression of Interest / Nominations:

You can nominate yourself or you can nominate another person, with their agreement.

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) will include a short biography along with a brief statement of

  • The nominee’s engagement with the CHI conference series to date, e.g., as attendee, author, volunteer, etc
  • What the nominee could contribute in the role 

Please fill out this short Survey Monkey form by 12 November 2023.

Decision process:

The decisions about ECR membership will be made by the CHI Steering Committee. The EOIs will serve as one set of inputs to the decision making process, along with other considerations e.g., about diversity of gender, geography, institution etc.  

Towards this process, the SC and its SC Future Chairs and Volunteer Development Director:

  • Will help publicise the call for Expressions of Interest
  • May identify and approach potential candidates to directly assess their interest 
  • Will review all potential candidates and Expressions of Interest
  • Will create a short-list to take to the CHI SC for discussion and agreement
  • Will make formal invitations

Will follow relevant SIGCHI and ACM policies, e.g., as laid out in the  SIGCHI Bylaws, the SIGCHI Conflict of Interest Policy, and the ACM Conflict of Interest Policy, along with guidelines to check the ACM Violations Database.