2017Q3 Reports: Conference Officer

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ACL Guidelines on Remote Conference Participation

ACL conferences have been requiring at least one of the authors to be present at the conference and give a talk in order for their paper to appear in the proceedings. In the unusual circumstances where none of the authors could make it to the conference due to visa issues or illness, an acceptable common practice has been for the authors to arrange a designated speaker who can deliver the talk on behalf of the authors. However, there have been increasing recent concerns regarding traveling bans (e.g., the US government in 2017 tried to impose a traveling ban on Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), which will likely impact many valuable members of our conferences.

Recognizing this challenge imposed on our members, ACL now strongly recommends that conference organizers of all ACL endorsed conferences facilitate technical support for participants to present their work and engage with the audience remotely. Until we gain further experience in this, the exact details on how to arrange technical support remain somewhat open-ended. However, the general guideline has been formulated and posted at the ACL handbook. One decision point that raised the most discussion is whether remote poster presentation should be facilitated at all, given the apparent challenge in arranging lively interactions with remote poster presentations. However, depending on the fraction of the conference presentations that need to be presented remotely, it may work against the overall conference experience if there are too many remote oral presentations. For now it is up to the conference organizers to decide the balance between the remote oral vs poster presentations based on the resources available at the local venue. We will follow up with a revised policy once we gain some experience from this year's conferences.