EclipseCon Europe 2012 starts in about two weeks, and lots of attendees are figuring out which talks to add to their personal ECE schedules. There are lots of great talks, so it's not easy. But it's one of those "good problems" to have.
Another good problem the ECE program committee had back in July was deciding which talks to accept from among so many excellent submissions. Accepting talks is the most obvious task of a program committee. Declining talks -- carefully and thoughtfully -- is less obvious, but even more important.
Anyone who's had a talk declined knows it's disappointing, and that can't be avoided. But declining talks well can prevent a disappointed submitter from turning into a demoralized submitter who won't try again.
This year's ECE program committee left comments on every declined submission, explaining why it was not accepted. They answered a lot of follow-up questions to provide more detail. This task was considered essential, and the accept/decline emails didn't go out until all the comments were added.
The expectation -- and hope -- is that by declining talks well, we encourage new submitters to try again, and keep our EclipseCon content fresh and interesting.