There are six-hundred-and-eighty-three proposal submissions for next year's South by South West, and once again it's up the the Internet to filter through all of them and choose which ones are worthy of becoming real events.
How absolutely absurd.
I didn't like the crowdsourced voting last year and with this astonishing amount of submissions I fail to see how the quality of the SXSW experience is going to improve. I heard a lot of complaints about the lack of quality in many of the panels so I don't understand why the conference leadership is extending the program.
The conference FAQ says:
If that was the case last year, then something about that process failed.
The biggest flaw in the current process is that panel selection is left to the general public, who have zero investment in forming the best conference possible. The only way to make this work properly is to restrict voting to persons who have paid in full to attend the conference, as they're the only ones who have a vested interest in creating the best experience possible.
So why treat it like a high school popularity contest? If SXSW really has an advisory board then they need to step up and do their job (Hugh if you need help in this area let me know, I've been dying for a good reason to buy a taser gun and/or cattle prod). Anytime you leave a portion of the curation process to the mob, it's going to severely affect quality.