I've heard people joke about the "suicidal tendencies" of the computational geometry community. These tendencies include:
(a) small SoCG acceptance numbers. Students are discouraged by high rejection rates and people dabbing in the field are shunned away. [Contrary to what Jeff says this does not make the numbers any harder. The moment the word is out that SoCG is no longer a long shot you-better-know-someone-in-the-PC conference, the number of submissions would go up.]
(b) no clear second/third tier conference (contrast this with e.g. complexity with CCC/STACS/MFCS or algorithms with SODA/ESA/(WADS/SWAT))
(c) plenty of weakly refereed conferences which are given very little weight by grant review panels such as the European Workshop, the Japan Workshop and CCCG.
(d) weak links to direct application areas such as computer graphics, GIS, robotics, computer vision, protein folding, computational chemistry, etc.
(e) low submission rates to FOCS/STOC/SODA (as noted by Jeff).
No one is suggesting the standard be lowered. There were 65 papers worthy of publication, only 40 appeared. Is this a desirable situation for anyone?
All these criticisms are well-deserved.
I've only ever heard two reasonable arguments against accepting more papers to SOCG. One is that higher acceptance rates devalue conference papers in the eyes of hiring, promotions, and grant review committees. They shouldn't, but they do. When I came up for tenure last year, I was asked explicitly to list the acceptance rates of every conference where I had a paper. When I've served on hiring committees, my cohorts have asked me about the selectivity of theory conferences. (SODA papers are at a disdvantage here.) And as the anonymous commenter points out, papers at low-filter conferences like CCCG are consistently ignored by grant panels. Nobody in their right mind really believes that acceptance rates are an objective measure of the quality of a conference—certainly not the quality of an individual paper—but academics have a nasty habit of inappropriately distilling qualitative things down to numbers.
The other argument against accepting more papers is that the SOCG community likes having a small conference. We like knowing that we can see all of the best results in our field, without worrying that two interesting talks will be scheduled on top of each other. We like being a small close-knit community.
That's not to say that we keep our doors closed to new people; as a graduate student, I felt incredibly lucky to have stumbled on such an open and welcoming community. But as a group, we have some unfortuantely narrow ideas about what constitutes good computational geometry. Our small close-knit community is all too easily seen as a narrow clique of elitist snobs. Witness, for example, the creation of CCCG as an outlet for frustrated Canadians slighted by the Sharir hegemony, the utter failure of the so-called "applied track" at SoCG, or the nearly complete lack of interest in important geometric developments like metric embeddings. Or the commenter's perception that SOCG is a ”long shot you-better-know-someone-in-the-PC conference”.
And yet we SOCG folks have the temerity to criticize STOC and FOCS for their snobbery. (Yes, of course! We're the ones being snubbed!) Mr. Pot, this is Ms. Kettle. I believe you already know each other.
Suppose we increased the acceptance rate at SOCG, say by adding parallel sessions. The question we have to ask is whether the resulting influx of new papers (and new authors) offset the (perhaps temporary) loss of prestige and (yes) quality? Would expanding the community be healithier in the long run, despite making it harder to stay as close as we are now?
Personally, I think it would.
No clear second- or third-tier conference? That's not entirely true. SODA is another first-tier conference that consistently publishes a significant number of geometry papers. (We don't submit much to STOC and FOCS, but SODA is another story entirely.) Geometry is also well-represented at various "lower-tier" algorithms conferences: ESA, SWAT/WADS, ISAAC, LATIN, FSTTCS, STACS, COCOON, etc, etc. But it is true that among purely computational geometry conferences and workshops, only SOCG has a nontrivial review process. Almost every paper submitted to CCCG, EuroCG, JCGCG, of the Fall Workshop is accepted.
There's an apparent contradiction here. On the one hand, the acceptance rates at SOCG are too low. On the other hand, the acceptance rates at the other computational geometry workshops are too high. (Dare I suggest that the first is a direct cause of the second?) I think what the commenter is suggesting (and I agree) is that we need something more in the middle, perhaps a more diverse range of conferences.