by Josef Spillner

One year ago, we started running the cloud-announce mailing list for the wider research community in the area of cloud computing. The list serves to connect people in this area, but it also serves as rough indicator of research trends and pace. It is time to reflect on the first year of operation, revisit some policy decisions, and give an outlook for 2017.

The mailing list started in early 2016 by invitation with about 120 subscribers. Indicated on-topic mails would encompass calls for papers, event invitations and job offers. As anybody can subscribe, there are now already more than 150 subscribers. This in turn means that any information sent to the list should be valuable for most of them which requires a fair amount of moderation in the form of letting submissions through or not. In other words, the signal-to-noise ratio should be maximised. In the figure below, the statistics over the first year about submissions received per month and about posts eventually let through are compared. It is evident that in the recent months, the list has become more well-known and more rejections needed to take place.

The need is an arguable one, and we haven’t seen much open discussion of how much control should be exerted to keep the balance between focusing on high-quality research opportunities and constricting potentially interesting new venues or cross-topic offers. Nevertheless, a shared understanding of the need to narrow down in order to increase comparability is assumed to exist for all professional communities. We aim to help to fulfil the need for the topics around cloud computing and its direct siblings utility computing and service computing among others.

The basic policies for posting to the list have always been mentioned in the public list description, but in the interest of fairness and transparency, we will give a detailed account on what constitutes a reasonable post. They are refined to account for the trend in receiving more submissions. In any case, just like research this policy is neither perfect nor final, and we offer an appeal mechanism for justified exceptions.

When sending mail to the list, please check that:

  • Your submission is of relevance to cloud researchers and practicioners from all continents most of whom are very busy and appreciate high-value e-mails.
  • Your e-mail is formatted with plain-text (preferred) or at least multi-part with plain text instead of only HTML.
  • You are patient to wait until the moderation is done (typically no more than 48 hours). Please note that sometimes instead of a justified rejection the e-mail may just be discarded. This has become necessary as some automated CfP mechanisms include the mailing list without anybody reading rejections. If you think that your post should still be accepted, please appeal to the list moderator(s) in a separate e-mail.
  • Reasons to reject may include: too many out-of-topic e-mails, multiple submissions for the same or co-located conferences and workshops, spamference and predatory journal advertisements. Concerning the topic, we have so far handled this pragmatically for related topics as long as a strong link to cloud computing or cloud applications was present, and we intend to continue to do so. Concerning the number of posts, please have at most one reminder post, i.e. two posts in total per event.