Agree wholeheartedly! Especially for those who fall under "You’ve been several times before and we want to give a spot to a first-timer". I imagine if you go to EAG every year and were suddenly rejected you'd feel like you were kicked out of the club. A huge part of community building in professional associations is going to an annual conference and getting to catch up with your peers, EAG is that way for those of us who don't live in largely populated EA cities.
Is travel price ever taken into consideration? Non-US and/or east cost attendees can easily spend $1k+ just for flights/lodging which probably causes them to take a large discount on the ticket price.
Are there any plans to split EAG into "conference" vs "meetup"? I know a lot of people don't go to the programming at all and just go to have meetings and meet people. Which is totally fine but if CEA is going to the trouble of planning a conference, it would be interesting to see how many people actually go to the conference programming (aside from opening and closing talks). Reduced priced tickets could be for meetups only and higher prices for those going to the talks in a separate area of the venue.
I've seen professional conferences publish the agenda once tickets are available and attendees indicate which sessions they'll go to. This helps with space/room configurations, not sure if it would be helpful for EAG or not since agendas seem to be released closer to the event date. I've also seen conferences that have "room counters" who take note of how many people were in each session to gauge attendee behavior for future events. Again, not sure if that's helpful or something you already do.
This was a super helpful write-up! My only point of feedback would be to write a short version of this into the waitlist/rejection emails for future EAGs (or even the next wave for this EAG). It was really confusing to get waitlisted after being accepted for the last 4 years with a form rejection email without any explanation. Maybe add it in for people who answer that they've attended EAG before? I imagine that would help from turning people off to EA/EAG. I definitely had an immediate reaction of not feeling valued by the community after being involved for ~5 years (and was sad I won't see my EA friends/acquaintances this year), hopefully other people didn't feel that way.
It's good to hear more resources are being put into EAGx events, but if they are "oriented to students and other earlier-stage EAs who are less likely to be able to get into EA Global", will there be some in-between events for people who are older and more experienced but didn't get into EAG this year?
Apologies if any of this came off as mean/bitter, EAG is one of my favorite times of the year (I'm one of the people that loves going to talks)! :)
This seems to be a good problem to have, as it seems we're growing to the point where we can't accommodate everyone in one place. I'd be interested to hear about future plans to accommodate the growth of having more "advanced" EAs across the US/world since right now it seems like if we don't live in a major EA city, EAG is our only chance to see other EAs and learn new things.