An Update to Conference Applications

For a while now we have been using a rolling acceptance system for our conference application process. It has certainly gotten the job done, but it has some larger logistical hangups and it has not scaled well with the growing interest in conferences.

In an effort to streamline the process further, use a bigger global picture to allocate conference sponsorship resources more effectively, and attempt to provide more structured feedback*, we will be trying a move to a seasonal sponsorship application system.


For a four week span sponsorship applications will be open for conferences for the upcoming season. After four weeks acceptances and declines will be published. Then a two week supplemental application window will open for select regions or sub-regions that maybe didn’t have anyone apply in the first wave, in an effort to give every region an opportunity for approval each season. The goal in scheduling is that the least possible time an organizer can have between acceptance and their event is 4 weeks, and that would only be in the case of an application being accepted on the last day possible for an event right at the beginning of the season. Under this system almost all organizers will have at least six weeks to prepare after sponsorship acceptance. 

The schedule for the rest of 2023 is as follows:

Q2 2023 (Season 2: April 1 – June 30)

New Promos: Grindstone, Retrofitter Foundry
Returning Promos: TBA
Bonus Promo: Sword of War and Peace

Application Window: January 23 – February 26
Approvals Go Out: February 26 – March 3
Supplemental Application Window: March 3 – March 19

For Season 2, any applications that have already been accepted will not change, and current pending applications will be considered along with the rest of the wave on February 20. The form will close for submissions at 11:59p PST on February 19, applications later than that will not be considered.

Mid-Year Celebration 2023** (June 1 – July 31)

Promos: TBA

Application Window: March 17 – April 9
Approvals Go Out: April 10-14
Supplemental Application Window: April 14-30

Q3 2023 (Season 3: July 1 – Sept. 30)

New Promos: 2023 #6, 2023 #7
Returning Promos: Painter’s Servant, Mycosynth Lattice
Bonus Promo: 2023 #10

Application Window: April 17 – May 14
Approvals Go Out: May 15-19
Supplemental Application Window: May 19 – June 4

Q4 2023 (Season 4: Oct. 1 – Jan. 31, 2024)

New Promos: 2023 #8, 2023 #9
Returning Promos: Grindstone, Retrofitter Foundry
Bonus Promo: 2023 #10

Application Window: July 21 – August 13
Approvals Go Out: August 13-17
Supplemental Application Window: August 17 – September 3

End of Year/Annual Celebration 2023*** (Dec. 1, 2023 – Jan. 31, 2024)

Promos: TBA

Application Window: September 17 – October 15
Approvals Go Out: October 16-20
Supplemental Application Window: October 20 – November 3

The full schedule will be posted to the Conference Information Page and will be updated as we work out problems and optimize the new process.


* We understand that not receiving feedback on a declined application is frustrating. There are a number of factors right now that are preventing us from providing feedback, primarily employee labor hours. A switch to waves of applications allows time for us to provide feedback to some folks between acceptance windows. We want to help set organizers up for success on their future applications. We can’t promise that we will always have the bandwidth for this, we’re a small team tackling a lot of tasks, but we would like to try.

** That’s right, a Mid-Year conference! We are still ironing out all the details to make this work and a more-detailed blog post and information page will follow when it is ready. It is unlikely to be at the same scale as our normal End of Year celebrations, but the goal is to supplement the volume of our Q1 and Q2 conferences in 2023 and be a beta test for the future. We aim have one in every region, more to accommodate language needs where necessary. With the application window opening up mid-March, we are hoping to finalize the details of that before the end of February.

Update 3/14/23 – Plans for the 2023 Mid-Year conference have been postponed, that post can be found here:

*** The window for End of Year Celebrations will extend into January 2024. There are multiple reasons for this, the first being a shift away from explicitly a year-ending celebration and instead an annual one. The holiday season is chaotic for shipping and people’s availability, as both vary wildly from community to community. The hope here is to broaden our options and provide an Annual Celebration opportunity to as many judges as we can. Additionally, adding a second month to this window gives us some breathing room to start 2024.


Shipping can be unpredictable. We had to decline a lot of conferences in January this year due to a fear of not being able to fulfill sponsorship support in time. Pushing back to start Season 1 in February gives us a buffer to receive and prepare shipments at the start of the year.

As with our last set of changes, this is an ongoing process. We want to keep trying new things as we work to improve the conference experience overall. Some of the above dates may change, and we will be making adjustments to Season 3 and beyond based on observations and feedback.

Questions and comments about this process can be sent to Eric at and he will do his best to provide information and apply feedback as needed.


  1. Kauê Rodriguez Martins

    O brasil tem 8.516.000 km², sendo a região sul composta de 3 estados, totalizando 576.774 km², com um total de 399. Devido a esta grande extensão de terra, necessitamos de conferência online, pois o deslocamento é demasiadamente oneroso e demanda tempo. Sendo assim, precisamos de pelo menos uma conferência online por quadriênio e região do Brasil a cada ano!

  2. Dave

    While I love this idea of the mid-year conference as a response to the near total loss of online conferences, that’s not enough. I came over here after just reading some comments on the US South FB group where folks are talking about how large regions are and that while the return of in person conferences has been great- those will not be attendable for the majority of judges in those regions be it for distance, timing, or, right now, weather. And that’s before taking anything else into account: time/cost/green from not traveling.

    Online conferences were a boon for those who actually needed them- particularly for local, non traveling judges. They were abruptly removed with this mid-year announcement being the first remedy put out there, but that’s not enough. If you’re concerned about folks farming online conferences, set an attendance cap per quarter; if you’re concerned about presentation quality, then maintain a list of approved presenters/presentations; if you’re concerned about participation, put more quizzes/attendance checks/etc.

    But right now in 2023, for me, the only conference it’s looking like I’ll be able to attend is one outside of Pittsburgh that happens to land on a weekend I’m traveling by there anyway (and that’s still inconvenient, but it’s that or _nothing_); and that’s deeply concerning given the amount that had been available the last few years.