If you go ahead with extending the panel vs. single presentation distinction to include more options, you may have problems in the future as we implement more support for panel presentations.
The conferences I take care of call multiple paper sessions Symposia. Over the years, the OCS 1 implementation of multiple paper sessions has caused a lot of headaches. I see that currently, in OCS 2, there is no way to connect panel presentations. Is this correct? And,if indeed you plan to put some features back into OCS to support multiple paper sessions, then I would like to explain the problems we've encountered in the past (ie. things that I had to take care of with custom coding):
- The way it was setup in OCS 1, the symposium organizer was to submit a symposium title, a symposium overview AND a title and abstract for their talk (all required fields). This assumes that the organizer of the symposium also plans to give a talk, which I have found is not always the case. I submitted this as a bug back in 2002 http://pkp.sfu.ca/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=585.
- In general, it was VERY difficult to explain the process (of submitting a multiple paper session) to the conference director, the symposium organizer and the presenters.
- We ALWAYS had problems with missing talks because of typos in email addresses. This would often mean that I had to make changes directly in the database.
- Often, the conference director would want an earlier deadline for symposia (vs. regular talks and posters).
- The system required that each symposium presenter had submitted their abstract BEFORE the symposium was accepted. Otherwise, that presenters abstract would not appear. The only way to make them appear later on, was to mark their submission as accepted directly in the database.
- So to make things even more complicated, sometimes we want to cutoff submissions of symposium overviews on a certain date, but still allow presenters to submit their symposium talks up until the cutoff date for single paper presentations. This, of course is difficult, because they both have the same presentation_format (multiple). It's almost like we should make the submission of symposium talks like invited submissions. ie. when a symposium organizer submits their overview and a list of email addresses for their presenters, the presenters are then notified that we require their title & abstract by a certain date, and they could be provided with a special submission link. Also, we could make separate presentation_formats for symposium overviews and symposium talks.
- The scheduler (which I really liked, although the admin interface wasn't ideal) did not handle symposia very well. I made a few modifications to schedule.php to make it work properly. You can see how I think symposia should appear on the schedule here: http://imrf.mcmaster.ca/IMRF/2007/schedule.php. You can find them on the page by searching for "Symposium Overview".
That's all that I can think of right now. I'll add more later if I think of anything else.