1) Setting a new high bar for local arrangements, outside the conference room was a cappuccino/espresso machine, and (for most of the time) a barista just for the PC.
2) There seemed to be widespread agreement that the quality of submissions this year was not as high as in previous years. (Just my luck...) Whether this reflects reality or we were all just very grumpy is open to interpretation. (I do not think we were grumpy.)
3) Because of this feeling about paper quality overall, there will be, I believe, fewer accepted papers this year than in the last few previous years.
4) I was amused to see when the classified papers into groups there was a whole category of papers labelled "theory". Theoretical SIGCOMM papers generally refer to new and interesting algorithms or data structures for applications, but still generally require an implementation demonstrating the effectiveness of the idea in practice (or a suitable simulation). Overall, theory papers seem to do reasonably well at SIGCOMM. George Varghese is the master of writing such papers, if you are looking for an example to emulate.
5) Indeed, there seemed to be some enthusiasm for more openness to theoretical work on the committee, which seemed in line with my open complaint to networking/systems people. There may be a push (I'll be pushing!) to aim for a "cool algorithm/data structure implemenation tricks and ideas" next year. (The hard part of this is writing down what the right criteria for such papers are... clear practical utility in a network setting being what I'd aim for.)
6) The 5-point scale did seem to have its problems. There was the usual problem that people did not work with the scale appropriately/treat it consistently. The other problem was, because of the impression there were few strong submissions, there were very few 5's and comparatively fewer 4's than usual, effectively collapsing the scale. I'm not sure the 5-point scale itself is to blame for these problems.
7) The 5-point scale was very effective for initially dismissing a lot of papers quickly.
8) Probably because there are fewer papers at the PC meeting to deal with, there seems to be more intense discussion of papers overall and in particular of controversial papers at the SIGCOMM PC as compared to say the STOC PC. Also, more people on average are able to (and more than willing to) give an opinion on any given paper.
9) While there was plenty of discussion, there were no real fights -- at least while I was in the room. Indeed, the sharpest discussion -- all about what is expected of a SIGCOMM paper -- was probably instigated by me, regarding a more theoretical paper, leading to a discussion of what exactly was expected in terms of evaluation of an interesting idea for SIGCOMM. Again, I'm hoping this dicussion might lead to a special session of possibly shorter papers with useful algorithmic tricks for networking people... though we'll have to see if enough such papers actually exist!
10) The PC dinner involved, among other food, an entire roast boar.
Overall, a very interesting PC experience.