In the ongoing future of STOC debate, one possibility that seems to have significant support is that we should do more colocation of conferences. (See Suresh's latest post, for instance.) That is, rather than expanding STOC itself, it is thought that the best way to make STOC more of an event that theorists will want to attend is to set up a "pan-TCS" conference, that has several related conferences or workshops the same week at the same location. Arguably this would allow STOC to continue essentially the way it is -- which many people seem to want -- while leading to higher attendance and community building.
Given the success of the STOC/CCC/EC mix this year in Cambridge, it's hard to argue against this idea. So I won't. Heck, I think it's a fine idea. The one thing that people seem to be ignoring (or perhaps just forgetting), however, is that this will require some non-trivial organization to make this work well consistently over time. And I'm left wondering how this sort of organization will come about. (Honestly, it's not quite clear to me how things all managed to work out this year!)
Right now, separate conferences organize themselves. Heck, even getting conferences following each other, like FOCS/SODA coming up, to organize their deadlines so people can send their rejects on to the next conference appears to be a strain. (Anyone else think that the 1 week between when we're supposed to hear back from FOCS -- hopefully with actual reviews, but maybe not -- and the SODA deadline -- which includes the 4th of July weekend -- is maybe not enough to make worthwhile improvements and changes?) Now let's think about what has to be done to make this sort of colocation work:
1) Arranging conference hotels, and meeting space, in roughly the same place at the same time. (On another post somewhere, some anonymous people complained that STOC and CCC/EC were not conveniently located -- they were miles apart, and you'd have to switch hotels to go to both easily. Perish the thought! Add "adjusing people's attitudes" to the general list of what has to get done to make this work...)
2) Synching up schedules, including submission deadlines (will one conference in the set be able to take another's rejects for submissions and still have a workable timeline? ), and where possible avoiding scheduling important plenary/invited talks at the same time (sometimes this might not happen, as with this year's EC tutorials overlapping the STOC conference -- see above about "adjusting people's attitudes"...).
3) Managing these relationships and corresponding decisions years -- possibly multiple years -- in advance; some conferences have different ideas about how often they will be run internationally, whether they should be connecting just to theory or other areas (e.g., EC is also connected to AI), etc. So conferences will be joining and exiting this system regularly, requiring further high-level organization and significantly more advanced planning that we currently have.
I should be clear that I don't think any of these organizational issues can't be overcome. It's just that they'll require, naturally, some organization. Which translates into more time (at least up front -- maybe less time years down the line) spent by people in our community to put these sorts of things together, and/or more costs (as, like with FCRC, the organizational aspects are left to other organizations -- that charge for it). So for all of you eager for this style of change -- as opposed to, for example, simply increasing the number of accepted papers -- I eagerly (very, very eagerly) await to hear your voices chime in when volunteers are sought in the future to help make this sort of thing happen.