At least in my world, it has become normal and expected for deadlines to be extended by around a week. The only explanation given is something like ‘numerous requests by authors’. However I get the strong impression that the paper committees always intended to extend the deadline, and built it into their only schedules. So many conferences do this now that it is expected; I suspect that if a conference didn’t, they would get very few submissions.
There are particular conference seasons, and so often deadlines fall around the same date. This uncertainty can cause a lot of scheduling problems. It can also annoy those organised folks who work to original deadlines.
Most recently, a Monday deadline extension to the following Friday wasn’t announced until the Friday before. Until it was announced, I was wondering how much time I would be able to spend with my family over that weekend. To get around this kind of thing a couple of times, I have written to paper chairs a week or so before a deadline, politely asking whether their deadline will be extended, saying I have a tricky schedule. This worked once, although the other time I didn’t get a reply (unsurprisingly, the workload of a paper chair is unenviable).
So I propose a different approach; that deadline extensions are announced alongside the original deadlines, in the original call for proposals.
Obviously this makes no sense, but we (Nick Collins, Thor Magnusson and I) are trying it anyway in our call for video submissions, and it’ll be interesting to see how well it works. By pre-announcing the extension but being vague about what it will be, hopefully people will put the original deadline in their calendars and work to that. However while doing tricky scheduling they’ll be able to keep the extension in mind and avoid unwarranted stress…