The feedback to authors from SoCG is now out, and with that I feel that I can comment on my own impressions (from an author's point of view) of the rebuttal system used this year, in which the program committee sent the authors questions on their papers, gave the authors a week to answer (in a limited amount of space), and then deliberated for some more weeks after the answers were received. I submitted four papers of which one was accepted; for once, the one the committee liked was also the one that I thought was my own strongest work, so although I'd be happier with more acceptances I thought the overall results were reasonable. However, that in itself doesn't say much about whether rebuttals were or were not a pointless waste of everyone's time. So let's look in more depth at the four cases:
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PS Suresh has a related post praising the SoCG committee for the high quality of their reviews. It's tangential to the point of this post, but I completely agree. He also posts his rebuttal experiences which seem similar to my cases #2 and #3.