Readercon is my favorite local science fiction convention. It has a considerably more academic/litcrit slant than most cons, and focuses entirely on written fiction.
That's all fine. But it does have the longest, and most intimidating panel sign up I have ever encountered. It takes me more than an hour to fill out. Just reading and comprehending the dense paragraph describing each panel takes me back to the SAT. I always feel a bit of relief when I get to the end and don't see lines of ovals to fill in with a #2 pencil.
Plus, it has you rate each potential panel A+, A, or B, but does not limit the number of A+ ratings you can give. The obvious strategy, if you want to be on a panel, is to rate them all A+, and then beg out of whatever does not appeal. Every year I try to be honest, and every year I end up on one panel about "Semicolons and Other Narrative Partial Stops" held at 10 am on Sunday. No more!
On the other hand, if I don't even understand the panel description, it seems bad form to get all enthusiastic about it. There are a lot of people at Readercon who probably do understand it, and can say insightful things about it.
I'm a third of the way through sing up and am exhausted. I'll have to get back to it some other time.