I am contributing to a top conference. It is now in the rebuttal stage. During the rebuttal stage, it's allowed to revise the submitted papers, in addition to the mandatory rebuttal text of 800 words (see detailed information below).

The reviewers gave some suggestions. For example, some pictures should be revised to be clearer, and the conclusion should be more specific. But most of them gave accept. Only one or two were rejected.

Should I to modify the description in the paper according to their suggestions? The alternative would be to just answer their question in the rebuttal text. In that case, I would declare that I will modify the paper in future versions.

As the author of the submitted work, here are your responsibilities:

  1. Please read each review carefully and understand the main concern expressed by the reviewers. Reviewers spent substantial number of hours in the review process to understand your work, and hence they would appreciate if you also spend time to understand their concerns. Please be respectful of your reviewer colleagues as you formulate your rebuttals.

  2. Rebuttal vs. Revision: Submit an 800-word text rebuttal directly into the HotCRP rebuttal window. Optionally, provide a revised paper in PDF format. It is your choice on how to proceed, but keep in mind that the point of the rebuttal is to answer reviewer questions. If a question can be best answered with a text explanation but does not need to go into the paper, the 800-word text rebuttal should be chosen. If a question is best answered by revising the paper text and/or paper figures, the revised paper option is recommended (e.g., if reviewers point out bugs and inconsistencies, you can fix them in place in the paper). Reviewers will first check the 800-word rebuttal for answers to their questions and read the revised paper only as needed.

Rules for a Revised PDF: If you submit a revised PDF please follow these rules:

-- When applicable: please indicate to the reviewers in the 800-word rebuttal text which question(s) you address in the revised PDF.

-- Special provisions apply for new results/data: refrain from adding new results/data unless explicitly asked by the reviewers. This holds for both the revised paper and the 800-text rebuttal.

-- Same formatting guidelines apply for the revised PDF as in the original submission. You cannot exceed 11 pages. However, an index page can be added to help reviewers navigate your changes in relation to their questions. No other content should appear in this index page.

-- Make sure you remove all meta-data in the PDF highlights that may compromise your identity.

  1. For text rebuttals please limit your responses to focus on the questions raised by the reviewers. While the system will not enforce the 800 word limit, it is at the discretion of the reviewers to consider explanations beyond the first 800 words.
  • You probably need to name the conference. Readers on this forum would have submitted papers to it and know the precise process.
    – VitaminE
    Oct 7, 2021 at 7:59
  • You should have received an e-mail with instructions. In my field, there is not a single conference where one revises the paper during the rebuttal phase. Oct 7, 2021 at 8:04
  • Thanks! I added the rules of the conference.
    – Yujie
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:49
  • 3
    The paragraph labelled with "2." answers your question - this conference allows you to revise your paper, but it's optional. Oct 7, 2021 at 8:52
  • Thank you! I mean which one is better? Should I just answer the question (and change the format later), or change the format now? If the paper is accepted, there will be an opportunity to modify it based on the reviewer’s comments.
    – Yujie
    Oct 7, 2021 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that you want the most public version of your paper to be the best version possible.

If the conference allows for revisions according to the policies you outline, I see no reason not to make revisions based on reviewer comments if those revisions will improve the paper. I'd highly recommend sticking as close to the original word limit is possible; if a revised sentence overruns you by 6 words I wouldn't worry, but don't use the reviewer comments to justify increasing the length by 25%.

If there were questions that are somewhat orthogonal to the main points or that would otherwise not fit well into the paper, you can leave those to the rebuttal; it seems the instructions are quite clear on what changes you should make vs. things you should keep in the rebuttal, in fact.

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