| >>To me, the face-to-face with no pre-screening model just seems inefficient. The RP-with-the-alterer deal seems odd too because the sessions are a strange mix of IC and OOC. Maybe that's just me.|
A mix of IC and OOC is accurate. Even with helpers for large lists, I frequently get people RPing with my alterers. I encourage it. After all, this is their experience. If they prefer to be OOC, I will respond in kind to make them more comfortable. Usually, these interactions last 5-15 minutes a person in my experience.
The lists without helpers can go longer as you get people that are not sure about their design, but when the list is not 55+ deep, it's not as painful for the others. These interactions vary from 5-45 minutes (also only in my experience.) The longest I ever spent with one person was an hour, but they were also the last person and had no idea what they wanted when they walked in.
Speaking only for myself.. neither of these diminishes my enthusiasm to do more alterations. I do sympathize with the time that a long list can take when it's random. I hesitate to speak on list mechanics, but from a strictly personal opinion, I like the shuffle and then ordered idea. It would give people a chance to run around and DO things.