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Half tables

A few questions on half tables (some of which have been answered in the past, but I'll repeat them anyway since it'll be on-topic).

1.) Assume you're a playing director (if necessary).  How easy is it for you to find a player to fill in for a half table with you?

2.) Do you use robots to fill in half tables?  How easy of a process is it for a director to figure out (yes, I'm computer savvy; I just haven't looked into it)?  Any specific tablets/iPads/machines that you'd suggest to use if we went this route?

3.) If you use the robots, how much chaos has it caused with players trying to figure out what exactly is going on with it?

4.) If you're stuck with a half table, how do you determine whether E-W or N-S gets the sitout each week?

5.) When it comes down to "Well, we can either do a 4-board sitout Mitchell, or fewer board sitout Howell" ... do you let the audience pick via show of hands?  Or do you just say "to heck with it" and make them do what you think is best?

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