My recollection is that someone first proposed Analog MAFIA panels on the SFLit1 Forum on CompuServe. This was one of the earliest, I believe it was BaltiCon XXX, 1998. The panel, left to right, are Doug Beason, Sarah Zettel, Ian Randal Strock, Catherine Asaro, Paul Levinson, Bud Sparhawk, A. J. Austin, and me, Tom Ligon, hiding in the shadows down on the end.
By the way, if you ever meet Ian, he pronounces it EYE-an, not the more common EEE-an. Ian was formerly the Assistant Editor of Analog, but now edits the magazine of the Artemis organization.
A couple of months later, we did it again on Long Island. This time, Bud Sparhawk was the moderator. Charles Sheffield and Nancy Kress crashed the party: they're down on the left end with no name tags. Next is Bud, then me, Paul Levinson, and Ian Randal Strock. Nancy and Paul disagreed on almost everything. Bud, in a masterful display as referee ... er, moderator ... filled a couple of water glasses and offered to douse 'em both if they didn't behave! Nancy had actually not appeared all that frequently in Analog, but she classed up the joint. Charles is kinda the MAFIA Godfather in that territory, so we jumped at the chance to include him, and Nancy came with the package.