General discussion about how to improve any aspect of the wish list process
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Posted by brotherbock mhayward1978

mhayward1978 wrote:
Making a really equitable, optimal event assignments system is extremely complex - at a guess it's NP-complete and would probably require us all to (accurately) assign some kind of utility score to each event and combination of events on our wishlists.
Thinking it through poses some interesting questions, like:
1. Consider:

  • Alice has only a single event: "Fantastic RPG" event on their wishlist.
  • Bob has many events on their wishlist, but also lists "Fantastic RPG" as their first choice.

Should Alice get a higher priority to get into Fantastic RPG than Bob?


Priority Points. 

Say you have 50 slots for events. You also then get 50 Priority Points (or 100, the exact number doesn't matter for example of concept). The more points you give to an event, the more you want it. 

Bob has 40 events on his wishlist and 100 Priority Points to spend. He gives Fantastic RPG 10 Priority Points, his highest amount for any one game. Alice lists only Fantastic RPG, and gives it all 100 points. 

The system allocates first by Priority Points. All 100 point entries across all wishlists get considered, with ties for limited tickets broken now maybe still by chance. Then 99 point entries, etc. 

So Alice only wants one game, but wants it really badly, and is likely to get it. Bob wants a lot of games, will be happy with other options, and may not get that one. 

Exact details can be hammered out. How many points total, is there a maximum any one event can get (does it turn out in reality that Bob will usually get nothing from his list when thousands of people are in the mix? Then put a cap on points per game, etc.)

If Boardgamegeek can run the complicated algorithms of math trades, this should be possible. It would require early submission of lists, no "you must click now" button (and why was it even possible to click that button twice? That seems like an obvious design flaw...if you want to resubmit a different list, there should be multiple steps to avoid accidental double submits.)

Anyway, there you go. :) 

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Posted by mhayward1978 brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
mhayward1978 wrote:
Making a really equitable, optimal event assignments system is extremely complex - at a guess it's NP-complete and would probably require us all to (accurately) assign some kind of utility score to each event and combination of events on our wishlists.
Thinking it through poses some interesting questions, like:
1. Consider:

  • Alice has only a single event: "Fantastic RPG" event on their wishlist.
  • Bob has many events on their wishlist, but also lists "Fantastic RPG" as their first choice.

Should Alice get a higher priority to get into Fantastic RPG than Bob?

Priority Points. Say you have 50 slots for events. You also then get 50 Priority Points (or 100, the exact number doesn't matter for example of concept). The more points you give to an event, the more you want it. 
Bob has 40 events on his wishlist and 100 Priority Points to spend. He gives Fantastic RPG 10 Priority Points, his highest amount for any one game. Alice lists only Fantastic RPG, and gives it all 100 points. 
The system allocates first by Priority Points. All 100 point entries across all wishlists get considered, with ties for limited tickets broken now maybe still by chance. Then 99 point entries, etc. 
So Alice only wants one game, but wants it really badly, and is likely to get it. Bob wants a lot of games, will be happy with other options, and may not get that one. 
Exact details can be hammered out. How many points total, is there a maximum any one event can get (does it turn out in reality that Bob will usually get nothing from his list when thousands of people are in the mix? Then put a cap on points per game, etc.)
If Boardgamegeek can run the complicated algorithms of math trades, this should be possible. It would require early submission of lists, no "you must click now" button (and why was it even possible to click that button twice? That seems like an obvious design flaw...if you want to resubmit a different list, there should be multiple steps to avoid accidental double submits.)
Anyway, there you go. :) 

That's an interesting idea - but it seems like a lot of work for GenCon (must make a UI for users to set and edit point selections).

If we could wave a wand, then yes I agree having some sort of "currency" you can spend and having a sealed bid "auction" for slots in games does a good job of creating a system where the most people get what they most want.

Maybe there is even some off the shelf software they could use to manage this.

GenCon could also implement a digital version of Board Game Geek's idea by letting people mark stuff they want (but couldn't get) and stuff they are willing to trade, and then doing a batch process to swap around things such that everyone is happier.

That also seems like a ton of work ;).

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Posted by derekguder mhayward1978

mhayward1978 wrote:
That also seems like a ton of work ;).

For both development and general attendees just looking to sign up for a few events.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by brotherbock derekguder

derekguder wrote:
mhayward1978 wrote:
That also seems like a ton of work ;).

For both development and general attendees just looking to sign up for a few events.-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

That's a fair point. I am going all generics again this year, so I only have a small, very young dog in the hunt :) I was just tossing out a system that seems pretty 'fair' given some of the worries people are expressing. 

On the other hand, there are a lot of programmers on the forums over the years who have offered *free* labor to GenCon to fix various problems they saw. Some are still here on the new forums. 

Throw it out there, let someone volunteer to code up a system, and see what they produce :) 

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Posted by linkn derekguder

derekguder wrote:

  • Topic 4 - Allow for event alternatives: The wish list already allows for this, it's just not automated. Put the other alternate events you might want to play in your wish list and remove any excess tickets from your cart before payment.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

I think the idea behind this suggestion is that it would be an almost-necessary addition if the idea of allowing auto-purchase of wishlists was possible.  Especially if someone's wishlist had several high-cost events (such as multiple tickets for True Dungeon), or multiple qualifying events for a tournament.

My suggestion would be something like allowing sub-wishlists; you can put multiple items into one wishlist slot, and when the system tries to process that wishlist slot, it'll go through the sub-list until it finds a game with tickets, then gets tickets for that game and deletes the rest of the sub-list from the wishlist.  That would at least solve the issue of someone getting too many tickets to something (assuming they planned it out ahead of time).

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Posted by braewe

I can't remember the order things were, so....
1) I don't like the auto-buying idea. We usually have 2-4 people in our group submit wishlists. (I know we are far from the only ones doing this!) And it would be very very very very possible to end up with 3 entire group purchases of an event. For some reason this year the system allowed overlapping. We could eliminate thig by removing from cart this year, with an auto-purchase we could not. Also person 1 might get the second item on the wishlist, and person 2 might get the first. Then decisions must be made. 

2) I agree with expanding the time to 3 hours for cart expiring. 2 is entirely too short, although it can be solved by keeping active, that is pretty nail-biting.

3) I would HATE the idea of not being able to buy for a whole group. We have a first-timer attending this year. Even though we tried to explain how wishlists and friending work, and got him to friend folks, here is what happened: he did not add anyone else to his wishlist, and only put himself. Everyone submitted. Between various hangups and such, all of us old-timers got super high numbers this year. He got a relatively low number. Result? He will be attending his first choices alone since he got all but one of his choices, and the rest of us will be hitting later choices. He at first wanted to just drop everything, but by then, even our 5th and 6ths were sold out...he 'gets' it now...but if NONE of us could buy as a group then we would ALL be playing solo.

To make it clear, we are not a group who plays together every week. We have folks from as far away as the Netherlands, so playing together is a very important part of our con. playing together > getting first choice

We are still trying to come up with a solution for this year--we did 'split the party' when a ticket opened, but meh. 

4) As someone who has tried to get the True Dungeon thing, I /hearily/ endorse the button for 'do not get if another is already there'. It'd be grand for anything with multiple options. I really really really want something, but not 8 somethings. So I really could put 8 same events on the wishlist and not have to worry about getting all 8 and nothing else.

5) I used to be against the round robin thing. I still can take or leave it but I see some merit in the idea. ESPECIALLY if it means wishlists are auto-submitted. Wouldn't that also mean that each person's wishlist could only be submitted once, instead of 15 in different browsers? It wouldn't eliminate each person in a group trying, and would favor groups, but it already favors groups and this way wouldn't quite as much. Yes, I like hitting the 'lottery' but I can see the argument. I so not think, however, that just because person A only has 1 item on a wishlist that their priority should be higher than person B who has 50.

6) PLEASE consider some sort of auto submission.

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Posted by mhayward1978 braewe

braewe wrote:
I can't remember the order things were, so....
1) I don't like the auto-buying idea. We usually have 2-4 people in our group submit wishlists. (I know we are far from the only ones doing this!) And it would be very very very very possible to end up with 3 entire group purchases of an event. For some reason this year the system allowed overlapping. 
 
This year, as in years past, the event system allowed overlapping in the specific and very limited cases of events that are configured to allow overlap - generally tournaments are configured this way.

 

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Posted by brotherbock braewe

braewe wrote:
 I so not think, however, that just because person A only has 1 item on a wishlist that their priority should be higher than person B who has 50.

It's this sort of thinking: if there are one cupcake and two brownies for dessert, and you only like cupcakes, while I will eat either a cupcake or a brownie, it better maximizes everyone's satisfaction to allow you to pick first. 

Nothing is a perfect system, but the best we can try for is maximized preferences across a maximized number of people. 

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Posted by garhkal samlamiam

samlamiam wroteTopic  1.  Eliminate the "submit at this exact time or later" button.  Have wishlists submitted in advance by any users before a certain deadline.  This could be beneficial to people who aren't available at the particular time designated by GenCon.  For instance, I was in the middle of church at noon eastern today, so it would have been nice to submit my final wishlist sometime before the deadline.  It also might take some pressure of the GenCon servers if they didn't have thousands of people hitting submit at the exact same moment.  (For those familiar with math trades, a similar system is used - all users submit a want list by a certain deadline if they want to participate in the math trade.)

FOr me, i was at Marcon Rogue on the north side of Cbus, so had to wait till i got home.  But i for one would love it if we could submit wish lists earlier...  Though how do to that without irking people off is the key.
samlamiam wroteTopic 2.  Round Robin ticket distribution.  After giving a random priority number to those who submitted on time, start with user 1.  Give user 1 her first wanted item with tickets still available.  Then go to user 2 and so on through each user's wishlist until each user receives a ticket or runs out of wanted items.  After each user has received a ticket (or exhausted their list), start again.  Round 2 could have a new random draw to determine turn order, could go in reverse order, or could use the same order.  This would be a way to try to give as many people as possible their highest priority items on their wish list.

That suggestion has been made often..
samlamiam wroteTopic 3.  Automatic ticket purchase.  Some suggest an optional or automatic system where tickets are automatically purchased and not just put in a cart for 2 hours.  I think an optional "Buy it if I get it!" box would be ideal.

I would LOVE that option...
samlamiam wroteTopic 6.  Wish list expressed like a calendar.  I'd love to be able to visualize my wish list on something that looks like Google Calendar or Outlook.  (Frankly, I'd love that way to look at the event list itself, even though it would be ginormous.)  

Heck, if there was a way to do so, have the download 'import INTO' google calender/outlook...
tdb wrote:
lanefan wrote:
I think my ideas will go a bit against the grain here, but someone's gotta say it...  Note these ideas are all to do with the initial crush.
First off, the idea of having the system auto-process all wishlists submitted before the deadline is very sound, and gets away from the silliness of trying to win a screen-refresh war. (and for overseas attendees, also gets away from having to be at a computer at exactly some weird hour of the day or night).  A further advantage is it then allows some tweaking to how wishlists get processed.  Probably simplest to have the timing go something like this:
--- 2 or 3 days prior: the "submit wishlist" button goes active, with a stern warning that you can only submit one (1) wishlist - get it right!
--- until noon: the "submit wishlist" button stays active but any wishlists submitted up to now go into a virtual holding pattern
--- noon: the "submit wishlist" button goes inactive (yes, the reverse of how it works now!) while all wishlists in the holding pattern are processed randomly and successful wishes are auto-added to cart; there is a 3-hour* window for those carts to be checked-out and purchased as normal
--- 3 p.m.*: the "submit wishlist" button goes hot again and things proceed as normal (though if a second crush develops maybe this sequence has to repeat?)
* - this time could be 2 hours?  4 hours?  long enough for the wishlists to process and to give people a reasonable chance to make their purchases.

This sounds like a good plan.  I would suggest a couple tweaks.
- At the end of the initial wishlist processing, send an email blast to anyone who had submitted a wishlist to notify them that their list has processed.  Start the timer for the window to check out your cart from the time the list processing is complete, rather than starting at a set time.  That way if there's a problem or slowdown in the list processing the checkout window won't end up shorter than promised.
- Don't re-enable the "submit wishlist" button until after the checkout time expires for the initial wishlists.  That ensures that any unwanted tickets from the first round have been returned, and makes them available for anyone submitting their list later.  Another email blast announcing when that will happen might be nice.  That could be done at the same time as the other email blast.

I would very much like a 'wish list processed email blast.

 

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Posted by samlamiam

Still hoping for a system that allows people to submit wish lists BEFORE a deadline rather than AFTER it.

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Posted by boc_mage samlamiam

samlamiam wrote:
Still hoping for a system that allows people to submit wish lists BEFORE a deadline rather than AFTER it.

Would love just to build and then submit list ahead of time and get an email or log in (not specific must hit it that second moment time frame) to see what i get. I usually get what i need but usually after hours of resubmitting and waiting for events to fall out of carts.

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