Annual Suggestions for Event Processing Improvements
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Posted by wienhusen

My annual suggestions for improvement to the event system. For the wish list interface, I think there should be an ‘auto submit’ button that you can enable any time prior to noon on Sunday.  If you finish your wish list on Saturday, but need to work on Sunday, no problem.  You can enable the auto submit anytime during the week prior to Event Sunday.

But at noon, do not enable the manual submit button yet, only process those that selected ‘auto submit’ (to avoid the flood of clicks). At noon, a server process would pull up all of the auto submit wish lists, randomize them, and process just the Priority 1 requests for everyone. Then in reverse order (the last will be first), process everyone’s Priority 2, snaking back and forth through the list until they are all processed. Individuals can then review their results during the afternoon, and build new wish lists once they see their results and what is still available, and the current manual button method can be enabled at some point later in the day, sun as  3PM or 6PM.  At that time, a much smaller set of people should need to manually click, thus reducing the flood. 

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Posted by catsclaw

We do this every year. The system is garbage, but it doesn't change, and there's a significant but vocal contingent that can't possibly imagine things could be any better who shout down dissenters.

It's clear that the system gives some lottery winners everything on their list, and gives the majority of people crap. You could prevent this by doing round-robin assignments (give everyone the highest ranked thing on their list before processing anybody's next-highest) which would mean most people got a few things they really wanted. That'd be easy to implement. But apparently screwing people over is easier than fixing the system.

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Posted by tdb

Weinhusen, those are all great suggestions.  It would be much fairer to everyone, and would reduce the load on the servers considerably.

But I don't think Gencon really cares about that.  People buy the badges, and buy events, and doing nothing costs a lot less than fixing the issues.  As long as they get a sellout crowd they won't do anything.

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Posted by bithlord

:gets popcorn:

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Posted by wienhusen

I did not intend for this to be a point at GenCon thread.  I do think they make improvements each year, I have seen past suggestions by others and even variations of things I have suggested work there way in over the years.  We all go to GenCon because we enjoy it, and I believe that many of those individuals that help put on GenCon enjoy it too and would like to minimize the points of complaint.

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Posted by msteele583

I'd like to have the ability to see the number of tickets remaining for events on the main registration page, like we could in past years.  It made it tough to find full 10 ticket slots of True Dungeon when you couldn't see the number of remaining tickets.  
 

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Posted by cain msteele583

msteele583 wrote:
I'd like to have the ability to see the number of tickets remaining for events on the main registration page, like we could in past years.  It made it tough to find full 10 ticket slots of True Dungeon when you couldn't see the number of remaining tickets.  
 

Definitely would help if we could see remaining number for at least TrueDungeon

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Posted by sindee tdb

tdb wrote:
Weinhusen, those are all great suggestions.  It would be much fairer to everyone, and would reduce the load on the servers considerably.
But I don't think Gencon really cares about that.  People buy the badges, and buy events, and doing nothing costs a lot less than fixing the issues.  As long as they get a sellout crowd they won't do anything.
I don't believe that they don't care. It is in their benefit to make Gen Con a good experience. I think part of the problem is a lot of time and money goes into this registration system that gets overwhelmed for a couple of hours each year. It has improved a lot in my opinion but it is probably hard to juggle that in with all the other priorities. It is a huge convention. That being said, this is all speculation on my part and would love to hear from someone who actually has to deal with the registration issues. 

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Posted by cinnibar

No, can't see either of those suggestions working out, you know, being part of the vocal group. :)  One puts Gen Con into a liability of picking the winners and losers rather than pointing at us for why we're not at the head of the line,  the other makes the system very long and complicated, as well as troublesome to define if people enter or resubmit mid-way.

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Posted by funny-shaped dice

I'm of the mind that no matter what adjustments are made, somebody will lose.  Shifting the time window out, for sure, is going to just shift who ends up losing - because they won't be able to get to the cart in time and their auto-submitted entries will go back into the pool.  We see the same discussion with housing every year. 

Since we're dreaming though...

The one feature I think I would like to see is a "Wait List" of some sort.  If an event was on my list and I wasn't able to get into it, it would be nice to go on a Wait List and be offered that event if it becomes available and that time slot is open in my schedule.  But...honestly...that presents another time shift headache that ends up having to be managed ("What?! I got offered 'Master Blasters from Alpha Zeta' at 1PM but I was at work and couldn't check out until 6PM so I lost it...again! Why, Gen Con, why!?") - and holding the event beyond the 2 hours just isn't efficient when you've got 60,000 people trying to schedule their trip.

If your Gen Con experience is predicated on getting into one specific event, maybe Gen Con isn't the right con for you?  Between the two most popular event categories, there are less than 4000 RPG events; about 5200 or so Boardgame Events and 60,000+ attendees.  The odds are not in your favor.  I tell my kid and his buddies every year - if you don't get into an event, you can still try to show up and snag an open seat on a no-show; the GM may have "one more seat" for you anyway; or there is LOTS of other stuff to do.  Don't bank your joy on a single event.

I had 17 events in my wish list, I submitted within a second of the button turning on, I ended up with 3 events from my wish list (only 1 of which was an RPG - the other two events were the only non-RPG events I had in my list).  It happens.  I just went and found others.

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Posted by vehementi

IMO it should definitely be auto submit with a lottery like housing (I got shouted down with wild exaggerations about how gen con would be sued for liability for suggesting this in another thread so I will also :popcorn: )

I was 8k in line and got all my events anyway so this isn't sour grapes, I just think there doesn't need to be stress, hammering of the website, incentive to manipulate clock time & write bots for the server etc.

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Posted by ryric

Liability? It's Gen Con's event, they could literally choose their favorite attendee and lavish that individual with all sorts of perks and privileges and there wouldn't be a liability issue as long as that was known up front. They wouldn't do that, but

If they describe a (legal) process, that process works as intended, and individuals choose to participate in that process with full knowledge of how it works, there is no liability issue however they choose to do it. They are allowed to change event registration however they want, as long as it's in the terms and conditions we all clicked we agree to without reading it :)

I'd prefer the autosubmit, round robin loop approach as well. It's entirely possible there are people in the Gen Con hierarchy that want it too. Somewhere, someone has probably crunched a number and determined that developing such a system is not within the budget at this time.

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Posted by ladye

I'd be happy if one of the two of us didn't get bad numbers due to the server crapping out. This year, it was to the BF. He had to hit the submit button 3 times because the system kicked him out. The only things that saved his GenCon were me having the backups and a good number and a ticket for an event that before now has NEVER had a ticket returned, got a ticket returned Sunday afternoon. He is happy with his number 1 pick and all our backup events.

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