Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

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Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:22 pm

Why did things change?

Basically with the combination of the server crash, selling out of tickets, and insane scalper prices; a decision was made to change the ticketing system for burning man. They wanted to retain tiered tickets, but wanted to make things 'more fair' for getting lower priced tickets and for getting a ticket at all. But they also decided not to tie the tickets to a government ID because of the diversity of the community and apparently that was not palatable to some people.

The New System

To solve the problems above a lottery system was created which would remove the need for 50,000 burners to log on and buy tickets simultaneously. The tickets would also be delivered at a much later date to allow less time on the market for scalpers.

The main problem is that the lottery is an epic fail because it forces people to play a game of chance for whether or not they get tickets. It is specifically bad because of the tiered ticket prices and this encourages people to over-buy tickets (to ensure that they not only get a ticket ... but also the most affordable one). This overbuying in turn puts pressure on the honest actors to also over-buy so that they have a chance of getting the tickets they want.

This creates several major problems (and even more that aren't listed):

    *The illusion of much greater scarcity than actually exists (encouraging people to over-buy)
    *Uncertainty about whether or not people will get tickets
    *Groups of friends / theme camps are basically forced to overbuy tickets to guarantee that they all can go
    *It makes things difficult for people who can't make a decision so quickly because of other life obligations
    *Takes the money for the tickets much earlier than some people would like and this causes financial strain

Proposed Solution

Goals:

    *Prevent server outages
    *Keep a structure that allows for differently priced tickets
    *Not require government ID
    *Make things harder for scalpers

The basic idea would be to charge a single price for all tickets to burning man and that price would cover all of the costs needed to run the event by BMORG.

BUT ... when you purchase your ticket, you can either:

Also elect to donate as much extra money as you like to a fund which will at a LATER date be distributed to the people who requested lower-price tickets.

Select that you would like to receive a portion of the donated money to help alleviate the cost of your ticket (there could be two boxes, one for minor assistance and one for major assistance)

Choose neither to give nor to receive assistance

Once all the tickets have been sold a partial refund could be given to the people who requested assistance ... with the money all coming out of the extra donations made by burners who could afford it.

The only parts of the new system that would be kept is that the tickets would be sent out later (around July) to provide less time-on-market for scalpers, and using a burning man controlled reseller market. Also since people wouldn't be fighting over the cheaper tickets scalpers would not have the advantage of (buy low, sell high). And finally any reimbursement for the cheaper tickets would only come at the end of all ticket sales ... which would disincentive scalpers from 'investing' in the assisted price tickets for a much later payout.

Why this would work


Not only would this solve all the ticketing problems ... but it might end up helping lower income people more than usual because there is a large difference between buying cheaper ticket and asking for help to buy something.

Also this would better reflect the real spirit of burning man since it will be other burners who are directly helping those who need the more affordable tickets.

So what do you all think? Is this any good?
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby vargaso » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:32 pm

Waaaay to reasonable, try again.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby trilobyte » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:02 pm

Your lengthy post makes a number of inaccurate assumptions, starting with the subject line. The lottery has not failed. 40,000 tickets will be awarded next week.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:09 pm

trilobyte wrote:Your lengthy post makes a number of inaccurate assumptions, starting with the subject line. The lottery has not failed. 40,000 tickets will be awarded next week.


Hi Trilobyte,

I was wondering when you were going to show up with a condescending post ... and I have to say you're a bit off your game. You usually manage to dismiss concerns/suggestions much faster.

But to respond to your inaccurate belief that the lottery was a success ... sure 40K tickets will be sold ... but people overbought because this entire thing was setup like a game and the people who played fair were going to automatically be at a disadvantage.

I sometimes wonder whether this whole thing was set up as a piece of art to demonstrate a real-life prisoner's dilemma.

Anyway thanks for dismissing everything I said with a quick blurb!! We rely on people like you to show us all how not to act!

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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:13 pm

personal attacks are not cool karma_cat !!!
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby Rice » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:19 pm

No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??

Personal attacks against a moderator and less than 5 posts. I'm impressed.

Meh
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby ygmir » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:21 pm

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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:24 pm

stretch80 wrote:No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??

Personal attacks against a moderator and less than 5 posts. I'm impressed.

Meh


Wasn't a personal attack ... I'm a karma_cat ... and I deliver purr/cuddles along with the occasional claw for those who merit them. And when a moderator does his best to dismiss people's contributions to the discussion ... he might get a little bit of the claw. On the other hand I'll hop in his lap and purr later on since we all do appreciate the mods.

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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:28 pm

he wasnt being dismissive, .. it is a fact. the lottery has not failed. it is a roaring success and every ticket offered for sale will be sold.


the lottery never guaranteed that every person who registered would get a ticket.


your personal attacks against his character were uncalled for and are not cool.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby Just_Joe » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:31 pm

karma_cat wrote:I sometimes wonder whether this whole thing was set up as a piece of art to demonstrate a real-life prisoner's dilemma.

Been thar.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby Savannah » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:31 pm

stretch80 wrote:No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??


I agree; I think it's way early. I believe it's overwhelmingly Burners who are about to be awarded tickets, and the excess is better in their hands than in the hands of scalpers who would have flooded the old system this time, if we'd done it the old way.

There will be a secure online system very shortly with which to sell one's mistakes to other Burners at face value. Even if only 2/3 of Burners with extras were honorable enough to enter that system (or sell in person at-value to friends), that's a huge improvement over scalper dominance, under which every. last. ticket. would be fiendishly marked up.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:39 pm

lemur wrote:he wasnt being dismissive, .. it is a fact. the lottery has not failed. it is a roaring success and every ticket offered for sale will be sold.

the lottery never guaranteed that every person who registered would get a ticket.
your personal attacks against his character were uncalled for and are not cool.


The goal of the lottery was supposedly to prevent server crashes ... not sell every ticket.

In fact never have so many tickets been sold so quickly. What was it last year? 20K the first day ... and now its well over 40K?

The old system had tons of flaws, but tickets were still available through July. This system was inviting people to game it and that is exactly what happened.

But BORG can't seem to admit its mistake ... and the mods are out in force doing everything they can to recharacterize what they lottery was supposed to be to fit the new reality of its utter failure.

From JRS: "As a result, there are a lot more tickets being requested than there are tickets available -- an inordinately large number, in fact, and far more than we projected even after last year's sold-out event. It seems that people a) likely got their friends, family and campmates to order tickets as well, and/or b) requested more tickets than they actually need."

This is a failure. Period. End of story.

It has created a whole new problem for Burning man this year in regards to theme camps and created great new opportunities for scalpers to scrounge every ticket off of the secondary sales setup through burning man and elsewhere.

Until people are willing to admit how badly this went we will not be able to move forward in a positive way.

We aren't out for blood, we are willing to forgive (at least they tried) ... but we want to do this right next time.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:40 pm

Savannah wrote:
stretch80 wrote:No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??


I agree; I think it's way early. I believe it's overwhelmingly Burners who are about to be awarded tickets, and the excess is better in their hands than in the hands of scalpers who would have flooded the old system this time, if we'd done it the old way.

There will be a secure online system very shortly with which to sell one's mistakes to other Burners at face value. Even if only 2/3 of Burners with extras were honorable enough to enter that system (or sell in person at-value to friends), that's a huge improvement over scalper dominance, under which every. last. ticket. would be fiendishly marked up.


Can you please explain to me what it going to stop scalpers from using this system?
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:42 pm

karma_cat wrote:Until people are willing to admit how badly this went we will not be able to move forward in a positive way.

Okay, that's funny!
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby remi » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:49 pm

Meow. Perhaps this post would have a better audience if posted on Feb.2nd...
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:52 pm

remi wrote:Meow. Perhaps this post would have a better audience if posted on Feb.2nd...


Maybe, but the truth is that the new ticketing system needs a major overhaul and regardless of who does or doesn't get tickets, the system failed.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby A Jester » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:55 pm

stretch80 wrote:No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??

Personal attacks against a moderator and less than 5 posts. I'm impressed.

Meh


This.


Also, the only thing I am sure has failed is the ability of some members of our community to be reasonable when discussing tickets.

The process that hasn't been completed yet, has been decried as a failure for months now. Is this something like a young earth theory? You read "It's not going to work" and decide that there's no point in any actual evidence?
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby Savannah » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:57 pm

karma_cat wrote:
Savannah wrote:
stretch80 wrote:No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??


I agree; I think it's way early. I believe it's overwhelmingly Burners who are about to be awarded tickets, and the excess is better in their hands than in the hands of scalpers who would have flooded the old system this time, if we'd done it the old way.

There will be a secure online system very shortly with which to sell one's mistakes to other Burners at face value. Even if only 2/3 of Burners with extras were honorable enough to enter that system (or sell in person at-value to friends), that's a huge improvement over scalper dominance, under which every. last. ticket. would be fiendishly marked up.


Can you please explain to me what it going to stop scalpers from using this system?


First, from the FAQ:

Q: But this system doesn't really prevent scalpers! They'll just register multiple names and decrease my chances of winning!
A: Actually, it does help prevent scalpers from purchasing tickets. Our ticket vendor has advanced filtering techniques to flag duplicates and prevent multiple entries from entering the system. However, the random-selection system is more about distributing opportunity for tickets than preventing speculation. If we sold tickets with a traditional first-come first-served online process, it would be susceptible to the ever-evolving automated scalper systems that currently purchase a lot of tickets to high profile events.


Source: http://tickets2.burningman.com/faq.php#scalpers

Are they going to tell you how they check for scalpers? No, they're not going to give away the techniques, some of which--I have an inkling--are surprisingly simple, others: gratifyingly advanced. Because bad folks do occasionally come sniffing around. We also see people delurking on this site saying "Say . . . anyone know what the tickets looks like, yet?" and it's like "No, go away, you counterfeiter." So, not all the techniques should be outed.

Secondly, ticket quantity limits, and delay until fulfillment (tickets aren't shipped 'til June) also discourage scalpers. Theirs is an industry that is most profitable with 1) fast turnover among people with 2) few opportunities. This is slow fulfillment, and multiple opportunities.

Can the system eliminate all scalpers? Probably not, but the alternative (first come, first served, automated ticket bots flooding the system on a single day) would have been so much worse.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:01 pm

The process that hasn't been completed yet, has been decried as a failure for months now. Is this something like a young earth theory? You read "It's not going to work" and decide that there's no point in any actual evidence?


If I proposed that we reorganize the zoo so that the lions shared a pen with the gazelles ... you would know that things would work out badly before the actual reorganization took place.

The inherent design of the lottery system was flawed ... (unless the goal was to make ticket sales a nightmare ... in which case it's a huge success!)
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby moonrise » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:06 pm

Savannah wrote:
stretch80 wrote:No one knows if they received tickets from the lottery. I believe that will be happening next week. Is it not a bit early to be saying the ticket lottery is a failure??


I agree; I think it's way early. I believe it's overwhelmingly Burners who are about to be awarded tickets, and the excess is better in their hands than in the hands of scalpers who would have flooded the old system this time, if we'd done it the old way.

There will be a secure online system very shortly with which to sell one's mistakes to other Burners at face value. Even if only 2/3 of Burners with extras were honorable enough to enter that system (or sell in person at-value to friends), that's a huge improvement over scalper dominance, under which every. last. ticket. would be fiendishly marked up.



I hope you're correct and 2/3 (or more) of the burners with extra tickets will be thoughtful enough to resell them through the BM LLC (STEP) program.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:06 pm

Q: But this system doesn't really prevent scalpers! They'll just register multiple names and decrease my chances of winning!
A: Actually, it does help prevent scalpers from purchasing tickets. Our ticket vendor has advanced filtering techniques to flag duplicates and prevent multiple entries from entering the system. However, the random-selection system is more about distributing opportunity for tickets than preventing speculation. If we sold tickets with a traditional first-come first-served online process, it would be susceptible to the ever-evolving automated scalper systems that currently purchase a lot of tickets to high profile events.


Source: http://tickets2.burningman.com/faq.php#scalpers

Are they going to tell you how they check for scalpers? No, they're not going to give away the techniques, some of which--I have an inkling--are surprisingly simple, others: gratifyingly advanced. Because bad folks do occasionally come sniffing around. We also see people delurking on this site saying "Say . . . anyone know what the tickets looks like, yet?" and it's like "No, go away, you counterfeiter." So, not all the techniques should be outed.

Secondly, ticket quantity limits, and delay until fulfillment (tickets aren't shipped 'til June) also discourage scalpers. Theirs is an industry that is most profitable with 1) fast turnover among people with 2) few opportunities. This is slow fulfillment, and multiple opportunities.


This is pretty much the only thing that the new ticketing system did right. But to be fair ... this was a very good idea.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:11 pm

karma_cat wrote:The inherent design of the lottery system was flawed ... (unless the goal was to make ticket sales a nightmare ... in which case it's a huge success!)



it was designed very well, clearly!

it was never intended to ensure that 100% of people applying would get a ticket.. theres more people than tickets (we learned this last year)

all this news is telling us is that on top of the fact that there is more people than tickets people have also decided to hoard more tickets than they actually require..



the system hasnt failed you.. the community has.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby A Jester » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:15 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
karma_cat wrote:Until people are willing to admit how badly this went we will not be able to move forward in a positive way.

Okay, that's funny!


Ha! I missed that. Nice catch.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:16 pm

lemur wrote:
karma_cat wrote:The inherent design of the lottery system was flawed ... (unless the goal was to make ticket sales a nightmare ... in which case it's a huge success!)


it was designed very well, clearly!

it was never intended to ensure that 100% of people applying would get a ticket.. theres more people than tickets (we learned this last year)

all this news is telling us that on top of the fact that there is more people than tickets people have also decided to hoard more tickets than they actually require..

the system hasnt failed you.. the community has.


Really!?!?! You are blaming the community for how they chose to play the game that was forced upon them?

Maybe it wasn't the community that failed ... but BMORG ... since they failed to listen to the community.

P.S.: I did NOT overbuy even though I could have. I know that I probably won't get a ticket ... but I'd rather do the right thing.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:21 pm

yes of course im blaming the community for CHOOSING to game the system for their selfish benefit.


nothing was forced on anyone.. its a fricken lottery.. theres more people than tickets... people wanted to ensure better chances... anyone who bought more than they needed fucked other people over.


there was never going to be 100% chances that everyone who entered the lottery (or any other sale possibility) to get a ticket because the event has now more people than tickets.

nobody was forced to hoard tickets.. that is selfish people acting selfish to up their odds.. they fucked you over.


the system as described (and shown in actual practice in the presale) works... people gaming the system fucked it up. (edit: the odds of a more fair distrubtion of the limited tickets that are actually available)

people trying to up their chances fucked it up. (edit: the odds of a more fair distrubtion of the limited tickets that are actually available)

people gaming the system fucked it up (edit: the odds of a more fair distrubtion of the limited tickets that are actually available)

the only people who felt 'forced' to game the system were the ones whos selfish self interest trumped their community mindedness and gamed the system for their own personal advantage (while disadvantaging others)

yep.. the system works as designed... not every person was guaranteed a ticket.. and people hoarding lowered the average chances of everyone else in the community to procure a ticket..
Last edited by lemur on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby vargaso » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:23 pm

As a (very) newly converted proponent of the lottery system, this is my take on why it's probably the best system:

There are more people who want tickets this year than there are tickets. That's an inescapable fact. So, the question is, what is the goal of the ticketing process: convenience and efficiency (and possibly a sense of "fairness" where the early bird gets the ticket) or mitigating scalpers? That's really where the argument lies. Now, for awhile I was for the former, I want my ticket and I want it NOW! But I've come around, I must say. I'd rather make it harder for scalpers than make it easier for us. I completely understand someone feeling the opposite, but then THAT is what the argument should be about.

The stated goal of the lottery is not to prevent server crashes, but to mitigate the impact of scalpers. It does this by allowing a number of days between the close of registration and the actual lottery to scrub the database for known scalper information and for duplicate entries. This is a better method of achieving this goal than a first-come, first-served system, where scalper-bots are harder to detect. The price we pay for this is a period of uncertainty around whether we get a ticket or not. It's completely valid to argue that this period of uncertainty is not worth the reduction in scalpers, but again, that is where the argument lies.

Either way, a lot of people aren't going to get a ticket directly from BM. The only difference is, with a first-come, first-served method, we'd know immediately, whereas with the lottery, there's a period of uncertainty.

There are two areas which I think could be improved:

1. Eliminate tiered-prices. It's not needed any more and it only favors those who can afford more by automatically entering them in multiple drawings.

2. Do not call out reasoned grievances as "whining" or do the "it hasn't happened yet so why worry about it" thing.

blah ablha blah
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:25 pm

lemur wrote:yes of course im blaming the community for CHOOSING to game the system for their selfish benefit.


nothing was forced on anyone.. its a fricken lottery.. theres more people than tickets... people wanted to ensure better chances... anyone who bought more than they needed fucked other people over.


there was never going to be 100% chances that everyone who entered the lottery (or any other sale possibility) to get a ticket because the event has now more people than tickets.

nobody was forced to hoard tickets.. that is selfish people acting selfish to up their odds.. they fucked you over.


the system as described (and shown in actual practice in the presale) works... people gaming the system fucked it up.

people trying to up their chances fucked it up.

people gaming the system fucked it up

the only people who felt 'forced' to game the system were the ones whos selfish self interest trumped their community mindedness and gamed the system for their own personal advantage (while disadvantaging others)

yep.. the system works as designed... not every person was guaranteed a ticket.. and people hoarding lowered the average chances of everyone else in the community to procure a ticket..


Of course not everyone is guaranteed a ticket ... but even last year there were tickets available up through July. So if you had your shit together you WERE guaranteed a ticket. The only reason the servers crashed and we had madness in the past is because of the tiered ticketing prices.

That is a big component of why this year's lottery was an abject failure. People registered for multiple tiers to try and get the lowest price possible.

If you looked at my suggestion (did you even read my original post?) you'd see that I'm not opposed to a lottery in general. But the design of THIS lottery was flawed.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:30 pm

vargaso wrote:As a (very) newly converted proponent of the lottery system, this is my take on why it's probably the best system:

There are more people who want tickets this year than there are tickets. That's an inescapable fact. So, the question is, what is the goal of the ticketing process: convenience and efficiency (and possibly a sense of "fairness" where the early bird gets the ticket) or mitigating scalpers? That's really where the argument lies. Now, for awhile I was for the former, I want my ticket and I want it NOW! But I've come around, I must say. I'd rather make it harder for scalpers than make it easier for us. I completely understand someone feeling the opposite, but then THAT is what the argument should be about.

The stated goal of the lottery is not to prevent server crashes, but to mitigate the impact of scalpers. It does this by allowing a number of days between the close of registration and the actual lottery to scrub the database for known scalper information and for duplicate entries. This is a better method of achieving this goal than a first-come, first-served system, where scalper-bots are harder to detect. The price we pay for this is a period of uncertainty around whether we get a ticket or not. It's completely valid to argue that this period of uncertainty is not worth the reduction in scalpers, but again, that is where the argument lies.

Either way, a lot of people aren't going to get a ticket directly from BM. The only difference is, with a first-come, first-served method, we'd know immediately, whereas with the lottery, there's a period of uncertainty.

There are two areas which I think could be improved:

1. Eliminate tiered-prices. It's not needed any more and it only favors those who can afford more by automatically entering them in multiple drawings.

2. Do not call out reasoned grievances as "whining" or do the "it hasn't happened yet so why worry about it" thing.

blah ablha blah



Very well said!!! A lottery might even work well in the future if the tiered tickets are eliminated.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:35 pm

i dont see how it could be any better or fairer when the limitations and capacity of the various depts and various resources involved are considered.

to be honest ..i kinda glossed over and skimmed your first post.. its a bit late to be offering solutions..


no matter what they do from here on out people are gonna get some shit in their wheaties because not 100% of people who want to go can get a ticket..

because of this people will consider every system failed..


'if it fails me it fails for everyone!' kind of mentality is what we have here..

it sucks, scarcity sucks.
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Re: Now that the lottery failed ... here is a suggestion

Postby karma_cat » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:40 pm

lemur wrote:i dont see how it could be any better or fairer when the limitations and capacity of the various depts and various resources involved are considered.

to be honest ..i kinda glossed over and skimmed your first post.. its a bit late to be offering solutions..


no matter what they do from here on out people are gonna get some shit in their wheaties because not 100% of people who want to go can get a ticket..

because of this people will consider every system failed..


'if it fails me it fails for everyone!' kind of mentality is what we have here..

it sucks, scarcity sucks.


I wasn't offering a solution to this year's fiasco ... but trying to make a suggestion that took into account the reasoning behind what went on this year.

Scarcity does suck ... but creating the ILLUSION of ADDITIONAL scarcity sucks even more.
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