Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

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Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:36 pm

I am not sure how printing names, putting photographs or both will address the shortage of tickets?

There are X (60,000ish) tickets available. When X tickets have been sold, there are no more. X tickets with names printed on them will not allow X+40 people to attend. Those 40 people will be out of luck.

This does not really work as a solution for scalping, all the person needs to do is sell you some fake ID at the same time.

Photographs and names on the tickets might be a bit better. This has the likely consequence of increasing gate times even more. Photographs will need to be compared to vehicle occupants, and at night - in the dust, you might not look like your photo. Or, you now have pink hair and do not look like your photo at all... Thus taking even longer to sort out and get in.

But, for addressing a ticket shortage. Useless!!
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby kiss-o-matic » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:43 pm

stretch80 wrote:Or, you now have pink hair and do not look like your photo at all... Thus taking even longer to sort out and get in.


Back when I smoked, it took me a couple of minutes to convince a lady at a gas station that I was indeed the guy in both of my government issued photo IDs. To boot, I was about 25, and hadn't looked 18 since I was 15. :-/
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:48 pm

kiss-o-matic wrote:
stretch80 wrote:Or, you now have pink hair and do not look like your photo at all... Thus taking even longer to sort out and get in.


Back when I smoked, it took me a couple of minutes to convince a lady at a gas station that I was indeed the guy in both of my government issued photo IDs. To boot, I was about 25, and hadn't looked 18 since I was 15. :-/

Exactly my point.

Not very many burners are going to look the same on the playa as they did in January when their photograph was taken.. Heck, in the middle of the burn I got challenged in my own camp last year when I took my hat off for a while :shock:
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Clar-i-ty » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:02 pm

Ain't radical self entitlement grand?
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Eric » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:06 pm

Seriously- I have a slightly distinct look (it's not like this huge red beard is removable), but I've had people who've I've met on a Saturday when I was in a suit and carrying a camera not recognize me on Monday when I'm only in a sport-coat with no camera (huge change... :roll:)

The names + photo thing would be a nightmare, and, as Rice stated, it won't increase the number of tickets available by even one.

Now, hoping for a 3 day dust-storm starting on Weds this year... that might shrink demand next year! (luckily I have a sippy-straw so I can still drink cocktails under my dust-mask!)
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby motskyroonmatick » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:11 pm

Use birth names? Id names? never took statistics but it's pretty hard to guess a future buyers name when tickets go on sale.

one ticket one name first 40,000.

Two will call tickets one named and one unnamed next 10,000.

Nobody gets to buy the balance cause they are devoted to critical art, infrastructure, medical, gayte and et-all.

STEP for the balance August 15.

So say I.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:24 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:Use birth names? Id names? never took statistics but it's pretty hard to guess a future buyers name when tickets go on sale.

one ticket one name first 40,000.

Two will call tickets one named and one unnamed next 10,000.

Nobody gets to buy the balance cause they are devoted to critical art, infrastructure, medical, gayte and et-all.

STEP for the balance August 15.

So say I.

The lottery would have worked: If everyone who needed a ticket, put in for the actual amount they needed -- I bet there would have been enough tickets (or at least, almost enough). But, people got selfish and gamed the system. Everyone lost.

You can try to blame Burning Man LLC for people being selfish. Burning Man did not make people selfish, they chose to behave that way.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby kiss-o-matic » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:41 pm

Yeah, but then you get into the question of how to deal with selfish people. Surely that's nothing new. As a programmer I'm one of these geeks that fully believes in making the computer do as much of the work for you. That basically means somehow tying the tickets to a person, and abolishing physical tickets altogether. Something like a boarding pass on a plane. Basically all industries are going to data models... not sure why BM thinks it can't.

But, I also know there's a balance in having a large part of the work force be on a volunteer basis, and the organization as a whole work without corporate sponsorship, and the whole thing being in the middle of the desert.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby BBadger » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:54 pm

This all goes back to the core idea that tickets should not be transferable and that would prevent scalpers from operating, and people not buying more tickets than they need--individually. Any number of methods could be used to identify people if necessary, even in a dusty environment.

So the question remains: why allow ticket transfers? My answer to this is because BM is a camp-centric event, and need to be able to direct our ticket purchases and transfers without relying on an undirected, centrally controlled pool that may not maintain camp cohesion (ala Glastonbury's ticket-sale scheme, or STEP). If I buy 2 tickets, I want to be able to ensure my second ticket goes to the person I want it to (like this year), not go back into the pool to be randomly distributed to those in the queue.

Most of the problems we saw with tickets this year stemmed from panic about camp fragmentation due to the random process of the lottery, not necessarily because of a lack of tickets (even if that was a root cause). The tickets that were sold were probably sufficient for most demand, but they were spread out among so many disparate groups and individuals that the average camp had an estimated 30% of tickets needed. It was so bad that BMOrg opted to use directed distribution to attempt to fix things. Things seem to have settled down quite a bit now, even if people still need tickets, which is expected.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:57 pm

kiss-o-matic wrote:Yeah, but then you get into the question of how to deal with selfish people. Surely that's nothing new. As a programmer I'm one of these geeks that fully believes in making the computer do as much of the work for you. That basically means somehow tying the tickets to a person, and abolishing physical tickets altogether. Something like a boarding pass on a plane. Basically all industries are going to data models... not sure why BM thinks it can't.

But, I also know there's a balance in having a large part of the work force be on a volunteer basis, and the organization as a whole work without corporate sponsorship, and the whole thing being in the middle of the desert.

The gate is a complicated beast. There are generators giving power, sometimes those fail. - and the power from generators is rarely clean enough for computers. There is heat, as well as cold. It is dusty whenever there are vehicles going to/from the gate. Basically is a serious problem keeping any technology running.

There are at least 8 gate lanes, all running at the same time, 24 hours a day. Any technology used would need to be able to verify all the lanes at the same time, work in temperatures from 30F to 140F, and be able to survive the thick playa dust that is constantly in the air at gate.

Not to mention having some sort of redundancy on everything. If that sucker went down Sunday night, people would freak out ...

Gate operates a couple weeks before Burning Man starts and runs several days after it ends. So this solution would need to run for a month. It would need to know everything about all tickets sold and somehow be updated.

No, a couple Ipads wont cut the mustard. You are talking a couple hundred grand of technology used once a year for a month... I personally would not want to be the tech keeping that beast going.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby SnowBlind » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:07 am

stretch80 wrote:The lottery would have worked: If everyone who needed a ticket, put in for the actual amount they needed -- I bet there would have been enough tickets (or at least, almost enough). But, people got selfish and gamed the system. Everyone lost.


You're not wrong when you call that selfish, but on the other hand, I fully expected that to happen. If you tell people to enter a lottery, and they may or may not get a ticket, it's kind of natural for people to decide to enter the lottery a second time with a family member's credit card. Or everybody in their camp to apply for 2 tickets, so that they can give the extras to the ones that didn't get one.

That's actually a problem that non-transferable tickets *would* solve.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:13 am

As I have said in the past, I do not believe that there is a huge scalping issue. Hundreds, perhaps, but not a large percentage of overall tickets.

I agree that non-transferable tickets are bad. Burners like to be able to give tickets, sell tickets, whatever... Any system that would accommodate changing names on the tickets could be used by a scalper.

Sure, airlines have no problem with scalping. That is because they require a couple pieces of ID, your home address, shoe size, and probably have some decent pictures of your private parts stashed somewhere. Burning Man, LLC, so far has stayed away from that privacy invasion.

No scalping protection scheme will deal with the underlying fact that there is a limited number of tickets.

Greed and desperation should not be ignored in this question. Scalpers make money off desperate people. Some people are willing to pay anything. How to you prevent that?
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:24 am

Ok, lets say Burning Man LLC, decides to use non-transferable tickets.

Non-transferable tickets mean that if the person, who's name is on the ticket, cannot go, then that ticket is wasted.

How would a theme camp get it's tickets if it is not 100% certain who was going.

All of the tickets would need to be non-transferable. Or the system would be vulnerable to scalpers.


Perhaps I am missing some detail or ten... ??
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby BBadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:36 am

Well, the ticket can be refunded and go back into the ticket pool too (like STEP), so it's not necessarily wasted. However, that doesn't solve the problem of directing tickets to people, such as camp mates, that need it. Losing that capability, to me, would probably be more detrimental than whatever scalpers/overbuyers there are, because a pure scarcity problem (like at other festivals) can leave you with zero flexibility in self-distribution.

Yes, all tickets would need to be non-transferable for any anti-scalper scheme to work. I also agree that scalping just doesn't seem to be the big issue it was made out to be. That might be due to the mitigation tactics BMOrg used though; it's hard to quantify exactly how effective those were.

I think another year will need to pass before we really know how to handle ticket scarcity. This seems like an anomalous year. Great playa conditions and "advertisement" in 2011 leading to greater popularity, the first sell-out in 2011, BLM permit limitations (and hard pop caps), untested anti-scalper ticket strategies, etc. Maybe next year there'll be a ticket glut, like in 2009. It's really too early to draw conclusions about what works and what doesn't.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby confused » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:52 am

A lot of people are missing the point about ID here. At Glastonbury and many other UK festivals, individuals upload a recent jpeg and create a user profile on the event's website. This is a photo of their choice and not their passport photo.

So, I can't see any problem with this system:

In December/January everyone wishing to attend Burning Man registers online and posts a recent photo of themself. This photo can be changed until the ticket sale in case of a dramatic haircut for example.

In say, February a ticket sale takes place - the lottery is fine.

Following this, any member who did not get a ticket joins the STEP line in the same process as this year.

If a member with a ticket wishes to sell their ticket, they have only 2 options -

1) Redistribute the ticket into STEP
2) Allocate the ticket to a friend/camp mate who registered with a photo back in December (if they're part of the STEP line) through the website

Scalping would be impossible because all resales would go through STEP.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby CrispyDave » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:43 am

Looking around there are actually very few tickets being sold aftermarket for the total amount available. Look at other events that like San Jose Sharks or NFL games. There is a very high availability for any given game.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:43 am

If tickets go back into STEP, all tickets would need to go. No favorites, no assigning tickets. If a ticket can be assigned, a scalper can sell it. Therefore first come, first served in Step.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby nocturnal_steve » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:46 pm

I do not believe that there is a huge scalping issue.


Watch the numbers on Schmub Tub and E-way, and John's List.... they are steadily rising.

Multiply that several fold as many tickets are being sold scalped redistributed via other means, word of mouth etc.

I imagine that some otherwise 'cool' burners who gamed the system and wound up with two or more tickets are holding them to see which friend is most deserving,
which camp will offer them a free ride, a Plug and Play experience etc. .... thus taking even more tickets out of circulation. Others are trying to plan, build art and still don't know if they will get a ticket. Then there are the "rafflers for a worthy cause" and although some say that's cool I personally have a different take on that as (expressed in another post).

The tickets have become commodities in an event that was has it's roots in non commodification. What ever logistical and technical challenges that need to be addressed to facilitate "one dedicated attendee / one ticket / one love" .... need to be addressed.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:36 pm

The lottery was not needed in the first place. Stop trying to fix was was broken to begin with and scrap the damn thing. :evil:

Get a ticketing system that can handle the first day load. All the lottery "fixed" was that first rush for tickets.

As for the repeated calls for non-transferable tickets, this mythical boogeyman of the big bad scalper is bunk and is just a distraction from the real issue here. INTICKETING can't handle their shit.

Fire Them.

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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby BBadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:45 pm

confused wrote:If a member with a ticket wishes to sell their ticket, they have only 2 options -

1) Redistribute the ticket into STEP
2) Allocate the ticket to a friend/camp mate who registered with a photo back in December (if they're part of the STEP line) through the website

Scalping would be impossible because all resales would go through STEP.


The scalper could merely sell and transfer tickets to someone who registered with their face in December but hasn't gotten a ticket yet. If you're trying to confine tickets to a specific camp: how do you prove anyone belongs a specific camp? How many camps are even registered or placed (mine isn't)? What if people want to switch to another, join late (happens a lot with us), or just "show up"? This is really not a workable solution.

Moral of the story: Any system allowing directed transfers will allow scalpers to operate.

With a directed transfer system in place, having ID-based tickets does nothing for the system other than prevent someone else from using the same ticket more than once.

capjbadger wrote:The lottery was not needed in the first place. Stop trying to fix was was broken to begin with and scrap the damn thing. :evil:


I didn't like the lottery either, but I'm also not so sure that it didn't serve its purpose in disrupting things for major scalping operations. It may have been a good thing to get that growing pain out of the way for a high-demand year too. Maybe next year supply will surpass demand and make BM even less attractive in general (we can only hope right?)

Get a ticketing system that can handle the first day load. All the lottery "fixed" was that first rush for tickets.


It also prevented directed buy-ups. As much as I think the scalpers were an overblown boogieman (especially right after the 2011 sell-out), it's hard to gauge how things would've panned out in a first-come-first-served system this year. Maybe we can revert back this coming year now that shit has been thrown in the fan this year.

I also wonder if the delay in ticket distribution had more pronounced effects than the lottery itself. It meant people were forced (or had to trust) in other means to try to get tickets, lessening the demand for scalped tickets.

My hope is that this year is pure hell, and that we see an exodus of "fair-weather burners" by Wednesday or Thursday. That word gets out that it SUCKS to go to Burning Man. Maybe a few deaths mixed in. Then attendance plummets like in the 2008 aftermath and anyone who really wants a ticket in 2013 can get one.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby moonwatcher » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:49 pm

stretch80 wrote:No, a couple Ipads wont cut the mustard. You are talking a couple hundred grand of technology used once a year for a month... I personally would not want to be the tech keeping that beast going.


I dunno stretch80....I think a couple hundred grands is a high estimate.
Nowadays you can build multiply-redundant clusters for much less; same for power generation. If all 60K participants hit the gates at the same time, yes, it would put a reasonable load on the servers - but adequately load-balanced systems can be built to handle that load. Since the intake is much less than 60K at the same time, even relatively small servers/clusters would work fine.
A handheld barcode scanner for each gate attendant would take care of the data exchange needs with the servers. Such handheld scanners are available for industrial grade applications in dusty, wet and toxic environments. And they are fairly cheap.

In my opinion, the most expensive part of the system would be to build a container-like housing for the servers to keep out dust and water (maybe double-walled?) but with adequate ventilation. But I think that can be done for much less than the amount you suggest.

And the entire system would be fully re-usable year after year... so even if the initial setup costs $200K, the ability to re-use it would make your effective cost much lower.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby moonwatcher » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:57 pm

capjbadger wrote:The lottery was not needed in the first place. Stop trying to fix was was broken to begin with and scrap the damn thing. :evil:


I think the lottery is dead. No way it is coming back in 2013 in its current form.
There is no real way to prevent people from using multiple "friends/relatives" to amass a stash of tickets. I believe I read somewhere here that 120K people signed up for the lottery this year. Without serious changes in 2013, 250K people are going to sign up next year.
Those of us who now feel a bit like chumps for signing up only once will not get caught again next year. We have friends and relatives too. :cry: (yes, the entire idea makes me sad)
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:16 pm

moonwatcher wrote:
capjbadger wrote:The lottery was not needed in the first place. Stop trying to fix was was broken to begin with and scrap the damn thing. :evil:


I think the lottery is dead. No way it is coming back in 2013 in its current form.
There is no real way to prevent people from using multiple "friends/relatives" to amass a stash of tickets. I believe I read somewhere here that 120K people signed up for the lottery this year. Without serious changes in 2013, 250K people are going to sign up next year.
Those of us who now feel a bit like chumps for signing up only once will not get caught again next year. We have friends and relatives too. :cry: (yes, the entire idea makes me sad)


Cheating is wrong. I do not care what your motives are! So much for living in "the spirit of Burning Man". That is complete BS. Why should Burning Man have to spend money and resources to keep people honest. A simple and cheap solution, just be honest. Don't cheat.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:23 pm

BBadger wrote:It also prevented directed buy-ups. As much as I think the scalpers were an overblown boogieman (especially right after the 2011 sell-out), it's hard to gauge how things would've panned out in a first-come-first-served system this year. Maybe we can revert back this coming year now that shit has been thrown in the fan this year.

Not sure what you mean by "directed buy-ups". I assume you mean a person getting a bunch of people to all enter the system and wait in line to scoop up more ticke... Oh wait... That isn't prevented by a lottery. If anything the 2 week signup window allows more of them to get in and gum up the system.

The nature of the server line we had in previous years was still a lottery, just a slightly different one (Where will I get in line? vs. Will my name be drawn?). The main and in this year's case, critical difference was the number of people in the lottery.

This year there was a 2 week window. Very large pool of people (120k?)
Previous years, the window was just that morning. Much smaller pool of people, and typically those people were the driven ones willing to be on the ball to get tickets.

The current lottery took away the reward for being on the ball. THAT is why we're pissed.
Shit, I have a ticket and I'm still pissed about the FUBAR that this turned out to be. And the icing on the cake is the ORG was warned about this very thing and they chose to ignore us.

All of this to bail out a shitty little ticketing company that has failed year after year. :?

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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:28 pm

stretch80 wrote:
moonwatcher wrote:
capjbadger wrote:The lottery was not needed in the first place. Stop trying to fix was was broken to begin with and scrap the damn thing. :evil:


I think the lottery is dead. No way it is coming back in 2013 in its current form.
There is no real way to prevent people from using multiple "friends/relatives" to amass a stash of tickets. I believe I read somewhere here that 120K people signed up for the lottery this year. Without serious changes in 2013, 250K people are going to sign up next year.
Those of us who now feel a bit like chumps for signing up only once will not get caught again next year. We have friends and relatives too. :cry: (yes, the entire idea makes me sad)


Cheating is wrong. I do not care what your motives are! So much for living in "the spirit of Burning Man". That is complete BS. Why should Burning Man have to spend money and resources to keep people honest. A simple and cheap solution, just be honest. Don't cheat.

Come on stretch... Pretty ideas won't overcome base human motivations and you know it. :)

If the system is gameable, build a better system. QA mindset. If there is a bug/loophole/exploit, you report the issue and get it fixed. *shrug*
Where BMORG fails it's not QAing the fix before release. :evil:

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Last edited by capjbadger on Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby moonwatcher » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:36 pm

stretch80 wrote:
moonwatcher wrote:
capjbadger wrote:The lottery was not needed in the first place. Stop trying to fix was was broken to begin with and scrap the damn thing. :evil:


I think the lottery is dead. No way it is coming back in 2013 in its current form.
There is no real way to prevent people from using multiple "friends/relatives" to amass a stash of tickets. I believe I read somewhere here that 120K people signed up for the lottery this year. Without serious changes in 2013, 250K people are going to sign up next year.
Those of us who now feel a bit like chumps for signing up only once will not get caught again next year. We have friends and relatives too. :cry: (yes, the entire idea makes me sad)


Cheating is wrong. I do not care what your motives are! So much for living in "the spirit of Burning Man". That is complete BS. Why should Burning Man have to spend money and resources to keep people honest. A simple and cheap solution, just be honest. Don't cheat.


Beautiful principles. But facts have demonstrated that many people registered multiple times. It is a fact of life. If you could show how you would make sure everyone plays honestly, I would gladly sign up just once for another lottery. But as it stands now, I've been on STEP for months now (and consider myself lucky to have made it to STEP), still no tickets. I personnally met people who signed up multiple times and they've been distributing tickets to friends and packing their gear for the playa... how would you fix that?

If you cannot make sure everyone plays honestly, build a better system. No?
Buy the ticket, take the ride!
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:39 pm

If there's one thing I've learned on the ticketing threads, it is that facts are very thin on the ground...
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:43 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:If there's one thing I've learned on the ticketing threads, it is that facts are very thin on the ground...

Including that one? ;)

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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby Rice » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:51 pm

Gone are the days of getting in "line" and buying your ticket. The demand is greater than available tickets. The lottery certainly did not turn out as Burning Man LLC expected. I have no idea what the next attempt will be.

Non-transferable tickets with photographs would put a stop to the gaming of the system. If one was to buy two tickets, the name and photograph of each person would need to be assigned at purchase. If one ticket turned out to not be needed, that ticket would be put into STEP to be bought by someone else. No transfers. No Favors. No alterations. Simple. That might put a stop to people trying to game the system. Probably reduce scalping as well. If your picture and official government ID do not match, no entry. No changing photographs either. Better hope that you look like your picture.


What others are saying "is that by nature, everyone will lie and cheat to get a ticket". Wow, I had hoped for more.
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Re: Names on tickets will not magically increase tickets!

Postby capjbadger » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:07 pm

stretch80 wrote:Gone are the days of getting in "line" and buying your ticket. The demand is greater than available tickets. The lottery certainly did not turn out as Burning Man LLC expected. I have no idea what the next attempt will be.

Non-transferable tickets with photographs would put a stop to the gaming of the system. If one was to buy two tickets, the name and photograph of each person would need to be assigned at purchase. If one ticket turned out to not be needed, that ticket would be put into STEP to be bought by someone else. No transfers. No Favors. No alterations. Simple. That might put a stop to people trying to game the system. Probably reduce scalping as well. If your picture and official government ID do not match, no entry. No changing photographs either. Better hope that you look like your picture.


What others are saying "is that by nature, everyone will lie and cheat to get a ticket". Wow, I had hoped for more.

Again, the mythical "Scalper".

Explain what was wrong with the old system other than inticketing failing over and over to have a stable server?

You want to stop scalpers? Don't buy from them. Simple.

Until someone can present some hard numbers showing that the "scalpers" are eating up all the tickets so the rest of us can't go, I'm not going to bend over backward to fix a problem that doesn't exist.
And neither is the ORG.

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