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Eurofurence Information => Feedback => Topic started by: Codewolf on 03.09.2014, 00:17:47

Title: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Codewolf on 03.09.2014, 00:17:47
Hi all, its a day later than promised as i have had to read through a lot of posts however here is some feedback and some answers from my end.

Firstly for those of you who are going "who is this guy" - i am Codewolf, i am one of the the Team Leads for 'Crowd Control' in the security team. If there's a queue, or a large group of people, its my responsibility to look into the why, the how, the where, and the what for.

Answers to Questions and Feedback Points

Quote
Queuing in general seemed a real clusterfuck this year.  With a cluttered as hell lobby, queues run through there hit massive problems, queues going out the front door meant people were cold.  Queues into the convention centre perhaps?  Also the time where an entire queue was forcibly disbanded, told to come back later, meaning there was no way you could guarantee your spot near the front, was very poorly handled.
You have no idea, unfortunately with a new hotel and a new layout we had issues where we had to try to organise the queuing for an event at the main stage at the last moment.  There were events that had queues we didn't realise were going to have queues which we had to sort out, also with the main stage being in the location it was in relation to registration and access to the Convention center we had to really think on our feet.

Queues going outside:  While not ideal we found this was one of the better ways of doing the queuing system this year as this meant that we weren't blocking access to any of the main routes to and from the CC, nor were we asking people to queue round into the bar, or by the 2nd block elevators and Con Ops.

Queues being Disbanded: This was a decision taken by me multiple times, this was due to an event being delayed by a significant amount of time (ie longer than 45mins).  I gave a time for people to start queuing again though, yes you lost your place in the queue that was there, but to begin with this meant that we could free up security for dealing with other events, it also meant that there wasn't a queue for one event that was intersecting with a queue for another event.


Quote
Rearrange that queue. There will always be queues, so please put it somewhere where it's more or less bearable to wait.
Hopefully next year we will be locating the main stage in a different location (bear in mind this will be decided closer to the time), even if we don't move the main stage we now we have an idea of the kind of traffic flow and footfall of the hotel at certain times so we can plan a queue accordingly.

Quote
So please set up a queue rope (with "wait here for next elevator" sign) in each elevator lobby and have a volunteer enforcing things when things are busy
As has been stated above, we now have a decent idea on the footfall around the hotel, unfortunately this year we (security) did not have the manpower to be able to have one stand at the lifts at all times, on the odd occasion when a large panel had finished we did try to dispatch a few people to the lifts to ease congestion as much as we could.

Quote
Could the queues instead take turn to direction of rotunda
That is one possibility we would be looking into for next year if the main stage does not move.

Feedback from our side
Please note this is my personal feedback, not from the staff or security as a whole.

Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Lightfox on 03.09.2014, 00:51:16
This has probably been said already, but given how big the con has become, and how large some queues can be now, how about planning their management in advance? Like for instance, physically tracing a path using small pillars and strips, the way they do it in theme parks. This would make queues more ordered and easier to manage.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Ralesk on 03.09.2014, 08:38:25
This has probably been said already, but given how big the con has become, and how large some queues can be now, how about planning their management in advance? Like for instance, physically tracing a path using small pillars and strips, the way they do it in theme parks. This would make queues more ordered and easier to manage.

I think that's something that Codewolf said they will do now that they know the crowd flow in this venue.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Codewolf on 03.09.2014, 09:47:59
This has probably been said already, but given how big the con has become, and how large some queues can be now, how about planning their management in advance? Like for instance, physically tracing a path using small pillars and strips, the way they do it in theme parks. This would make queues more ordered and easier to manage.

I think that's something that Codewolf said they will do now that they know the crowd flow in this venue.
That is correct :) while we did have some basic plans in place for this year, without knowing exactly the numbers expected and the flow of the hotel it was very much a case of guesswork this year :)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Venture on 03.09.2014, 11:00:26
Using matrix signs and / or LCD tv's for croud control is something we do often at our work. Might also help out. Also using EFPrime (which was already used sometimes). Keep it up, I think you all did your best given the circumstances!
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: RedFoxy on 03.09.2014, 11:04:31
My feedback for the queue is only about sponsor and super sponsor without reserved seat :|
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Codewolf on 03.09.2014, 11:21:45
My feedback for the queue is only about sponsor and super sponsor without reserved seat :|
In previous years the reserved seating was the first 3 or so rows, the main reasons for not having "reserved" seating this year were as follows:

The number of sponsors + super sponsors: due to the number of furs in general this year there was a high number of sponsors and super sponsors.

Flexibility: this year we allowed people to choose where to sit, they could sit anywhere not reserved for VIPs and guests of the convention

The number of guests in general: in previous years we found that there were seats still available in the sponsor + super sponsor area when we started letting in regular attendees.

It is also worth bearing in mind that (in the main stage at least) we waited for 99.9% of the sponsors + super sponsors to sit down before allowing the regular attendees queue to start filtering in so you effectively did have reserved seating.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: yagfox on 03.09.2014, 11:29:41
Thinking outside the box. Why are people queueing up at all? I didn't queue for anything and attended the opening ceremony, the art auction, the fursuit gameshow and the pawpet show. Was there an event that you genuinely had to queue or you wouldn't get in to?

If people just enjoy standing in line. I can't understand why they complain about it so much.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Santa fox on 03.09.2014, 11:34:51
Thinking outside the box. Why are people queueing up at all? I didn't queue for anything and attended the opening ceremony, the art auction, the fursuit gameshow and the pawpet show. Was there an event that you genuinely had to queue or you wouldn't get in to?

If people just enjoy standing in line. I can't understand why they complain about it so much.

I stood in line to actually hope to snag a good seat for mainstage events, as for the dealers den, I really wanted to see what was on sale, even more so since the line was already the longest I have seen for the early access to it.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: OmniSable on 03.09.2014, 11:42:24
Thinking outside the box. Why are people queueing up at all? I didn't queue for anything and attended the opening ceremony, the art auction, the fursuit gameshow and the pawpet show. Was there an event that you genuinely had to queue or you wouldn't get in to?

If people just enjoy standing in line. I can't understand why they complain about it so much.

Excuse me for the stupid question, but it was possible to access the main stage during the event? I thought that I couldn't just walk in after everybody had seated and the show had started.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cheetah on 03.09.2014, 11:44:44
Excuse me for the stupid question, but it was possible to access the main stage during the event? I thought that I couldn't just walk in after everybody had seated and the show had started.

It's possible, and perfectly acceptable to enter and leave whenever you like - as long as you do so quietly.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Tinka on 03.09.2014, 11:46:11
The Queueing for Pawpet Show

Disclaimer: some or all of these things might not have happened - but they happened for us on that epic night...

"Let's go!" "We can't" "Why not?" "We're waiting for the pawpet show."

...it must've been days since we had last seen the end of the queue disappear somewhere behind around the corner of the hotel car park - and continue along the river towards the Polish border.

Dusk had gone and turned into a starry night sky filled by bats and the occasional howl of desperation by some newbie furry who'd accidental entered the queue not knowing the consequences of his actions...

The sound of old Mistyfur doing the rounds with his trusty drinks trolley was interrupted by a pizza taxi someone had ordered. As the night closed in, camp fires where lit, and then quickly extinguished by panicking security staff, afraid it would attract beast of the night (and also something about fire-safety)...

Juggling, group exercise and singing motivational songs - they were all we had after our cell phone batteries had dies. Up until then a new wave of making up memes about the queue had briefly overwhelmed the internet. Ones the power was gone there was only that one guy who went around handing out a newsletter called The Queue Times...

A furry volunteer organization had also sprung up headed by Alexander James Adams and a lab coat wearing microphone stand they call Kage - to entertain and help stranded furries in queues by bringing them drinks from the bar and reserving their place while they went to the toilet.

Most of the furries at our section of queue were veterans of old pawpet queues, with sturdy worn paws on the ground, used to the hardship of shuffling your weight around and taking the occasional step when the queue suddenly a moved a bit - and then stopped again for hours. Sometimes shouts from the head of the queue would would bring our hopes up - but they were for someone dropping a glass or bottle...

The veterans began telling stories of the queues they'd been in - back in EFxx where they had lost half the queue to a mountain flood... stories which got absurdly more ridiculous - but yet still tantalizingly more believable as our predicament pressed down on us...

There was nothing but to watch the anguished expressions on the faces of security furs. They were like mirror to our souls - terrifying but at the same time comforting. Each announcement of a further delay brought us closer to each other...

"The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugher." - Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Credits to Alterlane and makarov223 and to all those furs who survived the queue with me! *hugs*

PS: Next year don't be surprised when I bring a foldable chair with me >:3
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: OmniSable on 03.09.2014, 11:46:33
Excuse me for the stupid question, but it was possible to access the main stage during the event? I thought that I couldn't just walk in after everybody had seated and the show had started.

It's possible, and perfectly acceptable to enter and leave whenever you like - as long as you do so quietly.

*headdesks* I missed out so much. So stupid of me X(
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cheetah on 03.09.2014, 12:09:31
Excuse me for the stupid question, but it was possible to access the main stage during the event? I thought that I couldn't just walk in after everybody had seated and the show had started.

It's possible, and perfectly acceptable to enter and leave whenever you like - as long as you do so quietly.

*headdesks* I missed out so much. So stupid of me X(

I'm sorry! *hugs* But at least you get extra points for being super-polite :)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cheetah on 03.09.2014, 12:14:53
The Queueing for Pawpet Show

*sigh*

To everyone in that queue: We are sincerely sorry! We felt like we had things under control when we started setting up, but we completely underestimated a couple of things. We are very impressed that so many peple STAYED in the queue, though! By the time we started, we thought we had lost at least half of our audience - and still the room was packed to the last row. I mean, it's not like we forced anybody to stay in that queue for four hours - there were many other things to do.

Expectations seemed to be really high, and I hope we were able to deliver - albeit much, MUCH too late.

Thank you so much for your loyalty, your patience and support!
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Tinka on 03.09.2014, 12:21:01
The Queueing for Pawpet Show

*sigh*


No worries. I would've queued until dawn and beyond to see the show *HUGS* ! ^^'/
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Marcan on 03.09.2014, 13:00:06
First of all, it's not the queue location we should be focusing on but running events as close to planned schedule as possible (referring to pawpet show obviously). THEN comes the queue. Let's hope next year there won't be such a need for queues altogether :3

I managed to snag a place for pawpet show in first row, entered just after the queue and found Dhary shouting "security team is giving up their seats on the right side". Also quite a few people from first five rows in the middle were absent, I asked and was told that once the seating ends I can move there. Again, Dhary said one more free seat in first row is available - nobody replied :P Guys, keep your eyes peeled during events ;)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Runo on 03.09.2014, 13:16:12
[As the night closed in, camp fires where lit, and then quickly extinguished by panicking security staff, afraid it would attract beast of the night (and also something about fire-safety)...

Didn't your momma tell you never to go out there without a proper Light? Only those will protect you in the dark of the night!

Praised be the Gods of the Holy Mountain!
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Tsanawo on 03.09.2014, 13:49:36
First of all, it's not the queue location we should be focusing on but running events as close to planned schedule as possible (referring to pawpet show obviously). THEN comes the queue. Let's hope next year there won't be such a need for queues altogether :3
Queues will happen, even if we would've managed to start on time with the PawPetShow, there still would've been a queue. Same with the other events that managed to get one.

@Runo: As it was and always will be!
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Bezel on 03.09.2014, 13:51:22
This has probably been said already, but given how big the con has become, and how large some queues can be now, how about planning their management in advance? Like for instance, physically tracing a path using small pillars and strips, the way they do it in theme parks. This would make queues more ordered and easier to manage.

Unfortunately, queues in cons differ from theme parks in a couple of important ways.

Firstly, theme parks can have dedicated areas constantly set aside for queues. They're out of the way and no-one cares if there are people in the queue or not. At cons, we generally don't have the space for queues to be in place permanently and we also can't obstruct fire doors, entrances, exits, lifts, corridors etc. so they're generally set up only when needed and we try to route people where they won't obstruct any of the above. Of course, this is a learning process and we'll try and have things better organised for next year :)

Secondly, theme parks also have massive budgets for barriers etc. You'd be surprised just how much those tensa barriers cost, and the hotel only has a limited supply available - you may have noticed a lot of the queues were marked out by tape (which the con had bought) and chairs which we'd... borrowed... from the hotel ;) We tried our best with what we had :)

Using matrix signs and / or LCD tv's for croud control is something we do often at our work. Might also help out. Also using EFPrime (which was already used sometimes). Keep it up, I think you all did your best given the circumstances!

As I recall, we did try to get EF Prime updated when stage events were going to be delayed. As regards the signs, well anything is possible with enough money... if only we had some ;)

As has been previously mentioned though, security often doesn't get advance notice of delays - we just have to handle them when they occur. Honestly, we'd really prefer if you didn't have to queue - we don't like making you wait in line any more than you like being there :)

Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: dougalwuff on 04.09.2014, 00:40:44
I think it's time we give up on queuing as the system for the pawpet show. There's too many people and not enough seats, so people try to get there an hour in advance, just to be sure of getting a seat.

Maybe we could sell tickets before the show? 3 euros each from the charity booth? Divided up into sections (E.g. front middle and back) so that people don't feel so much urge to queue early to get good seats? It would make a lot for the charity.

Even if you don't charge money, some form of ticketing would still prevent hour-long queues.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: timoran on 04.09.2014, 01:02:43
I think it's time we give up on queuing as the system for the pawpet show. There's too many people and not enough seats, so people try to get there an hour in advance, just to be sure of getting a seat.

Maybe we could sell tickets before the show? 3 euros each from the charity booth? Divided up into sections (E.g. front middle and back) so that people don't feel so much urge to queue early to get good seats? It would make a lot for the charity.

Even if you don't charge money, some form of ticketing would still prevent hour-long queues.

My hope is that they get the convention hall next year, and if they do there is a lot of space available in the convention center lobby to queue. And if other convention functions exist down there, that convention center lobby will naturally become a gathering space to put less pressure on the tables-and-chairs-filled main lobby!

Heck, with PPS falling at the end of the con, if they really hustle (and as a chair I would really hate to ask people to do that, but) they could vacate all of Convention Center ABCD and that whole huge room could just be seating for the PPS.

The big wildcard is Estrel Convention Center II, which is planned to open "Autumn 2015." If that is open, that creates even more space!
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Jorinda on 04.09.2014, 09:38:31
Even if you don't charge money, some form of ticketing would still prevent hour-long queues.
Or maybe it would just cause hour-long queues at the ticket booth.  :P
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Tinka on 04.09.2014, 10:37:18
Even if you don't charge money, some form of ticketing would still prevent hour-long queues.
Or maybe it would just cause hour-long queues at the ticket booth.  :P

If I may repeat myself - I have devised and patented a Tinka-2000 queueing system which EF can use free of charge. It goes like this:

1. Everyone is asked to join a huge big queue at one time.

2. Security goes thought the queue and hands everyone a blank piece of paper

3. Everyone writes their badge number on it, memorizes their location, and then places the piece of paper on the floor ... and walks off into the bar

4. Ones all the delays and further delays have been announced - and the door are about to finally open - everyone takes their place in the queue and walks in an orderly fashion to the stage :33

Voila ^^'/
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cheetah on 04.09.2014, 10:55:35
4. Ones all the delays and further delays have been announced - and the door are about to finally open - everyone takes their place in the queue and walks in an orderly fashion to the stage :33

What you're suggesting is basically this:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ba35vKWCEAAwuXa.jpg)

The problem with that is, it does not scale. People still need a room to wait in, and there is only one way for 1000 people to enter a room in an orderly fashion: In a line :) So you really don't gain anything. In fact, you'd make it even worse, because by trying to give everyone a defined sequence number in their queue you'd require everyone to cross everyone elses path multiple times trying to get back to their original place in the queue, which is worse than just forming a new queue and getting into the room right away :)

Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Blue Raptor on 05.09.2014, 20:00:30
Well of course you could hand out (colored) queue number sheets and put a sign over the door up to which number, or block of numbers entrance is allowed now when it opens, like airlines do with seat rows or zone on plane boarding.

The main point is noone would have to be actually WAITING that long if there was one long delay announced right away instead of many small ones.
Like when there are some troubles that could e.g. take 30 minutes but might likely take 45 minutes or an hour or an hour and half, you should imo just delay it by two hours. Instead of keeping people trapped in line by telling them it will delay another 20 or 30 minutes from now on, over and over.
Even if it does NOT take that long to fix everything then, the show will start later than it could have, but noone has to actually WAIT all the time because they can all go off and DO something, even have food somewhere outside of the hotel with 2 hours to work with, knowing for sure it won't start without them if they do.

(Yes, in the case of this year, the first delay was one whole hour, but after that it started with the usual "30 more minutes" marathon)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Codewolf on 05.09.2014, 20:53:51
Well of course you could hand out (colored) queue number sheets and put a sign over the door up to which number, or block of numbers entrance is allowed now when it opens, like airlines do with seat rows or zone on plane boarding.

The main point is noone would have to be actually WAITING that long if there was one long delay announced right away instead of many small ones.
Like when there are some troubles that could e.g. take 30 minutes but might likely take 45 minutes or an hour or an hour and half, you should imo just delay it by two hours. Instead of keeping people trapped in line by telling them it will delay another 20 or 30 minutes from now on, over and over.
Even if it does NOT take that long to fix everything then, the show will start later than it could have, but noone has to actually WAIT all the time because they can all go off and DO something, even have food somewhere outside of the hotel with 2 hours to work with, knowing for sure it won't start without them if they do.

(Yes, in the case of this year, the first delay was one whole hour, but after that it started with the usual "30 more minutes" marathon)

The thing is the queuing will happen if theres a ticket system or not. people would queue to be the first one on the sign up sheets!!

With regards to delays, as has been said many times before, most of the time the length of the delay is not known beforehand, we could say 2 hours and the delay could be 10 minutes or the delay could be 4 hours. we just dont know.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Runo on 05.09.2014, 22:29:05
Exactly, especially with technical problems, it often happens that fixing one leads to the discovery of nother that wasn't apparent before.

And I don't even want to know about the outrage if a delay of two hours would be announced to cover all possible delays, and the doors would open after one hour because it had been fixed quicker than anticipated, with people now having left and not returning in time… So you see, it's a difficult topic.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Blue Raptor on 06.09.2014, 09:42:59
Um, if you'd delay it for two hours, that means of course NOT opening the doors until after that two hours.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Schorse on 06.09.2014, 11:06:01
I think it's time we give up on queuing as the system for the pawpet show. There's too many people and not enough seats, so people try to get there an hour in advance, just to be sure of getting a seat.

Not enough seats?

I was in that queue as well, around 7pm. Then came the announcement that the PPS is delayed for another 2 hours. So I left and went for dinner.
When I came back, the last people from the queue entered the stage, so I followed. I was sitting at the left side from the FoH desk, with a good view of the stage. And there were lots of empty seats around.
Even in the previous years, I entered the room as one of the latest. And always found an empty seat.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: VulpesRex on 06.09.2014, 20:14:55
Um, if you'd delay it for two hours, that means of course NOT opening the doors until after that two hours.

   ...And what happens if, say - the problems still aren't all resolved until after 3 hours and 45 minutes?

   Real World problem-solving and troubleshooting is nothing like an exact science; sure, you can follow a procedure to isolate the problem, but whith any complex system, often you have to solve one puzzle, fix one contrivance, just to get to the point where you can test the system, and encounter another obstacle.

   It's like hacking your way through an inpenetrable vine-and-frond packed jungle, where you can't see a thing beyond the arc of your machete as you hack and hew your way through;  you can't see the massive boulder in your path until you actually hit it, and then you have to feel your way laterally - hacking the entire way as you go - until you reach the flank, and can proceed in the intended direction.  All the while, you keep hoping that the detour isn't into a box canyon, from which you then have to backtrack and continue laterally moving on, all the while plagued with wondering if detouring left instead of right might not have been a better option.

   If you can't see the obstacles in front of you until you are right on top of them, then there is now way to even guess when you will make it through to the other side; it's done when it is done, and any other estimate or promise becomes based on a fervent hope and faith that The Gods are done tormenting you, and Fate will allow you to see the end of your quest. 
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cubitus on 06.09.2014, 20:35:27
Using matrix signs and / or LCD tv's for croud control is something we do often at our work. Might also help out.
I second that.

I was wondering "duh, no info screens?" (and I don't mean those with former EF videos and SMS marquees)... wondering if Estrel doesn't have more infrastructure of this kind?

Cheap alternative: big flipcharts / whiteboard [film] spots which a dedicated (small) team keeps up-to-date. Saves from repeated noisy announcements but still allows to "going there, having a look, knowing the update".

jm5c
Cubitus ●●●●
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Codewolf on 07.09.2014, 01:40:38
Using matrix signs and / or LCD tv's for croud control is something we do often at our work. Might also help out.
I second that.

I was wondering "duh, no info screens?" (and I don't mean those with former EF videos and SMS marquees)... wondering if Estrel doesn't have more infrastructure of this kind?

Cheap alternative: big flipcharts / whiteboard [film] spots which a dedicated (small) team keeps up-to-date. Saves from repeated noisy announcements but still allows to "going there, having a look, knowing the update".

jm5c
Cubitus ●●●●
we did actually have these signs taped onto the 'supersponsor/sponsor' and 'regular attendees' signs to begin with and they were paraded around, however with the changing delay schedule we didnt want to give a time after a while until the point we knew exactly when we were letting in.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Druon on 07.09.2014, 03:55:15
we did actually have these signs taped onto the 'supersponsor/sponsor' and 'regular attendees' signs to begin with and they were paraded around

Those taped paper signs have been far to small to be readable from a distance at most times. Less an issue of the paper itself, but the text written on it (either too small in general or too thin letters). A fursuiter with big number sign posters would have worked better - and been a lot more fun to watch. ;)
I got most of my info from the members of security that either used the megaphone or wandered along the queues, stopping every couple of steps to repeat a message. Thanks for that service, by the way.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cubitus on 07.09.2014, 10:11:03
4. Ones all the delays and further delays have been announced - and the door are about to finally open - everyone takes their place in the queue and walks in an orderly fashion to the stage :33
What you're suggesting is basically this:
[...super funny image...]
Haha, YEAH, imagine it's a line of footpaws on the floor. Very cute!

But well, putting paper on the floor is a bit old-fashioned. You could virtualize this with numbers or tokens. Think of the airline group boarding concept!

So what about this idea:

1. Entry and seating is split up into groups (e.g. each group 100 people)
2. Every group is assigned to a specific token (numbered or coloured ticket, jeton, stamp, sticker, number written on the arm/paw/forehead :)
2. Starting at a specified time (e.g. 2hrs before scheduled starting time), people are called to get their tokens, first come first served group by group
3. Token holders are free to walk around, get food, get (un)suited, take a nap, see a panel, whatever
4. When the event is ready to start (even if delayed), the first group is called to board
5. After a specified time, or when the group went in by a minimum percentage, the next group is called

Pros:
- IF a queue forms (which still could happen), it's limited to the group size, doesn't take much space
- Early birds still will have freedom of seat selection (1st group could be reserved for sponsors)
- Flow of people can be moderated quite well
- No one would get mad even on a long delay of starting time because he/she could sit, sleep, eat anywhere
- Tokens could even be transferrable so on a delay, people could do something else and pass on their token to a friend
- Tokens (if not collected at entrance time) could be a nice collectible ("Look! I've attended ALL these great shows!")

Cons:
- Find a way to prevent that a monster queue forms to get the "early tokens" (could be prevented by announcing where the token counter is just when it's open)
- Transferrable tokens subject to be abused (black market) - unlikely for any other than the 1st group, so this one could still be "untransferrable" (e.g. sticker on con badge)
- idea needed how to handle latecomers (Group 1 token when Group 3 is called etc.)

Cons that are no Cons because they're Cons for every other solution, too :)
- solution causes more work/cost than "just a queue" (e.g. for creating and collecting tokens, staff, preparations)
- need proper communication / announcements / screen info / signs

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

Cubitus ●●●●
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cheetah on 07.09.2014, 11:34:31
Thank you to everyone for their innovative ideas! It would be very helpful if you could provide real-world examples - I'm all for trying out new things, but before I start experimenting with 1000 people at an already delayed convention, I would like to constrain the experiments to procedures that are proven to having worked at least once at a comparable event in the past :)

Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cubitus on 07.09.2014, 12:47:22
Okay Cheetah, okay. I see that flight boarding is, even if it's a 99% matching use case, still not the same, as an airline got a different infrastructure.

So the concept ("how to avoid a super queue in my boarding area") is proven, but still it's likely EF would have different/own technology which still could fail (unless we borrow airline's equipment :)

So I'll go finding a best practice example in event branch! Promise! :)

EDIT: Would be cooler (for EF) to test a new procedure at a smaller event. I guess there are many..
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Druon on 07.09.2014, 15:26:29
So the concept ("how to avoid a super queue in my boarding area") is proven, but still it's likely EF would have different/own technology which still could fail (unless we borrow airline's equipment :)

I think it isn't transferable to any kind of event just like that and it brings the problem that we are probably lacking equipment for it. There is simply no means to properly "call" a group. We don't have loudspeaker units in place all over the hotel to do public announcements. At the very least we would need a couple of display panels at strategic point just to make that part of the plan work.  Then there is the added stress of creating, distributing and managing those tokens. Keep in mind that you still want sponsors to have an edge. You need a lot of extra manpower for that.


I think we need to focus on maybe less elegant, but far more practical solutions. One thing I have in mind is to handle delays with pessimistic time estimates, rather than optimistic ones. It means that an event that is delayed due to technical issues of any kind will automatically announce a set amount of time for the delay, say an hour, to give them proper time to fix it as well as make things easy to communicate to the waiting audience.  Even if they should manage to fix the issue after ten minutes, they are still going to wait the rest of the 50 minutes before the start of the seating. That way people won't stick around because the doors may open sooner than the announced hour.

Should the problem prove to be more extensive than originally estimated,  this whole hour usually gives you ample time to add and announce extra time towards the delay. And again, I would suggest using a large unit of time again - ten minute increments are an appeal to start the queue. You don't want that unless you have the show/event ready to go.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cubitus on 07.09.2014, 15:47:48
Druon, from your experience, how large are the queues right before the scheduled door opening times?

Just assuming (!) everything works prettily perfect and seating starts exactly as planned, there usually will still be a massive queue already, right? Because people come VERY early... (I guess you surely could not make them go away and come back later..)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Druon on 07.09.2014, 17:24:46
Cubitus, my intention isn't to reduce the size of a queue, but to prevent people from queuing for 3+ hours like they did during the last con. I doubt we have the means to keep large queues from happening, but we can improve with how they are managed. :)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cubitus on 07.09.2014, 18:39:12
True so true. So you need more/more dominant staff. "NO, doggie. You don't queue NOW. It's to early. I will throw you a stick. Go get it!"

On the other hand team would have to decide or find out: how long in advance is the right time to start queueing. "DOORS OPEN" - too late. 3 hours - too early. Maybe in the moment when show team says "We're ready to go" and get another 15 Minutes to prepare themselves for the show. Difficult challenge with the masses.

Estrel should recommend and say how THEY do it. But their show audience is different: they bunch up in the lobby, having a drink until seating starts. EF attendees want to see a dozen panels, shaking hands, elevator rides and grabbing food, all of this at the same time :)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Schakaline on 07.09.2014, 20:28:12
I haz e-z solution !  ;D
(http://i.imgur.com/lKKIokl.gif)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cubitus on 07.09.2014, 21:44:18
Has to work with a gun class below Nerf. Difficult :P
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Runo on 07.09.2014, 23:48:39
I think we need to focus on maybe less elegant, but far more practical solutions. One thing I have in mind is to handle delays with pessimistic time estimates, rather than optimistic ones. It means that an event that is delayed due to technical issues of any kind will automatically announce a set amount of time for the delay, say an hour, to give them proper time to fix it as well as make things easy to communicate to the waiting audience.

This would only work if the events weren't packed as tightly as they are. As it stands, the timetable only works if and because delays are kept as minimal as possible, because any delay affects all following events in the same space, there's just no buffer to catch up on lost time. And we can't just pack less tightly, because there are just so many events, and so little space…

Believe me, if solutions were that easy to implement, the people responsible for that would have already done so. :)
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Fineas on 09.09.2014, 12:44:28
4. Ones all the delays and further delays have been announced - and the door are about to finally open - everyone takes their place in the queue and walks in an orderly fashion to the stage :33
What you're suggesting is basically this:
[...super funny image...]
... Long queuing explanation..

I would personally vote for a far simpler system. The ticket thing is used in bakeries, butchers and pharmacies.
Average load their is like... 40 people tops.
So I would like to stress that using it for 800+ people is going to be a stretch.

However:

What ever we choose however:

Looking at this it might be easier to try and fix redundancy as far as possible (preventing delays).
Try and keep guests inside so they don't wait in the cold and entertain them somehow (the impromptu AJA performance for example).
And if possible come with an accurate delay, which as far as I have been able to deduce is nearly impossible.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Cheetah on 09.09.2014, 13:50:14
Please don't get me wrong, I absolutely do value constructive input. But crowd control is not a new problem, and neither is queue management. They are both extremely common problems. I'm pretty sure that if there was any worthwile solution for the challenges we face, a simple google search would find it. And yet, at millions of events world wide at equally countless venues, after thousands of years of human existance ... people still just queue.

I'm pretty sure there's a reason for that, and I'm also pretty sure we won't re-invent the wheel in this web forum.

There are a few marginal conditions you can optimise ... like, you can queue in parallel, you can fold up queues, you can put up priority queues, you can try and manage the time people start queueing, you can make the stay inside the queue more pleasant. But eventually, the audience has to gather and wait to be seated. And if the wait is over, a sequence has to be determined in which they will safely enter the room as fast as possible. And the obvious solution for that is a line. No way around it.

I think we have bigger problems - like managing events in a way allowing them to start on time, and not three hours late. Which is the real culprit here.

Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Luchs on 09.09.2014, 14:17:38
On a side note: No matter how you manage a queue, in the best case you can prevent people from starting to wait 'too early' - but you won't be able to reduce the seating time.

Even with a perfect lineup, the people at the end of the queue will have to wait, simply because - for the safety of everyone involved - security won't just let 1000+ people enter a hall at once.
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: BluePaw on 13.09.2014, 20:43:49
just a question here.
what if you didn't really queue at all?
or at least kept it to a specific time no matter what the case?
unless found too much in the way. let the people in to take a seat, and entertain them by watching you work.
while just standing there for 3 hours getting angry or hurting feet, or getting cold.
have something they can leave at their seat, like just a pipe-cleaner or something cheap to say "this chair is now taken".
and then treat it like a break-time in the actual show where people can just leave and go eat.
and then the call out over speakers or through security "the show will start in 15-30 minuts" so everyone can go back to their seat in the same way they do during break times in the show.

it will possibly hinder some running back and forth for staff if they need to run to the sound booth and back to the stage again or something.
but it will solve other things instead :P
you could for example get the "do not pass tape" and make your own corridor between the stage and the sound booth down the middle aisle and tell people to go behind so they won't obstruct the direct path needed?

(EDIT) might even show some sort of movies or fun stuff on the projector screens?
Title: Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
Post by: Luchs on 15.09.2014, 09:00:25
There are various tasks where an audience would cause problems. Final soundchecks happen before seating, and they can be done in an efficient manner because the hall is empty and quiet, and FoH can easily talk with the people on stage. If it's equipment on the trusses that needs to be fixed/added/replaced - you need space and a clear floor, because things theoretically *can* fall down during the process of attaching/detaching them when the safety wires are off. Last but not least, nobody likes delays, and as delay time accumulates, both the audience and the hosts become more and more unnerved - and a bit of air to breathe without getting stared at is the least you need to stay focused and get the job done.

~Luchs