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Eurofurence 25 "Fractures in Time" - Estrel Hotel Berlin, August 14-18, 2019Follow eurofurence on Twitter

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Author Topic: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When  (Read 15367 times)

VulpesRex

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #30 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. 
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Cubitus

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #31 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
« Last Edit: 06.09.2014, 20:38:55 by Cubitus »
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Codewolf

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #32 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.
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Druon

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #33 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.
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Cubitus

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #34 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
« Last Edit: 07.09.2014, 14:09:43 by Cubitus »
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Cheetah

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #35 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 :)

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Cheetah

Cubitus

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #36 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..
« Last Edit: 07.09.2014, 15:05:11 by Cubitus »
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Druon

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #37 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.
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Cubitus

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #38 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..)
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Druon

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #39 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. :)
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Cubitus

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #40 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 :)
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Schakaline

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #41 on: 07.09.2014, 20:28:12 »

I haz e-z solution !  ;D
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Cubitus

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #42 on: 07.09.2014, 21:44:18 »

Has to work with a gun class below Nerf. Difficult :P
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Runo

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #43 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. :)
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Fineas

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Re: Queues and Queuing: The Who, The Why, The Where and the When
« Reply #44 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:
  • Just put up a ticket machine with 2 colors (super/sponser and regular)
  • Then give a 30 minute call out (which will add a default half an hour delay to a possibly already delayed show, but that would be the only way to reach out to everyone even if you are at your room through EF prime) for everyone to group/que up according to number.
  • Let the first 10 people enter and then handle the next 10.
  • If everyone is their and has shown up, immediately let the next 10 enter, else respect some 'grace time' (10 sec with an additional call out through the lobby/que) for stragglers with lower numbers to enter the show.
  • Send everyone off to re'que with a higher number.
  • Let everyone with a far lower number through also off course.

What ever we choose however:
  • It will cost extra time and man power (mainly and probably from security)
  • Delays might and will occur regardless of the system, so the only thing we actually do is make it more orderly/easy for attendees
  • Any system that includes more complexity will probably cause problems: 'I lost my ticket', 'I am a (super) sponsor and got the wrongly colored ticket' etc

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.
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