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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: registration feedback  (Read 3211 times)

Blue Raptor

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registration feedback
« on: 20.01.2019, 09:20:56 »

I didn't want to moan at first, but since "Any feedback is greatly appreciated!", here's my take.

First of all, I am not just "angry because I did not get a room". It's not the first time I failed the initial run. I am even confident I may still manage to get in with a friend somehow. And I have no problem not getting a room if I insert my request into a system where I have a fair chance and just end up unlucky, because with the numbers as they are, some people have to.

But my gripe is this.

You tell people to get up at a sleepy time to use a web thing, that you absolutely must use because it creates something personalized to mail to the hotel.
When it crashed (*because just everyone retrying all over, or someone using scripts, which was highly foreseeable?), you left everyone retrying with no information on like the Telegram EF-Notification channel whatsoever for a long time.
Then at 7:52 you tell them to "hold on tight please".
On 8:13 you write the method has changed, (not will change but has, at whatever time in the past), and that they now need to hastily type in as little information as possible to be as fast as possible to send a mail to the hotel.
Which is in itself very stressful for everyone, prone to result in typos and badly filled out information, worse for people not good at English, and a death sentence for everyone who just happened to be in the bathroom for a few minutes.

But at that time, from what I can gather now, even if you saw it the very second it popped up and quickly pasted together a mail, hundreds of people already knew of this long before because some people either were told so in their registration when it worked for blink, or somehow figured it out, and word of mouth over a lot of channels was MUCH faster than your official information, so that by then pretty much noone had a real chance anymore anyway.

So you once again defaulted to a system where you have to do something really quickly once you get a key knowledge, but instead of announcing that first, with a fair warning when you will give this key, you apparently just swapped to it, and did not give out this key to everyone on official channels even while it already spreaded more or less secretly anywhere else.
This is bewildering to me.

And you ran into a mess again that was highly forsee-able (and foreseen!), and then just roll with an don't fix it.

You could fix it. Even now still. You CAN say "Our method failed, all reservations are cancelled, please instead fill out <this>, add the code we will give you at <time> via <these channels> and then e-mail it to the hotel."

But you don't. Instead, you once again punish people for trusting you and your information, and reward bypassing and dirtiness.
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Rah, I say.

Blue Raptor

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PS: my recurring raffle / room waiting list suggestion:
« Reply #1 on: 20.01.2019, 09:22:27 »

PS: my recurring raffle / room waiting list suggestion:

Make room booking a raffle. Give people time to apply for it and then process all the applications in a random order. You can write down in advance what you want, because there's not THAT many options for first choice, second choice, third choice... when you can also specify in which order to change room type up, room type down, persons, and duration of stay when none of your choices are available.

Or assign everyone registered until the dealine a random room waiting list number in which order the hotel processes the requests. If it goes into the e-mail subject, they can just sort the unanswered mails by subject to do so.
(You could additionally declare that only everything below number Rxxxx will be processed at a given time, like 50 more each morning and each afternoon, so people can even settle things with the hotel without many rooms going away at the time.)
And when you did not make it, it would become your waiting list number and you could show the lowest number in the waiting list so they can estimate if their chances are good or not.
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Rah, I say.

Ninu

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #2 on: 20.01.2019, 12:45:06 »

I feel your pain.

Similar situation here. We have a small group of maybe 25 furs coming from Hungary, we were on at least half an hour prior to reg opening. Everything crashed, nothing loaded, and for an hour nothing.
We got the information late that the method suddenly changed. Even people who got the info at 8 13 and pasted it for us in our group Only 1 out of 25 got a room...

This whole ordeal collectively wasted countless hours from everyone, then we got an unfair registration as icing on the cake.

Thanks.
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Chari

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #3 on: 20.01.2019, 14:38:02 »

Same response from Austria here.
Never before have I witnessed so many people from my country who sent the mail exactly at 8:13-8:14 as soon as it got released officially to everyone and did not get a room and not even the chance for a waiting list spot.
They all just got denied.
I only know like 3 or 4 ppl who actually got a room this way.
Oh and: I got a room. Because I could get my hands on my token and therefor could send an email way before 8 o clock and got lucky this way.
Make a fair system, or I'll make sure that next year I also spam 100 mails to the hotel to get a higher chance of getting a room. Pff
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Equinn

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #4 on: 20.01.2019, 20:04:31 »

Hey all,

I will not go into the rant part of things as many others before me have done so so...I'll just express my support for a lottery system, as suggested above.

In the FAQ that has been recently posted you state that it's "already like a lottery system". Then why make it appear as a first come first served system, which does nothing else but introduce stress and grief and encourages cheating/spamming/etc. You are just making your and everybody else's life that much harder.
So here is how I'd imagine the solution (a possible solution):

1. Attendees should have 1-2 weeks after the registration date to choose what type of room they want and who would be their roomies (by name/reg number, not just number of roomies)
2. Once that time is up run a script that goes through the preferences, (similar to how it was suggested above), and randomly distributes the room as best as it can according to those preferences
3. Send an email (not manually but automatically) to each attendee informing them of the result (for their particular booking intention), and at the same time send email templates filled with all the data that has been entered, for each attendee (who requests a room, and got a room through the lottery obviously) in that 2 week registration period , to Estrel, over the course of some reasonable time, thus they are able to process the bookings in their own way at a decent pace. No need for a rush since only the amount of available rooms would be distributed.
4. No chance for exploits from the fandom, no rush, no server crashes, no questions about fairness (everyone has the exact same chance), and everyone who gets a room will already have their roomies registered in the booking as well, thus negating that whole weird section in the FAQ about why a lottery would be somehow less fair than this current disaster.
5. Profit
6. If people cancel reservations in the following couple months (for example to may or june), another lottery run could redistribute the accumulated free rooms, if any.


Cheers,

Equinn
« Last Edit: 20.01.2019, 20:27:13 by Equinn »
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Equinn

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #5 on: 20.01.2019, 21:00:21 »

Addendum:

It would probably make sense to make the lottery script respect the following priority list:

(0. Staff, this isn't really relevant as its not part of the lottery)
1. Suiters (obviously only proven suiters (photos) , not just "oh I'm a suiter!", and if somebody is caught cheating here, which would be obvious during the fursuit registration, that person would be banned from EF)
2. Artists/dealers who have a spot in the DD/etc
3. Everyone else

Suiters have the biggest need for the facilities in the Estrel (especially showers).
« Last Edit: 20.01.2019, 21:03:13 by Equinn »
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MartinRJ

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #6 on: 21.01.2019, 00:24:54 »

The "proven suiter" part is just impossible. There is no way to prove that, no way that EF could enforce that. Also a huge privacy violation.
Your other suggestions are very interesting.
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Equinn

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #7 on: 21.01.2019, 12:59:57 »

Hay!

Well, even now when you register as a fursuiter you have to add a photo showing your suit, and those photos are individually, manually checked to my knowledge. So I see no issue/difference there. Also when you arrive you have to register your suit, where you actually need to present your mask at least (thus just putting in a random fursuit photo won't cut it). Of course every system can be played, but this one would take a bit of work (for example handing the same suit heads around, but that would be quite apparent to be honest...). So if someone who registered as a suiter would show up and be unable to present his suit, or otherwise found out to be cheating, that person would be banned at least for 2 years, which should be a big enough discouragement in my opinion.
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LeonTheOriginal

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #8 on: 21.01.2019, 13:34:29 »

It would probably make sense to make the lottery script respect the following priority list:
This would be the point, where the lottery isn't a lottery anymore.
Privileging staff seems fair (although it might be questionable if this is ok for - roughly estimated - something like 400 people), but prioritizing everything beyond that basically makes it nearly impossible for "normal" people to get a room as around 50% of the attendees are fursuiters/dealers/etc.

Almost every bigger event uses a first come, first serve system. I think, that this still is - if it works - probably the fairest system as it leaves at least some possibility to have an influence on the chance of "winning".
« Last Edit: 21.01.2019, 13:43:07 by LeonTheOriginal »
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Hai λ

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #9 on: 21.01.2019, 20:01:45 »

Well, even now when you register as a fursuiter [...]

Eurofurence is a furry convention, not a fursuiting convention. Fursuiting is just one of the many art forms present. :)
« Last Edit: 21.01.2019, 20:11:33 by Hai »
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Kulze

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #10 on: 21.01.2019, 21:28:10 »

One more fairly simple option to keep the 'first come first serves' system with a working infrastructure would also be the following:

Use the Mail-Server if the reg, people reg normally, upon acceptance one gets a mail send from the same address later on a template for the booking is send. This allows users to exempt the mail-adress from their spam folder.
On the day of booking the mail server then sends the template for booking - Pre filled by inputting the proper information beforehand into the reg site - starting from Reg number 1 to every single user. This way being early at reg makes sense, also it keep the flood of E-mails slightly at bay as it has a slight lag attached to receiving the mail. You then simply forward said mail to the hotel, code already included, a perfect template they can work with and the deed is done. People who don't care about the main hotel can ignore it simply or even opt out beforehand - or opt-in if they are interested - causing no more information leaks, unfair advantages and so on to be there.

Just one of a ton of solutions which are easily doable, in the realm of what we know by know of how it's handled and swiftly thought up.
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Equinn

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #11 on: 21.01.2019, 22:35:04 »

Honestly, I'm not sure how it is important to have an influence on the outcome (probabilities) by the attendees...There are far less spots in the Estrel than attendees, the only fair way of distributing them is a lottery. A first come first served system will depend heavily on conditions beyond the control of those trying to book. Such as state of the local network, state of the remote network, how emails are routed, and so on. I'm baffled why anyone would suggest this is fairer than a lottery that gives everyone the same chance (if no priority system is implemented), by definition. Why would you instead want a system that is competitive and lends itself to abuse, and causes a ton of stress? If you take away that illusion of "control", at least you don't have to worry about being quick. You know you have the same chance as others.

I can, sort of, understand how some would be against giving priority to suiters (and artists), although personally, I find this a bit selfish, since I tend to think, that if someone is in a lot more need of a room close by, then that person should get it, over somebody who simply has to walk/travel 5-10 minutes more (probably once or maybe twice a day)....This is simply "being nice" and looking out for others not just ourselves. For my first two years I was within a 5 minute walking distance of the hotel, didn't really ruin the experience for me, but again, this is probably up to one's personality.

Also, suiters who request a room may have non suiter roomies. The lottery is drawn between those who requested rooms. The roomies may be non suiters, obviously, so you'll end up with a mix, maybe that was a point of confusion.
« Last Edit: 21.01.2019, 22:47:19 by Equinn »
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Nosnibor

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #12 on: 21.01.2019, 22:59:59 »

Well, even now when you register as a fursuiter you have to add a photo showing your suit, and those photos are individually, manually checked to my knowledge. So I see no issue/difference there.
The difference is the timing. If you register as a fursuiter and show your head, that gives you access to the fursuit lounge for the next few days. That means you first prove you are a fursuiter and (shortly) afterwards enjoy fursuiter privileges.
With the hotel reservation that would be the other way around: first enjoy the privileges (hotel room reservation), then, seven months later, prove you are/were entitled to it. There are just so many ways that could go wrong and cause drama...
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Equinn

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #13 on: 21.01.2019, 23:04:46 »

The difference is the timing. If you register as a fursuiter and show your head, that gives you access to the fursuit lounge for the next few days. That means you first prove you are a fursuiter and (shortly) afterwards enjoy fursuiter privileges.
With the hotel reservation that would be the other way around: first enjoy the privileges (hotel room reservation), then, seven months later, prove you are/were entitled to it. There are just so many ways that could go wrong and cause drama...

Yes, but even upon registration the photo(s) are checked one by one, manually, to my knowledge (as it stands , to filter out unsuitable suits, pardon the pun). So you'd have to fool that first level at least, and once you are at the Estrel you would have a very hard time convincing anyone that you are a suiter while you don't have a suit, and you'd be banned. Why would someone do that? They would have themselves banned with about a 95 % chance. That's one hell of a risk to take.

But fine, the priority list is probably too controversial in the community (unfortunately), given all the types of people in it, to implement without a massive can of worms opened. But I still believe the lottery has the biggest merit.
« Last Edit: 21.01.2019, 23:06:34 by Equinn »
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Kulze

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Re: registration feedback
« Reply #14 on: 21.01.2019, 23:15:23 »

A lottery system is definitely fine as well, would be a fairly fair solution without taking into perspective bigger groups wanting to go to the convention together while also staying more or less together.
If we want to talk about priority for places in the main hotel, those would be - in my opinion - for people in the dealers den. It makes sense after all, they have to carry a lot of things and being in the hotel is basically mandatory for most to be able to handle it. Also I'm definitely for a priority of people with disabilities that impair them from moving large distances. Wheelchairs, heavy asthmatics and similar conditions in that case. Both often can't attend or are unable to be in the den without snatching a room at the Estrel directly.

I've talked about that already several times though, and it always lead to a long discussion with nobody being able to give a satisfactory answer as to why they shouldn't be given priority. There are definitely obvious reasons as to why they should, as long as it is able to be proven beforehand, namely with registration. Yes, it absolutely is more work for the reg-team, and that's the only reason as to why it wouldn't be implemented if they're already overwhelmed with handling it - which it clearly seems like that is the case.

Also, 'first come first serve' system doesn't necessarily mean that it's unfair. It can't be denied that a miniscule amount of lottery is involved because of network situations, though the majority still rests at people preparing properly to follow the steps as swiftly as possible, may the best win.

But well... basically EVERYTHING is better then what we have now, it was fairly obvious that not much thought was given into the system since last year, otherwise those problems wouldn't have become so openly visible, problems which were mostly known last year for anyone taking a single glance and should've been solved. Namely lowering the load people cause on the servers first to ensure stability and streamlining the booking to make it as easy for attendees as well as the hotel, both which are major oversights.
So, just to hope this was a wake-up call for next year, and that the feedback is properly looked through and implemented to a degree where as many people as possible are content with, providing no more loopholes and finally leaving everyone with less frustration then the last years as well as less work for everyone. Automation for as many steps as possible is definitely mandatory to achieve this.
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