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Adv1sor

A suggestion to free up more resources

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Check every-one's badge when they come in the door to the convention center. (This is already done, right?)

No need to check every-one's badge when they enter the dealer's room, artist alley, or any events. (This should free up a few more bodies for more important things.)

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As was mentioned in the feedback thread, people sometimes get into the convention center without a badge. While walking through the hallways without a badge is not okay, people are just walking through the hallway. If they get into the dealer's room, or a video room, or anywhere really other than the halls, then they're enjoying a lot of the benefits of the convention without supporting it in any way. The secondary check is a back-up measure of making sure that everyone really is a member - and it doesn't take too long to show your badge at the door. :P

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and we don't want strange people wandering around in our con. we need more bodies translates to we need more Gofers! (I can't really talk because I didn't gofer this year ._.;; )

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As a gofer who was checking badges at the front door, I can vouch that it's hard to make sure everyone who's coming through has a badge--if someone really wanted in without one, there were ways that they could slip by me, since I'm only one person and couldn't always see everyone going through the door.

The best thing that the members can do to help with badge checks is to hold them up as they walk through. It's much easier to make sure that only the people who need to be in can get in if you're not wearing your badge around your wrist or stuffed in a pocket. You may think they aren't "cool" (then why the fuss over Hellsing over Kimba?), but they're a necessary evil. It's not so hard to take it off for pictures, is it?

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Sounds like you found a good place for those extra people.

Move the people checking badges at the dealer's room to checking badges at the front doors!

A little delay in getting into the convention center would be worth the time saved having badges rechecked at rooms.

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My idea is about the 18+ events.

At check in (Pre-Reg or Regular Reg) we have to show our ID's with our confirmation anyway, right? If we're 18+ have them give us the wristband right then and there. It'll take an extra ~2 seconds per person that's 18+ sure, but it'll save how many people how much time later on? I didn't know about the wristband and had to get out of line and run around like crazy 10 minutes before the panel to go get one and whatnot.

This isn't to say to cut the night-time wristband collection all together, keep it for people who take it off, who never got one, etc etc, but some people like me who want to fill the most of their schedule can get it on check in, then if needed take it off for cosplay or something and go get another one eventually.

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My idea is about the 18+ events.

At check in (Pre-Reg or Regular Reg) we have to show our ID's with our confirmation anyway, right? If we're 18+ have them give us the wristband right then and there. It'll take an extra ~2 seconds per person that's 18+ sure, but it'll save how many people how much time later on? I didn't know about the wristband and had to get out of line and run around like crazy 10 minutes before the panel to go get one and whatnot.

This isn't to say to cut the night-time wristband collection all together, keep it for people who take it off, who never got one, etc etc, but some people like me who want to fill the most of their schedule can get it on check in, then if needed take it off for cosplay or something and go get another one eventually.

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How hard is it to pay 65 dollars to enjoy 3 days of PURE enjoyment. I am willing to always pay the money for a convention. Worth every single penny.

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My idea is about the 18+ events.

At check in (Pre-Reg or Regular Reg) we have to show our ID's with our confirmation anyway, right? If we're 18+ have them give us the wristband right then and there. It'll take an extra ~2 seconds per person that's 18+ sure, but it'll save how many people how much time later on? I didn't know about the wristband and had to get out of line and run around like crazy 10 minutes before the panel to go get one and whatnot.

This isn't to say to cut the night-time wristband collection all together, keep it for people who take it off, who never got one, etc etc, but some people like me who want to fill the most of their schedule can get it on check in, then if needed take it off for cosplay or something and go get another one eventually.

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My idea is about the 18+ events.

At check in (Pre-Reg or Regular Reg) we have to show our ID's with our confirmation anyway, right? If we're 18+ have them give us the wristband right then and there. It'll take an extra ~2 seconds per person that's 18+ sure, but it'll save how many people how much time later on? I didn't know about the wristband and had to get out of line and run around like crazy 10 minutes before the panel to go get one and whatnot.

This isn't to say to cut the night-time wristband collection all together, keep it for people who take it off, who never got one, etc etc, but some people like me who want to fill the most of their schedule can get it on check in, then if needed take it off for cosplay or something and go get another one eventually.

I believe the main reason is that we as volunteers are not approved legally to check id's. If we do, and a person under 18 is allowed into a 18+ event, then we got huge problems. People who are at the wristband booth are trained and all that jazz so they can check for fakes and stuff.

It would be nice to have the booth set up during Pre-Reg and throughout the whole day though.

That's more or less the problem. It's an insurance/liability issue that keeps Otakon staff from checking IDs. If we do it, a minor gets in and the parent's sue then we have no insurance to make sure that the con doesn't get shut down (lawsuits are expensive and we put most of our money back into the con, we don't keep huge amounts sitting around). The hired security that we use does have that kind of insurance, though, so they don't have to worry about being shut down by a lawsuit.

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Oh, that makes plenty of sense in why it was at one specific time then. I didn't think of the legal ramifications of needing actual officials to do the ID check and not just the staff. Thanks =)

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Oh, that makes plenty of sense in why it was at one specific time then. I didn't think of the legal ramifications of needing actual officials to do the ID check and not just the staff. Thanks =)

And there were CES people to do the badging until about midnight.

So we did provide. But next year we'll make it more clear, and advertise it a bit more.

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I don't see why people fuss so much about the badge checks. When I went to the dealers' room, the badge check didn't even make me slow my pace down, I just oriented it properly and held it up. I'd rather be "inconvenienced" than to let freeloaders slip by.

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I don't see why people fuss so much about the badge checks. When I went to the dealers' room, the badge check didn't even make me slow my pace down, I just oriented it properly and held it up. I'd rather be "inconvenienced" than to let freeloaders slip by.

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Man were the 18+ sections that bad, i didnt make it to any except for the rave. Question i have, is why even bar the dealers room from outside guests. Its not like they were offering huge exclusive discounts or anything. The dealers would make more money and People that are just interested in the merchandise woudlnt have to shell out 65 or 25 just to shop for what the dealers charge normally in the first place.

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We require badges in the dealers room for a few reasons. First of all, Otakon resources go in to the setup, running and breakdown of the DR and if someone hasn't paid the membership fees then they're getting the benefits of all of the resources that went into creating the DR without having to put in their share to help us make it happen. Also, there is no way to create a way for people without badges to go from outside the BCC to the DR, to back outside the BCC without letting them wonder around the rest of the con. If we let them wonder around without paying their membership fee then they're recieving the benefits of membership in Otakorp without having to put in their share like everyone who did pay already did. Basicly, they'd be getting a free ride at Otakon that was paid for by all of the paying attendees.

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I agree with the extra badge checks 110%. There are alot of people in Baltimore (bums mostly) who would love to get a free ride into the BCC. In fact, I nearly let one in accidentally on Saturday.

I do have one question:

Would it not be too much to allocate one person to check badges where it says no re entry at the top of the steps? As a smoker I sometimes find myself looking for the nearest door and randomly got locked out a few times. I mean there's already someone guarding it from people coming back in, so would it really be that much of a hassle to get them to check the badge and let me through?

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We require badges in the dealers room for a few reasons. First of all, Otakon resources go in to the setup, running and breakdown of the DR and if someone hasn't paid the membership fees then they're getting the benefits of all of the resources that went into creating the DR without having to put in their share to help us make it happen. Also, there is no way to create a way for people without badges to go from outside the BCC to the DR, to back outside the BCC without letting them wonder around the rest of the con. If we let them wonder around without paying their membership fee then they're recieving the benefits of membership in Otakorp without having to put in their share like everyone who did pay already did. Basicly, they'd be getting a free ride at Otakon that was paid for by all of the paying attendees.

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Would it not be too much to allocate one person to check badges where it says no re entry at the top of the steps? As a smoker I sometimes find myself looking for the nearest door and randomly got locked out a few times. I mean there's already someone guarding it from people coming back in, so would it really be that much of a hassle to get them to check the badge and let me through?

You mean the Pratt Street emergency exits by the new skywalk, which they should be yelling at us for even allowing folks to exit through in the first place?

I hope we make the Hilton skywalk a secured (badge checked) entrance next year, at least outside of prime registration hours. From the looks of things when I had that door duty, there are pass-thru doors between the balcony there and the skywalk, so that should allow folks an easier entrance than having to go back down and around to the main lobby.

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Would it not be too much to allocate one person to check badges where it says no re entry at the top of the steps? As a smoker I sometimes find myself looking for the nearest door and randomly got locked out a few times. I mean there's already someone guarding it from people coming back in, so would it really be that much of a hassle to get them to check the badge and let me through?

Unfortunately, it would be too much to ask. Our staff is stretched so thin as it is (we had 50 people working SpecOps for the entire weekend) that we can barely deal with what we already have on our plates; there's no way that we can add any more without a major increase in staffing.

As an example: this year the Artist Alley, Art Show and Video Games room staffers were overjoyed to find out that they would have with patrolling, line management and dealing with con policy violations because they hadn't had anyone to do those things in the past; it'd fallen on the staffers for that specific department to catch the rule-breakers and cart them off to SpecOps. Who did all this work? Myself, one other staffer (who I brought on specifically for this cause I realized that I was SO screwed) and a TCG who signed her soul over to me for the weekend. I worked 48 hours over the course of the con, fully double what staffers are expected to do, and barely slept because of the amount of work that needed to be done.

So as much as I'd love to be able to have someone to check badges and let smokers back in at the top of the steps, it just can't happen unless we get a MASSIVE amount of new SpecOps staffers this year (and I'd love a few for my staff too...).

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I think one of the biggest problems we have at the convention is an US vs. THEM sort of view of staff. Members see a problem and instead of thinking of ways they could fix it, they just think, "Oh, that's a problem for staff," and are done with it. I don't think a lot of people really realize just how few staffers and other volunteers there are running the convention, or that they all came from the membership.

For reference, guys, there were 20 TCGs this year. In the years I've been an ordinary Gofer, there were never more than 50-70 people in the Thursday night orientation. As far as staff goes, I'd estimate a good 150-200 or so, based on observations and the fact that year after year I find the same staffers in the same places doing the same jobs seemingly tirelessly and thanklessly. For a grand total of maybe 300-400 people running this convention, it's daunting to expect them to do everything by themselves (which is one reason why we hire out help). Then try comparing these numbers to the 26,000-odd members!

The best thing you can do as a member is volunteer! With more Gofers, they can keep the Staffers where they're needed, and with more Gofers, things run smoother. We're the oil in the engine of the con--without people there to do the dirty work, the important parts can't do their job and the whole machine fails. Volunteering isn't a huge commitment, either; if one person volunteers 20 hours or ten people volunteer 2, the math comes out the same. Putting in even the basic 8 hours for your badge reimbursement is incredibly easy, and more than worth it in the grand scheme of things.

In the end, better use of resources is great, but having enough resources to do a thorough job is even better.

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I think one of the biggest problems we have at the convention is an US vs. THEM sort of view of staff. Members see a problem and instead of thinking of ways they could fix it, they just think, "Oh, that's a problem for staff," and are done with it. I don't think a lot of people really realize just how few staffers and other volunteers there are running the convention, or that they all came from the membership.

For reference, guys, there were 20 TCGs this year. In the years I've been an ordinary Gofer, there were never more than 50-70 people in the Thursday night orientation. As far as staff goes, I'd estimate a good 150-200 or so, based on observations and the fact that year after year I find the same staffers in the same places doing the same jobs seemingly tirelessly and thanklessly. For a grand total of maybe 300-400 people running this convention, it's daunting to expect them to do everything by themselves (which is one reason why we hire out help). Then try comparing these numbers to the 26,000-odd members!

The best thing you can do as a member is volunteer! With more Gofers, they can keep the Staffers where they're needed, and with more Gofers, things run smoother. We're the oil in the engine of the con--without people there to do the dirty work, the important parts can't do their job and the whole machine fails. Volunteering isn't a huge commitment, either; if one person volunteers 20 hours or ten people volunteer 2, the math comes out the same. Putting in even the basic 8 hours for your badge reimbursement is incredibly easy, and more than worth it in the grand scheme of things.

In the end, better use of resources is great, but having enough resources to do a thorough job is even better.

She speaks truth, the best way to help us make the con better is to help us run the con. If you can spare 5 hours over the course of the weekend (2 friday, 2 saturday and 1 sunday) then that frees up a staffer from a menial job for those 5 hours. That means that the staffer has 5 more hours to deal with the more complex issues that come with running the con. I know that people don't want to gofer because they get stuck with "boring" jobs, but those can be some of the more important ones too.

For example, one thing that gofers get assigned to a lot is guarding elevators. I'm sure that you all know that the normal members aren't allowed to use the elevators during the con, we reserve them for staff and handicapped use. However, if we don't have someone to watch the elevators then everyone will use them and that means that our staff is slower to respond to problems and our members with limited mobility have a harder time getting around. It may not seem like much, but little things like that are very important. If a staffer is stuck watching an elevator, that's one less staffer to make sure that lines stay under control, people aren't stealing things in the dealers room, etc.

I understand that not all of you want to be staff either, but just because you gofer doesn't mean that you'll be staff one day. If you just want to give 5-10 hours to the con to help us keep things running but aren't interested in getting on staff that's fine (I can't promise that we won't harass you about getting on staff if you're good though, we need all the help we can get =P). As much as we'd love every good gofer to become a staffer, we realize that some people are just in it for the free badge or to donate a little time so things go that much more smoothly and that's fine.

Bottom line: we need all the help we can get and if you're willing to help we'll love you forever.

PS: we have cookies

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An even better idea would be if everyone going to an event, that they know has a badge check, (like the dealer's room) just held their badge up as they walked to and through the door. That way the person checking badges only has to look at you for a fraction of a second to see your badge.

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I am very willing to return to Otakon in 2009 as either a TCG or staff. For badge checks, a suggestion, in the program guide and pocket program guide, create a section that clearly states what areas of the convention requires a badge check before entering that part of the convention and have signs at each entrance that says "Membership Badge Check, Please Have All Badges Visible Before Entering Area" and at the exits of the area that requires a badge check, have a sign there reminding members that to re-enter that area, a badge must be visible.

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I am very willing to return to Otakon in 2009 as either a TCG or staff. For badge checks, a suggestion, in the program guide and pocket program guide, create a section that clearly states what areas of the convention requires a badge check before entering that part of the convention and have signs at each entrance that says "Membership Badge Check, Please Have All Badges Visible Before Entering Area" and at the exits of the area that requires a badge check, have a sign there reminding members that to re-enter that area, a badge must be visible.

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I am very willing to return to Otakon in 2009 as either a TCG or staff. For badge checks, a suggestion, in the program guide and pocket program guide, create a section that clearly states what areas of the convention requires a badge check before entering that part of the convention and have signs at each entrance that says "Membership Badge Check, Please Have All Badges Visible Before Entering Area" and at the exits of the area that requires a badge check, have a sign there reminding members that to re-enter that area, a badge must be visible.

It's safe to assume that your badge will be checked when you enter any room with programming/events (e.g. Dealers room, Video Game room, Artist Alley, pannels, etc.) as well as when you enter the BCC itself. If we happen to be too short staffed to check your badge at a particular room that is NOT an indication that we never check badges when entering that room, just that we didn't have enough people on hand to check badges that one particular moment.

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Technomage: Well maybe adding a rule in the Otakon program book and Pocket Program Guide stating that membership badges must be visible at all times and that they are subject to being checked by any Otakon staff at all times the member is in the Baltimore Convention Center. Something like:

All Otakon members must have badges visible at all times inside the Baltimore Convention Center and badges are subject to being checked by all Otakon staff members at all times that they are inside the Baltimore Convention Center.

So that way, members will understand that all badges must be visible and that they are subject to being checked at any time and that way, possibly removing the situation you made, that people will complain about having their badge checked anywhere inside the BCC also thus freeing up staff from needing to constantly tell cosplayers and others that their badges need to be visible.

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My idea is about the 18+ events.

At check in (Pre-Reg or Regular Reg) we have to show our ID's with our confirmation anyway, right? If we're 18+ have them give us the wristband right then and there. It'll take an extra ~2 seconds per person that's 18+ sure, but it'll save how many people how much time later on? I didn't know about the wristband and had to get out of line and run around like crazy 10 minutes before the panel to go get one and whatnot.

This isn't to say to cut the night-time wristband collection all together, keep it for people who take it off, who never got one, etc etc, but some people like me who want to fill the most of their schedule can get it on check in, then if needed take it off for cosplay or something and go get another one eventually.

The only issue with that is that to ensure that 18+ wristbands aren't handed to people sub-18, our reg folks would have to put them on for you, which would definitely take more than ~2 seconds.

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That's a cool idea, but it would slow things down at registration - and when you're moving 26000 people through the same area in a matter of hours, time is of the essence, so any changes that might increase the amount of time each member spends at the booth need to be carefully considered.

Still, we haven't forgotten that this needs to be addressed this year, and we're looking into it. :)

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How about having two kinds of badges? We usually get 8 or so to choose from, right? I'm assuming that the majority of people who attend Otakon are 18 or older, so it may make things easier to have maybe 5 or 6 of the choices contain a sticker that identifies members 18+ and have 2 or 3 for all members under 18.

Unfortunately that brings us back to the same issue with stamp/stickering, or doing anything else to a existing badge design ... how do you prevent the exchange of a verified id with someone who is underage? Considering the potential scope of blowback, the honor system won't cut it.

Anyone up for semi-permanent tattoos?

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Honestly, I've never had a problem with IDing at the door to 18+ events... it usually moves fairly quickly and efficiently. I usually point at my birthdate to help the staffer, since they obviously can't be familiar with every out-of-state ID...

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It is my personal feelings that a forum is supposed to be used as not just a discussion but also as a place to both debate and rant amongst each other about certain topics and discussions. As long as we're all working roughly towards the same goal (coming up with perfect suggestions for Otakurave '09) I think that if we slightly go off topic by debating what others say, or pointing out the flaws in their arguments, I think that should be forgiven. You could say it's a case of "the ends justify the means".

This is purely my opinion and I mean no disrespect. also know that I have no intention of attempting to re-create the thread that was locked, and while I may not agree with the lock, I will respect your decision to lock it.

I'm also, really looking forward to Otakon 2009, hopefully I'll be up on stage during the rave....but if I have to be in the crowd, I'll still be having the time of my life.

I would also like to (while I have everyone's attention) suggest that for Otakon 2009, if it's possible, get more registration tables open at the beginning of the con, last year some people were waiting in line for over 8 hours. I realize that Otakon is considerably larger than most other anime conventions, but if you can, I'm sure many many con-goers would appreciate any extra speed you can add to processing the registration line.

also, I agree with some of the other posters on here about the badge checking at the artist's rooms and vendor's rooms, it's not really necessary to check peoples badges every time at the door. Otakon is one of the very very few conventions that actually do this. I realize that it is possible for some people to get into the convention without paying/registering, but, Otakon has more than a sufficient amount of staff and volunteers that they would be able to notice if someone was not wearing a badge relatively quickly without having to stand in one spot. This would free up resources and staff members and allow other areas of the con (registration perhaps) to get more attention.

alternatively, if you feel it is Necessary to have badge checks at these rooms, you could consider taking a few more volunteers this year than you did the last few years, this would give you a bigger staff to work with, at a very minor cost to you (a few free badges for volunteers)

anyway, that's just my 2 cents, take it for what it is, my opinion. if you don't agree with me, that is fine, if you do, that is fine too. feel free to post how you feel below, but please, keep the flaming to a minimum....statements like "I disagree, and this is why _______" are perfectly acceptable and I look forward to hearing your opinion. but statements like "You're an idiot" only serve to prove that you have no respect for Netiquette or the Otakon forums.

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The goal is to keep Q/A and Suggestion threads usable -- the "stay on topic" stuff is meant to reinforce that, NOT to stifle debate or discussion. Just start a new thread called "Debating the music choices at the Rave" or something, and it'll be fine.

Regarding the registration question: You are factually incorrect.

I assure you, NOBODY waited in line *once the doors were open* for anything remotely like 8 hours -- nor have they in at least four or five years. We know because we watch that stuff VERY carefully, and our typical "end of line to reg desk" throughput, even at peak, is something like an hour. We process a few thousand people PER HOUR.

However, people line up hours and hours in advance and wait for no earthly reason. We spend considerable energy trying to change that pointless behavior, but people ignore us and CHOOSE to wait 8+ hours in a line, when they could (and often do) show up an hour after reg opens and speed right through.

Regarding badge checks: We will continue to check badges at all the exterior doors. As the sole occupant of the BCC during the con, there is no reason to do otherwise -- nobody without a badge should even be in the building.

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In the future, please use the PM feature if you'd like to speak with one user.

As for the rest of your post, I'm going to merge it into the 2009 general suggestions thread, since that's what it is.

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I did not want to speak to one user....I wanted to post my opinion for everyone to read.

and perhaps the 8 hours is a bit exaggerated, but I can assure you, the line does move slower than it should and not everyone can speed right through. I stand by my suggestion to add more registration tables.

oh forum admins :) they're so.....cute.....

that's all I have to say

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I did not want to speak to one user....I wanted to post my opinion for everyone to read.

and perhaps the 8 hours is a bit exaggerated, but I can assure you, the line does move slower than it should and not everyone can speed right through. I stand by my suggestion to add more registration tables.

oh forum admins :) they're so.....cute.....

that's all I have to say

Registration and pre-registration in recent years has set records for our event as far as the number of people processed per hour. If you're waiting for anywhere near 8 hours, you're either lining up insanely early or you're in line at something that is not Otakon. I know this for a fact because I was present at registration last year for virtually the entire con and I know how fast we moved the line in and through the reg process. Even at-con reggers on Friday morning were moved through very fast, with the exception of the special needs/help desk line, which we had a problem with. The regular lines went smoothly and quickly.

More tables? We already have to close down half our booths for most of the weekend because they're not used past the initial rush. And more tables means we'd need more staff to run them, which we're stretched thin on, and gofers can't handle money or (to my knowledge) use the computer system, so to pick up the slack, we'd be paying for more contracted temp workers to run booths that would only even be used for maybe a third of the con. I don't make the budget for Registration but I don't know if that would be a fiscally intelligent thing to do.

Otakon does not have "more than a sufficient amount of staff and volunteers." I believe most of your suggestions are based on this erroneous assumption. We run the convention with, if memory serves me right, about 500 staff and 100 gofers, give or take a few. We'd love to 'take more volunteers' except we can't exactly abduct people from their homes, force them to work, and then call them volunteers. :)

Despite our thinly-stretched staff, we check badges at the artist alley and dealer's room because these are benefits available to our members, not the general public, and we'd like to ensure it's kept that way. Conventions that open their dealer's room to the public expose their dealers to more theft. That reasoning is enough, IMO, to use a few gofers to keep people out.

And please don't talk down to our forum admins.

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I did not want to speak to one user....I wanted to post my opinion for everyone to read.

and perhaps the 8 hours is a bit exaggerated, but I can assure you, the line does move slower than it should and not everyone can speed right through. I stand by my suggestion to add more registration tables.

oh forum admins :) they're so.....cute.....

that's all I have to say

The forum admins' job is to keep the forum from being a useless pile of arguing masses. Check out the "forum rules" threads if you're unsure about stuff, or just ask.

As you'll note, your suggestions were moved to the appropriate section, not deleted.

Just an observation here:

Feedback is helpful, but unhelpful blanket statements with little for us to work with are much less helpful. This isn't meant as knee-jerk defense here; I'm trying to get at the heart of the problem. Who waited a long time, when, etc.

"The line moves slower than it should" does not help us solve the problem, nor does a clearly nonsensical claim that someone waited in line for 8 hours once the doors were open -- we know that to be patently false. We measure this stuff pretty carefully every year, looking for ways to improve the process. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, but we reach a point of diminishing returns, and some seemingly obvious suggestions may have hidden challenges that aren't visible from outside.

I assure you it HAS occurred to us that adding more booths to the registration area would help. However, registration already consumes a lot of resources: booth and PC rental, setup time, hired temp staff, a large number of both staff and gofers, spec ops people to manage the lines, etc. I suspect that Matt could give you more information about our average throughput time, how many people we process, and possibly why we haven't added more reg booths, but I suspect it's that whole "diminishing returns" thing.

I know that for pre-reg pickup, we typically process 8-9000 people in four hours -- most of them in the first three. (People frequently get in line weds night, nearly 24 hours before we open our doors, for no reason.) That's all 30-odd booths running pre-reg pickup. The other 17,000 were split among friday and saturday, more or less equally, with big surges in the morning that were down to a trickle by noon. For registration, the throughput is considerably less because there is money to handle.

Now there was some lining confusion last year outside (the long and often unnecessary line tangled itself up), but the rate of processing was pretty consistent.

What would be helpful is specific examples. What day, what time, was it at-con reg or prereg, etc.

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you obviously did not read my thread properly..... the sufficient staff I was talking about was purely about keeping tabs on the guests and attendees..... you do not need to have staff members standing in one spot (the vendor/artists rooms) to check badges....500 people walking around, working in various areas is more than enough for them to be able to spot people not wearing their badges.

also, when I say take more volunteers, I meant that if you take 100 gofers...then this year take 150 or something.....this is of course assuming that Otakon does not take every single volunteer that offers their time......however, if you do take every volunteer/gofer and do not turn anybody away then I retract this suggestion.

but, I'm going to assume that if Otakon has over 10,000 people attend...more than 100 of those 10,000 offer to volunteer.

speaking of volunteers though, I never said they should handle the money...I'm saying you should use volunteers for things like checking badges, working coat check, basically...anything that staff members are doing, but volunteers could be doing is what should change....volunteers are there to do the crap work that staff members don't want to do..this way the actually staffers can be elsewhere doing more important things.

also, you might see that I said, 8 hours is an exaggeration.....but that doesn't mean the line moves really fast either...yes it's true, Otakon does a great job at moving the line..I'm simply suggesting that it could move faster.....more registration lines/tables would achieve this...and besides, this is only a suggestion...not a demand

I apologize if you think I'm talking down to the admins...that was not my intention at all....I was merely trying to point out that they (like most admins) enjoy abusing their power here and are a little too uptight for my liking.

speaking of that....I don't wanna get yelled at for "going off topic" here...so I guess I should make another suggestion.

you really only need 5 staff members working the rave....1 staff member at each door (main stage and side room)....1 staff member in each room (main stage and side room) keeping tabs on things and running coat check, and then a volunteer walking between the 2 rooms to help where needed....this is of course excluding any sound guy or VJ you might have there....... basically my point is that you don't need more than 2 staffers in each room

P.S. you have some members saying they register about 1000 people in an hour....your suggestion of 8-9000 in 3-4 hours would more than double that estimate....this confusion leads me to believe that you actually have no idea how many people you process or how fast you do it

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We _do_ use gofers (non-staff volunteers) for things like guarding doors and checking badges.. When we have enough of them. Staff members only perform these duties when there's nobody else available to do it. Your suggestion for that is already what we do, when it's possible to do so.

As far as I know (never worked in gofer ops but know folks who do), we do not turn away anyone who wants to be a gofer unless they don't meet requirements such as the minimum age required by child labor laws. There's usually a cutoff number based on how many people we budgeted "perks" for, but I don't think they're regularly filling the quota every year. And then we cannibalize the gofer ranks to bring in new staff, which requires new gofers.

If you've ever been in our dance, you should know why we have more than 5 staffers working it. The point of the staff presence is to discourage inappropriate behavior which tends to occur in a rowdy environment like that. I won't go into details about some of the things I've seen, and put a stop to, during the dance because I'm not a special ops or dance staffer and it really isn't my place. But if there's one place that DOES need the amount of staff supervision it has, it'd be the dance, IMO.

Alabaster's numbers for pre-reg processing are correct. We put through nearly 9000 people on Thursday night last year. I have the exact numbers recorded in a notebook, so I actually do know what I'm talking about, but I appreciate the implication that we're all making this stuff up as we go along. :) 1000 people an hour would probably be closer to the rate of at-con reg - there is a difference in time taken up between registering and paying at the con, and pre-registering online and only having to show your ID to get your badge. Since Thursday evening is pre-reg pickup only, the average rate of people processed per hour is faster.

We do appreciate your suggestions but you should understand that people have suggested the same things before and there's reasons why we do certain things the way we do, and why we can't do other things. None of our admins are "abusing their power" by asking you to stay on topic, they're doing their jobs.

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(SNIP: mixxedcontroll comments)

Abusing power is arbitrarily shutting down people when we don't like them, or disagree with what they're saying. It's harassing people. We don't do that. If you're able to point to instances where that has occurred, then I'll concede the point. Until then, you need to understand that when you accuse someone of abusing their power, it is taken seriously.

Doing their job requires that moderators and admins USE their power -- to ensure the rules of the forum are followed, and to ensure that the forum's primary purpose of providing information doesn't get lost in the random stupidity and noise that plagues most other forums. That's why we have mods and admins, and that's why our forum stays civil.

We lock question threads when questions are answered. We lock other threads when they drift off target -- or we split off bits into a more aptly-named thread. We do lay the smack-down on deliberate trolling and flaming, but we prefer to educate and inform rather than just blast.

With all due respect, the nature of your suggestions does not suggest any direct experience in managing events of any size, and certainly you do not understand some of the basic requirements of Otakon. In fact, it's hard to square your assertations and suggestions with the convention I've helped run for nearly a decade.

* You are assuming that decisions are arbitrary or ill-informed; they are not. (They're usually made by people who have a lot of experience, or who've proven their judgement to be sound. Most of them are argued about by several such people.) Worse still, your statements are insulting to those who make those decisions, and put a lot of thought and effort into them.

* You assume we have an abundance of volunteers: we do not -- in fact we could use (but honestly cannot afford) a much larger staff and at least twice as many gofers. Had you volunteered yourself at some point, you'd quickly reach that conclusion. (I know literally dozens of people involved in running conventions of all sorts for several decades, and the single common thread since conventions began is that there are NEVER enough good volunteers.) But I suppose it is always easier to suggest that others help more than it is to actually show up and work your butt off all weekend.

* You assume that Dance could use fewer staffers; we barely have enough to manage that crowd as it is. Were I feeling less generous, I'd guess that your suggestion had ulterior motives. Fewer staffers means more bad stuff goes unnoticed. People get hurt when large crowds aren't properly supervised.

* I was pretty specific about the 9000 people number -- it was prereg only, with all booths running. And I specifically stated that at-con registration ran much slower due to the payment portion. You seem to have skipped over that part in favor of lobbing an insult my way, so perhaps you need to read more carefully.

In short, you're making a lot of assumptions that are demonstrably wrong -- as our numbers and other documentation back up. If your base assumptions are off-kilter, it's hard to take your suggestions seriously.

You're being VERY insulting in the process -- when it's obvious to anyone who actually works at Otakon or pays close attention that you don't know what you're talking about.

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bloody, it cut me off while i was in edit:

.

mixx, i'd quit while your ahead, as alb said, you don't seem to know what your talking about and just saying people waiting 8 hours in line after the doors open proved it.

otakon staff is stretched very thing because you have people like me that only go to the con to have fun. though, after seeing you bash these guys on here , you just made my guilt factor shoot up and making me want to volunteer at least a FEW hours....

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As a volunteer who's worked pre/registration on all four days before, let me tell you that yes, I wholly believe that we move at least 8000 people on Thursday--very likely more--and at least 1000 an hour after the rush on Fri/Sat. Even from 6pm to registration close on Fri. and Sat., we move at least 500 an hour. We work hard at it, and we're proud of our numbers. We try to do our best for the convention and for our attendees, and even if 8hrs were only a 300% overexaggeration instead of a nearly 700% one, it would still be demeaning and insulting to both the people doing the work and the people representing our work to you. What purpose would they have to lie, when accurate information and personal testimony is so readily available?

Furthermore, you seem to forget that the reason gofers are called "gofers" instead of "volunteers" is because the staff is also volunteering their time. They work hard! Much harder than it looks like to the outside, much harder than you're currently trying to make it seem. While one would hope that 1/100 people would volunteer, let me assure you that the actual numbers are much, much lower. And would you want to be the person who's in charge of that many people? No, we really need probably another half to two thirds as many volunteers--both gofers AND staff--to ensure there's coverage where there needs to be.

As for things the gofers do, you don't seem to understand just what we're there for. We don't just go-for; we guard doors (I'd estimate that at any given point in the convention, there are at least 9-10 gofers just guarding doors/other areas), we assist at the con souvenir booth, we herd people into organized and orderly lines. At registration, for every booth open, there is a gofer. In the movie rooms, there are two gofers. In the staff rooms and the convention nerve centers, there are gofers. We run the projectors, hand out badges, run errands between areas, and do all the things that staff needs someone to do so that they can be in charge of the important things: making sure the schedule is adhered to (there are more people in charge of this--and still, somehow, never enough--than you could possibly imagine), making sure that the rules are followed, making sure the gofers don't drop dead from exhaustion (we will run ourselves into the ground for them, willingly, and feel honored to have the privilege...not that they generally let us). They take care of the guests, they give out directions. They even keep an eye on your stuff, should you lose it, and try to make sure you'll get it back. You have been unbelievably rude to people who work so hard to make sure that you have the fun you came for.

I'm sorry if this reply is too long or just rehashing things that have been said in other responses, but I can't stand seeing someone who so clearly has no clue what's going on behind the scenes make such ludicrous and poorly-thought-out accusations about the way this convention is run. The staff does a damned fine job at what they do, and I personally feel you should be more respectful--and maybe a little more grateful--to them for doing it. If they weren't so dedicated, if they weren't so seemingly tireless, if they didn't care half as much that you--yes, you specifically, and every other attendee--enjoyed yourself, Otakon would have collapsed under its own weight years ago. Remember that this is their vacation time, too; I'm sure they could think of a thousand things they could be doing instead when July 16th rolls around, but they don't want to. They work for a week solid so that we can play for three or four days, and they do it graciously, with a smile and good cheer. The staff has my unending admiration for all of the little things that they do, and it galls me that they don't seem to have that from everyone. Without them, there would be no rave for you to enjoy. Now there's food for thought.

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it was never my intention to bash anyone.... I only meant to point out my own personal observations...but obviously, we can not reach an agreement.

It's funny that it's mentioned that I have no experience in staffing these such events, when I myself have not only been on staff but was actually head of staff at a solo-rave in Pennsylvania that hosted over 1000 people in one night, split between 3 stages....we had no more than 3 staff members stationed at each stage while the others were either watching the door or were keeping tabs on the vendors or were behind the counter, selling drinks.

we had no major problems throughout the night, and were only forced to throw 1 person out.....my point is, people are not the monstrous bad guys you think they are...while some "shenanigans" may happen, there really isn't a need to have a ton of staff members at each stage. But, since I'm not a staff member or head of the con-chair, I can't make any actual decision. Do as you will.

in response to everyone else, I don't care what you think....I'd rather voice my honest opinion about things and hope things change for the better, than to just sit back and kiss the con-staffers a**es.......

does the con staff do a good job?....YES

Could they do a better job?......YES

and that's my point

But, as I said at the beginning of this post, it doesn't look like anybody will agree with me...so there is no point in continuing this thread.

as always, Peace and Love...and remember, Don't hate.

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I think you're failing to realize that 1000=/=26000 and Pennsylvania=/=Baltimore.

And juat because people disagree with you does not make the whole thread pointless.

And it's very obvious that you are trying to bash some people. The whole "forum admins are so cute" thing is a bit condescending, dontchya think? And just because you don't know what you're talking about doesn't mean we're kissing their asses. It just means you don't know what you're talking about.

As for lines, I'm not sure why you'd expect them to "speed by" as you say. With that many people, and they all have to show papers, pick a badge, write on it, blah blah, it's not as if people are just grabbing badges and running away. If you're so concerned about having more gofers, then VOLUNTEER! If you know exactly what everyone's supposed to do, then get involved. And get others to do the same. See?

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yes...but I'm using that 1000 people as a comparison to the raves only.....while Otakon does have like 20,000 people in attendance.....only about 1000 or so are ever at the rave at one time.....trust me...you wouldn't be able to fit all 20,000 people into that room.

so as far as that goes...Yes, the rave only could be staffed by a smaller number of staffers than what they are using...and since this is a thread about suggestions to free up resources...I'm sticking with my suggestion being...use less staff members at the rave

and I'm only saying that people are kissing asses because....out of all the people on this forum...I seem to be the only one pointing out negative things about the con-staff...where as everyone else, apparently sees the con-staff as perfect and that the con-staff in no way could possibly get any better.

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