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Masquerade, Concert, AMV Contest and anything else with lines


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((I didn't really see anything else about this, so my apologies if it a duplicate thread))

Having attended Otakon since 2002 (not as long as some, but long enough to see the con size almost double) I have gotten more and more frusterated with the 'lines' and the way they are handled.

My question, why don't we 'pre reg' those events. You get 'something' that designates that you have a seat reserved (perhaps even actual reserved seating much like you would have if you went to a broadway show). Anyone who doesn't have a tag/ticket has to wait until the auditorium is filled to see if there is extra space.

This would probably help to alleviate some stress all around and issues at the con (mainly from disgruntled con goers who are ticked with the line procedure).

Exactly how would this be done?? Well here are some ideas.

Premake badges: Some cons (I know they are usually smaller) premake badges. I know there is some issue with showing the artwork on the net, but we could always choose based on the anime the badge represents as from what I can tell they are usually promo prints.

If the badges are premade then the lines move quicker on Thursday night (though I will have to admit I don't really have a problem with that line, since there is no where else to be).

You also can 'hard wire' registered events onto the badge (back of the badge or something)

AMV seat 550

Masq seat 100

Concert seat 275

Guest Panalist 10

(or something like that)

Send 'tickets' like you would to a broadway show or musical concert.

They don't have to be real tickets. They could be emailed documents that are verified at pre reg with a stamp or sticker since I know there are crafty people out there wouldn't have qualms about forging a email based ticket if they have a template from a friend.

I would love to be able to see more of the Con and not spend a vast majority of it in line. I even skipped a bunch of panals that I would have loved to have gone to so I could stand in line for a huge event. Which I don't think is really fair to the panalist.

I know you will always have lines, but by doing some of this stuff behind scenes you could greatly improve everyones mode when those times come around.

And I've seen the look on the faces of the staff and goefers as the lines begin to know that these events are not exactly their favourite time of the con.

So those are my thoughts. I'll prob find something else to say later.

Cheers All,

Shan

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I don't believe badges have been a bottleneck at pre-reg pickup since we ditched the laminators - that was, indeed, a huge time-sink. Now people write their name on the badge of their choice (and I know badge choice is something almost nobody wants to get rid of) and slip it into a holder. Pre-making them is simply not resource-efficient - as you say, the cons that pre-make badges are much smaller than we are. ;) A much bigger waste of time at pre-reg is people who don't have their ID out of their wallet already when they get to the booth, then they have to dig around looking for it...

Am I understanding your lining suggestion if I compare it to the system we've used for L'arc and other concerts? Folks with a sticker/pass/whatever get in for sure, folks without wait until everyone is seated and then fill the empty space? It's a good system for certain high-demand events, but if those concerts are any indication, it doesn't really prevent people camping lines for hours just for a good seat. It's an interesting idea but I'm not sure how we'd implement it, or what kind of resources would be necessary to do so.

Reserved seating with "tickets" of any kind will probably never happen for any Otakon events, especially as long as masquerade takes place in the Arena - we'd have to involve Ticketmaster for that, I believe. And in the Arena, I don't think masquerade has ever filled to capacity, so getting in isn't a problem - just getting a good seat. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong, I've never attended an Otakon masquerade, at least not since waaay before we used the Arena.)

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Otakon has always operated under the philosophy that any member of the corporation can attend any of the weekend's events. From time to time, capacity limits of certain spaces have forced us to consider the aforementioned badge-stickering (I'm thinking of the L'arc and other concerts with large draws), but even then everyone who wanted to was able to attend. We strongly discourage you from lining up hours in advance, because we want you to have fun while you're at the con (unless line-standing is your thing, in which case ;) ).

Pre-registering for an event would limit this philosophy quite a bit; plus, you'd still have to stand in A Line. There seems to be no shortage of people who don't mind wasting hours/days in line just to be able to say "I was the first one into the room" - as an example, note the folks who line up on Wednesday morning for badge pickup.

The biggest line of the weekend - pre-reg/reg pickup - is actually the fastest moving. I can't imagine how slow it would become if people were receiving pre-made badges, or if the staffer needed to verify the e-mailed concert thingie. Jen also touched on why we don't sell or offer tickets - tickets are subject, among other things, to the wrath of Ticketmaster and a hefty entertainment tax. Your membership, on the other hand, is just that: a corporate membership that allows you to attend a really big meeting once a year. ;)

We do appreciate the constructive feedback, though.

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I did mention that I didn't mind the pre reg line. So I am not including that in my argument and I was not saying to get rid of the badge choice, just do it a little differently.

I have to admit my concert attending has been close to nil (I can remember being at one that was held in the convention center, not at the arena)

And the camping IS the biggest problem. It clogs areas and makes for an over all hazard.

'tickets' was meant to be used in the loosest sense of the word. It could be you are in group 1-200 you get the first 200 chairs to choose from, etc.

Another thought is to have stickers made up that get put on the back of the badge. You have groups assigned to them and do something like what you do for the 18+ events. Open up a seperate section for stickering events (kill two birds with one stone, get your 18+ band too). Get your badge and if you prepreged go to this other area to get the stickers. All the info could be in a computer for referenceing to make sure people aren't making up numbers.

Granted it is another line to stand in at the beginning, but could have overall benefits.

Then for the actual function group 'a' lines up here. group 'b' lines up here etc. camping doesn't get you anywhere as you a guarenteed a place within that group.

If you didn't bother to pre reg you wait in the 'i didn't pre reg the event' line and wait until all the groups have been seated. You can camp that line.

Hypothetically this would allow people the ability to spend more time in the con without having to worry about their place in the line. This may even have more people attending the function.

Stickers are relativly inexpensive it would just take some time to arrange, but shouldn't really be all that insane even with 75K or so worth of them.

I do miss the laminated badges.

-shan

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One problem that I see with having pre-reg for the big events is that I don't believe it is fair. Especially if you are talking about registering for these events before the con.

Here is my reasoning for this feeling. There are alot of people who do not register online. They are paying just as much as or even more than the people who pre-reg. They should have the same shot at getting up-front seats as the people that pre-reg.

I feel the same way about registering for the big events at the con. Alot of people aren't able to get to the con right when it starts, yet these people are still paying the same amount to get in as you are. They too should have the same shot as getting good seats as you.

Yes I don't like line camping. No one needs to be in line hours before an event starts, but even if you had reserved seats some idiot would still decide that he needed to be sitting at the door and hour in advance.

(I have no clue if I am using the 'quotes' right so my apologies if they don't come out)

See I would have to disagree with you on it being fair or not and I haven't clue as to why someone would wait to reg. Unless they don't have computer access, but then how are they checking up on everything?

And pre reg for an even would restrict you to getting there as the con starts. You pre reg.. you get group B. You're in group B. Stickers or what not can be with someone else for when all the reging is done.

And if you want to be the idiot sitting by the door you can go sit on the group w bench and wait because you didn't think ahead.

I don't mean to be a bitch about it, but I don't buy the excuse of 'i didn't prereg.'

Edited by The INfamous MC
Added double post. Please don't double post. See the BBS guidelines for more
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(I have no clue if I am using the 'quotes' right so my apologies if they don't come out)

See I would have to disagree with you on it being fair or not and I haven't clue as to why someone would wait to reg. Unless they don't have computer access, but then how are they checking up on everything?

And pre reg for an even would restrict you to getting there as the con starts. You pre reg.. you get group B. You're in group B. Stickers or what not can be with someone else for when all the reging is done.

And if you want to be the idiot sitting by the door you can go sit on the group w bench and wait because you didn't think ahead.

I don't mean to be a bitch about it, but I don't buy the excuse of 'i didn't prereg.'

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Yes I don't like line camping. No one needs to be in line hours before an event starts, but even if you had reserved seats some idiot would still decide that he needed to be sitting at the door and hour in advance.

Well now, I wouldn't call them idiots, just fanatics. They can be obsessed if they want, it doesn't make them stupid.

Like ZGL said, some people have a thing for standing in line. Again, far be it from me to know why, but they do.

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Yup, sounds like the basic arguments have been laid out:

1. In most cases lines are not based on seating limits, but rather on attendee behavior that seems immune to every effort to change it. Call it herd instinct.

2. We have occasionally ticketed or stickered certain events (concerts), but we've only used that approach when we expected demand to outpace supply by a significant amount. And that didn't prevent people lining up, as the thousands of people who waited for L'Arc know full well. What is perhaps less well known is that at least 2,000 more people could have fit in the Arena for the biggest event we've ever held there (L'Arc). Again, number of available seats isn't the problem.

3. The problem with many of your suggestions is that while they'd probably work great for a smaller con, they simply don't scale very well, at least not for a con our size. There are approaches that work quite well for smaller cons that just *don't* work for us. One con I know numbers every badge, and calls people for autographs by badge number. That worked for years but doesn't these days because a huge crowd forms near where the official line starts, full of people hovering until their number comes up.

4. There are a few tricks we could try, but they'd require going to a single badge design, and would slow down registration pickup significantly -- not really a viable approach for us. Adding *anything* to registration process would be disastrous and would cause hundreds of people to wait in line before they even get in.

5. We rarely turn people away, but frequently people change plans. Tickets that don't cost anything are often valueless in the long run, because there aren't any consequences if they decide to play more HALO or go get dinner instead of showing up. And setting up a ticket distribution point eats up staffers.

As an organization, we've prioritized certain things -- and making sure everyone has a fair shot at premium events, regardless of money, is one of the things we've prioritized. Unlike some cons, we don't sell you premium seating at our concerts for a hefty sum. The only way you get a "fast pass" at Autographings or a guaranteed seat for a particular guest is to win it -- usually by proving your fandom in some way.

Pre-printed badges just aren't going to happen, period. There are way too many pitfalls in that approach -- unless we went to a single design.

Personally? I wouldn't mind us going to the single design and a printable badge. but shifting to that approach would be costly, too.

The Larc stickering was a completely different thing. It didn't give you any certain seat or group. It was only there way to make sure that they didn't overpack the room. You still had to wait in line.

Specifically, it was designed so that we wouldn't have people standing in line if they had no chance of attending. (We do something similar at Autographings -- if you don't get a pass from us, there's virtually no chance you'll get an autograph. People hang around just in case anyway.)

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There are still quite a few people out there who refuse to put any information at all online. Just because you feel comfortable with it doesn't mean they should. It also doesn't mean that they should be penalized for it just because you don't want to wait in line.
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Finding a way to manage the lines effectivly could be looked at as different from ticketing.

From what I've seen, our lines are managed as well as can be (in most cases - of course, there will always be the one or two Horror Lines every year) with the resources we have available. There are not enough staffers or gofers for us to station someone at every potential linespace all day, shooing the campers away - doing so keeps us from being able to support other, more urgent areas of the con. We do try to shoo them if we can, and we encourage people not to line up early. Staffers and/or gofers are on-hand for room-loading prior to an event, but they simply cannot be there for the entirety of the con.

The new space in the Hilton is changing our layout once again, and hopefully there will be fewer crowd/line issues on the bridge over Sharp Street (outside Panels 2 and 3) because of that.

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Katsucon's masquerade had a 'no yaoi skit' rule - and as a result, 95% of the skits were excellent.

this is just my personal opinion but generally a lot of otakon's skits in the past have made me groan. is there a simple way otakon can rectify the skits before getting on stage and make sure they have quality?

Edited by Duelistbluerose
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Katsucon's masquerade had a 'no yaoi skit' rule - and as a result, 95% of the skits were excellent.

THIS....oh my god THIS! I am extremly tired of the yaoi skits. Even though last years first skit of the masq, the KH one, was good craftmanship, as soon as they started the yaoi as they where walking off the stage, i already wanted to leave

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Here's the thing I was thinking of as I read this thread....if we ever did pre-reg events (and I mean that in the MOST hypothetical sense), based on what I've seen of the pre-reg line as both an attendee and staff....people would still probably line up very early and there would STILL be a line, even knowing they had a spot/seat.

People who pre-reg KNOW they have a badge, they've paid for their membership...but most still choose to camp out Wed night/Thurs morning anyway. What's to say this won't happen if there was a pre-reg for events?

Every con has lines, this is unavoidable, and I think over the years we've managed to do everything possible to get our lines organized and to move faster, and I've seen the improvement year after year.

In fact, I've found once the doors open to an event, the line moves quite quickly.

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There's a really simple solution to the line problem...don't get in line hours ahead of events and spread the message to everyone you can. The only real way for the staff to deal with the problem is to be mean and tell people who are in line before a certain point that they need to leave, and I don't think that anyone really wants to go there. It's really something that needs to be dealt with by the members themselves because if people didn't start lines way too early then there'd be no need to get in line really early to make sure that you could get a seat.

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I mentioned this once on another BBS about the lines. I myself am also sick of those line campers, especially when it comes to high-profile panels where line campers show up an hour or three before that panel, which sometimes causes those wanting to stick around from the previous panel to clear out and likely miss out on it. I'm not imflamming anyone in particular, but it's an inheirant con issue I think needs to be looked at closer. As you mentioned earlier, with the new Hilton, traffic theoretically should be lighter around that area, but there are a couple of other [Morning] bottlenecks in the Dealers Room & TCG/Gaming Hall lines that I think should also be reexamined, because I've always seemed to have problems getting around those even though I don't hit those places until mid or late afternoon (schedule pending).

With that, I rest and start preperations for 16th Otakon.

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I've *never* understood the mad rush for the dealers room, nor the willingness to wait in a line for 3 hours and miss out on actual programming for no earthly reason.

When I go to cons, I like to pick my badge up as early as I can -- so I can understand the pre-reg line, or rather I could if *every* year it hadn't been pretty much emptied after the first few hours. It is undeniable that you could simply show up at 7pm and not have to wait long, if at all, to pick up your badge. Why waste so much of your day?

Then there's the folks who will sit up all night watching anime or playing games in their rooms, then wander around exhausted at the show they PAID for, claiming to be bored. Well DUH. :wub:

Spend a little of your downtime reading the materials we give you so you don't wander around clueless and lost. Take the time to SLEEP and EAT and DRINK WATER.

You make your own convention experience.

Come to the con for the stuff you CAN'T do anywhere else or at any other time.

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I have to agree with you. I'm one of those folk that likes to outline what to do during the con ahead of time, though last year when I got my badge on that Thursday, I was rather lucky becasue a thunderstorm had just rolled in about 10 mins after I made it into the Conv. Ctr. I tend to get worried about being caught in storms. :(

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Like alabaster, I've never gotten the DR line wait thing either. I mean, the room is open 6-8 hours most of the weekend so I don't know what the line for when it opens is for unless its just the desire to be first ones in?/Giddiness to shop?

I mean, when I attend I put programming/events more priority over shopping, but then I have friends who go mostly just to shop at the DR and go to like three events all weekend.

I guess I always see the DR line as the most uneccessary one?

But I think what happens is the line-waiting becomes something a con-tradition/social norm at this point.

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Like alabaster, I've never gotten the DR line wait thing either. I mean, the room is open 6-8 hours most of the weekend so I don't know what the line for when it opens is for unless its just the desire to be first ones in?/Giddiness to shop?

I mean, when I attend I put programming/events more priority over shopping, but then I have friends who go mostly just to shop at the DR and go to like three events all weekend.

I guess I always see the DR line as the most uneccessary one?

But I think what happens is the line-waiting becomes something a con-tradition/social norm at this point.

I think the DR line is a leftover from the days when you couldn't just find the neat merchandise you wanted readily. Part of the fun of the DR was to find things that you'd never seen before--usually at a 200% markup!--and getting there early could be the difference between scoring a sweet rare plush or just getting the common other half of the set.

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Katsucon's masquerade had a 'no yaoi skit' rule - and as a result, 95% of the skits were excellent.

I agree that this is off-topic in regards to this thread. I invite anyone to join us on the Masquerade and Hall Costume Contest section for further discussion, but I briefly wanted to state a few things:

I've expressed my reasoning a number of times over the idea of content-based screening, but there is one thing that can't be denied: the common misconception is that these "bad" skits are taking all the room away from the "good" skits. That's simply not the case. The only year between 2004 and now that we've had to turn away any skits is in 2006 by the slightest of margins.

Please resume topic, and join us in the Masquerade and Hall Costume Contest section if you wish to further discuss.

Edited by Babbit
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I accept the lines that go with the convention. Science Fiction Worldcon try to avoid having any lines at all, but anime cons accept them as part of life. I think it is because people see the value in attending those events. I think it also says that Otakon puts on something people really want to see (such as the Dealers Room full of different things).

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I think people line up for the DR because they think they're gonna get something rare that's going to sell out quickly... or some limited edition whatever. From what I've seen there's nothing super rare that you're not going to be able to get.

There is that vender, "Science Fiction Continuum" that sells 10 manga for $40 at first come first serve basis.... still, not worth standing in a line wasting 3 hours of convention time.

On the other hand, if there is really nothing going on that you find interesting Friday morning, and you enjoy drawing private parts on Nintendo DS pictochat, then I guess standing in line makes sense. This is fine if you ask me. this keeps people who aren't the brightest bulbs out of other people's way Friday morning. ;)

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