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Author Topic: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)  (Read 30721 times)

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Gigantor

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Thanks so much ewu for taking the time to write all of that out and give some background explanation to the problems that registration faced, and overcame for the fans. I always appreciate the insane amount of hard work that staff and the volunteers do for the con.

I was unaware personally of the problem you mentioned with an overlapping event at the Fairmont. Having personally had to break down and set up events in a short amount of time, even with excessive planning its an enormous rush to meet strict deadlines. The fact Fanime staff worked so hard to get that done as soon as possible really impresses me.

Even though there were problems with the registration process its clear the staff did their best with what they could and the resources that they had at the time. I think there is clearly improvement that can be made in the overall registration system but once the event starts that can't be changed anymore and the registration did their best with the system they had in place.

Reading your response to this and reading about your future plans you are considering, really shows to me the dedication of Fanime proactively tackling and resolving this problem. As long as the staff strives to resolve this registration problem, I know I will definitely continue to attend in the future and others will as well.
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cutiebunny

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Mailing badges – There are four issues.. 4) Counterfeits – counterfeiters are given 20 days to counterfeit instead of the current 3-4 days. We do take your feedback seriously and each year we explore the possibility of mailing out badges, but have in the last few years found the risks too great. This year we will reevaluate it again and work on more ways of mitigating the risks, maybe it'll happen, but gotta evaluate it first. AND passing on the mailing charge and postage is simple and we would be more than willing to, but as shown above it is much more than the cost of a stamp.

How much of a problem are counterfeiters?  While I'm sure there will always be people that will try to get a badge through shady means, I doubt that the majority of your attendees will go this route.  Many people will gladly pay to support their local convention.  But let's assume, for the sake of an argument, that 5% of your 20K attendees will buy a counterfeit badge, or 1000 people total.  At $60 for a weekend pass, that's a loss of $60K in revenue.  Is this potential loss of revenue worth so much to Fanime that they're willing to forsake the convenience of paying extra to avoid waiting in 5+ hour registration lines?  Judging by most of the feedback I've read on the forums and on Facebook, it sounds like the lack of convenience will cost you more than $60K in revenue with as many people threatening to boycott Fanime 2014 due to this year's registration snafu alone.

And if you're so worried about counterfeiters, why not create some security features onto your badge?  You don't need to buy hologram stickers, but there are ways of inserting sneaky little features into your documents that counterfeiters may not notice in a 3-4 week interval, and many of these cost little to implement.  Things like dry seals would be cheap to create and difficult to counterfeit, especially in a 3 week interval.

Regarding mailing and the possibility of pricing high school students out of the market, why not offer attendees the *option* of either receiving their badge in the mail or picking it up at the con?  Those that are willing and able to pay more can avoid the lines and pay a service fee for the convenience, and those that can't or aren't able to pay will line up?  If even 40% of your attendees opt to pay for the mail service, that'll cut the amount of people waiting in line for registration considerably.  And those that, for whatever reason, must wait in line will experience shorter wait periods with a significant portion of the attendees' already registered thanks to opting to receive their badges in the mail.
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renalcul

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Of note, 7 hours in line has a minimum wage opportunity cost of 56 dollars before taxes. Many working adults would gladly pay 20$ not to waste their time.
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Nyanko

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What if when you checked into your hotel you recieved your badge/group badges then? Or possibly, group badges based on what hotel you are staying at and have each hotel have a pick-up area inside so that way you're dealing with smaller groups, versus one giant mass of everybody. And for everyone else that isnt in a hotel, or registered for their room (because, cmon, people stack tons of people in rooms) gets their badge in the regular badge pick up line.
Just a thought, i cant think of it but i know another con does this, and i think having smaller groups of people would be more managable than trying to have everyone all at one place at one time.
Like i could see this working for day 0. For the pre registered and early registered people, who should already have their badges printed out with their names on it already. And for the rest of the con, having badges like this year, where you just stick the name on it, and have a reg./pick up areas at the fairmont and at the con.

As a side note, i just wanted to say i give so much kudos/props/internet hugs to the staffers. You guys were great, and worked really hard. Every single staffer i talked to (minus one, but that was a B&W ball staffer) were awesome and so nice, and if they didn't know the answer, they found someone who did. So thank you for all your hard work this con. Hopefully next year won't be as stressful for you peeps.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:37:28 PM by Nyanko »
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Sunara Ishi

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So goodies actually depend on sponsors. We continue to look for new sponsors to give us cool stuff, but sometimes it does not get finalized in time for con. Hopefully more next year!

As for resubmitting the form, feel free to do it if you have more suggestions!

And for realz, we don't sit back and laugh at people waiting in line....I know for a fact that nearly every person in charge had some kind of mental breakdown or another over this weekend. We want you to pick up your badge in 20 min or less....but we also want the thousands of other attendees to too. *sigh* We will keep on working hard. *sad face eric*.....

I know many pre-reg people were upset this year do to lines, no-badge day 0, etc. That previous positives of pre-reg were nullified. Would it be possible to bring back the extra goodies for pre-reg people?

Way back in 2003 all people that reg'd got a Viz totebag (while the supply lasted). It seemed to me that there were other goodies as well.

I know that fixing reg will take time so is there ways to make fans feel like the extra time spent in line was worth it?

Slightly off topic: Also, I already filled out a feedback form. Can I send another when I think of more things? Or is it only one per person? Because I forgot to say some things on the first one... like thanks for all the hard work. -.-;
I know all of us have been complaining a lot but seeing as fanime didn't erupt into flames, staff was doing something right even if it wasn't obvious. XP
Thanks for letting us know about that.

As for the staffers. I wasn't implying that they did laugh at line-goers. I have heard stories about how bad it is; I have friends in staff (including reg). I heard how staff were there at until 3am from Day 0 only to have to come in at 8am on Fri. You guys are extremely dedicated, patient, and work your butts off. I am throwing ideas out as just ideas; please don't take them as attacks because they aren't.

But that brings up something; there needs to more incentives to get people to staff reg. I always hear staff and potential volunteers say to avoid reg like the plague. And that seems to play a huge factor in the reg problem. But whatever incentives you use, they have to pay out after the fact or people will ditch as soon as possible. You really need something to counter the negative impression that people get of working reg.

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But that brings up something; there needs to more incentives to get people to staff reg.

You really need something to counter the negative impression that people get of working reg.
I'm actually working on that, too. (: If you have any ideas, please let me know by e-mailing registration.
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Sunara Ishi

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But that brings up something; there needs to more incentives to get people to staff reg.

You really need something to counter the negative impression that people get of working reg.
I'm actually working on that, too. (: If you have any ideas, please let me know by e-mailing registration.
The only thing I got right now is the whole "Hungry? Join staff, we'll feed you." But I'll let you know if I think of something better.

(Btw, sorry if I pointed out the obvious but I feel that most fans don't realize all the problems reg faces. My posting here is partially to express my ideas to them too. )

Edit: Emailing some ideas.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:56:28 PM by Sunara Ishi »
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Tetsuo

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What really bothers me is the fact that staff weren't really paying any attention to people who were cutting in the ballroom. Me and my friends took time to remember who was in front of us since the first room, but found that we ended up 5 people behind that person as soon as we got outside. Then, when we got to the ballroom, a girl just came and cut in front of us as the line was moving. After a while, she had a friend of her's come in and cut as well. Needless to say, we were pretty mad. A staff member came to our spot, and we assumed that she was going to do something about the cutters. We were shocked to find out that she actually let him cut because they were dating. Just when we thought it couldn't possibly get worse, the same girl that cut us called a friend from the back of the line to cut in front of us too. All while the staff member was making out with her boyfriend as they were laughing. Honestly, this gave us a major migraine. When we finally got to the next room, I took the time to get the staff member's ID number. S5500. At least last year, the problem with pre-reg was uncontrollable. This year, however, everyone was aware and in control of what was going on. If this same situation happens again, I'm afraid that next year's Fanime will be impossible.
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Makoto

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The day 0 line was the worst experience I've ever had in any convention ever. I can even say with confidence that the line was the worst waiting experience I've had in my life. My group were set to wait in line around 1PM of day 0. Now, my memory is a bit foggy but if I recall correctly, the line was supposed to start at 7PM. That's pretty much 6 hours of people preemptively lining up to get their badges earlier. What seemed like a simple line that started in a room in the Fairmont became a horrible mess that made us move from room to room because the capacity was not taken into consideration. What happens when there is a bunch of movement in lines? Cutting.  It was bound to happen, and it happened to my group. It started with one girl who magically appeared in front of us, and because of the confusion and the misdirection that the staff were feeding us, we thought that we were in our rightful place in line. After we were moved outside, a waiting process that had us sit on pavement for a little more than an hour, the line was pretty peaceful. Then we were moved inside to where the actual waiting room was located, the room before the room with the computers. I'm not sure how to describe it, but we were in the first half of the room somewhere behind a hundred or so people to get moved onto the last room. Hours pass by and the line finally moves, which was an hour late according to the 7PM set time. As we make our way to the 5th or so row, the girl who cut in front of my group called in a male friend who was never there. Minutes later, a staff member joined them and called in a girl who I saw was a hundred or so people behind me in line. That's right, waiting in line from 1PM, these people were NEVER in front of us, and now magically, they are, because one staff member allowed them to. Now, I don't simply blame them for the line being a monstrous journey from room to room to pavement to room to room, but they sure did make the entire experience especially sour for all of us. That, along with the constant reassurance of staff who skim through lines and say that "we're here to make sure that nobody cuts", pretty much guaranteed to my group that, if the line is going to be like this, there is no way we're going to go next year. That being said, maybe someone would wonder why we didn't just complain or inquire about the people cutting. The answer is simple. If we've already waited in line for around five hours, there is no way we would risk prolonging it or being kicked out by complaining against a staff member (even if she did let the other people cut us). Needless to say, we got our badges at around 10PM, backs aching, feet extremely sore, and heads about to explode. We did not enjoy the entire convention because that physical stress carried over to the following days.

As for suggestions, I've read it before and now I'm seeing it again, but I have to agree--
Just mail out the badges.
I know the saying is cliche and doesn't work with every situation, but if other places can do it, this place should be able to as well. I'm willing to pay extra to have the badge mailed out to me. Any other shenanigans and crap that I have to deal with, I'd gladly do, as long as it's not waiting in line.

And please, I'm not sure exactly what kind of staff I was talking about in my little recollection, but all I knew is that this person who let people cut in front of us was wearing a staff badge. I'm under the assumption that because she is staff, she is a representative of Fanime. If you're worrying about staff numbers, I suggest you deal with quality first, and then quantity.

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Lucifargundam

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This year, however, everyone was aware and in control of what was going on.
No it wasn't.
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Lucifargundam

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Just mail out the badges.
I know the saying is cliche and doesn't work with every situation, but if other places can do it, this place should be able to as well.
Can't because it needs to be made sure you get yours in your hands. Hence why ID is checked to get your badge. This has been a recurring suggestion since prior years. I'm witness to this.
If you're worrying about staff numbers, I suggest you deal with quality first, and then quantity.
Would you like to volunteer? Don't know personally if you have the qualifications, but if you do- I'm sure the help would be nice.
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renalcul

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Can't because it needs to be made sure you get yours in your hands. Hence why ID is checked to get your badge. This has been a recurring suggestion since prior years. I'm witness to this.
I think at this point what fanime just needs to do is get whoever their lawyer is to come out and tell us the logistics of everything, because we are basically to the point that something needs to change to the degree of either mailing out the badges, making them easier to distribute, or quadrupling the registration staff.
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Dagger-6

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If I was allowed to complete my staffing hours prior to fanime stuffing badges for mailing I would much rather do that than work for 24 hours during the con.

Just saying...if you're worried about manpower, there's a reason some people prefer staffing departments that do most of their work pre/post con.

As others have mentioned, I would study other cons that do mail badges and see how they deal with similar issues.
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Empathy

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And if you're so worried about counterfeiters, why not create some security features onto your badge?  You don't need to buy hologram stickers, but there are ways of inserting sneaky little features into your documents that counterfeiters may not notice in a 3-4 week interval, and many of these cost little to implement.  Things like dry seals would be cheap to create and difficult to counterfeit, especially in a 3 week interval.


Steps are already being taken to stop counterfeiters, but I believe the current measures probably would be easily broken within a 3 week period pre-con. I'm not sure, however, that counterfeiters would be a severe enough problem? If it comes down to that, then it might be worth looking into protecting the more lucrative events with specific tickets a-la AX, as much as I'd hate that.

As far as mailing badges goes, though, it saddens me that Fanime does not do this yet. Some larger and some smaller cons manage to do it and don't seem to have too many problems (from an outsider POV). There's gotta be a better way, whether it be an emailed barcode like AX (who's system still leaves a lot to be desired, though it processes more people than Fanime's), or straight up mailing badges like ACen and many major comic conventions. Worst case scenario, to cover for fibbers that lie about USPS losing their badges, delivery confirmation/tracking would have to be used and incorporated into the mailing cost. Anything with a worth of ~$50 or more should be signed for by somebody who picks it up, anyways (in my oh so humble opinion).
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 09:55:23 AM by ewu »
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Jiraya

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I get the counterfeit issue, but I suppose I don't fully get the worry. I only had to show my badge to get in to the game room, and the dealer room. Maybe I am not noticing the rovers walking around spotting those without badges. It does seem to me that a bar code, or QR code is the way to go and if the badges are preprinted as in years past pick-up could be done quickly, or if mailed a quick scan at the door to show valid entry or bogus, then enjoy your time at the con.

It is one of these unfortunate things that show the growing popularity, how this is handled will either continue the success or spell the end.
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phr34kish

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As far as getting more staff to volunteer, I know for me personally the minimum hours required becomes preventative. I run an AA table, and unfortunately, hours overlap. I looked into possibly joining staff (Reg or AA) and while all I really did was skim the rules on the surface (I didn't really ask any deeper than what was advertised) I can't do both Staff/Volunteering AND participate in the AA at full capacity.

Is there a way they can introduce some sort of "mini" staff/volunteer position? Half shifts? You may get more people interested in helping out, and possibly a larger rotation if people still feel they get a chance to experience everything else they're interested in during con. If it were me, I wouldn't be asking for any sort of compensation for that sort of shift, so I don't know if you would need some sort of way to "pay". Half shifts certainly aren't worth reimbursing a badge for, but it could open the door to get more people to show up.
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hikanteki

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Eric, thank you for posting the explanation and reasons.  I'm still not convinced that this snafu wasn't preventable, but it's a great step that staff is responding to our concerns.

Hi all,

It’s me again. I wanted to note a few issues to guide your feedback.... Please read my wall of text <3

Mailing badges – There are four issues: 1) Minors – We need to have contact information and do some ID verification because of the number of minors we have at con.

Then can you just require the minors to reg on site?

Quote
2) Lost by the attendee after receiving it 3 weeks before the convention or lost by USPS in transit; not cool to charge lost badge fee if USPS lost it (we also can’t tell if they are lying to get a duplicate badge for their friend).

Include a tracking number on each badge sent out.  I don't think anyone would mind having to pay extra for it and if they do, they have the option to register on site (where it will be slightly more expensive anyway.)  If the attendee loses it, it's on them.

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3) not enough staff before the convention to process the mailing out of a few thousand badges.

There wasn't enough staff during the convention either to process a few thousand badges. :-\  But, if there's going to be something that requires a lot of staff before the convention, then advertise on the boards/fb/etc that you need staff for that time period.  Or hire some people for pay.

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4) Counterfeits – counterfeiters are given 20 days to counterfeit instead of the current 3-4 days.

How big of a problem was it in the past?  I can't imagine that it was as high as 5 or 10%, or anywhere near that.  And, people have suggested additional security measures such as holographic stickers or watermarks.

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Opening at 7pm on Thursday – We normally have 18 hours to set up reg and get it ready to run. This year, at 5pm another event was still in the regency ballroom. In two and a half hours, nearly 100 people (from Fanime, the Fairmont, and the previous event’s staff) worked together to get a large stage and two 30’ projections screens out of the room and get in all the reg booths, caution tape lines, and laptops in. This task would have normally taken 3 hours to load out and 4 hours to load in to do it correctly. The changeover was a herculean feat, but should have not happened and WILL NOT HAPPEN NEXT YEAR. In years past we would open at 5, close the line at 8 and reg until 12 midnight to clear the line. This year, we opened at 8 closed the line at 10 and regged until 3:30AM.

This forgives why registration opened late, but not the amount of time it took to register once it actually opened.

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People sitting at computers doing nothing – We found out very quickly that the bottleneck was printing. We had to stop people at the booths from registering so that the printing area was not mobbed with people, making printing even slower and causing a fire hazard. Last year, the bottleneck was payment, but many did not notice when we stopped people from entering their personal information. Payment was fixed....maybe a little too well! (hey look, an improvement from 2012....)

Why did the badges have to be printed out this year?  That's a lose/lose as it made things slower AND people who preregistered got a tacky looking sticker on their badge rather than their name printed on the badge...as opposed to previous years when preregistration badges were made ahead of time and simply handed out to attendees.

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Raising prices – Over the next few years we will likely do this to cover costs of a spiffy system and that stupid thing called inflation, but an eventual consequence is that high school students who save all year long will be shut out of the convention. Someone on staff told me that he wanted to improve reg with the sole purpose of giving 4 days of happiness for high schoolers that do not fit in well anywhere but a few places like fanime and that pinch pennies for the 360 other days of the year.

How much do you estimate raising prices by...$10? $60? I don't think the former will make or break someone.
If high schoolers (or anyone else) get so fed up at having to wait 6 hours in line and don't go next year, then the lower price will be a moot point.

Quote
Future plans – We are looking at a number of solutions including throwing money at fancy technology and hiring people to supplement the reg staff. We are also looking at ways to optimize the reg system and taking in account the different types of people we have flowing in each day and the systematic and the aforementioned psychological impact of lines. In the end, however, we do need to balance the amount that is expended on reg because with a 5 min wait, we may not have enough money left over for programming! :) I am excited to see what is to come, yet a bit nervous because the power could always go out on us :P

That's good to hear.  Thank you for looking into solutions for this. 

One suggestion, if you don't decide to mail out badges (and I'll send this to the official comment box) -- until Fanime is sure that registration is fixed, get rid of Day 0 (save for maybe one or two viewing rooms that require little manpower to watch), and divert ALL staff that day to registration.  It looked really bad that on Day 0 the people who didn't pay got to enjoy Fanime, whereas the ones that paid were stuck in line for 6 hours.
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ewu

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Eric, thank you for posting the explanation and reasons.  I'm still not convinced that this snafu wasn't preventable, but it's a great step that staff is responding to our concerns.

If only minors would be required to reg on site, would it not be awesome motivation for them to lie? but yah, we need info for everyone, not just minors. The number of minors was the impetus for such a requirement, but not the only group required to verify ID. I also think tracking is a great idea. I'm not sure how it would scale to a few thousand badges but it will surely be something we will look into if we mail. As for not having enough staff, we are looking at tech solutions that can be a "force multiplier" to defeat reg the hoards of attendees...:) Counterfeiting is an internal issue, so I cannot discuss it too much, but in the end it is a problem. The badge scheme was a combination of a we have the supplies and machines and a compromise that we did not have enough time. We may be able to bring back the preprinted pre-con badges and still have at con ability. As for raising prices, I'm not sure, but we try not to do that too fast.

Thanks for your suggestions. As always we do carefully consider them, but also run into the issue that reg is an immensely complicated creature and some solutions are much less feasible than they appear on the surface. Let's see how we can make it a happy con for 2014. We are working hard to put LineCon out of business!
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People like Tetsuo are very much needed on the attendee side... and it brings up an important point. whenever attendees argue or complain about staff.. and try to tell other staff about that individual.. it's very much difficult to narrow down the problem areas unless you get a name or badge number.

just like how staffers can identify attendees by badge number, we can do the same for staff as well. now we can talk to the person in question and get their side of the story. if there is a legit problem, it's easier to get fixed. much better than a wild goose chase trying to figure out who it was.

also.. as if it wasn't already obvious in the title of this thread, proper feedback needs to be done via the form. sure there's a few staffers that come in and read this thread.. but not all do. the forms on the other hand, are read by the people that you want to read it.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 10:34:45 AM by ewu »
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sure there's a few staffers that come in and read this thread..

me... O:-)
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