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FanimeCon Events and Discussionmentarianism => Registration => Topic started by: Poochy.EXE on May 24, 2013, 01:17:31 AM

Title: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Poochy.EXE on May 24, 2013, 01:17:31 AM
I noticed while picking up my badge today that (a) the line was several hours long, and (b) the badges were pre-printed and the volunteers had to look for each person's name, which struck me as extremely inefficient. I'd like to suggest in future years, you simply print out a bunch of blank badges. When someone reaches the pre-reg booth, just look up the type of badge they had, take a badge of that type, and scribble their name on with a permanent marker. It'll make things go much faster.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 24, 2013, 02:45:51 AM
I noticed while picking up my badge today that (a) the line was several hours long, and (b) the badges were pre-printed and the volunteers had to look for each person's name, which struck me as extremely inefficient. I'd like to suggest in future years, you simply print out a bunch of blank badges. When someone reaches the pre-reg booth, just look up the type of badge they had, take a badge of that type, and scribble their name on with a permanent marker. It'll make things go much faster.
This is the worst idea I have ever heard.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tabbychan on May 24, 2013, 08:40:52 AM
I was actually kind of disappointed at how they made the badges this year with the sticker name ^^; But I do have a suggestion:)

I know mailing out badges is a hassle but even the rovers looked frustrated and tired yesterday XD Maybe you guys could make a third option that costs like $10 more to mail out badges. You can still put out regular pre reg, early reg, ect but this one would be more expensive to help pay for shipping and such :) I know there are a lot of people who would be willing to shed that extra money so that they can avoid that line so it would lessen the traffic and make things a little smoother on your end ^^
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: OGIGA on May 24, 2013, 09:06:10 AM
I noticed while picking up my badge today that (a) the line was several hours long, and (b) the badges were pre-printed and the volunteers had to look for each person's name, which struck me as extremely inefficient. I'd like to suggest in future years, you simply print out a bunch of blank badges. When someone reaches the pre-reg booth, just look up the type of badge they had, take a badge of that type, and scribble their name on with a permanent marker. It'll make things go much faster.
That is a good idea and it's how other conventions do it. For example, ALA, the line was long but surprisingly fast.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ELDEMONIO on May 24, 2013, 10:02:56 AM
I noticed while picking up my badge today that (a) the line was several hours long, and (b) the badges were pre-printed and the volunteers had to look for each person's name, which struck me as extremely inefficient. I'd like to suggest in future years, you simply print out a bunch of blank badges. When someone reaches the pre-reg booth, just look up the type of badge they had, take a badge of that type, and scribble their name on with a permanent marker. It'll make things go much faster.

I agree that that was a stupid idea. I understand they tried doing something new which i give them credit for. But it's obvious it would take longer.And having the badges with printed names doesn't make the badge feel as special as the ones in previous years. The whole "technical issues" has happened 2yrs now and they better go back to making badges like before and extend the hours. 7pm was a horrible idea since people where still waiting in line at 11.I'm sure it was longer but i couldn't check. I don't mind the wait as long as the lines move a little. But when they have issues and we are in the same spot for like a hour then it's fustrating and makes you think what are they doing? I can rant all day but i understand some issues are not easily solved. I know they are restricted and like yesterday, had to follow the hotel's rules and have everyone outside for a few hours. Maybe it's time to give out badges in a different place where it's not as restricted? Like parks? or something.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: kookiekween99 on May 24, 2013, 10:30:52 AM
Really disappointed in the printed labels too. It's not pretty, and it covers up the artwork partially. I preregister specifically for the pretty badges, and it's so disheartening to spend six hours in line only to get a badge that isn't much different from the early reg/normal badges.

Also, waiting in line six hours last year was forgivable because of the power outage, but what the hell was up with this year? Every single time I was funneled into a new line, they kept telling me "Don't worry! You're almost there!" I felt so lied to. Why can't you just be honest and tell me, "Yay, you're finally in the building, but it's another two hour wait from here!"
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 24, 2013, 11:00:16 AM
Honestly. They should just make an option for 15$ to have it mailed to you, and heck another option for 5$ to allow for a custom artwork like staff badges.

I mean seriously. If Pax can mail them with 70000 attendees I don't see what the problem is. I mean you can counterfeit and duplicate these shitty sticker badges way easier than you can duplicate previous years.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: vralls13 on May 24, 2013, 11:58:46 AM
I think someone high up in staff has made of his/her mind that mailing is bad and no one or no thing will change their mind. That said passports (worth much more than a con badge) are sent thru the mail. Sent certified with signing required. If they are so worried about people reporting a badge as "lost" (when it is in fact not). To get around that they could require that you waive the right to have a duplicate badge. Just insure the certified mail for the price of the badge, if it really does go missing the USPS tracking will show that. Really it's not rocket science, it's a solvable problem and the fact that no one has even tried brought me to my initial conclusion. Regardless this year was it for me, I am not going if I have to spend 10 hours in line just to pick up the badge.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: hikanteki on May 24, 2013, 01:12:12 PM
This issue always comes up--people suggest mailing out badges, and in the past Fanime has always shot them down.

I realize that there are concerns about badges getting lost in the mail or people may duplicate them once they have the design.  Are these concerns justified?  Yes.  But are they justified enough to make THOUSANDS of people wait in like over 6 hours?  NO.

These are real people that have paid money well ahead of time to attend Fanime, and this year our first impression was a 7 hour wait with the names on a sticker tackily placed on the badge.  (Seriously, the pre-reg badges were the exact same quality as the at con-reg badges this year, but that issue was minor compared to the wait time.)  Some of these people had jobs or school the next day, and while some wait time is expected...getting there right when preregistration opens (7) and having to wait until 1 AM is not.

I think it's time for Fanime to start mailing out badges because the wait for lines has only gotten longer, and I don't think they'll be able to do anything at con that will make it go faster next time.  They've had plenty of chances.

Kudos to the volunteers for staying up until everyone in line got a badge...but this really could have been prevented and saved both the volunteers and attendees a lot of trouble.  I've been a loyal supporter of Fanime for four years, but unless this issue is solved (meaning solved, not simply saying "we're working on it") it will be my last. Too bad, because the convention is a couple of blocks from me.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: asiren on May 24, 2013, 01:43:40 PM
I don't really care what is used to make the process faster, but waiting 6 hours and 15 minutes in line for picking up 2 preregistration badges is ridiculous.  I actually had to wait a bit longer since I was the leader of a group of 2 (myself and my husband) and yes, there was yet another line just for groups!

I haven't been to Fanime for a several years and now I don't think I'm ever going back as I don't even really keep track of current anime anymore.  (The most recent anime I saw was Sword Art Online.)  If I do, I'm definitely not preregistering again just to suffer through another wasted 6-7 hours of my life.  I thought the whole point of preregistering was so you'd get through the registration process faster, not get through it slower than those that just show up without preregistering for it.

Part of me doesn't want to attend Fanime at all this weekend even though I paid $100 for it.

I know that the staff is doing the best they can.  However, unless the registration situation changes, people are going to either avoid preregistration or just avoid Fanime if most of the time is spent on waiting in line.  So I highly recommend figuring out some sort of method that reduces wait time and announcing it ahead of time.

Also, if you expect long lines, please inform everyone so they can adequately prepare for it.  I didn't think of bring something to eat while waiting in line Thursday night, so yes, I was also starving the whole time since I didn't have dinner yet.  Good thing I don't have any serious health issues to worry about.  I saw someone else faint while waiting in line; I hope he/she is okay.  They were far behind me in the line, so who knows how long they waited before fainting.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Physalis on May 24, 2013, 05:41:12 PM
They need to be a lot smarter for this day. About 6 hours for a crappy badge that we stood in a long line for last year. C'mon freaking make it simple mail the suckers out too.

People who bought their badge last year should have got priority vs people who bought this year.

Create 2 lines one could be for people who registered last year and groups. The other line for people who register this year.

With that being said they could add a qr or bar code so when you enter the door they can scan your registration paper. Your badge would be gathered at the room and waiting when you hit upstairs. They scan the paper and a gofer grabs from the pile. You can even have those lines in there separate as well. Bins and organization helps get the process running smoothly.

 I bought my badge but I feel like not going now nor in the future.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: sad1sttimeattendee on May 24, 2013, 06:04:07 PM
Fanime, you're hosting this convention in the middle of Silicon Valley. The place where new technology and innovation is the hallmark. Yet, why can't you integrate that into the registration/badge pick-up process?

This is the first year I registered to go. My brothers and sisters have been here before. I wanted to experience this, but can't. Thursday, line. Friday morning, line. I'll try again on Saturday, but I felt ripped off. I pre-registered, I should be able to go up to the table and just pick up my badge.

Why do I have to wait, and why can't you guys mail out the badges? This is inexcusable.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Gaki on May 24, 2013, 09:21:38 PM
I'm honestly unhappy with the way everything was handled. A line for another line which was for another line for another line? Stop me before I make an Xzibit meme. Too late, someone already did. http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3ukb6l/ (http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3ukb6l/)

I do like that pre/early reg had different badges than people who buy on-site, but printing our names on a sticker and then slapping it onto a blank card? What.The.Hell. Quote sad1sttimeattendee who may not be coming next year thanks to this fiasco:

Fanime, you're hosting this convention in the middle of Silicon Valley. The place where new technology and innovation is the hallmark. Yet, why can't you integrate that into the registration/badge pick-up process?

I know that everything is kind of a mess - you have the convention center under construction, you've got to handle the registration about a block away in another hotel, and there are huge masses of people to take care of with only a handful. Honestly speaking, I wouldn't mind having my badge held hostage for a few hours while I helped out, be it keeping the peace with the hallways/lines, helping find the proper badges, checking people in, or whatever the hell needs to be done. I also don't think I'm the only one.

And seriously guys, you're not giving us incentive for pre-registering anymore. Used to be that we could be in and out of the line in less than an hour with a shiny badge that had our name personalized on it, now it's a pre-made card with a simple printed out sticker. We're in a line that's comparable to the line of people who are buying theirs on-site instead of supporting you guys ahead of time. The only real advantage was once we got inside the line moved a little faster due to not needing to sign some electronic sheets (also, only 6-7 computers there too? We're in the Silicon valley FFS), that was it.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: nemuneko on May 24, 2013, 11:31:33 PM
This was, by far, the WORST year I have ever experienced with pre-reg at Fanime. I've been attending since the late 90s and I've never had this much of a wait for pre-reg, except on the Thursday before the con when I took part in the swap meet in 2010. In previous years, we've waited less than an hour (usually just 5-10 minutes tops) in line for pre-reg (normally getting there on a Friday afternoon). Last year, it only took about 10 minutes on a Friday. We waited over 3 hours today, while my boyfriend, who didn't pre-reg, got out in 4 hours (just a little bit after we got our badges). What the heck happened?

What is the point of pre-registering if you have to wait in line for 3+ hours? I thought the point was to avoid that. For Thursdays, I can understand (since everyone likes to get there early to get their badges before the con starts). But on a Friday afternoon? I can understand that construction is going on and the registration area had to be moved, but shouldn't this have been planned out beforehand? We asked a staff member why it was so slow and he said it was because more people were showing up than last year. I get that, but why hasn't this happened in previous years? Seems very odd to me.

I love going to Fanime (I go every single year with friends), but this was just ridiculous and really soured my experience with the con. Horrible organization and complete lack of planning. If this is how it's going to be next year, then count me out.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Poochy.EXE on May 25, 2013, 12:59:20 AM
If the reason badges aren't mailed out is concern over the possibility of counterfeit badges, here's an easy solution: Put a holographic sticker on every badge, and look for them when checking badges at the door. That's what Otakon does, and it works just fine.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 25, 2013, 03:04:17 AM
If the reason badges aren't mailed out is concern over the possibility of counterfeit badges, here's an easy solution: Put a holographic sticker on every badge, and look for them when checking badges at the door. That's what Otakon does, and it works just fine.
Honestly, with the amount of people who sneak into events without badges anyway, i'm surprised that they care so much about counterfeiters.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tsu on May 25, 2013, 01:29:01 PM
I'm one of the "lucky" ones- I came during the "slow time" on Friday and only had to spend 2 hours in line. But it was still 2 hours. I remember coming to this con a couple years ago and spending 15 minutes in line.

I know the registration staff is resistant to mailing out badges, but frankly, something has to change. The crowd is only going to get worse and registration needs to adapt in order to keep up with the increasing crowds.

I, for one, am in agreement with those who want the badges mailed out. I would pre-order earlier and pay an extra fee to get my badge. I'd sign a waiver indicating that if I lose the badge (meaning, it successfully makes it to me but I misplace it) that I don't get a new one printed unless I purchase another one. I'd do a lot of things to avoid the ridiculous lines.

And while I'm all for Thursday being badgeless, it really does destroy the only remaining point of getting a pre/early-reg badge. We don't get a short line, we don't get exclusive access a day earlier... the only thing we get is the option to stand in a 6-7 hour line in order to get our badge, by which point everyone's pretty much exhausted and doesn't want to do anything at the con that night anyway. As another 10+ year Fanimecon-goer, I'm really disappointed.

Oh, and let me be clear, I don't hold this against the registration staffers. They were utterly exhausted on Friday and did muss up a few things while I was trying to pick up my badge but considering (I overheard) that they were there as late as 2:30 AM the prior day and had to be back to it by 8, I can't blame them. We need more reg staffers and we need a system that doesn't completely rely upon exhausted people to get thousands of people processed every day.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: otakuya on May 25, 2013, 03:26:35 PM
My suggestion would be to get rid of registration altogether.

Hear me out.

Fanime is now a city wide street festival rather than an enclosed convention. You can not deny access or  have to pay to get to public areas. So have everything for free. For things like Musicfest, BW Ball, Cosplay Spectacular, etc. implement an a la carte ticket system like county fairs because not everyone is there for just one event.  The increase of outdoor and badgeless activities devalue not only the price of registration but now time. I have as much enjoyment just sitting at a park bench and watch cosplayers go by rather than spend 5-10 hours in line and pay $50+ to do the same thing.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: storrmmarch on May 25, 2013, 05:26:35 PM
The lines this year were just inexcusable.  I like Fanime and want to give them the benefit of the doubt.  By fans for fans, right?  That's the motto.

Fan's don't want to waste a convention day standing in line.

This is my third fanime in a row and unless I can get my badge before coming next year (mail, fairygodmother, whatever) I can't see myself coming back.

It's not worth my time, money, or stress to have to sit in a line all day.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: jetboy2012 on May 26, 2013, 12:28:21 AM
It seems the power that be at Fanime are taking the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it approach."  Every year, people would suggest mailing out badges and every year, it is shot down.  Granted, the system isn't completely broken... yet.  However, there are about 1000 cracks and the dam is just itching to burst. 

This year, I was in line for about 6+ hours on Thursday.  During those 6+ hours, I noticed a few things.  First, there were a lot of handicapped and special needs folks that were really suffering while waiting in line.  One of the person I was speaking with was diabetic.  He was suffering so bad that he was literally ready to keel over by hour 4.  The whole "line after line" and the "almost there" approach didn't help him either.  Second, a lot of people who took public transportation waited for 3-hours but were forced to give up because the last train left at 10:30pm. 

Three years ago, the line was about 20-min for pre-reg.  Two years ago was about 1-hour.  Last year was about 4-hours (Friday morning - power outage did not affect me).  This year is 6+ hours.  Next year, will it be 8+ hours?  If that is the case, I would not be surprised if one of the handicapped/special needs folks die while waiting in line.  While this might seem like a joke to some people, it is a serious matter.  I have seen events getting canceled (even major ones) because of incidents like these.  The last thing I want is to see is Fanime ending. 

Also, keep in mind that SJ Convention Center construction will be complete next year.  If a major incident like a person injuring or dying in line happened during the first year after renovation, I seriously doubt they will want Fanime back.  Not to mention that they definitely don't want a lawsuit in their hands. 

Construction will be done next year and the staff might believe that the situation will improve.  However, I seriously urge you to rethink this.  Almost always, unexpected events will cause problems.  It is time to seriously look for solutions and alternatives to this "long-lines" issue before it causes a major incident. 
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tsu on May 26, 2013, 11:20:45 AM
During those 6+ hours, I noticed a few things.  First, there were a lot of handicapped and special needs folks that were really suffering while waiting in line.  One of the person I was speaking with was diabetic.  He was suffering so bad that he was literally ready to keel over by hour 4.  The whole "line after line" and the "almost there" approach didn't help him either.  Second, a lot of people who took public transportation waited for 3-hours but were forced to give up because the last train left at 10:30pm. 

This really bugs me. Fanime announced a few days before the con that they were going to have a shortened line/front of the line privileges for those who are disabled, but I sure didn't see it happening in my line on Friday, either. Now, the attitude could be "if the disabled person doesn't seek help, we won't offer anything", but that doesn't make much sense. If someone is standing in line for more than an hour and is disabled, they should be given preferential treatment. At the very least, the staff should be checking in with them when they see them and making sure they're OK. Given that Friday's line was at least 2 hours and Thursdays was an abysmal 6+, there's no excuse for the disabled being overlooked. Even with a minimal number of staff walking around, over the course of 6 hours, people visibly struggling should have been noticed and aided. Using the "they should have said something/asked for help" doesn't really cover it.

In addition, what happened to the idea of the 2-pickups for pre/early reg? Was that abandoned when it became obvious that the lines were so absurd? I was in the pre-reg line and we were funneled into 2 separate ballrooms, but I don't know the name of them. Never been to the Fairmont before. But what I do know is that no one ever asked about it, so I'm guessing that all of the badges were just lumped into one pile.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: AllOfNone on May 26, 2013, 01:40:54 PM
*Incoming wall of text also please forgive me for shifting in and out of past and present tenses.  This isn't the only points I wanted to make but these are a few*

I went to my first Fanime yesterday.  While it was fun I do have some suggestions on how to improve it.  Long story short my friends and I got there a little after eight and still had to wait in line over five hours to get in.   I have suggestions for pre-reg and the convention overall.   
Just for the pre-registration and lines.   The main thing I could see wrong was line set up and lack of computers.   One staffer said this year there was going to be an estimated 20,000 or more visitors and that procedures had not really changed to accommodate the increased foot traffic from 2,000 people.   Procedures set up for 2,000 people will not work for 20,000.  Fanime is a huge event now and it needs hired professionals to help keep it smooth.   The lack of signs and staff meant registering and badge pickup was slow and painful for everyone.  No one outside knew that there were different lines for pre-registered members and people who had to register until they got inside.   The staffers outside were only there to tell people to "move along" or to stop people from blocking.    Simple signs outside instructing people what to do, where to go, and which line is which would have helped many people in knowing what to do.   Even setting up signs that say "estimated wait time from here: X amount of hours" would have let me know how much longer.  It was really discouraging thinking that I was almost done with the line only to find out I had to wait in another line inside, then another line in one room,  then another line in another room.     Also when I finally got to register I was dismayed because there was only about seven computers working for people to register with a couple of guys telling the long line they could walk to the computer one at a time.   Also the computers were waist height so some of the girls had near wardrobe malfunctions bending over to type in their names.   The lines for this room should at least have had three times the amount of computers with individual lines going up to groups of two or three of these computers.    I'm sure there are some people willing to donate their old laptops or pcs to help speed up this process.    There are also enough techno-savvy people to yank the old hard drives and put in new ones if people are concerned with personal info.    Then for payment you need at least double the amount of registers open.   You also need more badge making machines.   When there's ten people waiting at the table for two label makers to be working and then another forty people behind them you know you need to spend the extra hundred bucks on label makers to get people moving along. 

 :P!!!Or like others have said spend some money and mail badges out before hand for people who registered early.  Spend the money you spent on the pocket guides to get unique holographic stickers and even maybe a unique black light symbol for each badge. If you really have the cash get a bar code on each badge with a holographic sticker.   Close down the convention to only people with badges and have several entrances with actual workers and security guards scan everyone in. I was a little disappointed my badge only got me into rooms that seemed to  demand more of my money.   Other people without badges were crowding the hallways to take pictures, show off their costumes or hang out.  I almost wish they weren't there so we could have more room to walk around sit down and relax. !!! :P

Fanime budgeting tips. I know the money you make isn't instantaneous transferred to your accounts but hopefully you guys are realizing this is now more like a business rather a fan run convention.  Rather than 100 fans coming and having a fun time with each other  at a picnic you now have a business with a  huge customer base who is willing to shell out cash and attend this event.  It's a spend money to get money type of situation now and there are tons of people not happy with the way things are being handled. If money is tight I recommend trying to get more sponsors even if it is not related to anime.  Those ice cream and hot dog vendors were cleaning up shop yesterday because of the huge line.   It's annoying but run ad space in your magazine to help get costs down.   Allow businesses to post their logo's on the wall and sell their products for attendees to consume.  Good cosplayers can hand out business cards for sponsors.   I'm not talking about have more people slap cards on the ad tables because that was a huge mess.  I didn't even want to look at those ads and it was a waste of space. Work with local businesses on getting them to sell their food at your event.   There were a lot of hungry people in line who were getting angry.  Allow places like Mcdonalds to serve at your event.   Tell them you want them to come and serve the hungry masses for a small markup with you getting a percentage of the profits. Businesses will be impressed with your attendance because all the see with 20k people is dollar signs.  I'm estimating here and I don't know what costs what, or who fronts the bill until all is said and done but you guys are now raking in something along the lines of $800k from 20k worth of ticket sales of at $40 a piece.  That is not too shabby and it let's sponsors know their ads will be seen by that many people and 20k+ people are willing to spend money.  Also maybe if there is any profits if say you pay $600k for the rooms and another $50k for guest speakers you have another $150k for spending now or saving for next year.   If you do have a surplus I say save it for next years con  to get computers, staff,  a sales pitch team, an accountant,  to give this event a more professional feel.  I say get rid of the pocket guide.  It is redundant when you already have the more superior magazine and probably a waste of money.  I only used the pocket guide for the map and if people really want to find out what time the anime they want to watch is on they can look at the magazine.  Maybe use the money you save from not printing the pocket guide on signs.   Poster board is not expensive and this helps people from standing in the middle trying to figure out what goes where.   "This way to the gaming hall", "this way to the dealers room" , "this way to food",  "movie viewing rooms 1-4 here" , "artist alley out this way",  "stay on this side of the walkway for dealer hall and this side for gaming room" etc.  If necessary hire people to work at registration and sales.   The volunteer staff looked disgruntled, tired, and angry a lot of people were complaining to them.   Having paid staff gives them the incentive of a paycheck while the "volunteer 20 hours to get into Fanime for free" is like working less than a forth of California's minimum wage.   A lot of your volunteers  working the line looked like they might cry at any second.  Also hire more custodial staff.  I only saw two people cleaning up the entire convention  hall.   

Security. Spend money on some security guards.   You have little girls and taped up paper signs, guarding exits,  and telling people what to do.    You have disgruntled volunteer staffers walking the halls and lines barely doing the minimum to help others.  You have caution tape which fails to do anything but stretch out and break separating a huge line inside.   Get some cheap rope from Walmart to help section off the lines.  Have security stand by entrances going to the registration hotel to dissuade line jumpers.  One guy cut in line behind us but that was before he realized where the preregistered line was.   Have security help out at the registration lines.  Have security walk the dealers hall and be ready for anything.   A guy/girl dressed in slacks and a nice shirt exerts a lot more authority than a cosplayer or a kid in a Power Rangers shirt and jeans can do.   

More nitpicking on my part but can you remind people to shower or at least use deodorant or body spray.  It's not cool if I can smell people several feet away with my back turned.     

In the end I left feeling a little unsatisfied because I didn't get to do everything I wanted. I wasted over five hours in line and I stayed til the closing of the main halls.   Main thing I missed was going to the maid cafe because  the line was too long and I wanted to see other things.I was also hoping for the girls working there to be a little older, these girls looked as young as twelve.   Since Fanime is in San Jose you could hire some girls from the local coffee shops to come work in the maid cafe.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind the extra tips and putting on more clothes to work  *wink* *wink*.     
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: weavrmom on May 26, 2013, 02:06:44 PM
As an older woman who attends huge and streamlined knitter's conventions (yes!) where thousands of attendees can buy registrations online and print out their own badges with barcodes right up to and through the entire time of the convention, then simply waltz right in to the con immediately with NO LINES (this takes place over in the wilds of Santa Clara),  I was utterly shocked and appalled at the low-tech, medieval way that registration was handled at Fanime.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, I expected streamlined and efficient methods in line with at least what middle aged knitters can summon.  Instead, because I could not pre-register, I got to sit in line  for 4 1/2 hours with my daughter and several of our new best friends who we got to know intimately as we waited in line after barbaric line. This ambience was improved by officious volunteers coming around at random intervals to tell everyone to stand up in a line that had no discernable movement, breaking up card parties, naps, and much needed leg rest for about half those in line, who would promptly sit/lie down again out of self-preservation almost immediately. These volunteers did not seem able to comprehend the logic that standing or sitting did not change the actual speed of the line.

If nothing else, think of capitalism! All those hours we and our several thousand dearest new buddies from the Reg Line could have been shopping in Artist's Alley and the Dealer's Hall. But no, despite our best efforts at speed shopping, we got thrown out of Artist's Alley when it closed down, still not having made it through, with cash left we would like to have spent. Also, you wouldn't need as many volunteers, or could put them to better (much better!) use.

If I was a dealer or artist, I would demand some of my fee back for lost sales. You deprived them of many, many thousands of lost hours of potential customer shopping, and thus untold sales. I repeat, we spent nearly half of our one day at Fanime IN LINE. How ridiculous. How inefficient.

Once in to the con, it was a blast (I was that Cooking Mama that everyone was taking their picture with). I attended my first con (the World Science Fiction Convention in Heidelberg, Germany) back when I was 16, and since I can remember nothing about registration, assume it was well run even in those ancient days.

I have simply never witnessed or experienced such gross inefficiency in my 58 years. I doubt anyone in my family will be attending Fanime again until we hear that procedures have been brought out of the middle ages up to at least the mid-80's. 




Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Rhornez on May 26, 2013, 02:57:55 PM
LineandlackofGUESTSthisyearwithtonsofhomestuckcosplayerscon2013 did it for me. plus the convention is getting way packed now, i think there should be a change of venue if the new renovations dont help with the influx of attendees

I dislike lack of guests and homestuck cosplayers lol
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: otakuya on May 26, 2013, 03:08:12 PM
Simple solution? Fanime/ARG chairs and staff, listen to us, please.


I'd hate to say it, but Fanime should be run more like AX rather than just a small con now. We need professional event planning companies, corporate sponsors, new attendant registering systems, on-site medical and law enforcement units, to name a few.

The 'By Fans For Fans' mentality doesn't work anymore if there's going to be 22,000 attendants and most 'staff' is a volunteer with little to no experience handling massive events.

I want pre-registering, the registration fee, time spent in line, and time spent on Fanime grounds to actually mean something and have it be worth the high price of admission.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Jiraya on May 26, 2013, 10:42:14 PM
I pre-reg'd but why would I pick up my badge on Thurs, if I didn't need, and pre-reg was only 1 hour before the swap meet. I waited till Friday, and by waited I mean we got in line at 1PM and got out badges at 5PM. I think something has to be done. I would say you mail the badges. I understand the counterfeit concern, but measures can be taken, and should be taken. I notice that only access to the dealer room and swapmeet were the only times I had to flash my badge. I think place people with smart phones at each entrance and use bar codes, that is the least expensive method for security.

Just my 2 cents.
not sure why but this year just didn't seem as fun as previous years, the dealer room was lacking a bit, and most of the movies I wanted to watch were showing either super late or super early. I know you can't please everyone, and don't expect to, but waiting in line just to pick up a badge I paid for months in advance was not as much fun as everyone thinks. At least last year we were given water bottles while we waited.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: babyghia on May 27, 2013, 10:51:03 AM
I waited to pick up my badge on Saturday around noon. I had wanted to pick it up Friday night but was too late (7 is WAY too early to close).

First problem: Lack of signs and people to ask where pre-reg is. Luckily I knew that registration was on the second floor so I just walked up there. Saw one sign saying Registration that I followed. The rest of the time I had to ask someone if I was going in the right direction. Probably asked 10 Rovers where to go. Even hand written signs would have been better. I realize that next year registration will be some place else but I had no clue where to go and kept seeing rooms with people on the At Con line that I questioned where I was going and ended up asking repeatedly where to go. Everyone I asked was nice about answering my questions by the way.

Second problem: While the line to check in for my badge was very short, I had to join another line to get my badge. This process is always one that irks me. As soon as someone knows the name(s), there should be a person looking for them and getting the badges ready. Also I had to join a line that had a mix of At con reg and pre-reg.

Third problem: I realize everyone at the badge pickup was tired but just handing the badge, lanyard, and fasteners was quite rude. Badges should have been had the lanyard and fasteners already set up for con goers.

The badge itself: I was very disappointed with the badge. In all the years I have gone, I have never gotten a pre-reg badge so unpersonalized. Repeat Fanime goers are use to getting special badges. This one felt like we might as well had registered At con instead of planning months ahead.

At con reg: I noticed that a number of people were sitting in front of computers not helping people register. I've seen this almost every year I have attended and At con registers don't like seeing it either. They may be doing something important but they looks like they could be helping people and it frustrates people more after waiting in a long line. Plus there are never enough people at the At con registration areas and since there are usually A LOT of people on line on a Saturday, you should have A LOT of people doing registration.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Anon on May 27, 2013, 12:51:19 PM
Oh, and let me be clear, I don't hold this against the registration staffers. They were utterly exhausted on Friday and did muss up a few things while I was trying to pick up my badge but considering (I overheard) that they were there as late as 2:30 AM the prior day and had to be back to it by 8, I can't blame them. We need more reg staffers and we need a system that doesn't completely rely upon exhausted people to get thousands of people processed every day.

Also, keep in mind that SJ Convention Center construction will be complete next year.  If a major incident like a person injuring or dying in line happened during the first year after renovation, I seriously doubt they will want Fanime back.  Not to mention that they definitely don't want a lawsuit in their hands.

Funny (or maybe not) that you mention this, on the first night after the 2am mark, a girl passed out in line just heading up to the reg tables. Poor thing, to pass out just as the end was so near. I can only imagine her having to wake up in a hospital bed to a medical bill AND having to wait in the friday/saturday line. I don't think the Fairmont would want that bad publicity ever again.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SpiritOfKairi on May 27, 2013, 06:03:12 PM
I didn't so much mind the badges (though they were of obviously lower quality than the last few years and the clasp cut into and damaged it).  For me it was how the lines were handled at the Fairmont.  First off, it was VERY unclear where to go.  I had pre-reg'd, and had to ask about 3-4 different people before finally finding where a line was, and then had to ask several more people to confirm I was in the RIGHT line since there was no clear signage about if you were in the pre-reg line (which had never been a problem at the CC).  Then, there was the shuffling from room to room for hours on end before FINALLY getting your badge.  Now I didn't so much mind the long line at the CC last year because of the extraordinary circumstances, and I could see it was really long, and could estimate how long it would be.  The way it worked this year though, it was pretty much impossible to guess that since all you could do was hope the next room you were in was the final one.  This was very annoying, and added to the frustration of the long wait.  Which, it SHOULD NOT be taking hours for pre-reg.  Up until 2012's con it was only taking 25-30 minutes to get badges.  Now I understand the situation last year with the generator blowing, which was out of Fanime's control.  However, why was it taking so long this year?  Did that many more people pre-reg, or was it because pre-reg Thursday didn't open until 7 pm?  Whatever the case was, the way the line was done was very inefficient, and dragged the wait out for much longer than it should have been.

But also, what was the point of making us go to a separate table to get the badges?  Why couldn't it have been done like all years past where you get the bag and schedule with the badge?  This made no sense, and I couldn't see any good reason for it.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: mangomochi on May 27, 2013, 10:52:01 PM
Sign the petition!!
https://www.change.org/petitions/fanimecon-san-jose-improve-logistics-of-registration-and-allow-for-single-day-purchase-online
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Yandere Mayu on May 28, 2013, 12:42:31 AM
Sign the petition!!
https://www.change.org/petitions/fanimecon-san-jose-improve-logistics-of-registration-and-allow-for-single-day-purchase-online

rather, I wish this petition was to make them mail out prereg badges =.=
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: royjovero on May 28, 2013, 08:45:10 AM
To be honest, I doubt the powers that be at Fanime will ever listen to its fans. "For fans, by fans." What a joke.

Every year, the option of mailed badges is brought up and shot down with the quickness.  EDC tickets are $200+, come with a lot of extra goodies, and are mailed out.  PAX tickets cost more and are mailed out.  Others have expressed their willingness to pay a premium to have their badges mailed out, but staff doesn't care.

Last year's registration fiasco was enough to make me NOT want to pay for a badge this year, and I'm glad I didn't.  I had friends wait 7+ hours in line on Day 0, and others wait similar times the morning of Day 1.  This is inexcusable.

When it comes to the registration process, no let me say this about Fanime as a whole, the staff needs to stop being so damned lazy.  Back when the hotel blocks opened, the staff messed up bad when they posted the wrong link on the website, and the correct one on Twitter and Facebook. This is extremely inconsiderate for those who may have been in school, where social networking sites could be blocked.  Also, staff didn't announce any special guests or anything like that until a few weeks before the con started.

There needs to be major changes.

/rant
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: DangerHeart on May 28, 2013, 10:07:17 AM
Main thing I missed was going to the maid cafe because  the line was too long and I wanted to see other things.I was also hoping for the girls working there to be a little older, these girls looked as young as twelve.   Since Fanime is in San Jose you could hire some girls from the local coffee shops to come work in the maid cafe.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind the extra tips and putting on more clothes to work  *wink* *wink*.   

Every one of the Maids is a volunteer that goes through tryouts and training to be in the cafe. And the minimum age is 16 by the convention. I get that some looked young but to my understanding as a friend of a veteran Maid, some are in their 20s. Hiring outside people would take away from the experience that it seems all the girls really love because I've seen many stay friends for years even after they retire from the cafe. Plus I don't think they get tips so that's out anyways.

BACK ON TOPIC: Registration was ridiculous this year for some reason. I ended up leaving my group in line(I wasn't the leader)to go get everyone breakfast. We'd lined up around 7:30 and by 10 we were all starving. But when I got back with food they were already in the first ballroom and the rover at the door wouldn't let me in, or let me call one of my friends out to just come get the food and I would leave.

One of the friends also has a blood sugar problem so she needed food or she was going to pass out, which she nearly did if they had to wait even 30 more minutes. But no one would let me take her food even after I explained this.

I understand that there aren't enough volunteers to process everyone quickly but given what I've read about other cons, something can obviously be done. All we get is someone saying "No" and never a detailed explanation of why it can't be changed. It seems like someone higher up is just dead set on never mailing out badges or changing the system to match some of the other well known cons. I'm afraid attendance will drop if something isn't done to solve things next year. This was my first con and I don't want to see it die.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: svatoid on May 28, 2013, 10:13:43 AM
I agree with those that call for changes.
This year I was in line on thursday at about 3:30PM. I did not get my badge until about 10:30PM. Registration was supposed to start at 7PM. it did not start until about 7:45PM. At that point the people in a separate line--handicapped (which I do not have a problem with) and the Artist Alley folk were processed first (they should have a completely separate area).
I am willing to pay extra for having my badge mailed to me. However, if the organizers want to continue with this process, then they need 3-4 times the number of people processing registrations than they have now.
I am not sure what was going on on thurdsay--sometimes the line moved rather quickly (once the line started moving at all) at other times we were stuck in place for 15-30 minutes.
I love Fanime. Think it is a great convention. But the registartion process needs a complete do over.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: limDsage on May 28, 2013, 11:01:38 AM
I have to agree, the pre-reg lines were ridiculous on Thursday. My roommate (who is also my co-worker) and I got to San Jose around 7:30 and we stayed until 1:30am to get the badge. Unfortunately, we had to leave since we are coming from San Mateo, and we have to work the next day since our office is at South SF.

I also don't mind paying extra if the staff implements mailing out pre-reg/early reg badges. I think it's more feasible and more convenient for people who might live far from SJ or even for those who don't want to attend the pick up day for reasons like work, school, disabilities, etc. And I also think that it will be more convenient for the staff and its volunteers since they won't have to stay late to give out the pre-reg badges.

tl;dr: It's a win-win situation for both con-goers and staff members if mailing the badges were to be implemented; it saves time and gives a lot of convenience for both fans and staffers.

This is my first Fanime and I enjoyed it so far, and hopefully next year issues like this won't happen again.

Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: arcadiapandora on May 28, 2013, 11:02:40 AM
Dear Fanime,


With utmost respect, please change your registration system for next year.

As an attendee to this con and several others since 2005, I've been in a lot of ridiculous lines. Fanime has taken the cake for ridiculousness the past two years. Conventions such as GDC or E3 have many more attendees but still somehow manage to make their registration fast and efficient. I have never had to wait in line at GDC or E3 for my pre-reg badge.

If you'll allow, some suggestions for improvement:

1) Automated check-in. GDC, for example, sets up about 30-50 laptops with a registration protocol that allows users to verify information. Once you check in, you walk to a booth and receive your badge from a person who verifies your ID with the just printed badge. It's fast and simple. You can rent laptops for short periods of time to avoid a humongous cost investment.

2) MAIL OUT BADGES. Please, please, PLEASE quit shooting this down! So many of us are willing to provide extra revenue to Fanime for this option. At 10-15$ a pop you'll make up for more than your time investment and mail costs to do this.

3) If registration of this nature continues, increase the incentives for pre-registering. Right now there are none, except a very small discount that is completely negated by the time waiting in line. I should not have to wait in line 3-4 hours to pick up my per-registered badge.

4) More registration personnel. I could not believe how few volunteers were manning the booths considering the number of attendees in line.


In short... Fanime, at this point you are no longer a small convention. According to many businesses in the area, this is SJCC's biggest convention of the year. You've got to put on your big boy pants and start considering new ways to manage your growing number of attendees. Assuming you didn't scare off a lot of long-time congoers, next year will only be larger. You have to anticipate this!

Fanime isn't wholly fan sponsored (I have a friend from one of the businesses who sponsors Fanime) and it shouldn't be treated as such any longer. No more excuses Fanime - step up to the plate!
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SOawesomeness on May 28, 2013, 01:29:07 PM
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that I read every single one of these suggestions and concerns you all have (including all e-mails). I am actively thinking of how to speed up the process as much as we can. Any suggestions (that may be too long for the forums) can be e-mailed to registration AT fanime DOT com. Unique and very different ideas that think outside the box are incredibly appreciated.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dany on May 28, 2013, 02:07:08 PM
Fans don't want to waste a convention day standing in line.

This summarizes my feelings to a T.  The registration process has officially reached a point to where it gives no consideration to the value of a person's time and schedule.

I personally spent six hours in line, after spending about the same time in line LAST year because of all of the power failures in the convention center. Four of those hours were outside, in the cold. And yes, I was cold because I only brought a hoodie to wear for outdoors and didn't plan to spend four hours after dark on a day when I knew I would have to get up for work at 5:30 AM the next morning. I finally got home about 12:30AM because I had to still drive home to San Mateo after I got our badges.

(A HUGE thank you to the young lady who went to Johnny Rockets and could not finish her fries from her meal and shared with us at some point during the outside segment. The small, greasy boost was truly appreciated XD )

I had two people that I got in line with, both first-time attendees to Fanime. Both eventually had to leave the line after hours of waiting because one had a graveyard shift at his work, and the other was restricted to the schedule of public transit.  I don't want to think how long they waited the next day for their badges. A really poor first impression :(

When I came into the last room (after going through outside, a second room, and the Ballroom...it was like Disneyland with less entertainment while you stood there) and saw five desks for reg and five lines for badges, I wanted to scream but was too damn tired to. The arrangement was absolutely too few for the amount of people that showed up. All of that for a badge that I pre-paid for that didn't even have my info personalized into it.

...which I gotta say, would have made a HUGE difference to the appearance.  A pointedly positive note: this year's badges outside of that were beautiful and really pro looking!! Why ruin such a great looking badge with such a bleah sticker? :(

I would love to see other options investigated for reg process, and I would certainly pay to support those options. Many of my own thoughts were already brought up here, especially more tech-inclined items involving scannable paperwork and printing badges on the spot, so that you could go to either location and pick up your badge in the event that you need to change at the last minute.  Mailing can be a bit nervewracking as I have a hard time trusting the post office. :P  I really have no groundbreaking additional ideas, other than to investigate what the big shows are doing. It may not alleviate every line completely, but if I can cut my wait even to half of what I had this year, I'd be a lot happier and greatly appreciative.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Naiagu on May 28, 2013, 02:24:24 PM
I also spent 6 hours in line on pre-reg day. First of all, I was freezing outside, the outfit I chose to wear was to accommodate for the heat at 4:30pm not for the chilling cold night later that day so I froze my legs off. Before I went from outside to an inside room one of the staff ladies told us at the front of the line to remember the person in back of the line going inside because we would be separated. After going inside and being "reunited" with the other end of the line I was supposed to remember, there were a dozen new people behind that guy that said they just wandered into the line when they saw it come in. They were not even aware there was an outside line :[.

Another thing was when I got to the final room, besides screaming in my head that my legs were going to fall off, good troll Fanime. Leading us to what we thought was the end and then handing us bags. I actually didn't have a problem with this my problem was when I went to pick up my badges. I was a group leader, when I got my badge they handed me one badge. I asked where I go to get the rest, I was told to get in every line of the beginning letter of my friends that I had under my name. .___. I really thought when grabbing mine the rest would be attached behind it with a rubber band or something. I actually had to go to 5 different lines to get everyone's badges on my list, some lines longer than others which really sucked. I ended up out of the line around 10:20pm ish, starving but with no energy to get anything or do anything, still sad I missed the first day of swap meet.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 28, 2013, 02:27:13 PM
It seems the power that be at Fanime are taking the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it approach."  Every year, people would suggest mailing out badges and every year, it is shot down.  Granted, the system isn't completely broken... yet.  However, there are about 1000 cracks and the dam is just itching to burst. 

actually.. the system was broken when they did mail out badges in the past... which was why it was fixed and decided until there were better anti-counterfeiting implementations done.. that they would not be able to mail out badges ahead of time.

many of the people that continue to suggest mailing out badges are the ones who don't realize it was done before.

as someone who saw first hand of the flaws in registration this year.. there's really no point in adding on to what has been said.. yes.. it needs to be fixed.. yes.. it needs to be improved.. but most of all.. they need more people.

so.... i do very much suggest, that instead of continuing to complain... stand up and physically be proactive and be part of the solution. help volunteer yourself and become staff. see first-hand what staffers go through and help to make everyone's experience at Fanime better. your inputs are much better heard in person than on a forum.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: kookiekween99 on May 28, 2013, 02:53:29 PM
My suggestion? In the e-postcard that gets sent out, have a QR code. Then, have staff members stationed about ten line-minutes from the badge pickup stations to scan each QR code. That QR code would signal the badge printing station to print the badges of that person and their group. By the time the attendee gets to the pickup station, their badges are already ready to go.

There also needs to be a lot more badge pickup stations. Perhaps there should be several different reg locations, maybe in each of the major hotels. With the QR code setup, the badges would be printed while the attendees are in line. This way, having several different locations would work. It would also reduce wait time and line length.

Another improvement could be digital signage. At certain checkpoints along each line, have estimated wait times and notifications if another location is less congested and would offer a shorter wait time.

And of course, you need more pickup stations, more badge printers, and more entry computers for at-con reg.

As for the way the badges were cheaply printed... The badges are not spill proof. My boyfriend accidentally got a few drops of water on his badge and the ink on his label was smeared.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: otakuya on May 28, 2013, 02:59:23 PM
When badges were mailed in the past, I'm pretty sure it was way before the influx of attendants now. Despite the complaints, FanimeCon is still growing and will be bigger next year. Systems that worked and didn't work in the past should be taken into consideration, plus any and all new ideas for future FanimeCons; such as mailings, bar codes, tickets, current system, etc.

I know it's a stretch, but what about fully automated vending machine-like machines that print out badges on the fly with a swipe of a credit card and with less staff/vol interaction (like Jack-in-the-Box or Safeway, lol)

I'm not sure if simply more volunteers will solve everything. Of course more open stalls are always a good thing, but having efficient staff that can handle registration quickly and be properly trained is even better.

One thing I would like to see: No matter what the line is like next year, maybe have some in-line entertainment, like Stage Zero or other Fanime-run (rather than in-line run) event.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 28, 2013, 03:00:14 PM
i agree with qr codes.. i'm sure the "powers that be" are well aware and are trying to figure out what to do to improve.. but there's budgeting and operational costs that they need to factor in.. so the issue there is getting that money to the registration system.

also.. technically.. there was another hotel you could pick up your badge at..

throughout the entire time.. i kept hearing people ask questions on how long the wait was.. there was no real accurate answer.. and that got me frustrated as well. i'm about to go "Disneyland" on them and have them implement a traffic flow timer to be able to estimate how long the wait is from a certain point.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: inferno14 on May 28, 2013, 06:03:00 PM
Yea deleted this
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Sinmara on May 28, 2013, 06:04:18 PM
so.... i do very much suggest, that instead of continuing to complain... stand up and physically be proactive and be part of the solution. help volunteer yourself and become staff. see first-hand what staffers go through and help to make everyone's experience at Fanime better. your inputs are much better heard in person than on a forum.

Complaining is being a proactive part of the solution.

If you don't complain, staff will never know about any of the problems. Staff read this forum. They read the feedback forms -- complaining forms, I suppose you'd consider them. They have to be told that something isn't working, a very detailed account of why it's not working, in order to fix it.

And becoming staff changes nothing if the department heads decide that they're going to keep using the same registration system they've relied on for the past several years without adapting. None of these complaints we're seeing are new and I know for a fact that staff members have raised these issues with the people in charge of registration to no effect.

I fear they won't change the way they approach this until someone gets hurt or ill from standing for 6+ hours without relief and there is a lawsuit.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 28, 2013, 06:27:26 PM
And becoming staff changes nothing if the department heads decide that they're going to keep using the same registration system they've relied on for the past several years without adapting.
actually, unless you were actually working staff.. you wouldn't realize that the registration system they used this year is very much different.. and it has adapted (whether or not it was better or worse is still a matter of opinion)... :o

and no. i was not on registration staff... but i have talked to those that were. still.. it was ultimately a matter of manpower and money that caused the problems everyone saw.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: EJAY420 on May 28, 2013, 06:27:35 PM
I love fanime. I really do. But this year was one of the worst badge pick up experience i ever had.  I will never ever go to day zero again, totally not worth it. Staff which most were kids, freaked out when the lines started getting bigger. We kept being moved cause we were reaching maximum capacity. Doesnt fanime have a tally on how many pre reg there is?  I will pre reg but not go to day zero anymore.

"oh, double hours on thursday and monday doesnt exist"- this is what i was told by a group of 5 young volunteers after wanting to  volunteer.  maybe these kids didnt know it was on the website.

If you guys didnt want people to collect double hours on thursday and monday, then dont promote it on the website.

And lastly, you guys could of use more helping hands on those days.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: inferno14 on May 28, 2013, 06:41:42 PM
Woot reg con
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tsubasakissu on May 28, 2013, 07:41:55 PM
Firstly: I'd suggest another separate line for those only attending the con for 1-2 days, that would cut down on traffic for both lines and it would, ideally, prevent those attending for only 1-2 days from wasting (yes, I used the word wasting because 3-9 hours in line is just that; a waste of time) most of their convention time inside a line.

Secondly: You've gotten this a lot, but it's still a very valid suggestion that should be considered, as Fanime is growing in size. Mail out dem badges!!! Other cons do this with little problem. I'd willingly slap another (optional) $10 onto my badge and avoid waiting in line just to get it in the mail. I mean, yeah, things get lost in the mail, but more often than not it will arrive to the appointed destination if its addressed properly. And, in the event that it IS lost in the mail, we could just simply bite the bullet and wait in line with our electronic receipt and just end up with a early-reg badge rather than pre-reg. (just slap a "if this is lost in the mail simply wait in line with your receipt" notice on there in red letters so people know what they are getting into beforehand). I mean, all youd need to do is time it beforehand so that the badges arrive a week-ish before the convention. Since I've had this brought up before: What if people lose their badges before the con? Answer: That isnt Fanime's problem. Simply put your badge in a safe place where you know youll find it before the convention. People lose their badges at fanime and it still isnt fanime's problem, so why would it be their fault if it was lost beforehand?
At this point, Fanime is a growing con with wait-times that are getting pretty insane, and this needs to be remedied. This year they promised us faster lines, the lines were just as bad as the last years fanime. And this was without a blackout to put all of the blame on. The fact of the matter is that Fanime is growing larger and larger each year, and there isnt a big enough space to really make a large, proper badge-pickup area similar to sakura cons (it only took me 5 mins to get my badge there).
Also, inb4: But waiting in line is part of the con experience. That's a really, really bad counter argument that makes 0 sense, since no one really likes waiting in line, and all it does is cause stress, anxiety, and causes people to be pissed at the people working the Fanime lines, even tho it isnt their fault.

Basically, your staff are overwhelmed by thousands of people and you lack the room to expand your registration operation and something direly needs to be fixed/changed from your current system. And every year you have computer problems, which only worsens the line problem. Something needs to be fixed.


Added: Also, if you wish to not listen to us AGAIN this year like every other year, heaven knows why you lot dont listen, then at least have the decency to have food/water vendors along certain points in the line. People get thirsty and hungry waiting for 3-12 (12 = on day 0) hours for one lame excuse for a badge (a sticker? really?).
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: heeroyuy135 on May 28, 2013, 07:54:21 PM
Another option would be to go with a bar code system. Larger conventions are adopting this system, and it speeds up the process very much. You scan the bar code that is provided to you when you register, the printer prints out your name and badge type, the staff puts the sticker onto a badge, and you're on your way. The only problem is that this kind of system is costly, requires training, and is again relying on computer systems which for the past couple of years hasn't been kind to Fanime.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: heeroyuy135 on May 28, 2013, 07:56:34 PM
Like I said in another thread, bar codes and QR codes are the future of registration. It would make things much faster.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tsubasakissu on May 28, 2013, 07:56:47 PM
Another option would be to go with a bar code system. Larger conventions are adopting this system, and it speeds up the process very much. You scan the bar code that is provided to you when you register, the printer prints out your name and badge type, the staff puts the sticker onto a badge, and you're on your way. The only problem is that this kind of system is costly, requires training, and is again relying on computer systems which for the past couple of years hasn't been kind to Fanime.
This too!
Furcon uses this (from what I remember this year) and it went by pretty fast~
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tsubasakissu on May 28, 2013, 08:01:26 PM
If the reason badges aren't mailed out is concern over the possibility of counterfeit badges, here's an easy solution: Put a holographic sticker on every badge, and look for them when checking badges at the door. That's what Otakon does, and it works just fine.
Honestly, with the amount of people who sneak into events without badges anyway, i'm surprised that they care so much about counterfeiters.
People counterfeit badges at the con anyways, so there wouldnt be too much difference.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: bmhahne on May 28, 2013, 09:08:08 PM


... I am actively thinking of how to speed up the process as much as we can... Unique and very different ideas that think outside the box are incredibly appreciated.

Thanks!


Fanimecon folks:  The registration problem is a simple matter of queue throughput.  You have Nx1000 people in line, you want to get them registered in 60 minutes, and you should be doing cycle time time estimates well in advance to compute average time per attendee that your on-site process requires.  These 3 pieces of information (estimated queue depth, max 1 hour delay, cycle time per attendee) give you the data you need to compute the number of booths required to handle peak load (hint: more than 8, try 30). Tweaking your process with separate lines for intake and badge distribution, or with stickers vs. preprinted vs. handwritten, doesn't address the fundamental problem of insufficient system throughput.

"Ideas outside of the box" shouldn't be necessary here.  There are dozens of pop culture conventions in the U.S. that have attendance at least as large as Fanimecon.  Get on the phone to the director of registration of 3 or 4 of these conventions and ask them about best practices.  Call up the people at ComicCon, OtaKon, AX, ask them what works, what doesn't.  Do they mail badges?  Do they outsource to a third party that rents and manages onsite badge-printing kiosks?  Do they simply throw people at the problem?  Find out.

Registration staff also needs to do some reading about queueing psychology.  There is a human psychology of waiting, with a known set of activities that both increase and decrease human perception of wait time.  A few sample links:

  http://davidmaister.com/articles/the-psychology-of-waiting-lines/

  http://www.slate.com/articles/business/operations/2012/06/queueing_theory_what_people_hate_most_about_waiting_in_line_.2.html

Fanimecon needs to staff up for registration.  If you don't have sufficient volunteers, you need to pay staff, or (equivalently) move to a kiosk-based approach where the initial intake process is replaced by a machine.  If Fanimecon doesn't have the funds to pay sufficient staffpeople to run registration booths during peaks, then you need to raise your ticket prices so that you have the funds.  Your attendees are willing to PAY MORE to spend less time in line.  Do the budget, hire the people, and give your customers what they want.

Operationally, there were other obvious issues as well:
- Artist Alley registration not opened until April.
- Many Artist Alley registrants waitlisted for an extended period of time.
- Failure to publish any birds-eye-view map that included South Hall in any printed registration material.  So one of the most popular activities changed locations to a venue half a block away, and the convention didn't bother to provide a map to its attendees.
- Clean drinking water not readily available in South Hall.
- "Wind tunnel" problems in South Hall (this will show up in the AA feedback forms).

Competition heads-up: As an Artist Alley participant this year, I was approached by a sales representative from Japan Expo, which is entering the San Francisco Bay Area market this year after (he claimed) 2 years of market research.  This convention had postcards out on the Fanimecon tables this year.  The first Bay Area Japan Expo is Aug. 23-25 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and the sales rep claimed that the sponsor organization SEFA Entertainment is going big, aiming for 17,000 attendees this year, their first.  I'll believe it when I see it, however that's nearly as big as Fanimecon.  Santa Clara Convention Center claims 320K feet of available space, while SJCC has only 223K square feet, and that's only when South Hall is included.  The rep claimed that their leadership team includes multiple senior people with experience at various U.S. east coast conventions. They're publicizing Artist Alley tables + 2 badges for under $200, which is below Fanimecon's 2013 pricing.  If this convention launches big this year and gets a reputation for efficient execution, you can expect to see Fanimecon's attendance base shift over a period 1-2 years to the competing convention.  I'd suggest that Fanimecon should treat this as a warning shot across its bow.  The new kid in town is after your customers, and you're going to have to step up your game to compete.

I wish ARG the best of luck with its efforts to improve Fanimecon customer experience in 2014 and beyond.

Bruce Hahne ("the Anime Angels guy")
Artist Alley 2012, 2013
bruce at maronmedia dot com
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: otakuya on May 28, 2013, 09:28:47 PM
^  unfortunately, that's a good point because of Japan Expo, FanimeCon has competition. Fanime has historically been one of the last dying breed of conventions that lasts more than 15 years. I don't want to have Fanime end because of lack of attendance and losing ground to JX. The happenings of this year does not help in the long term.

 Ironic that my best memories of Fanimecon were in the Santa Clara Convention Center days.  That venue is getting more and more attractive now and can hold Fanime or events like Fanime again, maybe.  Hey, it's going to hold the Super Bowl too.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: hikanteki on May 28, 2013, 10:23:54 PM
also.. technically.. there was another hotel you could pick up your badge at..

Would that have really helped, though?  If half the people at Fanime went to pick up their badge at Clockwork Alchemy, then both of them would still have a 3-hour wait.  Actually CA's would probably be way more than 3 hours because I can't imagine they have as many people working registration.

^  unfortunately, that's a good point because of Japan Expo, FanimeCon has competition. Fanime has historically been one of the last dying breed of conventions that lasts more than 15 years. I don't want to have Fanime end because of lack of attendance and losing ground to JX. The happenings of this year does not help in the long term.

Not to mention SacAnime, which is really becoming a force to be reckoned with.  It recently moved to the Sac Convention Center and has a guest list as big as Fanime.

For the record, I'd love Fanime, JX, and Sac to ALL succeed and I think that Northern California can definitely support three large, well-run anime conventions.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tsubasakissu on May 28, 2013, 10:58:32 PM
also.. technically.. there was another hotel you could pick up your badge at..

Would that have really helped, though?  If half the people at Fanime went to pick up their badge at Clockwork Alchemy, then both of them would still have a 3-hour wait.  Actually CA's would probably be way more than 3 hours because I can't imagine they have as many people working registration.

^  unfortunately, that's a good point because of Japan Expo, FanimeCon has competition. Fanime has historically been one of the last dying breed of conventions that lasts more than 15 years. I don't want to have Fanime end because of lack of attendance and losing ground to JX. The happenings of this year does not help in the long term.

Not to mention SacAnime, which is really becoming a force to be reckoned with.  It recently moved to the Sac Convention Center and has a guest list as big as Fanime.

For the record, I'd love Fanime, JX, and Sac to ALL succeed and I think that Northern California can definitely support three large, well-run anime conventions.
And Sac Anime always has a better guestlist than Fanime. Better industry/VAs and just as good or better musical guests.
And Sac Anime has a ball now.
And you know what? No waiting more than an hour.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: hikanteki on May 28, 2013, 11:09:20 PM
And Sac Anime always has a better guestlist than Fanime. Better industry/VAs and just as good or better musical guests.
And Sac Anime has a ball now.
And you know what? No waiting more than an hour.

Didn't want to say it...but as far as industry/VA guests I agree with you.  Musical guests I'd give Fanime the edge but they have a different focus.  Fanime has J-Pop/J-Rock bands, which are really a treat to see as they're not common outside of Anime cons.  SacAnime has J-influenced American bands, which aren't nearly as difficult to get, although some of them are top-notch (i.e. Eyeshine) while others are...not.

That being said...how can Fanime center its focus so that we don't have 2 or 3 of the exact same con in San Jose, Santa Clara, or Sacramento?  What can Fanime's specialty(ies) be, that people will make a point to go to Fanime for?  (Hopefully it won't be known for the line of doom.)  What does it really excel at?  Music?  Being more Japan-centric?  24 hour viewing rooms?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: luluko on May 28, 2013, 11:23:38 PM
I would like to preface my post by saying that I have been on convention staff before and I can sympathize with the staff and volunteers at Fanime. while the cons I've worked for do not even come close to Fanime in size and attendee numbers, I understand better than most the kinds of stresses they go through before, during, and (especially in this case) after the con, and as such I tend to be more forgiving of staff shortcomings.

fortunately I did not have to wait very long for my badge, as I was picking up a panelist badge, but I had my share of frustrations getting there.

I had confirmed with programming staff beforehand that there was indeed a special line for panelists, AA, and those with special needs. as instructed, I picked up my discount slip at the panelists' lounge. before I left I asked the programming staff if they knew where the special line was - all they could tell me was that it was at the Fairmont with the rest of registration. I found it strange that they wouldn't know where I could pick up my panelist badge now that I had the piece of paper that allowed me to do so, but I figured that responsibility belonged more to the registration staff, so I let it go.

however, once I reached the Fairmont, every staff member I asked gave me a blank look when I asked about the special registration line. they proceeded to hand me off from staff member to staff member. (at one point I was told to look for "a tall girl wearing a headset" in the lobby of the Fairmont... you want me to chase down a staff member who is probably very busy and running around? I don't think so.) generally the staff members were very nice and did their best to be helpful, but it would have been so much easier for everyone involved if they had just... simply told everyone that there was a special registration line. judging by the comments in this post, it sounds like many of those with special needs were also not aware that they had a line they could go through - my heart goes out to them. Fanime should be ashamed that these attendees were not informed of this.

back on point, once I found someone who actually knew there was supposed to be a special registration line, I was told to come back at 7 pm when registration opened. it was precisely 6:51 at the time... everyone else got to line up early, why couldn't special registration do so as well? to add to the confusion, the special registration was not labeled at all. that would have gone a very long way to clear things up for both attendees and staff. once the special registration line was finally formed the wait was an hour and a half. compared to everyone else, we got very lucky...

I would also like to add that staff did a very poor job of communicating that badge pick up was also available at the DoubleTree. several times while I was waiting for a shuttle on Friday, a rover would come around and let those standing in line know that they could pick up their badges at the DoubleTree. I wish I could have photographed the looks of surprise and utter frustration from those who had already braved the registration line and those who were about to. the rovers then asked us as attendees to spread the word to other attendees... shouldn't staff have done that well in advance? it takes all of five minutes to make posts on the webiste, forum, and social media websites. why this fact wasn't well-advertised (especially after the fiasco that was last year's registration line) completely baffles me.

so, to make my criticism constructive, here are the suggestions I have:
- offer badge pick up for panelists at the panelist's lounge. we already have to go there to pick up discount slips - why not already have the badges printed and ready for panelists?
- obviously mailing badges has its pros and cons, but Fanime is clearly too short-staffed to not consider this as an option. any fears of attendees counterfeiting badges are basically moot, considering how many people already don't buy badges, will not buy badges in the future, or will simply not attend at all in the future because of this year's catastrophe. plus, almost everyone I knew at this con simply borrowed someone else's badge to get into the events they wanted to go to - it's not exactly counterfeiting, but that kind of dishonesty is already alive and well at this convention. I think any con would rather lose a bit of revenue to counterfeiting than to lose attendees in massive numbers.
- whoever is in charge of registration should attend AX this year. or any of the other cons mentioned in this thread that have more attendees and shorter wait times. I waited 45 minutes in line to pick up my badge at AX last year. somehow I waited twice as long in a shorter line at Fanime this year. clearly, there is room for improvement. ask other conventions how they configure registration and take notes.
- surely there is a better system for picking up badges than having staff shouting out names? not only did it make it very loud and confusing at badge pick-up, but I can only imagine how sore their throats must have been by the time they packed up for the night. and that's just on day zero! why not try this instead - after the attendee has checked in and had their badge printed up, they go to the pick-up station, show their ID, and receive their badge. no shouting necessary.

it truly breaks my heart to see how many people are saying they won't attend Fanime anymore simply because of registration. it was my favorite con when I attended last year and I had an amazing experience this year as well. I don't want to see this convention hurt by something that should be second nature by now. I have high hopes that things will improve next year.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dracil on May 28, 2013, 11:30:18 PM
24 hour viewing rooms?

So far the thing that sticks out for Fanime that other cons I go to don't have is the 24 hour rooms.  Both viewing and gaming hall.  For me, that's its most unique nature, especially on the last day where it's very tempting to stay there as long as possible.  Heck, this year the karaoke room at around 2-3AM announced they would go all the way to 5AM if need be.  Now that's dedication and definitely has the by fans for fans feel that more industry cons would not have, as they'd have to probably pay for overtime for these graveyard shifts.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Total Legend on May 28, 2013, 11:55:38 PM
What I would do if I were you guys, I would separate groups of pre-reg people into pickup schedules and email these people to come at a specific time frame to pick up their badges. You would at least know how many people per pickup group will be there and you can better estimate how to handle these loads.

For example, group "A" can have a time slot of: 2pm - 4pm. Group "B" came come in from 3pm - 5pm, slightly over lapping each other. If someone doesn't come in during their time slot, they can wait later (free entry) or come the next day -- the burden of appearance is on them. This could help keep people out of line for several hours and they can come at a time when the line will be shorter by the time they're even allowed in. This helps your staff to keep order for smaller groups of people, and easier to manage with people cutting in line and such which also creates a huge issue -- yes line cutting happens a lot, and adding 20+ people in front can add another 20+ minutes of line time. And that's counting about 20 cuts within my viewable area.

You may also want to consider only allowing people in line that have proof of badge pickup, and do away with "friends" who come in with people just to "hang out". The more bodies in line, the longer it takes for it to move. Simply reducing the amount of people at any one given time will be an improvement. Lines here aren't for social gatherings, it's to get something done. And considering you allow free entry into the con on Thursday, these friends can hang out there.

You should also consider multiple satellite locations for badge pickup, not just in San Jose but throughout the Bay Area. Rent an office space for Thursday and send people out to these locations based on their home location. I see no reason to have it all in one general location.

---

Just to add, I don't place blame on this on Fanime or their staff for the large interest in this convention every year -- it is what it is, plus you have to realize many are volunteers. I've been through the 6-hour line of hell last year thanks to that power outage, and from my point of view the problem is mostly the attendees and their lack of consideration for others, for not following rules and bringing more people than necessary to pick up their badges (such as group leaders bringing friends). Again, this is not a social gathering, this is to pick up a badge.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dracil on May 29, 2013, 01:26:59 AM
If it weren't for the social aspect, people would be even more grumpy.  At the very least currently, people can be less bored.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Total Legend on May 29, 2013, 01:31:48 AM
If it weren't for the social aspect, people would be even more grumpy.  At the very least currently, people can be less bored.

The social aspect is part of the problem.

100% of the time, people in front and behind me are with someone who isn't even authorized to pick up badges that day, but they only add to an already long line. To help mitigate this issue, there needs to be less people in line overall.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dracil on May 29, 2013, 01:37:15 AM
All that "solution" will do is make people register individually instead of doing a group reg so they can still be in line together.  So now, instead of one staff member picking up the entire groups badge, you're multiplying it by X staff for each person that was in the group.  Great, you just increased the burden on the actual bottleneck of the line, i.e. the understaffed transaction/badge printing/pickup area.

It's like going to the grocery store.  I'd rather stand right behind the one family of 5 than behind 5 individual people with their own baskets.  Same number of people, but each transaction creates a time overhead.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: robertpatrician on May 29, 2013, 03:14:19 AM
Here are my recommendations for the registration line issue, as I believe it's not right to complain unless you're willing to contribute to the solution.
1. A timed ticket system would dramatically improve the line experience. The actual line 'length' is unimportant, what matters is how long someone is 'waiting' in line. People could come up to a counter and get a ticket for a certain time frame (15 minutes), and should come back at that time to get in the line. People are not allowed in the line until the time on their ticket, people who miss their ticket window are added to the end of the line of the next time group. Thus if the line is three hours long, you can issue tickets for +2.5 hours. That gives plenty of buffer, but that's also two and a half hours the attendee could be doing anything else but standing in line. They can go check out the cosplay, hang out in the common areas, go get some food, etc. A three hour line just became "Two and a half of hours goofing around, and then a half hour line." This would require a printing system, but would extensively benefit the impression of the convention.
2. For handling the line itself, utilize the Japanese queue model. Instead of having one giant snaking line where people inch forward every minute, you have rows of people. When the line has moved enough, an entire row is sent in, and then allowed to refill with new people. People do not change rows. Here is a video of the system in action on Black Friday in Japan: http://youtu.be/HTvycOM9xbc . If available, setting out a few hundred chairs in rows would improve organization and experience. One rover carries a sign marking the end of the line to fill in empty seats once a row goes in, and another stands to mark which row is next. This helps prevent people from trying to slip in to the front of the line. Time spent seated and waiting also counts less against effective perceived wait time than time spent standing.
3. My observation of the registration system identifies the badge printing system as the choke point. All of the cash-taking stations were staffed, yet in the 20 minutes I observed they sat idle a full 60% of the time waiting for the go-ahead to process more people. Either more badge printers are required, or a superior badge printing system needs to be obtained. A simple multiplication reveals the problem: multiply the time it takes for the badging station to produce a single badge, and multiply that by the number of people in line.
4. I also learned that there was an entire badge station at Clockwork Alchemy and negligible line there. If this had been announced, many attendees would have gladly taken the bus to and from the Doubletree in order to cut an hour or more off how long they would be waiting in line, speeding up registration process for everyone. It would have also introduced more people to Clockwork Alchemy.
5. That there is a huge line for pre-registration is baffling. These individuals have already paid, and pre-registration closed before the convention began, thus I would be greatly interested to learn why there is such a line for them. There is a FedEx/Kinkos down the street, certainly if their information is already processed and their badges already paid, then an arrangement can be made to print the pre-registration badges in advance.
6. As a service to those in line, have rovers selling bottled water at-cost. If someone dehydrates and passes out in line, it will cost far more in personnel time than a pair of rovers and pallets of water.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: hikanteki on May 29, 2013, 08:56:12 AM
If it weren't for the social aspect, people would be even more grumpy.  At the very least currently, people can be less bored.

The social aspect is part of the problem.

100% of the time, people in front and behind me are with someone who isn't even authorized to pick up badges that day, but they only add to an already long line. To help mitigate this issue, there needs to be less people in line overall.

Double-edged sword.  If the line is 6 hours long, or even 4 or 5 hours, then it's almost necessary to be in a group in case you need to have someone hold your place in line when you get food, run to the restroom, etc.

But it may just be a single edge, and the opposite edge at that, as I'm not really sure that extra people in line would add a significant amount to the wait.  The manpower to hand out X # of badges per hour does not change regardless of how many people are waiting.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dany on May 29, 2013, 09:05:39 AM
What I would do if I were you guys, I would separate groups of pre-reg people into pickup schedules and email these people to come at a specific time frame to pick up their badges. You would at least know how many people per pickup group will be there and you can better estimate how to handle these loads.

For example, group "A" can have a time slot of: 2pm - 4pm. Group "B" came come in from 3pm - 5pm, slightly over lapping each other.

The challenge with this is that some people have work and school schedules to consider. Arbitrarily assigning a time is not going to work out because you will have people who want to change times.

Simply put - they need more bodies on laptops. There were five desks processing upwards of 2000 people Thursday, with one person at a laptop per booth. That's too few.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 30, 2013, 06:23:57 PM
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. 2) Lost badges (http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,18525.msg463512.html#msg463512) – 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). 3) not enough staff before the convention to process the mailing out of a few thousand badges. 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.

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.

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....)

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.

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

To close, PLEASE STAFF! – I do not tell people to staff because I want them to prove they can do better, but because we genuinely need staff. Some of the reg staff put in somewhere around 48 hours....of a 96 hour con.....It made me sad that we had to feed the reg staffers because reg staffers would not leave reg to eat. Some would even need to be persuaded to leave their post to go pee because they had been sitting there for 6 hours. With adequate staff, it will resolve one critical limiting factor and help us make reg successful again.

Thanks for listening, please proceed to rip my explanation to pieces :)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Sunara Ishi on May 30, 2013, 06:36:10 PM
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
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 30, 2013, 06:51:20 PM
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
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Nina Star 9 on May 30, 2013, 07:00:47 PM
ewu, thank you so much for actually posting explanations for why certain things happened the way they did. While there are still obviously a LOT of issues to sort out, my main issue this year (as I have posted on the forums, in the official feedback form, and now on tumblr) is the lack of transparency and how the staff has been handling all of these issues. I'm really glad to have at least -some- type of explanation. It doesn't excuse how poorly run the con felt this year, but at least it is a step towards openness on both sides. I really appreciate it. :]
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 30, 2013, 07:03:34 PM
Eric = Director of Fanime Fan Services.... I serve the fans....or rather provide Fan Service?....wait, no :)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 30, 2013, 07:16:06 PM
hey... where was my fan service Eric!? :o
wait.. i'm staff.. i got my own services.. right? oh.. hmm.. lol.. nvm.  :P

btw.. loved your wall of text. so many people don't realize why reg. does what they do.. and coming from you. it helps people understand a lot better.

blah blah.. mail out badges.. blah blah.. I know why Fanime doesn't.. and I also know that Fanime USED TO (and I know that some people don't know that part..)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 30, 2013, 07:17:08 PM
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.
Are the badges that minors purchase different from the badges that adults purchase?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 30, 2013, 07:29:43 PM
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.
Are the badges that minors purchase different from the badges that adults purchase?
yup. lol... well at least the child ones anyway..
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 30, 2013, 07:31:34 PM
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.
Are the badges that minors purchase different from the badges that adults purchase?
yup. lol... well at least the child ones anyway..
what's the age range on child badges anyway?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: eralston on May 30, 2013, 07:33:47 PM
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.
Are the badges that minors purchase different from the badges that adults purchase?
yup. lol... well at least the child ones anyway..
what's the age range on child badges anyway?

Child badges are for children 10 and under and are free with a paying adult (they must be accompanied by the adult while at the convention). I believe other minors need a copy of there parents id to pick up there badge.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Nina Star 9 on May 30, 2013, 07:43:59 PM
Could the issue with mailing out badges to minors be averted by only mailing out badges to people of age, and making minors pick theirs up in person? Even if only half of the people who were of age opted to have theirs mailed, that would still be a lot of people removed from the line.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 30, 2013, 07:50:28 PM
Could the issue with mailing out badges to minors be averted by only mailing out badges to people of age, and making minors pick theirs up in person? Even if only half of the people who were of age opted to have theirs mailed, that would still be a lot of people removed from the line.
I think that their concerns are both with emergency contacts and minors getting ahold of badges without parental consent.

I just wonder why PAX can mail out badges without names to people of all ages and even have similar child badges as Fanime (although theirs only go up to 6 years old) and how they don't have any issues with it.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: svatoid on May 30, 2013, 08:22:27 PM
Thanks, Eric, for providing an explanation for some of the things observed at registration ( late star, line not moving for long periods etc). It does help mitigate the frustration over the long wait.
Hopefully next year registration will start at 4 or 5 PM and the issue of long waits can be addressed.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Gigantor on May 30, 2013, 09:00:59 PM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: cutiebunny on May 30, 2013, 09:09:58 PM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 30, 2013, 09:12:50 PM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Nyanko on May 30, 2013, 09:23:34 PM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Sunara Ishi on May 30, 2013, 09:24:22 PM
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.

Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SOawesomeness on May 30, 2013, 09:31:14 PM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Sunara Ishi on May 30, 2013, 09:37:10 PM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Tetsuo on May 31, 2013, 12:05:59 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Makoto on May 31, 2013, 12:20:39 AM
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.

Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Lucifargundam on May 31, 2013, 12:23:09 AM
This year, however, everyone was aware and in control of what was going on.
No it wasn't.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Lucifargundam on May 31, 2013, 12:27:03 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 31, 2013, 12:50:20 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dagger-6 on May 31, 2013, 01:49:53 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Empathy on May 31, 2013, 03:46:42 AM

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).
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Jiraya on May 31, 2013, 08:58:37 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: phr34kish on May 31, 2013, 09:03:58 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: hikanteki on May 31, 2013, 09:32:52 AM
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 31, 2013, 10:06:47 AM
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!
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 31, 2013, 10:29:43 AM
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.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 31, 2013, 10:36:12 AM
sure there's a few staffers that come in and read this thread..

me... O:-)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: eralston on May 31, 2013, 11:02:33 AM
sure there's a few staffers that come in and read this thread..

me... O:-)

and me... O:-)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 31, 2013, 11:09:39 AM
and me... O:-)

Now all I need to do is drop some mad CA$$$$H on the auction.... :)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dany on May 31, 2013, 11:16:05 AM
To close, PLEASE STAFF! – I do not tell people to staff because I want them to prove they can do better, but because we genuinely need staff. Some of the reg staff put in somewhere around 48 hours....of a 96 hour con.....It made me sad that we had to feed the reg staffers because reg staffers would not leave reg to eat. Some would even need to be persuaded to leave their post to go pee because they had been sitting there for 6 hours. With adequate staff, it will resolve one critical limiting factor and help us make reg successful again.

Out of curiosity, how many people staff registration now (including an estimate for any on the spot volunteers), and how many more people does registration feels is needed in order to have adequate staffing? 

With that said, willing bodies moving towards the fire is all well and good, but they need to be armed with water and gear, or the fire still burns.  More volunteers would certainly help matters, but if those volunteers are not properly utilized and not equipped with a process that will support them, you're going to come back to the same problem, which is staff working stupidly ridiculous hours and unhappy attendees in line for hours on end.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Dracil on May 31, 2013, 12:08:00 PM
Does registration staff need to be specifically staff, or can volunteers actually help in any meaningful way?  If I actually went on Day 0, I probably wouldn't mind helping after getting the badge, and others may feel the same way.  But the mandatory staff meetings to be on staff is basically the dealbreaker for me as someone who doesn't live in San Jose and doesn't have a car.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on May 31, 2013, 12:41:54 PM
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.
If they lied wouldn't you guys not be held legally responsible?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 31, 2013, 01:23:36 PM
Out of curiosity, how many people staff registration now (including an estimate for any on the spot volunteers), and how many more people does registration feels is needed in order to have adequate staffing? 

With that said, willing bodies moving towards the fire is all well and good, but they need to be armed with water and gear, or the fire still burns.  More volunteers would certainly help matters, but if those volunteers are not properly utilized and not equipped with a process that will support them, you're going to come back to the same problem, which is staff working stupidly ridiculous hours and unhappy attendees in line for hours on end.

Over the weekend we have about 50-60 dedicated staff and of those, 20 that likely are too devoted and should be relieved more often. Volunteers we have about 40-50 that pass through, but they work mainly on aspects that require less training like bag stuffing, badge printing, and line control. We need more volunteers, but also without more staff we are not able to man more data entry stations and payment booths.

Volunteers do meaningfully help.

If they lied wouldn't you guys not be held legally responsible?

Depending on the situation we could, but more importantly, we want to be a responsible con and be able to contact a family member if they run into trouble like dislocate a knee while dancing energetically, or are drinking on the concourse, underage or not.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: GokuMew2 on May 31, 2013, 02:33:05 PM

But the mandatory staff meetings to be on staff is basically the dealbreaker for me as someone who doesn't live in San Jose and doesn't have a car.

Don't let that keep you from staffing! While there are some meetings that are mandatory, if you live very far away I believe you can be exempt from them.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 31, 2013, 02:40:25 PM

But the mandatory staff meetings to be on staff is basically the dealbreaker for me as someone who doesn't live in San Jose and doesn't have a car.

Actually, heads sometimes make special dispensation, and if you can go to at least one meeting, they may be able to deem that acceptable. Most important is that you get the critical information at the last meeting, but there is usually a webcast of that.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Kuudere on May 31, 2013, 03:10:46 PM

But the mandatory staff meetings to be on staff is basically the dealbreaker for me as someone who doesn't live in San Jose and doesn't have a car.

Actually, heads sometimes make special dispensation, and if you can go to at least one meeting, they may be able to deem that acceptable. Most important is that you get the critical information at the last meeting, but there is usually a webcast of that.

Wow, really?? Distance is honestly the only thing that has stopped me from staffing (as I live close to 4 hours away from the convention, but I have attended for 10 years now and have really wanted to contribute something more extensive than line monitoring back). If this is an option, I think you may want to promote it because there are probably others like me who would be interested, but can't help out because of the travel.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on May 31, 2013, 03:16:32 PM
Wow, really?? Distance is honestly the only thing that has stopped me from staffing (as I live close to 4 hours away from the convention, but I have attended for 10 years now and have really wanted to contribute something more extensive than line monitoring back). If this is an option, I think you may want to promote it because there are probably others like me who would be interested, but can't help out because of the travel.

It's a BIG case by case issue. Contact the head for details...
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Kuudere on May 31, 2013, 03:36:23 PM
Wow, really?? Distance is honestly the only thing that has stopped me from staffing (as I live close to 4 hours away from the convention, but I have attended for 10 years now and have really wanted to contribute something more extensive than line monitoring back). If this is an option, I think you may want to promote it because there are probably others like me who would be interested, but can't help out because of the travel.

It's a BIG case by case issue. Contact the head for details...

I figured... but it's a much better chance than I had initially thought, which was zero.  :)

I'll look into it anyway and cross my fingers.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Empathy on May 31, 2013, 04:48:34 PM
sure there's a few staffers that come in and read this thread..

me... O:-)

and me... O:-)

and me :3 but i avoid registration as much as possible tehe
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on May 31, 2013, 05:31:53 PM
i've been staffing in Rovers for... umm... i can definitely say longer than anyone else. lol.. so me too.

so.. yea.. as far as distance is concerned, it is a case by case thing. I know a few rovers that staffed this year are from far away, a few from socal... a few even further. so it's not impossible to staff if you can't make it to the meetings.

contact the dept. head you want to work for.. and they can work something out. :)

and you can certainly feel free to send as many forms for feedback.. *hint hint* lol.  ::)
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: CeruleanRogue on May 31, 2013, 10:38:55 PM
On the topic of staffing, I would love to help out with Registration.  I've done similar work for seminars my dad has attended in the past.  While they drew nowhere near the crowd Fanime draws, they were still a respectable size that needed to be moved quickly.

BUT!!!  I have two conflicts with Staffing.  First, as is the case with others, I live super far from San Jose and don't have a vehicle.  My boyfriend is Staff, so I *could* arrange to travel with him if I needed to attend certain Staff meetings.  But that leads me to my second issue...

My second issue with Staffing would be Cosplay Spectacular.  Obviously, I do want to participate; however, I do know staff members generally are not permitted to do so.  If there was a way around that (ie, only staff for Night Zero, be regular attendee the rest of the con) I would be more than happy to do so if it meant I could do the CS.  Any advice here?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Enkai on May 31, 2013, 10:49:19 PM
My second issue with Staffing would be Cosplay Spectacular.  Obviously, I do want to participate; however, I do know staff members generally are not permitted to do so.  If there was a way around that (ie, only staff for Night Zero, be regular attendee the rest of the con) I would be more than happy to do so if it meant I could do the CS.  Any advice here?

I think this depends on the department, actually.  I did CS last year, and at least one of our members was staff, working content, I believe (I'd have to check with her).  Our group meetings plotting what we were going to do generally were right after Fanime staff meetings, since most of us were closer to San Jose, and this group member was about an hour away.  I don't know if reg is a department that disqualifies you.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: keitoghostie on June 01, 2013, 12:16:44 AM
All of this has actually really convinced me to volunteer for registration, hey!

I'd staff but I don't think I can commit the full 24 hours but I'd love to do day zero for sure!
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SquallLHeart on June 01, 2013, 12:25:37 AM
24 hrs for the entire weekend is nothing..  ;) it'll fly by quicker than you think. lol.

but it's awesome just to see more victims.. *cough*.. volunteers willing to help the con!  ;D
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: kookiekween99 on June 01, 2013, 12:19:00 PM
All of this has actually really convinced me to volunteer for registration, hey!

I'd staff but I don't think I can commit the full 24 hours but I'd love to do day zero for sure!

Same here. The rest of con, I'm busy actually enjoying it. But I'd be willing to pay the full price for my badge and just help out with Reg on Thursday. Keeping busy like that would actually be preferable to waiting in line.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: AngelWings on June 02, 2013, 01:05:32 PM
Hi! I'm so happy to see prospective vic-volunteers for next year! If you would like to volunteer day zero -and of course the rest of the convention with registration that is certainly possible and useful! I was vols lead with registration this year and would like to emphasize as much as possible that we can use you! The most sure fire way to volunteer day zero is to walk up to a staff member and tell them you want to. Closer to next year I will put up a post with a more efficient method of making sure you find me so I can put you to work!

-Arianna G.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: Baconshinobi on June 02, 2013, 01:43:58 PM
This may seem like I'm jumping the gun a bit, as the convention has just ended, but believe it or not conventions do exist which offer registration for the next con directly after closing. It's safe to say that the likelihood of all of us having problems with this year's various registrations is pretty high, and I do not feel remiss in thinking that we should get a jump on next year.

Fanimecon is an annual convention: it is large, we know that it gets bigger every year, it always happens on the same days, and we are always guaranteed the space. So why was it such a mess this year? It's not as if the construction was a surprise, nor the MASSIVE amount of people trying to get their badges.

Artist Alley was a little more understandable with the new venue and having an unknown number of tables, etc., but registration for that didn't even open up until a month before the convention. Cosplayers will understand the high stress of being in limbo about the need to make things early without having the money or reassurance that you will have had cause to do so.

I know that the staff is volunteer-based, and they really put huge amounts of effort into making things happen. For what did work, they seriously pulled off a bang-up job. Fanime outdid itself this year, and they added a ton of awesome new things for us. Their roaming info people were encyclopedic in con knowledge and they were also just really nice! They were quick on their feet--which they were on all day--and provided such a breath of fresh air during a time of stress. Fanime did think about the crazy attendance, and one of the reasons they left the old 1st Hall open was for crowd control. They added some sweet chill zones, and I heard wonderful things about a glorious cosplayer mecca with sewing machines and no-photo zones. Brilliance.

Fanime has problems every year. We know this. Nothing can truly run without a hitch, and that is part of its charm. That said, the problems that we had this year were both glaring and preventable. I can understand the desire to even the playing field by having everyone register at once instead of giving first refusal to con-veterans, but that can be set up earlier in the year without much trouble and achieve the same result. Fanime is the same time every year, the same place every year, and many of the volunteers are known to volunteer every year. We have the ability to get things done earlier next year, and it will definitely be a lot less stress for admins and attendants alike.

And so I ask: when is the soonest we can sign up for Fanime 2014?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on June 02, 2013, 05:53:17 PM
And so I ask: when is the soonest we can sign up for Fanime 2014?

In the last few days we have put in a lot of thought and put in a lot of time meeting. We hope to have a new registration process that we can share with you. However, I am relatively certain that pre-reg will not begin until December or January. We will keep you updated on developments and updates for all aspects of the con, particularly registration.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: otakuya on June 02, 2013, 07:00:53 PM
^ I thought there were many people who already pre-regged for 2014 on Fanime Monday last week.
It would then seem like there are parts of the registration system that will be the same, if the pre-reg process is the same as well and people already paid for next year. So it sounds like there won't be a huge change in the system then?
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SpiritOfKairi on June 02, 2013, 07:11:37 PM
^ I thought there were many people who already pre-regged for 2014 on Fanime Monday last week.
It would then seem like there are parts of the registration system that will be the same, if the pre-reg process is the same as well and people already paid for next year. So it sounds like there won't be a huge change in the system then?

Yes, for as long as I can remember (2007), you have always been able to register for the next con on the last day of the current one.  I've heard the membership rate is discounted, but I'm not sure if it actually is, or by how much.  But you don't get an email saying you're in the registration system until almost right before Fanime, so it does make some people who do it get antsy that nothing's appearing in their inboxes yet.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: otakuya on June 02, 2013, 07:52:11 PM
^ My question is that the registration system is same as this year because some people already paid.
If there was something drastically different to registration system, pre-regging shouldn't have been opened yet, something new is in place, or existing registration data is transferrable to a new system.

My best guess is that there won't be a new registration system (like mailings or barcodes etc...), but rather new registration procedures.
I'm hopeful I'm wrong, because I'd like to see new everything.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: renalcul on June 02, 2013, 11:31:16 PM
^ My question is that the registration system is same as this year because some people already paid.
If there was something drastically different to registration system, pre-regging shouldn't have been opened yet, something new is in place, or existing registration data is transferrable to a new system.

My best guess is that there won't be a new registration system (like mailings or barcodes etc...), but rather new registration procedures.
I'm hopeful I'm wrong, because I'd like to see new everything.
Yeah, fanime kind of needs to make a change and wrestle with the lawyers.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SOawesomeness on June 03, 2013, 10:25:31 AM
My best guess is that there won't be a new registration system (like mailings or barcodes etc...), but rather new registration procedures.
I'm hopeful I'm wrong, because I'd like to see new everything.
We're working on different ideas right now but I'm thinking about new systems. Changing procedures don't fix the underlying systematic issue, and I understand that very clearly.

Thanks for all the feedback, guys!
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on June 03, 2013, 11:56:45 AM
Lots of changes in the works, we are not even sure what will change yet. As for those that registered at the end of 2013 for 2014. It does not signify there will not be a change. Those that have already registered are simply dumped onto a spreadsheet or database and integrated into the new system that we have yet to work out.

The end result is the same, those that pre-registered at the end of 2013 will have full weekend pre-registered memberships come 2014, but how that comes to be is still in the works.

^ My question is that the registration system is same as this year because some people already paid.
If there was something drastically different to registration system, pre-regging shouldn't have been opened yet, something new is in place, or existing registration data is transferrable to a new system.

My best guess is that there won't be a new registration system (like mailings or barcodes etc...), but rather new registration procedures.
I'm hopeful I'm wrong, because I'd like to see new everything.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: xkuramaxhieix on June 04, 2013, 08:31:13 PM
I don't know about the regular lines for registration, but pre-reg line was awful! Especially thursday! We kept getting moved(not fanime's fault), and people kept cutting, or leaving the line and just sneaking into the other room!

Next year, what fanime should do, to make pre-reg go faster is ask for a bunch of volunteers, and then go through the database and make all of the pre-reg badges ahead of time, then file the badges in boxes alphabetically by their last name. That way, when people who pre-reg come to pick up their badge, it's a lot faster, and you can just hand the person their badge and bag. Also, as a perk for the people who do volunteer to do this, they could get their badges as a 'thank you' for helping, but of course you can also stress to these volunteers that they can't show their badges off to other attendees until thursday, or pre-reg early pick up day. If we had something like this, I'd be more than willing to come out and help.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: dfens on June 06, 2013, 09:10:04 PM
Is counterfeit badges a real a concern that badges can't be mailed? I'm asking because what's the point of worrying about it and trying to crack down on it if the staff, rovers, and security don't even check to make sure people even have a badge.

The only time I was asked to show my badge was the dealers hall and artist alley. When I walked around the halls, went to panels, the viewing rooms, the main entrance to the convention center etc not once was I checked or was anyone else. You got people all over especially people taking pictures with no badges who come only for the cosplayers. Also a guy I know not a real friend met up with me and some other paying con goers and he walked around badge-less to all those same places without a care in the world part of me felt like a sucker paying 60 dollars when I could have did the same. Look I get it, that it would suck if every 2 seconds you stopped or tried to stop random people and requested a badge check, so why not have a specific place you have to display your badge at all times or you may warrant a badge check and ejection from the con. For my badge it was around my neck hanging the whole time for the world to see, and part of the time around the camera bag strapped across the side of my chest when I had my camera. Some people had them clipped to their belts.

The 3.5 hours I waited in line to get my badge was ridiculous, and some of my friends waited over 6-8 hours. Hell I would have gladly worked a few extra hours at work to earn the cash to pay extra for my badge to be mailed overnight with insurance and a signature confirmation.

What's really funny is a week prior at the same San Jose Convention center I didn't pre-register either for the Big Wow Comic Con and I waited a mere 5 minutes or less in line. I went up to a booth gave them my money and they gave me a nameless badge for that day that I had to wear at all times and was on my way if they can do it why can't Fanime? To this day I don't see why people have to register why can't it be like a movie theater I get to the window request a pass, then pay and be on my way. You want to see my ID no problem.

My biggest complaint to this day why can't you pre-register or wait in a stupid line to buy your badge for the next day say wait in line friday for a saturday badge? Anime Expo lets you do this. If I wanted to go saturday only, I don't want to wait in a several hour line day of I want to show up and start enjoying the con right off the bat.

All I know is Fanime better get their act together, I'm going to try Japan Expo this year and if they don't have all these long line BS I'll just go to them instead.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SOawesomeness on June 06, 2013, 11:12:08 PM
Next year, what fanime should do, to make pre-reg go faster is ask for a bunch of volunteers, and then go through the database and make all of the pre-reg badges ahead of time, then file the badges in boxes alphabetically by their last name. That way, when people who pre-reg come to pick up their badge, it's a lot faster, and you can just hand the person their badge and bag. Also, as a perk for the people who do volunteer to do this, they could get their badges as a 'thank you' for helping, but of course you can also stress to these volunteers that they can't show their badges off to other attendees until thursday, or pre-reg early pick up day. If we had something like this, I'd be more than willing to come out and help.
Usually if volunteers work with us on Day Zero and they pre/early registered, we give them their badges once Registration opens or when we have the capabilities to do so. It had been more of a "thank you" but I guess I can work on recruiting/incentivizing volunteers to work for Reg as well... this will be an area that I will attempt to explore. Thank you!
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: yumicchi88 on June 07, 2013, 11:01:30 AM
I was really disappointed on the name sticker on the badge.  Since it was my 10th anniversary of Fanime Attendance, I was really not happy about the badge.   

My suggestion is to email the pre-reg (maybe the ones that pre-reg'd by end of this year) once it closes, and ask for verification of their mailing address.  And mail the badge to the ones that replied.
This way, I have a feeling the line for at-con pick up will be shorter and more advantage for the people who really registered early. 
But I know this is more work for the staff, too.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: enlogen on June 10, 2013, 01:48:32 AM
My best guess is that there won't be a new registration system (like mailings or barcodes etc...), but rather new registration procedures.
I'm hopeful I'm wrong, because I'd like to see new everything.
We're working on different ideas right now but I'm thinking about new systems. Changing procedures don't fix the underlying systematic issue, and I understand that very clearly.

Thanks for all the feedback, guys!

What, in your opinion, is the underlying systematic issue? I understand that registration can only proceed as quickly as the slowest part of the pipeline, so what takes the most time per registration processed? Payment processing? Registration # lookup? Printing the badges?

Printing the badges ahead of time and having them waiting won't make things any quicker if everyone still has to wait to pay or to provide ID or to be found in the system. Without knowing the root cause of this issue, it's difficult to make effective suggestions about how to make things better.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: ewu on June 10, 2013, 02:05:53 PM
What, in your opinion, is the underlying systematic issue? I understand that registration can only proceed as quickly as the slowest part of the pipeline, so what takes the most time per registration processed? Payment processing? Registration # lookup? Printing the badges?

Printing the badges ahead of time and having them waiting won't make things any quicker if everyone still has to wait to pay or to provide ID or to be found in the system. Without knowing the root cause of this issue, it's difficult to make effective suggestions about how to make things better.

The long and short is that reg is a complicated beast. For a complete picture, people working on this issue must be staff and be in the appropriate position to contribute to the evaluation and design of the 2014 system. It is far from something that can or should be discussed in a public forum. We have people experienced in the Fanime reg system as well as those with an understanding of such complex issues working on this. If you have some unique experience, qualifications, or skills, we would love for you to join the team, but at this point we are not able to share the whole of our reg processes, both past and future, on a public forum. Thanks!
Title: Maybe some sort of "limited" badge?
Post by: Tsubasakissu on June 10, 2013, 10:44:00 PM
So~
Every year at Fanime, I only ever do two things: Dealers hall (like twice per weekend) and the Artist Alley (maybe 2-3 times?) and 5-65 dollars for just those two things is quite a bit of change. (NOTE: I also host 1-3 panels, but I never go and see other panels)
So, maybe a possibility of a "limited access" badge could be a thing? a badge that only allows you into the Artist Alley, Dealers Hall, and maybe the game room (I dont go there ever, but Ive heard of some people spending like  80% of their time in this room) at a bit of a lower rate? Like $45? Still pretty high up there, but still 20 dollars less than 65~

Just a passing thought~


NOTE: inb4 fanime would lost money: I see thousands and thousands of people who go to at least once concert, rave, dance, panel, or signing or karaoke or whatever. And most people probably want to make better use of their 65 dollar badge rather than just go to the AA/Dealers hall, so the percentage of people who only go to dealers/AA probably isnt that high. And, right now, fanime is LOSING money because lots of people are not buying badges, these people go without badges and just borrow a badge when they want to go to the AA or dealers, meaning that fanime is currently losing money because of badge swapping. This could be an un-tapped resource.
Title: Re: Maybe some sort of "limited" badge?
Post by: Aoi Memori on June 10, 2013, 11:08:26 PM
I gotta agree with you on that one... I myself only went for Line Con on Friday (those 5 hours of my life that were taken away and STILL had to pay full price for the con), dearlers, artist alley and game room since I saw nothing that piqued my interest in panels this year. That's ALL I did besides going to gatherings and taking pictures ALL weekend. It really felt like a waste of $65 in my book .-.
Title: Re: Maybe some sort of "limited" badge?
Post by: ewu on June 10, 2013, 11:32:49 PM
First, please submit this via the form so that the proper people can get it.

As for this idea, we will consider it, but its likely a no. We have always shyed away from special event specific tickets, particularly for B+W ball and musicfest. If you submit it to the form, the proper people will look at it.

Thanks!

So~
Every year at Fanime, I only ever do two things: Dealers hall (like twice per weekend) and the Artist Alley (maybe 2-3 times?) and 5-65 dollars for just those two things is quite a bit of change. (NOTE: I also host 1-3 panels, but I never go and see other panels)
So, maybe a possibility of a "limited access" badge could be a thing? a badge that only allows you into the Artist Alley, Dealers Hall, and maybe the game room (I dont go there ever, but Ive heard of some people spending like  80% of their time in this room) at a bit of a lower rate? Like $45? Still pretty high up there, but still 20 dollars less than 65~

Just a passing thought~


NOTE: inb4 fanime would lost money: I see thousands and thousands of people who go to at least once concert, rave, dance, panel, or signing or karaoke or whatever. And most people probably want to make better use of their 65 dollar badge rather than just go to the AA/Dealers hall, so the percentage of people who only go to dealers/AA probably isnt that high. And, right now, fanime is LOSING money because lots of people are not buying badges, these people go without badges and just borrow a badge when they want to go to the AA or dealers, meaning that fanime is currently losing money because of badge swapping. This could be an un-tapped resource.
Title: Registration Idea
Post by: davidnguyen408 on June 21, 2013, 10:57:13 PM
Does anyone have this idea too? I have an idea about Pre-Reg Badge Pickup on Day Zero. If the line opens up around noon and stays open for most of the day it will reduce the line dramatically. I know that it will be challenging due to lack of staff, and it may be difficult due to time constraints. However, I believe it would be beneficial since it has been getting worse and worse every year by opening the pick up so late into the afternoon/ early evening. Opening earlier will be a convenience for some and staying open later will be a convenience for others.
Title: Re: Registration Idea
Post by: ewu on June 21, 2013, 11:12:11 PM
David,

Thanks for the suggestion. We would have liked to open this year at noon too. That was the plan, but unfortunately circumstances beyond our control prevented us from opening then. We are looking to ensure that we have more flexibility next year.

For more info, see this post: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,18525.msg464497.html#msg464497

Thanks,
Eric

Does anyone have this idea too? I have an idea about Pre-Reg Badge Pickup on Day Zero. If the line opens up around noon and stays open for most of the day it will reduce the line dramatically. I know that it will be challenging due to lack of staff, and it may be difficult due to time constraints. However, I believe it would be beneficial since it has been getting worse and worse every year by opening the pick up so late into the afternoon/ early evening. Opening earlier will be a convenience for some and staying open later will be a convenience for others.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: leepoffaith on June 24, 2013, 05:35:57 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I will lend my 2 cents.  I attend the con and did pre reg, but on Thursday I was at my day job, and not just at my day job, I was attending a business meeting in a room that I recognized as typically being used for FanimeCon, and we felt like we were unfairly pushed out of that room.  My company has already filed a grievance with the hotel, but this is an example when worlds collide it shows that people don't often realize other people were booked for those rooms months in advance.
Title: Re: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)
Post by: SOawesomeness on July 17, 2014, 11:51:18 AM
Hi all,

Locking this thread as it pertains to 2013.

Thanks!