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Artist Alley Registration Help Topic The Help Desk, but on the Forums. 2011 Edition

#61 User is offline   Starchaser 

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 11:59 PM

View PostLinkJun, on 16 December 2010 - 08:07 PM, said:

Wow haha. When exactly did you guys receive the first successful submission?


I want to know too! I started submission from the moment the alley opened, but only succeeded at 6:18pm to submit. I really would like to know if I even was in that 56 minutes!

#62 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 01:26 AM

View Postmegoomba, on 17 December 2010 - 03:41 PM, said:

My timestamps are at 6:05, 6:18, and 6:36 CST.... I'm so hoping they all made it in ;______; *CROSSES FINGERS*


View Postmegoomba, on 19 December 2010 - 08:53 PM, said:

I just want to make sure this isn't in response to my statement earlier about having three timestamps to go by. Because that isn't the case with my situation.


I got the impression that you were able to fill out the form 3 times, while some people couldn't get it done once in that time frame.

And I take Voltaire30's comment to mean more than 1 person submitting for the same studio.

It would be nice if they would "reveal" the magic starting time for the 56 mins.

This post has been edited by brands01: 22 December 2010 - 01:29 AM


#63 User is offline   MuffinSquire 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:18 AM

I am becoming increasingly concerned that my email was a joke from the internet gods or I did something wrong or something because my timestamp seems awful early compared to everyone else's. My timestamp, when I got it, read 5:54. (Gmail has since rounded it out to 6, for some reason.)

There's also the other paranoia of things like, "Did I accidentally order three tables instead of one?" and "Did I sign up for the Art Show instead of the Alley by mistake?!" :<

Also, unless I can't do basic math (which is certainly a possibility), 10 days after table signups opened (in the "7-10 days" bit that the email or website said) would be Christmas. I really hope I don't get a "you didn't get in, sorry" email on Christmas. :< (On the other hand, getting a "Congratulations, you got a table!" email on Christmas would be fantastic. )
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#64 User is offline   megoomba 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:31 AM

View Postbrands01, on 22 December 2010 - 01:26 AM, said:

I got the impression that you were able to fill out the form 3 times, while some people couldn't get it done once in that time frame.

And I take Voltaire30's comment to mean more than 1 person submitting for the same studio.

It would be nice if they would "reveal" the magic starting time for the 56 mins.


I'm sorry for the confusion. Me, my girlfriend and another friend of ours were all in the same apartment last week on our laptops all trying to get our own tables.... (one table per person). I used "my" in a more ambiguous sense as if to mean "the timestamps I have to go by" as opposed to "the timestamps that represent me" because I really do hope we all get in. And you too for that matter! So.... my bad. Sorry for the confusion. I also hope they reveal the "magic" time soon. It would really help calm some nerves if we could at least have some more info I think. But they must be keeping it hush-hush for a reason so... I trust them!

View PostMuffinSquire, on 22 December 2010 - 09:18 AM, said:

....10 days after table signups opened (in the "7-10 days" bit that the email or website said) would be Christmas. I really hope I don't get a "you didn't get in, sorry" email on Christmas. :< (On the other hand, getting a "Congratulations, you got a table!" email on Christmas would be fantastic. )


Or.... in my case if they're two days late on that 7-10 days I'll find out on my <i>birthday</i> if I didn't get in or not DDDD: (Though yes, it would make for a great christmas/birthday present if I found I had actually gotten in.... lol!)

#65 User is offline   Hooked On Chibis! 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:34 AM

View PostMuffinSquire, on 22 December 2010 - 09:18 AM, said:

I am becoming increasingly concerned that my email was a joke from the internet gods or I did something wrong or something because my timestamp seems awful early compared to everyone else's. My timestamp, when I got it, read 5:54. (Gmail has since rounded it out to 6, for some reason.)



Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one. My Gmail timestamp was 6:42, but I'm in Eastern time, so that'd be 5:42. This was after two failed attempts (once the application crapped out on page 2, then again on page 4), and based on what everyone else is saying, I'd be terrified that the third time had also failed, had I not actually gotten this confirmation email. Now, like you, I'm wondering "but is it REAL?" O_o

The good news is, if the first submission was received at exactly 5:00 CST, we're probably both in. If the e-mails are real. ;-)
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#66 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:45 AM

View PostHooked On Chibis!, on 22 December 2010 - 11:34 AM, said:

Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one. My Gmail timestamp was 6:42, but I'm in Eastern time, so that'd be 5:42. This was after two failed attempts (once the application crapped out on page 2, then again on page 4), and based on what everyone else is saying, I'd be terrified that the third time had also failed, had I not actually gotten this confirmation email. Now, like you, I'm wondering "but is it REAL?" O_o

The good news is, if the first submission was received at exactly 5:00 CST, we're probably both in. If the e-mails are real. ;-)


I wouldn't stress any of it <3 From what I understand from others I've spoken to, the system was set up to tell people if all the tables were claimed(like, while filling out the application itself). When a friend tried to select a table, it said"All the tables have been claimed, you will be put on the waitlist", so, I'm assuming if you didn't see that, you are probably in.

I got my confirmation at 5:56CST, and didn't see any waitlist notice in the app, so I'm sure anyone before me is also fine.

#67 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 12:52 PM

View PostManifested Dreams, on 22 December 2010 - 11:45 AM, said:

I wouldn't stress any of it <3 From what I understand from others I've spoken to, the system was set up to tell people if all the tables were claimed(like, while filling out the application itself). When a friend tried to select a table, it said"All the tables have been claimed, you will be put on the waitlist", so, I'm assuming if you didn't see that, you are probably in.

I got my confirmation at 5:56CST, and didn't see any waitlist notice in the app, so I'm sure anyone before me is also fine.


My timestamp is 6:24 central, and I was allowed to select a table, but my confirmation email says :

"Please note this email does not guarantee you a space - it is only a
confirmation that we received your submission. Please allow 7-10 business
days for a follow up email."

So I don't think being able to select a table means that you got one. It seems more like at some point they figured out that they had gotten too many submissions and manually flipped the switch that changed the submission process.

#68 User is offline   Ginrei 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 01:30 PM

Okay, so... wow. For the first half an hour, the site kept timing out, and for the second half hour I was getting a DENIAL message from the server. It wouldn't even try to load. Anooooying. And no fair at all. =\

Once I did get on the form worked just fine (even if it took like 5-10 minutes to load between pages). So. Yeah. I got that same, "this does not guarantee you a space" e-mail... and my timestamp is 6:27, which worries me. I will be super bummed if I did not get a spot!

There's got to be a better way to do this. Maybe open a sign-up window... a set time of a few hours, and when its done raffle them off?

This post has been edited by Ginrei: 22 December 2010 - 01:32 PM


#69 User is offline   Voltaire30 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 01:54 PM

I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, and it's not that I dont love you guys, but its 7-10 buisness days which means between the 27th-30th of December, if I'm on here around the christmas holiday my fiancee will kill me. I will try to get things done sooner, but I wanted to give you a time in the email when you can be guaranteed to hear back from us.

To try an calm some nerves about knowing if you submission went through... You can log back into your account, and go try to REG again. If the form does not allow you to REG again, then you know that your submission went through.

As for specific times of confirmation emails, and timestamps, I would ask people please don't worry about it (which I know is a hard thing to do). We had a lot of people submitting in a very short time frame, and it was literally seconds between the last person who got in and the first person on the waiting list.

So Please enjoy the Holiday Season, while it is still the Holiday Season, and drive safely if you are traveling.

This post has been edited by Voltaire30: 22 December 2010 - 01:54 PM
Reason for edit: emoticons hate me, so i removed them

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#70 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:35 PM

View PostGinrei, on 22 December 2010 - 01:30 PM, said:

There's got to be a better way to do this. Maybe open a sign-up window... a set time of a few hours, and when its done raffle them off?


I agree 100% with this Idea, except that the window should be wider. maybe a day. This would take a huge load off the server, and we wouldn't be so angsty about this whole affair.

Actually, if you are going to do a raffle, or lottery, the window could be much longer. Some cons take table requests and don't let you know for a month, but w/o the mad dash, there doesn't seem to be the angst factor we have here.

This post has been edited by brands01: 22 December 2010 - 02:44 PM


#71 User is offline   LinkJun 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 03:34 PM

View Postbrands01, on 22 December 2010 - 02:35 PM, said:

I agree 100% with this Idea, except that the window should be wider. maybe a day. This would take a huge load off the server, and we wouldn't be so angsty about this whole affair.

Actually, if you are going to do a raffle, or lottery, the window could be much longer. Some cons take table requests and don't let you know for a month, but w/o the mad dash, there doesn't seem to be the angst factor we have here.


No offense, but I wholeheartedly disagree. This would take the power of control OUT of our hands and put it in the hands of pure luck. There are people who care about and love this event so much, that they are willing to change their schedule around and put in the necessary effort to ensure that they get in. (Just as a clarification, everybody DOES have the ability to do this, especially when given advance notice. It's about priorities, not abilities.)

If you employ a raffle window like that, what you are doing is picking at random among people who may or may not give half a rat's a** about the entire process. The people who are here right when it opens are those who care about the event. We are the ones who are going to follow the rules, won't drop out at the last minute, and will truly create a fun and friendly atmosphere for everyone at the Artists' Alley.

As previous years have shown, most of the people who are here right at the beginning DO eventually get in. There is going to be a number of tables released to the waiting list soon after confirmations are announced because of multiple crew members submitting a form for the same studio. Also, every year, plenty of people drop out as well (plans change, things happen). Even WITH the current system though, alas, it may be that not all of these wonderful artisans will get in. There just isn't enough room in the alley for everyone that wants to be in it, unfortunately. It's a heck of a lot better than a shot-in-the-dark raffle though.

Is there anyone else here who is as adamantly against a submission randomization as I am, or is it just me?

#72 User is offline   Chao-Fangirl 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 03:42 PM

I don't believe in holding a raffle system with the artist alley tables either, for the same reasons you listed.

#73 User is offline   MuffinSquire 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 04:16 PM

I also think that a raffle would be a bad idea. I think it would be unfair to the people who rearrange their whole schedule to sign up for/go to this event.
I can't handle having a job and going to school full-time to get my degree, so Alleys are the only way I really have to make money. I hate the idea of leaving things like my tuition and food fund up to chance.

Also, in regards to the 7-10 day thing, I totally forgot that business days and "real" days are not the same thing. :P It definitely does say that in the email, I just can't read. My bad. As much as we want to know if we're in or not, we don't expect you guys to do anything on Christmas other than spend time your families. It's what the holidays are for, right? (Well, other than maybe that fancy set of markers I've had my eye on. HintHint, Santa.)
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Posted 22 December 2010 - 05:27 PM

Also disagreeing withe raffle idea, simply because some people ((not necessarily me but acquaintances ))make a a living, or a needed amount of income from artist alleys to support themselves. Having a raffle system would quickly put those people into a realm that would not really be fair to them.

And I'm glad to know I am not the only one who go the whole business day thing jumbled up in my brain. Not the first time it has happened to me either.

#75 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 06:11 PM

View PostLinkJun, on 22 December 2010 - 03:34 PM, said:

No offense, but I wholeheartedly disagree. This would take the power of control OUT of our hands and put it in the hands of pure luck. There are people who care about and love this event so much, that they are willing to change their schedule around and put in the necessary effort to ensure that they get in. (Just as a clarification, everybody DOES have the ability to do this, especially when given advance notice. It's about priorities, not abilities.)

If you employ a raffle window like that, what you are doing is picking at random among people who may or may not give half a rat's a** about the entire process. The people who are here right when it opens are those who care about the event. We are the ones who are going to follow the rules, won't drop out at the last minute, and will truly create a fun and friendly atmosphere for everyone at the Artists' Alley.

As previous years have shown, most of the people who are here right at the beginning DO eventually get in. There is going to be a number of tables released to the waiting list soon after confirmations are announced because of multiple crew members submitting a form for the same studio. Also, every year, plenty of people drop out as well (plans change, things happen). Even WITH the current system though, alas, it may be that not all of these wonderful artisans will get in. There just isn't enough room in the alley for everyone that wants to be in it, unfortunately. It's a heck of a lot better than a shot-in-the-dark raffle though.

Is there anyone else here who is as adamantly against a submission randomization as I am, or is it just me?



View PostMuffinSquire, on 22 December 2010 - 04:16 PM, said:

I also think that a raffle would be a bad idea. I think it would be unfair to the people who rearrange their whole schedule to sign up for/go to this event.
I can't handle having a job and going to school full-time to get my degree, so Alleys are the only way I really have to make money. I hate the idea of leaving things like my tuition and food fund up to chance.

Also, in regards to the 7-10 day thing, I totally forgot that business days and "real" days are not the same thing. :P It definitely does say that in the email, I just can't read. My bad. As much as we want to know if we're in or not, we don't expect you guys to do anything on Christmas other than spend time your families. It's what the holidays are for, right? (Well, other than maybe that fancy set of markers I've had my eye on. HintHint, Santa.)



First of all, this was a crap shoot, but not a fair one. I an going to guess that there were several thousand of us trying to access the server at the same time. We were logged in before the start time just like every one else. We were all poised with our fingers on the trigger. How the server decided to let some users in immediatly, and made others wait is anyones guess, but its not neccesarily first come, first served. That is part of the crap shoot. The bias comes in due the number and speed of the hubs btw you and the server. When I tried to access and then fill out the forms, I was timed ou t several times because of this. I have explored the timing from my location to the server, and it hits a slow hub about 50% of the time, which makes the system biased against me, and others with this problem. I am being punished by location, is that fair?

Secondly, if the window of opportunity was wider, no one would have to rearrange their schedule. Point in fact, not everyone can. And how about the people that made arrangements to be available the day this was supposed to happen, and couldn't be there the next day. They just got screwed.

Third, the fact the you make your living by doing this is irrelevant. This is supposed to be open to anyone who wants to sell. If this should be biased towards a certain seriousness, then the process should be juried.

As for the idea that people who get there in the beginning eventually get in, maybe in the past, but last year it filled in 4 hours, this year in less than an hour. I read this to mean that there were a lot more people trying to get in. If you want to restrict this to the people who get there first, set a limiting factor for the entry to the raffle.

#76 User is offline   megoomba 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 06:33 PM

I agree there needs to be a change.... but the raffle idea isn't the way to do it. I think even just having the form being ONE page instead of four would make it a lot better. At least that way there wouldn't be so many chances for the pages to timeout.

#77 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:21 PM

View Postmegoomba, on 22 December 2010 - 06:33 PM, said:

I agree there needs to be a change.... but the raffle idea isn't the way to do it. I think even just having the form being ONE page instead of four would make it a lot better. At least that way there wouldn't be so many chances for the pages to timeout.


Yes, one page would also cut down the hits on the server.

Well, whatever they decide to do, I do want to acknowledge that they have a big job to do, and even though I have been griping, I do appreciate the work they do.

#78 User is offline   LinkJun 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:07 PM

There are many options and improvements that may be employed to make next year's rush less of a headache.

One, in order to reduce HTTP 408s and avoid POSTDATA database conflicts (although, I don't think the form pages used POST requests anyway), perhaps the form itself should be available well beforehand to fill out and complete. For example, a week prior to the AA opening date, users could log into the website and fill out the form. Then, when the AA registration opens, users (who are already logged in to the site) could simply go to the registration page and hit "Submit Saved Artist Alley Form" or something similar. Theoretically, users could log into the site half an hour or so before the scheduled registration opening time (making sure their browser saves cookies for the acen.org domain). Then, they would wait until the connection to the server DB goes live, and then go directly to the AA registration form URL (for example, http://www.acen.org/...gistration_2011 for this year). This page should query the user table, and if the current user has a saved registration form, it should display a "Submit Saved Form" and a "Submit New Form" command button, so that you could have either option (if for whatever reason you didn't want to use your previously saved form). If the current user has no saved form, then the page should take you directly to the "New Form" page.

Two, temporary web server hosting is relatively cheap, especially for MAPS' budget methinks. I don't know if the current web server is dedicated or remotely hosted, but setting up a couple extra servers to handle a temporary surge isn't too complicated (and would help load balancing for central hubs).

Three, submission statistics need to be more transparent for the end-user. It's as simple as including this information in the confirmation e-mail. "You are submission number 26, table(s) 47-48, Art Show flat(s) 17." Something like that. Yes, submissions are very close to each other in time, but servers can keep track of socket activity to the millisecond (or at least to the centisecond). Any database schema (and DB admin who writes the update queries coming from PHP) worth their salt will have the necessary logic to check an incoming submission ID against a preexisting primary key index for that ID, such that simultaneous requests from the calling API (be it JDBC, ODBC, etc.) will not conflict in the database. It is not that hard from a programming standpoint to implement a well-defined algorithm to accomplish this.

I understand that submissions have to be eventually pilfered through by the AA staff, but in the worst case, this only means good news for those who got a "Waiting List" e-mail as opposed to a confirmation. If you are denied, it would be because you didn't follow procedure in the registration form, or you're on the ban list, or a vendor, etc., in which case it's your own fault anyway. Also, if a waiting list e-mail is sent, it's even easier to include a queue number, like: "You are currently #8 in the waiting list." This can be a sequential table in the DB, with a foreign key to the acen.org user ID, so that a user can simply log in and check their current position in the waiting list! No incessant, repeated e-mails to the artshow mailbox, it can all be automatic!

These are all hardware and software modifications that I think will greatly improve the registration process. That said, the process itself should remain based on facility, and definitely not chance. If nothing else, I hope that Phillip and the rest of the AA staff will uphold this core aspect, which is what makes the ACen alley stand out from others, and triumph over alleys that have seriously gone down the chute due to juried selection (*cough*Ohayo*cough*). All others who agree, say aye to let your vote be heard!

--Sources: I am a professional RDB (relational database) administrator/developer for hospitals and clinics across Michiana.

#79 User is offline   megoomba 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:23 PM

View PostLinkJun, on 22 December 2010 - 10:07 PM, said:

There are many options and improvements that may be employed to make next year's rush less of a headache.

One, in order to reduce HTTP 408s and avoid POSTDATA database conflicts (although, I don't think the form pages used POST requests anyway), perhaps the form itself should be available well beforehand to fill out and complete. For example, a week prior to the AA opening date, users could log into the website and fill out the form. Then, when the AA registration opens, users (who are already logged in to the site) could simply go to the registration page and hit "Submit Saved Artist Alley Form" or something similar. Theoretically, users could log into the site half an hour or so before the scheduled registration opening time (making sure their browser saves cookies for the acen.org domain). Then, they would wait until the connection to the server DB goes live, and then go directly to the AA registration form URL (for example, http://www.acen.org/...gistration_2011 for this year). This page should query the user table, and if the current user has a saved registration form, it should display a "Submit Saved Form" and a "Submit New Form" command button, so that you could have either option (if for whatever reason you didn't want to use your previously saved form). If the current user has no saved form, then the page should take you directly to the "New Form" page.

Two, temporary web server hosting is relatively cheap, especially for MAPS' budget methinks. I don't know if the current web server is dedicated or remotely hosted, but setting up a couple extra servers to handle a temporary surge isn't too complicated (and would help load balancing for central hubs).

Three, submission statistics need to be more transparent for the end-user. It's as simple as including this information in the confirmation e-mail. "You are submission number 26, table(s) 47-48, Art Show flat(s) 17." Something like that. Yes, submissions are very close to each other in time, but servers can keep track of socket activity to the millisecond (or at least to the centisecond). Any database schema (and DB admin who writes the update queries coming from PHP) worth their salt will have the necessary logic to check an incoming submission ID against a preexisting primary key index for that ID, such that simultaneous requests from the calling API (be it JDBC, ODBC, etc.) will not conflict in the database. It is not that hard from a programming standpoint to implement a well-defined algorithm to accomplish this.

I understand that submissions have to be eventually pilfered through by the AA staff, but in the worst case, this only means good news for those who got a "Waiting List" e-mail as opposed to a confirmation. If you are denied, it would be because you didn't follow procedure in the registration form, or you're on the ban list, or a vendor, etc., in which case it's your own fault anyway. Also, if a waiting list e-mail is sent, it's even easier to include a queue number, like: "You are currently #8 in the waiting list." This can be a sequential table in the DB, with a foreign key to the acen.org user ID, so that a user can simply log in and check their current position in the waiting list! No incessant, repeated e-mails to the artshow mailbox, it can all be automatic!

These are all hardware and software modifications that I think will greatly improve the registration process. That said, the process itself should remain based on facility, and definitely not chance. If nothing else, I hope that Phillip and the rest of the AA staff will uphold this core aspect, which is what makes the ACen alley stand out from others, and triumph over alleys that have seriously gone down the chute due to juried selection (*cough*Ohayo*cough*). All others who agree, say aye to let your vote be heard!

--Sources: I am a professional RDB (relational database) administrator/developer for hospitals and clinics across Michiana.


.... I don't know much about computers, but this makes it clear to me that there are definitely alternatives to a raffle system! lol!

#80 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:30 PM

View PostLinkJun, on 22 December 2010 - 10:07 PM, said:

There are many options and improvements that may be employed to make next year's rush less of a headache.

One, in order to reduce HTTP 408s and avoid POSTDATA database conflicts (although, I don't think the form pages used POST requests anyway), perhaps the form itself should be available well beforehand to fill out and complete. For example, a week prior to the AA opening date, users could log into the website and fill out the form. Then, when the AA registration opens, users (who are already logged in to the site) could simply go to the registration page and hit "Submit Saved Artist Alley Form" or something similar. Theoretically, users could log into the site half an hour or so before the scheduled registration opening time (making sure their browser saves cookies for the acen.org domain). Then, they would wait until the connection to the server DB goes live, and then go directly to the AA registration form URL (for example, http://www.acen.org/...gistration_2011 for this year). This page should query the user table, and if the current user has a saved registration form, it should display a "Submit Saved Form" and a "Submit New Form" command button, so that you could have either option (if for whatever reason you didn't want to use your previously saved form). If the current user has no saved form, then the page should take you directly to the "New Form" page.

Two, temporary web server hosting is relatively cheap, especially for MAPS' budget methinks. I don't know if the current web server is dedicated or remotely hosted, but setting up a couple extra servers to handle a temporary surge isn't too complicated (and would help load balancing for central hubs).

Three, submission statistics need to be more transparent for the end-user. It's as simple as including this information in the confirmation e-mail. "You are submission number 26, table(s) 47-48, Art Show flat(s) 17." Something like that. Yes, submissions are very close to each other in time, but servers can keep track of socket activity to the millisecond (or at least to the centisecond). Any database schema (and DB admin who writes the update queries coming from PHP) worth their salt will have the necessary logic to check an incoming submission ID against a preexisting primary key index for that ID, such that simultaneous requests from the calling API (be it JDBC, ODBC, etc.) will not conflict in the database. It is not that hard from a programming standpoint to implement a well-defined algorithm to accomplish this.

I understand that submissions have to be eventually pilfered through by the AA staff, but in the worst case, this only means good news for those who got a "Waiting List" e-mail as opposed to a confirmation. If you are denied, it would be because you didn't follow procedure in the registration form, or you're on the ban list, or a vendor, etc., in which case it's your own fault anyway. Also, if a waiting list e-mail is sent, it's even easier to include a queue number, like: "You are currently #8 in the waiting list." This can be a sequential table in the DB, with a foreign key to the acen.org user ID, so that a user can simply log in and check their current position in the waiting list! No incessant, repeated e-mails to the artshow mailbox, it can all be automatic!

These are all hardware and software modifications that I think will greatly improve the registration process. That said, the process itself should remain based on facility, and definitely not chance. If nothing else, I hope that Phillip and the rest of the AA staff will uphold this core aspect, which is what makes the ACen alley stand out from others, and triumph over alleys that have seriously gone down the chute due to juried selection (*cough*Ohayo*cough*). All others who agree, say aye to let your vote be heard!

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Echoing my support of the idea of a form that could be filled out in advance, but not sent until a predetermined time. The main complaint for the reg seemed to be people's inability to get through the form to send it due to resets and timeouts(I think we all had both). Having this sort of system would, I think, drastically reduce the server overload and people would have plenty of time to get the form filled out. Since the form pulled from our profiles to fill in some information, it makes sense that it could pull the specifics for what we are requesting as well.

Plus, less stress on the staff next year <3

Regardless, everyone enjoy the holiday(s)!

#81 User is offline   Lord Warhammer 

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 01:15 AM

Hello everyone!

you guys have some interesting ideas and this is great feedback. As always we will be continuing to work on the system to get rid of the kinks. However to sadly say no one system will be perfect.

I personally hate raffles. I have always believed that like standing in line for something at a store, the first person there wanted it the most.

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 07:38 AM

View PostLord Warhammer, on 23 December 2010 - 01:15 AM, said:

Hello everyone!

you guys have some interesting ideas and this is great feedback. As always we will be continuing to work on the system to get rid of the kinks. However to sadly say no one system will be perfect.

I personally hate raffles. I have always believed that like standing in line for something at a store, the first person there wanted it the most.

Merry Christmas Everyone!
and if you don't celebrate it, Have a Nice Day!


The suggestions made by LinkJun would certainly improve things, but the system is still inherently a biased raffle due to network latency. I can hit the reply button before you and still timestamp after you. Your analogy to standing in line at the store still has the problem of when another register opens and someone who just walked up was allowed in first.

If you want to go by who was in line first, you should award tables by when people logged into the system, not by who had the most efficient clerk in the checkout line.

#83 User is offline   LinkJun 

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 08:39 AM

View Postbrands01, on 23 December 2010 - 07:38 AM, said:

The suggestions made by LinkJun would certainly improve things, but the system is still inherently a biased raffle due to network latency. I can hit the reply button before you and still timestamp after you. Your analogy to standing in line at the store still has the problem of when another register opens and someone who just walked up was allowed in first.

If you want to go by who was in line first, you should award tables by when people logged into the system, not by who had the most efficient clerk in the checkout line.


Now we're just playing with semantics. The latency issues can be mostly resolved by investing in a better server-side infrastructure.

Even with the BEST servers, you will still have the problem of simultaneous submissions. Our situation is that we have a huge quantity of people trying to gain access at the same time. Say, for example, you have two people who submit a form at the same second. In this case, both people have shown equal amounts of effort and dedication, and really the only fair thing to do would be to leave it up to the server to resolve. Generally, whichever thread pertaining to a submission that is processed first by one of the CPU cores is going to be the one whose submitter will be accepted first. Sorry, but that's currently the best that can be done. Perhaps if quantum computers take over in the coming decades, that will change. For now, we just have to deal.

I don't even think it will be that much to deal with. We're not talking about someone who submits a form whole minutes beforehand and gets accepted after (mind you, this is taking into account the streamlining that needs to be done to the server infrastructure). We're talking about, in the worst case, someone who submits a form only a few centiseconds or so earlier and gets accepted after. When it's that close, there's no way to absolutely know who really clicked their left mouse button first anyway!

Like I said, the problems with the latency can be fixed, for the most part, by using multiple/faster servers, at least temporarily for the registration process. It's important to note that no matter what method we use, there is always going to be an element of chance to it. We live in the real world after all. The job here is to reduce that element of chance as much as we feasibly can (although we cannot eliminate it completely).

To put it simply, at some point, EVERY method we could possibly use is going to turn into a raffle if we look closely enough at it. And EVERY method will also have an element of bias, whether it be the user's proximity from the web server, or the inherent bias toward certain numbers that all randomization algorithms that might be used for a raffle always have.

After the necessary upgrades to the hardware and software are implemented, to further complain about bias is really just splitting hairs. Again, I hope no offense is taken, I'm just arguing the case for justice.

#84 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 10:19 AM

View PostLinkJun, on 23 December 2010 - 08:39 AM, said:

Now we're just playing with semantics. The latency issues can be mostly resolved by investing in a better server-side infrastructure.

Even with the BEST servers, you will still have the problem of simultaneous submissions. Our situation is that we have a huge quantity of people trying to gain access at the same time. Say, for example, you have two people who submit a form at the same second. In this case, both people have shown equal amounts of effort and dedication, and really the only fair thing to do would be to leave it up to the server to resolve. Generally, whichever thread pertaining to a submission that is processed first by one of the CPU cores is going to be the one whose submitter will be accepted first. Sorry, but that's currently the best that can be done. Perhaps if quantum computers take over in the coming decades, that will change. For now, we just have to deal.

I don't even think it will be that much to deal with. We're not talking about someone who submits a form whole minutes beforehand and gets accepted after (mind you, this is taking into account the streamlining that needs to be done to the server infrastructure). We're talking about, in the worst case, someone who submits a form only a few centiseconds or so earlier and gets accepted after. When it's that close, there's no way to absolutely know who really clicked their left mouse button first anyway!

Like I said, the problems with the latency can be fixed, for the most part, by using multiple/faster servers, at least temporarily for the registration process. It's important to note that no matter what method we use, there is always going to be an element of chance to it. We live in the real world after all. The job here is to reduce that element of chance as much as we feasibly can (although we cannot eliminate it completely).

To put it simply, at some point, EVERY method we could possibly use is going to turn into a raffle if we look closely enough at it. And EVERY method will also have an element of bias, whether it be the user's proximity from the web server, or the inherent bias toward certain numbers that all randomization algorithms that might be used for a raffle always have.

After the necessary upgrades to the hardware and software are implemented, to further complain about bias is really just splitting hairs. Again, I hope no offense is taken, I'm just arguing the case for justice.


I beg to differ. Improving server side issues is only one factor. Network latency involves The entire path from computer to the server. Factors such as speed of the source computer, distance, ISP issues, number of hops, (I can go on and on,) affect latency before you even get to the server. This is not splitting hairs, its another argument for justice. Since you agree that there is an element of chance inherent in the system, justice demands that as many extenuating issues as possible be removed so that we are all on a level playing field.

Now mind you, this argument is put forth to the people that contend that a lottery/raffle is unfair to the people that got into line first, and last year when it took 4 hours to fill up that is valid. But this year it filled in under and hour, and it took me, if we use 5:00 as the start time, close to an hour and a half to complete, and i was "in line at the store" before it opened, meaning I logged in before 5. Clearly there were more people ready and waiting to register at the start time then there are tables. If getting there first is the rule of the day, then why shouldn't the time I got in line, i.e. logged in, be the determining factor, and eliminate a layer chance. And if that were the case, I'd have arguments against that also.

This is not a unique problem, and most large cons suffer from it, which is why they have gone to such lengths as eliminating fan art and implementing a juried process, both of which require a large effort from the staff.

And by the way let me say again that I do appreciate the job that you guys are doing.

#85 User is offline   Roark 

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 10:44 AM

View Postbrands01, on 23 December 2010 - 10:19 AM, said:

This is not a unique problem, and most large cons suffer from it, which is why they have gone to such lengths as eliminating fan art and implementing a juried process, both of which require a large effort from the staff.


What's your opinion of a juried process? Not that I have any effect on how Exhibit Space runs things. This is just a curious problem that's tickling my brain for a solution :)

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:07 PM

I just want to pop in and say - as the reigning IT person for the site and reg - that I too am taking in the feedback.

We made several changes to the servers for next year to eliminate the timeouts - this was an entirely new system this year, streamlining much of the process both for you and AA staff, and that alone helped with the faster sell out time. Pre-filled forms or single page forms would only make it faster - and I'm not sure better at that point for you guys.

As far as latency - that's just a trade of doing an internet based registration. I'm sure anyone on dial-up would have the best argument there, it would be the least fair to them. Unfortunately though, that is not something we can control or correct for. Mailed in forms on the other hand have the 2-4 days of nailbiting to see if the mailman chose to feed your letter to his pet goat so.... :)

Seriously though, we are constantly in discussion on what will make things better for you guys - as you ARE the alley. Rest assured on that at least.
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#87 User is offline   Voltaire30 

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 01:05 PM

Let me start by saying everyone has valid ideas that could be implemented, that include all sorts of pros and cons. One of the things that make a community based event, like an Artist Alley, so great, is the willingness of the community to discuss and volunteer new and exciting ways to improve an Alley. I have been keeping a close eye on this topic, watching it develop, and entertaining any and all possible ideas that we could implement in the Artist Alley. So let me provide my observations on this subject.

I would like to keep the discussion of full juried alleys outside of the "Help Topic". I understand the intention of this idea, and it is one that ACen has not decided to pursue, as it clashes with our fundamental goal to promote the development of the animation industry in North America, to further the appreciation of anime and manga as valid art forms, and educate people about Asian culture and traditions. How can artwork, in all its forms and stages, truly be appreciated when you only see the final result? I would argue that it cannot, which is why I promise that our Alley has and always will maintain a first come first serve process as you have seen and bared witness to in previous years.

I agree that our system was lagged down due to the over load in server traffic, in fact I am actually proud that it was. No singular department in ACen draws this much traffic in a single hour, which tells me that either we are doing something right here (I hope it’s this one), or that the ACen Artist Alley is popular (I hope it’s this one too). Now all that said, for the past, going on seven years, we have listened to what everyone has had to say, and improved the Alley accordingly. My predecessors helped pull the Alley out from low traffic areas, into a more visible area. For those of you that were here back in the day of "line con" my previous predecessor took the comments and input seriously from the Artists and planned ahead, in doing so we were in fact still running full steam ahead while others were experiencing a less desirable situation. When you take into account our history and our willingness to obtain input from you, the Artists, it goes to reason that everyone will be heard, regardless of how loud they are, as an idea stands on its own merit and practicality, without implementing a bias on the source. So please trust me when I say that your comments are noted, and will be used in our continuing process to make this Alley the best it can be, because what is an Alley without any Artists? (Rhetorical ;) ) If you would like to volunteer any ideas or ways we can improve our Alley and/or Alley Registration process, please by all means send them directly to us, using our email address. One of the things that make an Alley so good is the combination of many different ideas, artworks, and people, functioning almost seamlessly together with one main goal, the promotion of starting Artists and the promotion of the Anime Industry itself. Let us keep that spirit alive and continue moving forward, because it’s not just the destination that matters, but the journey we take there.

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#88 User is offline   brands01 

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 01:06 PM

View PostRoark, on 23 December 2010 - 10:44 AM, said:

What's your opinion of a juried process? Not that I have any effect on how Exhibit Space runs things. This is just a curious problem that's tickling my brain for a solution :)


Personally. I like a juried AA, but it is also fraught with problems. But, if the AA staff has a feel for what the fan base wants, they can come close to presenting the best there is to offer them.

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 07:09 PM

The AA IS popular because you guys ARE doing it right :D I remember thinking in past years that even when other areas of Acen were blowing up in people's faces, AA usually had a better grasp on their department. I've always appreciated that.

As to the matter at hand...why can't you guys release the time that the first submission was processed? It would put so many nerves at ease and you'd probably stop getting inquiries as to who made it onto the waiting list.

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 06:57 PM

Respectfully - that wouldn't be a definitive help for everyone. Each submission can have more than one table (or none if you were just getting AS space), many submissions were in quick succession, and opening speculation as to who is confirmed or waitlist by having everyone frantically comparing timestamps and trying to do the math would lead to, I think, just greater worry/frustration/confusion.

:D We are going through all the submissions as quickly as possible. Please hang in there!
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