/ blog. chaff. occasional witterings.


The Impossibility Of Ticketing

essays 15:14:51

BarCamp London 6 is in a month or so, and everyone's trying to get a ticket. Well, so it seems, anyway. Two batches have so far been released, and both have been allocated within a minute. It's so ridiculous, I don't even think I can be bothered trying.

I've complained about this sort of thing before, way back when, on the 2lmc spool, when that was extant. Even then, rather than just grousing, I had a suggestion.

Given the current ticket allocation system is a lottery, why not, well, make it a fair one? Rather than giving tickets based on who can hit "reload" in a browser fastest, leave the ticket system open for as long as the current wave system lasts (well over a week, so far), and let everyone apply for a ticket. Then, close the system, and randomly allocate the number of tickets available to the list.

This seems to me to be a far fairer solution. Of course, there are other ways of doing this. A nominal fee - something like the £12 charged by Ruby Manor, or the £20 for Interesting - would also have the effect of trimming the entrance list, and it might stop some of the encroaching commercialisation of the event. (Anyway, does every BarCamp really need its own tshirt?)

After I ranted about this in the pub, Gavin Bell suggested another model, an invite network, under the name seed16. In the comments on that piece, Simon Wistow suggested that, if going with friends is important, you could let people apply for tickets en masse, and vary the lottery model in different ways.

I'm sure the BarCamp people have a lot of work to do in getting their conference running, and having organised a few events for way back when, I know it's easy to criticise. I do think that ticketing has become something of a farce, though, and it's got to be worth considering different approaches.