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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:33 pm 
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As of now, there are four groups responsible for making PDF happen, yet only two of these groups have access to reserve tickets.
This leads to three problems:

1. Not enough volunteers.
2. No access to tickets for would-be volunteers (so they don't volunteer, even when gifted a last minute ticket)
3. No access to tickets for theme camp coordinators and core crew (who also volunteer like crazy)

The groups that make PDF happen:
1. Board members - These are the people who work tirelessly year round to make sure PDF happens. They get reserve tickets.
2. Artists - These people are FUNDED in order to bring art to the playa. They get reserve tickets.
3. Volunteers - Even though they are the BACKBONE of the event, and much griping goes into recruiting them (which means they cannot and should not be taken for granted, other wise there might not be enough of them) there are still no official benefits to volunteering. After scraping and begging to get tickets, they're often wayyyy less inclined to help. Needless to say, they DO NOT get reserve tickets.
4. Theme camp crews - These people work for months WITHOUT FUNDING to create the interactive environments that have made burning culture so famous. They work for days without sleep or rest during the festival and I can tell you firsthand as an organizer, you cannot pick a harder job at a burn then organizing a camp with structures, sound, events, and artwork. To say a burn does not need camps is like saying a music festival does not need stages. After months of hard work without pay or reward, having your participation rejected because of losing an arbitrary lottery, and then hearing coordinators insinuate that you matter the same amount as a sparklepony who will not participate and just got lucky on ticketing, is beyond insulting, and is one of the main reasons people comment about how "PDF isn't what it used to be". These crews DO NOT get reserve tickets, and this is a serious issue.

So at this point some people respond:
"I agree about the volunteers, but whatever to the theme camps, they always get tickets anyways, stop b%$&ing, you're just a sore loser, etc. etc.:

I find this response beyond rude and insensitive, but down right ignorant. If not enough volunteers is the main issue keeping PDF from doing all the things they could do to solve their problems (getting land or increasing the cap) why doesn't PDF reserve tickets for people who volunteer? And more than that, reserve tickets for the HUGE GROUPS of people who volunteer.

Now I'm not just shooting salad here, I actually do have an idea we can implement IMMEDIATELY, without making any promises!!

THE SOLUTION:
Start a check in at the participation station or gate, or both, for people who have just finished their volunteer shift, and have a sign off for BOD/coordinators/Shift leads/Another volunteer, witnessing them sober and triumphant at the end of their shift. On this check-in list have a check box for people who are also working at a theme camp at the event, and a box for email addresses.

Next step for volunteers (this will require approval of the board): Put a copy of this list online somewhere private and contact verified volunteers about the good news!! Then allow them access to reserve tickets at the next event.

Next step for theme camps (also needs approval): Calculate an estimated ratio of theme camp to non camp volunteers, and then calculate another estimated ratio of theme camp to non camp PDF attendees, then compare the two. My guess is that theme-campers volunteer almost 5 times as much as non-theme-campers , but that's just my bias ;) If indeed there is no difference, or if people who work with theme camps are lazy bums, and non-theme-campers help way more (I know we're not bums), I'll stop agitating for this (pinky swear). However, if indeed it is found that we are a good thing for the event, then a certain number of tickets should be reserved for each camp, on the basis of how much set-up and tear-down they're doing (because those are the two really tough things we do).

Now you ask me: Who's should do this?

I answer: I'll do everything I'm allowed to do, and if allowed, I'll set up the registry for successful volunteers. I'll even do the math on how much theme-campers volunteer, but it should def be double-checked by someone unbiased (or if we all battle on this someone with the opposite bias). This will def need to be a team effort in the long run, but we can make this happen, and in the process make PDF better run, more fun, and filled with happier participants.

(LET THE TROLLING COMMENCE ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:33 pm
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edit: Hold on, I under-read your post

…okay, here I go:

The thing about volunteers is something I wholly agree with (and have brought up in the past, as have many others). However, there is an issue of low personnel which makes part of your solution a little difficult. Very often, when I was volunteering (in Greeters, which is better staffed than some other jobs, like Parkers), I was the only person there. There wasn't any shift lead present to witness me actually doing the job and sign off on a checklist. I could have just appeared in the second half of my shift and pretended that I was there on time, or at least a little late.

Sometimes, my virgin was present. We signed up for the same shifts, generally (though we both stayed well after, and I did so even more). I'm sure that we couldn't sign off on each other. So I'm thinking that the idea of having another volunteer signing off for you is really way too abusable.

As an aside, my prior suggestion had been to give each shift lead a list of the volunteers for their shift to check off. Your method is a little safer and perhaps less rigid in terms of people who, say, volunteer for one thing but are insta-transfered to another spot out of necessity.

Anyway: For logistical purposes, does a person who took one shift count as a volunteer? How late can somebody be before they're too late? Under what conditions should a person be disqualified from counting as a volunteer if they were present? These are probably details that should be worked on.

It should also be hammered out a bit how far back being a volunteer counts. If I was a volunteer in Fall 2008 but just sort of sparkleponied it up since then, does it count? How about if I volunteered last Fall but went to a science fiction convention in Baltimore instead of going to Spring PdF? I'd personally count either of the last two burns, but what about you?

These are just details. I agree in essence that volunteers should get reserve tickets (or at least their own Ticket Round before anybody else). But it's a pretty complex construct that has to go together for it to work.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:18 am 
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Much as i would like reserve tickets for larger, more active theme camps (im very proud that BoF has a very very high volunteer rate) I'm a little adverse to the idea of creating a "privileged class", even if it is an earned status and even if it would ensure a 30 member Barrel of fun every time (which im happy to say would translate into roughly volly slots covered. Yes, this event runs on volunteers, but remember, there is "no pre requisite to be in our community".
I understand the need for 30 or so of the "key people" to be there to pull the event off (myself NOT included) but we should really draw the line there.
As im sure you know, people who "should be there" get tickets. If you have been going and participating long enough, people WILL see to it that you find a ticket. I've just always been a bit sympathetic to the people who seemingly dont do much. We must remember that people can enjoy PDF however they wish, and their contribution may not necessarily be in the form of sitting at the front gate.
I totally agree that an overhaul of the volunteering system needs to be done... Lea Kurshner (spelling sorry) has created a "volunteer captain" position that basically decentralizes the coordination aspect... get in touch with her about it, it sounds promising.

My last piece would be to comment on the "PDF is not what is used to be" suggestion. If done right, it shouldn't be what it used to be. Why on earth would we want to have the same experience burn after burn? If no one in my camp got a ticket, and instead 30 virgins showed up and were inspired to do great things, how is that anything by good for the community?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:20 am 
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There was an effort made over the past burn to have a lottery for reserved tickets for volunteers. I'm not sure how that worked out in the end, but I think we had a pretty good turn out for volunteers. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. There has definitely been a lot of discussion on the matter in the past. It can certainly be quite a chore to track who shows up for their shifts, etc, for one. For two, if you're granting them something for the work they do, it's no longer volunteering. And how many tickets would we be talking about? If every volunteer from one burn got reserved tickets for the next, that could easily be in excess of 100 tickets.

There has also been a lot of discussion around granting theme camps reserved tickets as well. I, for one, am against that idea for various reasons. First and foremost, we would have to define what a theme camp consisted of, which isn't really fair. I mean...what is a theme camp? It could consist of whatever someone said it consists of, as it's up to them to express themselves as they see fit. So because camp 'x' is an 'officially sanctioned' theme camp, but camp 'y' is not, then camp 'y' would be pissed for being 'discriminated' against (for lack of a better term)? So then eventually anyone and everyone declares themselves a theme camp and wants reserved tickets?

Also, in my opinion, huge, expensive theme camps are not expressly integral to PDF. It's awesome that they're there, but PDF would happen with or without them. If people put their time and money into creating their camp, that's up to them. Your participation isn't 'rejected' because you don't get tickets; it's just that you didn't get tickets. It's neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. No one is 'rejecting' you. That comes across as if someone (or the system or whatever) makes a decision about whether or not you can go/bring your camp, etc, and that's not the case. Everyone has the same chance of getting tickets, and that's as it should be. And everyone 'matters' the same amount. It's about radical inclusion, not 'I matter more than a sparklepony cuz I worked on xxx'. That is directly in conflict with the principles, if you ask me. Also, some camps have fundraisers to support their camps. Whether a theme camp has/gets/creates funding or puts it together themselves is up to them.. Reserving a number of tickets per camp 'on the basis of how much setup/tear down' they do is rather arbitrary. So would you take the number of people setting up/tearing down x the number of actual work hours they put into it? Do we then divide that by the number of people who actually enjoyed their camp x how many hours of enjoyment each person had? And then subtract for people who had a bad time there? (Ok, I'm being a little goofy here, but my point is that it all gets arbitrary very quickly.) And who is in charge of tracking all that? Or do we rely on the theme camps to accurately report it? Bearing in mind that the result is possible reserved tickets for the next burn, I don't think the participants at large would go for that.

You're taking pretty wild guesses about who volunteers how much in regards as to whether or not they're related to a theme camp. Again, first we have to define what at theme camp is, and then trying to accurately maintain algebraic equations to figure out who came from where to volunteer is a little much, in my opinion. It also opens itself up to...let's say...errors. For example: it sounds like you're willing to do a lot of the leg work in attempting to figure this all out, but you've already admitted to being biased in the matter. Would that not raise an eyebrow from some? And I'm certainly not accusing anyone of anything, but it's already a problem that many people think the ticketing is somewhat conspiratorial; adding a 'person x, y and z get to decide who gets how many reserved tickets' is just asking for issues from the participants at large. The 'official benefits' of volunteering is that PDF happens. Having people sign something at the end of their shift is fine, but it's something else altogether to know if they were actually *on* their shift, and it wouldn't be easy for the shift leads to track that, as they often have enough on their plates.

I don't get the whole 'PDF isn't what it used to be' thing. It is what it is. That sounds like there's a definition of it that we're trying to achieve, and to define what it's supposed to be kind of amounts to saying that some people are 'doing it wrong'...and we all know how that goes over.

_________________
"The Universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent to the concerns of such creatures as we." - Carl Sagan, from "Cosmos"


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:48 am 
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I want to be clear, You are living a lie. There is 100% totally omg reserve tickets for PDF. There is no public listing of how to earn your reserve spot. There is no list of things you can do. If the BoD feels you need to be there, If you are the only person who brought coffee to Pre-DF, If for some reason you woke up with Unicorn poop in your bedroom - You might get an offer to pick up a ticket. These reserve tickets are in no way a comfort - They wont be offered until after the 2nd round of tickets anyway. Anyone who works hard to keep this event running knows how few people keep the lights on and everyone's party rocking. If there were more volunteers - There would be no need to have reserved tickets at all. Everything would be taken care of by the community - like it should be. Ask yourself the next time you see that person who always seems to be in a ranger shirt or if that same person put on your wristband three years in a row, Have I done enough year after year that the BoD needs me there.

The key thing I want you all to take away from my post is this - Tickets are not a RIGHT. We all do our best to get tickets - sometimes its as easy as putting in your paypal information. The BEST and most rewarding way to get tickets is to have the community seek you out - - and help you get a ticket. When its an hour before ticket sales do you have 20-30 people messaging you and working together to make sure you got a ticket? No? Maybe you should ask yourself why. I see the same core people and new people every year. The ticketing system isn't designed to fuck all of you over, but the community has learned to keep its friends close and people to earn an invite back. With this being said - I almost always bring a virgin with me, tickets are OMG so easy to find the week before PDF - infact sometimes you can't give them away and they are left unused at the door. My camp and I have always had one rule when planning for PDF - Plan like you got tickets last year, Who are you kidding - your going to PDF, PLAN PLAN PLAN - a Ticket will happen. Our first year as a camp all 11 members of my camp didn't have a ticket after the 2nd round - we ended up 13 members strong on the playa.

Spend less time worrying about Tickets - and more time worrying if you are worth the Ticket.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:43 am 
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I have to admit, I'm tired of seeing the same people using the same tactics resulting in the same volunteers. Don't get me wrong, I applaud the efforts, I appreciate the work, and I am overwhelmingly happy that somebody is doing something to bring in volunteers, but if we are barely maintaining and not growing, we have to ask if these same tactics actually work. My guess (and I stress guess) is that telling people that volunteering is a sexy and fun expected part of the community only works with those who will volunteer regardless. My point is that we need new methods to attract and retain volunteers, and we need those methods to be common knowledge which is known by everybody in the community.

For example... the volunteer reserve ticket raffle. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea and I believe it has real potential which has been mostly unrealized. From what I saw in the spring, it was totally ineffective because only a handful of people seemed to know about it and I believe that is because there were mixed feelings about it from the start and not all key players were on board so they didn't do what was needed to be done to make it successful. A great influence to me once told me that dissent and debate are OK and should be encouraged until a firm decision has been made, at which time, no matter what stance you had before the decision was made, you must fully support the decision and do everything you can to make it happen. I don't see that happening at PDF. I understand the "key players" are volunteers too and they have their hands full as it is, but if volunteer rates are really that important to you, then you would make it happen.

In my opinion, this specific example needs some hardcore redesign and marketing starting immediately. This needs whatever it takes to make absolutely sure everybody who walks through that gate knows about it and is excited about it. It needs to be on the physical ticket. It needs to be verbally explained at ticketing. It needs signs at ticketing, at the participation station, and other places around PDF. We need a winner's board pasted in a conspicuous location and we need many winners. Nobody is going to get excited by the possibility of 1 reserved ticket drawing per day. In all honesty, that's not even worth the effort to remember to check back to see if I won. If you want to see people get excited, then do a drawing on the stage between artists or at major events for 1 reserved ticket every 1 or 2 hours starting Saturday morning. Earmark a total of 5-10% of all tickets as reserve(not free) tickets, distribute to the usual people in the usual positions and the rest go towards the volunteer raffle. From my limited understanding, that would be a significant increase in the total number of reserved (not free) tickets but if we have even a 10% increase in the number of total volunteers it would be well worth it. Turn the drawing into an event which happens multiple times each day or create a new event for each drawing or work with the theme camps to add the drawing to one of their scheduled events. Either way you do it, you know what burners love, so have it at the event and draw them in for both volunteerism as well as fun doing what we do!

One of the biggest arguments against this is: how would we monitor it? Well people, if you can't measure it, YOU CAN'T MANAGE IT and you are doomed to failure. So, how do we measure it? Simple... same as a 50/50 raffle/drawing. In a perfect world, the volunteer leads should be checking out what's going on at each shift and should know who is there and who isn't. For example, when checking on the gate crew, you just give each of them a raffle ticket when you come by. If the leads are too busy, then find assistant leads. Sure there would be paperwork and red tape and at first it would be a real pain in the ass, but that's all short term thinking. The long term result would be a significant increase in the number of volunteers which would allow the leads more time and energy for managing and administrating their team. Increase the size of "management" in order to better allocate resources and delegate tasks and you will become more efficient at every level through the gained control of individual contributions toward the single vision.

As for reserved tickets for theme camps... I feel that is redundant to efforts focused at general volunteer recruitment because I believe most people in theme camps are already volunteering, and if they are not, they are kind of missing the point and it can be debated whether or not they "deserve" a reserved ticket.


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