PDF Fall 2013 - Columbus Day Weekend - October 10th-14th
As the queue has evolved (and some bugs fixed) over the last couple of years, we’ve gotten several questions repeatedly as people try to figure out what is going on (and how they can better their odds, naturally!) Here are the most common questions and answers to them. Hopefully, if you understand how the system works a little better, things will go more smoothly for everyone!
Please note: This is written for 9pm sales time. For 12 noon sales, replace “9:00” with “12:00” in your head!
Right Now ticketing only accepts Paypal for payments. It's wise to make sure your paypal account is in good standing and updated with your latest address and credit card.
All tickets are priced the same regardless of when they are purchased. The prices run:
50.00 for regular price tickets.
25.00 for Hardship Tickets (See link to the left about hardship tickets).
You slow the server waaay the heck down as it has to process the spike in requests, but it doesn’t gain you anything at this point over waiting patiently. Really! Keep reading. As long as you are there in the first minute, you are in the first group.
You can click on the link for the queue whenever you want (once the link is available), but “earlier” doesn’t gain you anything, as all the magic happens automatically between 9:00:00 and 9:00:59 without regard to how much earlier you showed up. If you're there ahead of time, cool, but you don't gain any special advantage with it. Before sales open, it's just a placeholder to show you are interested in getting into the queue, until the queue opens and everyone gets randomly sorted into it.
The most important piece to understand here is that everyone that is on the queue page before 9:01:00 has an equal shot at tickets – there is no benefit to reloading at 9:00:00 anymore (that bug got fixed). Everyone who is on the queue page in the first minute will be assigned a random number – there is no “who can reload fastest” advantage here anymore, since now it’s randomized for fairness. That random number then determines your position in the queue.
Not anymore. We’ve tried hard to level the playing field at this point for both YOUR benefit and the server. Clearly, given the demand, not everyone can come in right at the very very first millisecond, so we’ve made it so that you don’t have to.
So, what happens is that the very first time you click on the link for the queue, your connection is set to auto-refresh every 60 seconds. For example, if you click on the queue link at 8:47:36, you're not really in line yet since the queue isn’t open, and your browser then automatically refreshes at 36 seconds into the minute, at 8:48:36, 8:49:36, etc – on up to 9:00:36. If there are 600 people doing this, then their connections will all automatically refresh sometime between 9:00:00 and 9:00:59 - depending on when they initially loaded the page. Statistically, if everyone lets the system do its work, it is likely that there are about 10 people’s browsers auto-reloading in each second. This helps distribute the load on the server, as 10 connections every second for a minute is a lot easier for it to deal with than 600 requests all in the first second. Again, someone who has a browser that auto-reloads at 9:00:01 has the exact same odds of getting a low queue number as one that auto-reload at either 9:00:28 or 9:00:59.
No, it wasn’t a bug in functioning this time, but it was a bug in that the numbers were being shown too early (Note from Ben: this bug is now fixed). Here’s what happens to fill the queue. Remember, it’s all random numbers being assigned in the first minute:
Say the first 10 people that auto-reload on the server in the first second between 9:00:00 and 9:00:01 get assigned random numbers 80, 350, 275, 50, 10, 300, 150, 90, 400, and 25. Say you put these in increasing numerical order, and you are the sixth one to get assigned a queue position, and you randomly get #300. At this snapshot in time, the server would have told you that you are "#8 of 10" because it has only processed 10 connections, and #300 is eighth in order in that list. Woohoo, you say, I’m number eight!
Not so fast! A second later, it's processed another ten, and now those people's random numbers are interspersed. Someone that got a random number lower than 300 but one second after you is now "in front of you", which is fine, because you were all standing there beating on the gate at the same time anyways, and no one was actually “in line” yet. This LOOKS misleading though, because now there are actually 20 people processed in line, and maybe you are now seeing you are "#16 of 20". It looks like you just slid backwards in line, although what really happened is the holes got filled in with the people that randomly got a better lottery number than you.
This process continues throughout the first minute until all the people that were milling randomly at the gates before the queue opened have randomly-assigned places, and at this point the queue is accurate, and you should see you are around "#300 of 800" - which looks like total crap if you think you started out as "#8 of 10"... when the only real problem is you got a high random number and other people slotted in around you. No one bumped you like a couple of years ago, they just had better luck of the draw this time around.
So, since going from "#8 of 10" to "#400 of 600" is very misleading – lots of people complained about it, and understandably so, since it looked really bad to have your number dropping like a stone in the first minute – then the system has been tweaked so it won’t tell you your actual position in the queue until it has finished randomly assigning numbers to everyone there in the first minute and your actual position is set. Once that’s done and those numbers are all filled in, it will tell you where you are. Hang tight!
Not really, unless you can control space and time on a quantum level (in which case we should really talk!). You’re given a random number and it pays no attention to when you came in, who you are, what ISP you use, how awesome your camp is going to be, or how many DJs you keep under your bed for late night tuneage (just don't feed them after midnight).
The process starts over and a new set of random numbers are drawn for everyone between 9:01:00 and 9:01:59. Those numbers will start to be serviced after everyone who was there on time gets processed. It’s the same system, just bumped back a minute – you have the same chances as everyone else between 9:01:00 and 9:01:59, but you ARE behind everyone who got there before 9:01:00, and all of those in the initial crunch will make their way through the queue before the next batch is handled.
In other words, get there in the first minute if you want first shot!
The queue is set up so that one house is one position, basically. Since you can buy four tickets in one purchase, your housemates are all covered, and you have the same odds of a decent queue number as all the other houses coming in for a spot in line. If you want to go to Starbucks, feel free, but be sure you don't go to a Starbucks with other people sitting in the queue or you'll have the same problem as if you had just stayed home!