Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

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Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:11 pm

There are something like 70,000 tickets to go out for Burning Man yet they sell out in minutes. Right now the tickets are going for $2000 on ebay.

Ideally they would print the name on the ticket before shipping and give the ticket holder the option to refund the ticket if they cannot make it.

Then they should do a last minute sale online and validate at the gate.

bm is expensive enough with all the food, gear, etc. They really should be doing more to stop scalping.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by sparr » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:15 pm

Large portions of the community oppose the idea of putting names on tickets, for various reasons.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:35 pm

sparr wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:15 pm
Large portions of the community oppose the idea of putting names on tickets, for various reasons.
What does that mean? What reason(other than scalp)?

Many other venues do - why can't burning man? Or is it not 'non-profit' anymore?

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by AntiM » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:40 pm

The original system allowed for ticket gifting, and it worked. Still, more people want to attend than there are tickets. There truly aren't that many scalpers, percentage wise. Scammers abound though.

Those tickets on ebay? Check the delivery dates, they're probably not in hand. If Ticketing sees them, and they can find out the numbers, they are voided. The ones on StubHub certainly are not in hand in most cases.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by Sham » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:43 pm

sparr wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:15 pm
Large portions of the community oppose the idea of putting names on tickets, for various reasons.
Very true. The logistical nightmare of changing names on every ticket would be astronomical. It would require 10 people in-house just to process this. A week before the burn, it's hard to find anyone working int he headquarters, as they've all headed towards the playa.

There may be a fix, but assigning tickets with names on them would never work.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:49 pm

AntiM wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:40 pm
The original system allowed for ticket gifting, and it worked. Still, more people want to attend than there are tickets. There truly aren't that many scalpers, percentage wise. Scammers abound though.

Those tickets on ebay? Check the delivery dates, they're probably not in hand. If Ticketing sees them, and they can find out the numbers, they are voided. The ones on StubHub certainly are not in hand in most cases.
It's really frustrating that a bunch of scalpers got tickets before me because they were 'lucky'. I would guess that people who are 'gifting' their tickets then they would probably know their names before buying them.

Why does the hell is ticketing monitoring ebay listings? Just print the name on the ticket and call it a day. This is suppose to be a 'non-profit' event so cut the scalpers out. It's expensive enough.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:52 pm

Sham wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:43 pm
sparr wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:15 pm
Large portions of the community oppose the idea of putting names on tickets, for various reasons.
Very true. The logistical nightmare of changing names on every ticket would be astronomical. It would require 10 people in-house just to process this. A week before the burn, it's hard to find anyone working int he headquarters, as they've all headed towards the playa.

There may be a fix, but assigning tickets with names on them would never work.
Honestly if you don't know if you are going to attend Burning Man two weeks out then you would buy them in a last sale and validate at the gate. It's definitely not the hardest logistical issue at bm.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by AntiM » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:16 pm

There are not that many scalpers, honest. There are asshats who purchase in the presale and the main sale, I think that's a loop hole which needs closing before turning to names on tickets. Almost everyone I know has tickets through DGS, performer, or volunteering. There simply are more people who want to attend than there are tickets. Thousands more. Tens of thousands, potentially. There is no way to satisfy everyone. Even if we did named tickets, your odds would still be slim.

See a marked up ticket? REPORT IT.

https://ticketsupport.burningman.org/cu ... g-on-ebay-

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:48 pm

AntiM wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:16 pm
There are not that many scalpers, honest. There are asshats who purchase in the presale and the main sale, I think that's a loop hole which needs closing before turning to names on tickets. Almost everyone I know has tickets through DGS, performer, or volunteering. There simply are more people who want to attend than there are tickets. Thousands more. Tens of thousands, potentially. There is no way to satisfy everyone. Even if we did named tickets, your odds would still be slim.

See a marked up ticket? REPORT IT.

https://ticketsupport.burningman.org/cu ... g-on-ebay-
I believe you but it is frustrating and I feel like this should be handled. Just because you don't see tons of listings doesn't mean there aren't thousands of scalped tickets.

It's an easy problem to solve if handled correctly and would free up tickets for people who would actually use them.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:52 pm

RegularPiccolo1 wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:11 pm
Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?
Hello welcome to Burning Man and ePlaya! The demand exceeds supply and there is no fix for that.The partial fix is for people to go to their regionals, and many also have demand exceeding supply. So go to a remote regional and meet new friends!

The ticket industry is corrupt. http://freakonomics.com/podcast/live-ev ... t-screwed/

Burning Man places several one of a kind processes in place to prevent Burning Man from falling into common industry problems outlined in that podcast. Sometimes the software to implement it is not perfect, which is frustrating. But the software does its job and the tickets are distributed.

20% of burners purchase a ticket from someone they know. 1.2% from a stranger and less than 1% from a third party reseller, scalper, etc. Only 2% pay over face value. The lone ticketing genius' are trying to solve the 1% problem. The real problem is the estimated 30-50% supply-demand imbalance problem.

You could say that the event should be 100% dependent on electronic ticket scanners at the gate against a named ticket database. No. because of the dust and the wireless connections to ticket servers, that can fail and does. The physical tickets are resistant to failure.

If you are a strong believer in named tickets, will call is roughly that, you can use it if you like. Bottom line, the ticket system is working given all the constraints and is very unlikely to change.

(I do agree that individuals that get tickets in the presale should be excluded from the main sale)
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by Lonesomebri » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:57 pm

I've bought tickets off of people that were originally intended for someone else, and sold tickets to people the tickets were not originally for.

When the event started to sell out it became a scramble to get tickets. People had to turn to networks, regionals and other connections to expand their chance at securing a ticket. Knowing other Burners is key.

Everyone tries to buy whatever tickets they can get, not sure if they will get one, and knowing if by chance they get an extra, there is someone in their network scrambling also, but unsuccessfully, and who will buy that extra ticket. Say, a group of 10 friends all try to buy 2 tickets each. They all want the others to go, they're going to buy the extra ticket if they can. There is a chance none will get a ticket, or a chance that group will end up with 20 tickets. Completely unsure who will be lucky or not, and who to assign what ticket to. Sometimes there's distance between people and it takes sorting to figure which way to direct tickets and to who.

This scrambling goes all the way past Fernley, where one year I bought an extra ticket off my campmate. Had I not shown or a change of plans, reassigning a labeled ticket thru ticketing would have been impossible. I'm not the only one.

But, yeah, ticketing sucks. But its the best we got for now....
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:18 pm

some seeing eye wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:52 pm
RegularPiccolo1 wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:11 pm
Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?
Hello welcome to Burning Man and ePlaya! The demand exceeds supply and there is no fix for that.The partial fix is for people to go to their regionals, and many also have demand exceeding supply. So go to a remote regional and meet new friends!

The ticket industry is corrupt. http://freakonomics.com/podcast/live-ev ... t-screwed/

Burning Man places several one of a kind processes in place to prevent Burning Man from falling into common industry problems outlined in that podcast. Sometimes the software to implement it is not perfect, which is frustrating. But the software does its job and the tickets are distributed.

20% of burners purchase a ticket from someone they know. 1.2% from a stranger and less than 1% from a third party reseller, scalper, etc. Only 2% pay over face value. The lone ticketing genius' are trying to solve the 1% problem. The real problem is the estimated 30-50% supply-demand imbalance problem.

You could say that the event should be 100% dependent on electronic ticket scanners at the gate against a named ticket database. No. because of the dust and the wireless connections to ticket servers, that can fail and does. The physical tickets are resistant to failure.

If you are a strong believer in named tickets, will call is roughly that, you can use it if you like. Bottom line, the ticket system is working given all the constraints and is very unlikely to change.

(I do agree that individuals that get tickets in the presale should be excluded from the main sale)
They say 88% of statistics are made up. :P jk....

Wait... if you don't validate the tickets electronically at the gate then how do you know if they're valid?...

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:28 pm

RegularPiccolo1 wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:18 pm

They say 88% of statistics are made up. :P jk....

Wait... if you don't validate the tickets electronically at the gate then how do you know if they're valid?...
The numbers cited are data. That is the data on which the ticket system is managed.

Tickets are electronically validated at the gate against the lost-stolen-canceled database when the network is working and are physically validated for counterfeits.
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:09 pm

some seeing eye wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:28 pm
RegularPiccolo1 wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:18 pm

They say 88% of statistics are made up. :P jk....

Wait... if you don't validate the tickets electronically at the gate then how do you know if they're valid?...
The numbers cited are data. That is the data on which the ticket system is managed.

Tickets are electronically validated at the gate against the lost-stolen-canceled database when the network is working and are physically validated for counterfeits.
.. So you are already doing what I just asked about.

The main problem is that burners couldn't pass around tickets as they like. That sounds like a small inconvenience when you weigh against the benefits of not having parasitic scalpers(stubhub and their elk). I get there are politics behind the scenes but it should be discussed at the very least.

I couldn't even guess how you would get data on how many tickets were scalped.

They should remove the non-profit designation for burning man because there are alot of people making a killing right now.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by Lonesomebri » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:34 pm

As an aside, welcome to eplaya and Burning Man! Introduce yourself over at the Greeter's Station. Nice discussion, but not sure how you know it hasn't been done before. I understand this is the first reference to these ticketing issues today..... But these discussions go on every year.
I couldn't even guess how you would get data on how many tickets were scalped.
What's also interesting is this goes both ways.... You can't....
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by BBadger » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:31 pm

You seem to be really caught up with this idea that scalpers are really a huge influence on tickets sales, but I don't see any proof of this.

Sure, there are listings on eBay or wherever, but that doesn't mean there are many real scalped tickets involved. Some of those "scalped" tickets are being sold (listed) before tickets are even delivered! What happens is that people post a listing for a ticket, and then delay the delivery until they can obtain a ticket via some means at a lower cost. If the seller manages to snag a ticket, they can make money off the margin. If it doesn't happen, the order is cancelled and the buyer gets their money back but also doesn't get a ticket.

So all this is like an exploitative credit system involving middlemen, only that people can get their money back, but don't get to go.

This doesn't mean that there is a huge hoarding of tickets by scalpers, making profit from each. That's a lot of time and capital to invest. It's more profitable and less risky to just deal in potential tickets until one really comes up.

Demand is huge this year. Maybe it's the whole Larry Harvey death year thing. I think I've seen more of those overpriced presale tickets get purchased early than any other year.
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:24 pm

BBadger wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:31 pm
You seem to be really caught up with this idea that scalpers are really a huge influence on tickets sales, but I don't see any proof of this.

Sure, there are listings on eBay or wherever, but that doesn't mean there are many real scalped tickets involved. Some of those "scalped" tickets are being sold (listed) before tickets are even delivered! What happens is that people post a listing for a ticket, and then delay the delivery until they can obtain a ticket via some means at a lower cost. If the seller manages to snag a ticket, they can make money off the margin. If it doesn't happen, the order is cancelled and the buyer gets their money back but also doesn't get a ticket.

So all this is like an exploitative credit system involving middlemen, only that people can get their money back, but don't get to go.

This doesn't mean that there is a huge hoarding of tickets by scalpers, making profit from each. That's a lot of time and capital to invest. It's more profitable and less risky to just deal in potential tickets until one really comes up.

Demand is huge this year. Maybe it's the whole Larry Harvey death year thing. I think I've seen more of those overpriced presale tickets get purchased early than any other year.
I don't believe like `o 50% of burning man ticket must be scalped`, I believe that scalping goes against the nature of burning man and bm org should work torwards 1st. making sure tickets aren't being scalped because getting
a ticket to burning man should be about being lucky and being friends with fellow burnings and not about not having 3k to buy the ticket off of ebay. 2nd. I honestly don't know what your point is. In the end the ticket is being scalped and it doesn't matter what you think or what happens, if tickets are being bought to be sold then that's a problem.

I won't harp on the point any longer other than, there are people out there (it doesn't really matter the #) that buy the ticket to be resold for profit. This problem can be easily solved in the spirit of bm. [background politics aside]

I have never been to been to burning man but I get a sense from all the videos and bm founder's speeches(Larry Harvey) scalping tickets would go against the spirit of it. I rather lose my ticket because someone else was lucky than some guy looking to make a quick buck. ESPECIALLY when most of bm is volunteer based. It rubs me the wrong way.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by trilobyte » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:40 pm

A lot of tickets do show up on 3rd party sites that sell for above face value, but to put it in perspective the numbers are significantly lower than they are for most high demand concerts (if you spend a few dozen hours a month each year tracking just a handful of key events, you'll probably reach the same conclusion). While you may not understand it, or agree with their decisions, what Burning Man does actually works pretty well. If you're genuinely interested in all the various arguments for and against the multitude of armchair event producer ideas, you may care to look through the tickets discussion boards from previous years. In the years when the system had actual problems there were quite extensive debates.

Tickets get harder to come by for very simple reasons. For each year since the first year the event sold out, demand for tickets has increased... sometimes pretty significantly. For the last several years, the event has not grown in population (we're at the BLM max). Increased demand without increasing the supply results in greater scarcity.

I think presales and art tickets are getting scooped up more quickly because more people are realizing that for most people, when you add up all the costs associated with the event, the ticket cost isn't that big a deal.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by RegularPiccolo1 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:19 pm

trilobyte wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:40 pm
A lot of tickets do show up on 3rd party sites that sell for above face value, but to put it in perspective the numbers are significantly lower than they are for most high demand concerts (if you spend a few dozen hours a month each year tracking just a handful of key events, you'll probably reach the same conclusion). While you may not understand it, or agree with their decisions, what Burning Man does actually works pretty well. If you're genuinely interested in all the various arguments for and against the multitude of armchair event producer ideas, you may care to look through the tickets discussion boards from previous years. In the years when the system had actual problems there were quite extensive debates.

Tickets get harder to come by for very simple reasons. For each year since the first year the event sold out, demand for tickets has increased... sometimes pretty significantly. For the last several years, the event has not grown in population (we're at the BLM max). Increased demand without increasing the supply results in greater scarcity.

I think presales and art tickets are getting scooped up more quickly because more people are realizing that for most people, when you add up all the costs associated with the event, the ticket cost isn't that big a deal.
I guess ticket costs aren't a big scalping them off of ebay for some people but this is an easy problem to solve.

Every person on here is on different wave length in regards to the whole thing.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by trilobyte » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:46 pm

Again, this is a subject that has been proposed and discussed at great length before (if your wavelength is one that cares a lot about it, you may care to look through Philosophical Center -> Historical Archives -> 2012 -> Tickets ->Tickets Discussion).

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by BBadger » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:04 am

RegularPiccolo1 wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:24 pm
I don't believe like `o 50% of burning man ticket must be scalped`, I believe that scalping goes against the nature of burning man and bm org should work torwards 1st. making sure tickets aren't being scalped because getting
a ticket to burning man should be about being lucky and being friends with fellow burnings and not about not having 3k to buy the ticket off of ebay. 2nd. I honestly don't know what your point is. In the end the ticket is being scalped and it doesn't matter what you think or what happens, if tickets are being bought to be sold then that's a problem.
The point is that scalping is an incredibly minor effect on the overall ticket sales, and most ticket resales really are about who you know in the community due to involvement, not having $3k or whatever to spend. The people who spend $3k or whatever are people with little connection to the community, and are willing to pony up $3k to attend once for their bucket list. It is evident, as they're unable to obtain tickets at face value through connections.

I really have little sympathy for those who cough up, or feel the need to cough up, $3k for a ticket. That market caters to only a small segment of people. The remainder of the tickets make their way into those in the community.

I also think that those who are so damn concerned about scalpers should also spend more effort to get involved in the community and get some perspective on things.
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by AntiM » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:53 am

There are 52 listings which appear under "burning man tickets" on ebay. One is just the survival guide. Nine are vehicle passes only, including a blue staff vp, which makes someone even a bigger asshat than the rest. Six are slughub or resales without a photo, and chances are the seller is seeking tickets to fulfill the auction should anyone bite. Stubhub has the money back thing, so if they can't find tickets to scalp, they're not out any money or stuck with actual tickets, I'm not counting those, and some seem the be the very pricey $1200 tickets. That leaves 36 auctions for 58 actual tickets, and no way to know if they are presales, DGS, or main sale. Of those, six auctions have generic BMan pictures, so not positive those are people who don't have tickets in hand or if they're will call.

Wow. So many scalpers. Someone do the math, please.

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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by XPTom » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:18 am

We could tinker slightly with the existing multi tier system:

Name specific tickets...… cheap

Transfer thru STEP before a reasonable date.... modest fee

non name specific tickets easily transferable to a third party... NOT cheap

People with deep pockets still won't care,

A few scalpers will still scalp

Tickets for tens of thousands still won't be there.

but.... maybe more will feel better??..
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Re: Why is the ticketing system so awful for burning man?

Post by Eric » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:29 pm

XPTom wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:18 am
but.... maybe more will feel better??..
Nope. I can guarantee you that no matter what system you come up with, if the person who is upset doesn't have a ticket in their hand, your system is a failure. How can I guarantee that? I've been a mod since the first sell-out, and every single "fix the tickets" system from a newer user boils down to "how do I get a ticket?".

The only universal that would actually help is applying the One Ticket Sale rule to the pre-sales (but the Org, for whatever their reasons $$$$, won't implement it)
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