Basically with the combination of the server crash, selling out of tickets, and insane scalper prices; a decision was made to change the ticketing system for burning man. They wanted to retain tiered tickets, but wanted to make things 'more fair' for getting lower priced tickets and for getting a ticket at all. But they also decided not to tie the tickets to a government ID because of the diversity of the community and apparently that was not palatable to some people.
The New System
To solve the problems above a lottery system was created which would remove the need for 50,000 burners to log on and buy tickets simultaneously. The tickets would also be delivered at a much later date to allow less time on the market for scalpers.
The main problem is that the lottery is an epic fail because it forces people to play a game of chance for whether or not they get tickets. It is specifically bad because of the tiered ticket prices and this encourages people to over-buy tickets (to ensure that they not only get a ticket ... but also the most affordable one). This overbuying in turn puts pressure on the honest actors to also over-buy so that they have a chance of getting the tickets they want.
This creates several major problems (and even more that aren't listed):
- *The illusion of much greater scarcity than actually exists (encouraging people to over-buy)
*Uncertainty about whether or not people will get tickets
*Groups of friends / theme camps are basically forced to overbuy tickets to guarantee that they all can go
*It makes things difficult for people who can't make a decision so quickly because of other life obligations
*Takes the money for the tickets much earlier than some people would like and this causes financial strain
- *Prevent server outages
*Keep a structure that allows for differently priced tickets
*Not require government ID
*Make things harder for scalpers
The basic idea would be to charge a single price for all tickets to burning man and that price would cover all of the costs needed to run the event by BMORG.
BUT ... when you purchase your ticket, you can either:
Also elect to donate as much extra money as you like to a fund which will at a LATER date be distributed to the people who requested lower-price tickets.
Select that you would like to receive a portion of the donated money to help alleviate the cost of your ticket (there could be two boxes, one for minor assistance and one for major assistance)
Choose neither to give nor to receive assistance
Once all the tickets have been sold a partial refund could be given to the people who requested assistance ... with the money all coming out of the extra donations made by burners who could afford it.
The only parts of the new system that would be kept is that the tickets would be sent out later (around July) to provide less time-on-market for scalpers, and using a burning man controlled reseller market. Also since people wouldn't be fighting over the cheaper tickets scalpers would not have the advantage of (buy low, sell high). And finally any reimbursement for the cheaper tickets would only come at the end of all ticket sales ... which would disincentive scalpers from 'investing' in the assisted price tickets for a much later payout.
Why this would work
Not only would this solve all the ticketing problems ... but it might end up helping lower income people more than usual because there is a large difference between buying cheaper ticket and asking for help to buy something.
Also this would better reflect the real spirit of burning man since it will be other burners who are directly helping those who need the more affordable tickets.
So what do you all think? Is this any good?