About Artists' Alley list generation process

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pulsedemon
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About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by pulsedemon » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:28 pm

Hello, all. As you know, the Alley space request form on our site brought the site down under overwhelming demand. We had doubled our computing capacity over the previous year, but the requests on the site crushed it before we could even turn the form on. When our website crashed, we generated a Google form which was subsequently also overwhelmed with requests. What we found after looking at the data collected is that we lost a bunch of email addresses. Most of the data lost was from requests that we knew we wouldn't have space to accommodate, as that was then the largest portion of the traffic was hitting their servers. We worked with Google's support team to recover anything we could get, but they weren't able to get anything, unfortunately. After Google support was unable to retrieve the missing email addresses, we backfilled as many email addresses as we could using previous years' Artists' Alley registration lists, convention registration information, and art contest submissions. Some of you had noticed this when you received AA confirmations to old email addresses you didn't use to sign up this time. We also had to disqualifiy individuals who did not enter a date of birth indicating they would be over the age of 18 at the time of next year' show and did not contact us to correct the information or submit a corrected space request when they received the email confirmation from the Google form.

While this was intended to work on a first-come basis, our web team pointed out that with the volume of requests coming in, either to our site or to Google, the reality of the situation made it more akin to a lottery system. With everyone hitting our servers at the same time, it was closer to random for whom the servers loaded the page properly.

As Kathy worked through the list, we were left with a bunch of people we couldn't contact that we had to skip. It took a while to get to a 'finished' list since we had time spent with Google support, then Kathy ran into major computer problems and had to rebuild and then compile the list while manually adding everyone's information into our system to link it up to the Registration system to get payments processed. Now that we've got that part complete and a clearer view of what the situation is, we want to work on making things right for the people that could potentially have been able to get space in the Alley this year if we didn't lose any data. The last person on our list for 2018's Artists' Alley currently has a submission timestamp of November 4, 2017 5:02:36 PM Eastern. It's worth noting that we'd routinely have to skip some requests in the past in order to try to fit everyone into space. If you have an email confirmation from the Google form from that time or earlier, please contact us at artistsalley@animeboston.com with a forward of your confirmation email, which should include your name and date of birth. Thanks for your patience!
Last edited by pulsedemon on Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Allyson-x
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Allyson-x » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:08 pm

So..... are you guys going to finally change to an actual working lottery next year and abandon the clearly broken (and has been for years) FCFS? And communicate better? Seriously have a 1 hour signup window. Randomize applicants. Give tables. At this point seconds make the difference and clearly even Google can't handle the load apparently... AB has far outgrown this current process.

Also Im sure some of those low time stamp people would have happily supplied their e-mail address had this concern been voiced to the artist community via e-mail. Even with what few e-mails you had, you'd be suprised how quickly word travels through the community, especially in the Artist Alley Facebook group that multiple people have urged staff to get involved with.

Also thanks for posting this. Better late than never!
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by egyptianruin » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:11 pm

I find this whole situation absurd and the fact it is coming so late after the situation happened makes me question the validity of the whole process. No one will ever know. Haven't been there in 4 years because of your unfair antiquated system and I doubt I will ever be back unless the system moves to something to at least allow those without high super speed internet the chance to be at your show.
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by VikingSheep » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:17 pm

Allyson-x wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:08 pm
Also Im sure some of those low time stamp people would have happily supplied their e-mail address had this concern been voiced to the artist community via e-mail.
Exactly this. It would at least have been more fair this way, with more people having the opportunity to help recreate the list if you had simply gotten the word out. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, however. We want to work with you, and we understand that computer mishaps are a part of life, especially for so many people hitting a server at once.

Also, it's a small thing, but it's a thing people could get confused about. I believe you mean 6:02:36. The form didn't go live until just after 6 PM Eastern.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Akaminyan » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:31 pm

I agree with what everyone else has been saying about lack of communication on your end.
I personally have reached out to your staff with three different methods asking about this error with no response.
Like not even a "We're aware of this issue and are troubleshooting a solution"
We're not trying to make your job difficult, it's really really the opposite @__@ no one likes being stressed out or causing others to be stressed out. We are trying to help you avoid messes like this when we reach out to you, so it would be great if you could communicate better with us in the future.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by tkawaii » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:39 pm

... had to disqualifiy individuals who did not enter a date of birth indicating they would be over the age of 18 ...

with the volume of requests coming in, either to our site or to Google, the reality of the situation made it more akin to a lottery system...

manually adding everyone's information into our system
Ouch, why do this to yourselves? It would be much easier to have a 24 hr sign up lotto.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Akaminyan » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:46 pm

If you want to stick with FCFS, I highly recommend eventbrite, and just have the artists pay the extra fees for using the site.
You only list the amount of tables you have available so you can't end up with more artists than you have tables.
And everyone's nightmare is over in 6 seconds instead of 6 hours. This is the system that Anime Expo uses, and while still extremely competitive, is efficient and simple.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Akaminyan » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:58 pm

pulsedemon wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:28 pm
has a submission timestamp of November 4, 2017 5:02:36 PM Eastern.
You also have a typo here, your app wasn't even open until 6:00... so that should be 6:02:36 PM EST

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Shattered-Earth » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:04 pm

Akaminyan wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:46 pm
If you want to stick with FCFS, I highly recommend eventbrite, and just have the artists pay the extra fees for using the site.
You only list the amount of tables you have available so you can't end up with more artists than you have tables.
And everyone's nightmare is over in 6 seconds instead of 6 hours. This is the system that Anime Expo uses, and while still extremely competitive, is efficient and simple.

Hey just wanted everyone to know that eventbrite super messed AX as registration this year so I would not bank on them being the panacea for this problem. That was for returning artists too so not even a full load of applicants.

I would really hate for Boston to become lottery con. I would prefer their be a jury, and I understand juries take time so if the problem is that staff aren’t being compensated for their time I would more than happy pay a $5-10 fee for example to pay a small panel of of jurors for their time(heck the event brite fee is already this much) if you just roll the cost into the table or something and make applications only open for an hour or less it shouldn’t be too taxing.

I don’t know, I just know I would prefer literally anything to lottery.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by egyptianruin » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:17 pm

Also it was mentioned in Artist Alley International that some people with a 6:02:40 and above got accepted. This seems to conflict with the above timestamp. Can you please verify this.
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Akaminyan » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:19 pm

Regular, non returning eventbrite registrations went fine for AX, though, it was the extra option that seemed to glitch for the returning apps.
There's no perfect method, but I think eventbrite is worth researching because there's no such thing as missing info, which makes it hard to trust google forms for anything kind of selection method for AB, jury or lotto or otherwise.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by twinks » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:21 pm

We also had to disqualifiy individuals who did not enter a date of birth indicating they would be over the age of 18 at the time of next year' show and did not contact us to correct the information or submit a corrected space request when they received the email confirmation from the Google form.
It was not communicated anywhere that the birth date would be a disqualifier, or that it could be rectified. Many opted to go with whatever date because on mobile, the google calendar makes it a challenge to easily select the correct date.

The last person on our list for 2018's Artists' Alley currently has a submission time stamp of November 4, 2017 5:02:36 PM Eastern.
I know of at least one person who was accepted with a time stamp that's after 02:40, so please recheck your list.


I would highly recommend the AB team use other more transparent ways to communicate to artists so that we can all work together instead of creating an us vs you situation. The FCFS method AB uses is obviously a complete failure. There are many, many other large conventions that went thru what AB is still sluggishly refusing to acknowledge, and they can be consulted for future solutions if AB seriously doesn't want the artists' noisy input.

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Allyson-x » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:56 pm

Shattered-Earth wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:04 pm

I would really hate for Boston to become lottery con. I would prefer their be a jury, and I understand juries take time so if the problem is that staff aren’t being compensated for their time I would more than happy pay a $5-10 fee for example to pay a small panel of of jurors for their time(heck the event brite fee is already this much) if you just roll the cost into the table or something and make applications only open for an hour or less it shouldn’t be too taxing.
Just want to say I 100% agree with this. In my post about I said that lottery should be an easy fix, but that is just the thing, EASY. I think this show should ultimately be juried. It will not only help with diversity (lets be honest last year was a snooze fest, it was all art and not much of other media types) but also with a show this prestigious it SHOULD be for experienced and quality art. Its not a show for beginners. Im sorry but its just not. Do a few cons and then do AB.

The table prices in general should be going up A LOT in price, it will cut back on demand and like you said will also help cover whatever expenses are necessary to make it juried. If its too much work, then they should hire staff that are willing and able to dedicate time to jury a show. A LOT of cons do it, and Im frankly tired of seeing excuses of why AB can't do the same.
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by blix » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:45 am

pulsedemon wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:28 pm
we want to work on making things right for the people that could potentially have been able to get space in the Alley this year if we didn't lose any data. The last person on our list for 2018's Artists' Alley currently has a submission timestamp of November 4, 2017 5:02:36 PM Eastern.
I've gone ahead and emailed you guys about getting on the wait list. My time stamp was really pretty good. ;_; Please help me get a table.

My time stamp info:
Delivered-To: lxxxxxxr@gmail.com (i'm x my email here)
Received: by 10.157.85.76 with SMTP id h12csp1312667oti;
Sat, 4 Nov 2017 15:02:21 -0700 (PDT)

It is well within the application window for getting tables, and i would really really love a table. ;_; i would love any sort of table. I would gladly pay extra for a pro row table. i know a lot of people were present trying to get tables, but I definitely definitely tried my hardest and did my best, all day, to get a table. I was there at noon, and waited until you posted an announcement that sign ups would be delayed. I was there again in the evening, doing my best, hoping to get a table.

Here is my work: https://blix-it.deviantart.com/gallery/ ... Flippy-Box I try my hardest on this too, just like in all things. I would really love a table, please add me to the waitlist, and please remember me when there are vacancies.

thanks
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Deckitout » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:25 pm

Hi there! I emailed on Sunday and haven’t gotten a response yet while I know others have. Is there any updates on my application? My timestamp was 5:02:09!

Thank you for your assistance

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Kiroujidraws » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:58 am

Hi! I sent an email a few days ago, but have not gotten a response. My time stamp is 6:01:57 . I understand everyone is busy with the holidays and all, but I was just wondering if people who emailed are getting replies in return?
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by okurelin » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:10 pm

Hello! I am wondering if this year tables will continuously be offered to people on the waitlist, or if there will be last-minute table sales like last year where artists were able to buy spaces on Friday morning. Thank you!

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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by suriyel » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:53 am

I only just saw this (the forums aren't something I check often for news updates, alas) but I checked my email confirmation and it's showing 15:02:01, yet didn't get in. Knowing the timestamps of the others that did make it in, I'm a little distressed, but have sent an email and am hoping something this late in the game might still be possible -__-
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Re: About Artists' Alley list generation process

Post by Smallstuffdolls » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:29 pm

Hi! I was wondering if there's an estimate for when the map will be posted?

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