Sign Ups Changing?

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Sign Ups Changing?

Post by okapirose » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:14 pm

Please tell me this year the signup method for the general artist alley applications will be changing?

Last few years have been insane with the site crashing. Its not "first come first served" but "whoever has the fastest internet and manages to not get the error message when submitting the letter of intent that gets in" served. I kid you not, many artists have panic attacks when it comes to sign ups, especially veteran artists, who not only do this for a living, but rely on coming to AB year after year.

Whole alley needs to be juried to vary up artists (saw so few 3D artists this past year, need to break up those walls of prints!) or at the very LEAST using something like google docs so that the crashing of the site doesn't happen?

-A tired artist.

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Re: Sign Ups Changing?

Post by pulsedemon » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:42 pm

We've surveyed artists in the past and found basically equal support for the way it's been (largely first-come), a lottery system, and a jury. Obviously, that doesn't help too much. There's a lot of interest and not enough supply, so any way is basically equally good or bad (depending on how you see it).

Our web team has been talking about making sure we have additional CPU power this year to help soak some of the requests. It's a lot to wrangle as there's like hundreds of requests a minute on the database for a while.

Too much demand is, in some ways, a good problem to have. We always want to try to improve the experience, but we're in a situation where it's not possible to please everyone. If we just managed to find a whole new space where we could make room for everyone, the money that gets spent in the Alley is then spread too thin and everyone's unhappy. If we handle everything in a jury system, it makes the room nearly impossible for new artists to break in. If we handle it as a lottery, we end up with a stronger chance of working with artists that aren't seen to be as 'serious' about the craft as others. As it is, we are subject to server capacities and everything.

If it helps anything at all, the room is essentially long past 'full' by the time the form had become unresponsive in the past. It's clearly not much of a consolation, but it is the situation.
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Re: Sign Ups Changing?

Post by horticulturalcephalopod » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:29 pm

I think the absolute mess this year has clearly shown that changes to the current system are absolutely necessary for future years.
pulsedemon wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:42 pm
If we handle everything in a jury system, it makes the room nearly impossible for new artists to break in. If we handle it as a lottery, we end up with a stronger chance of working with artists that aren't seen to be as 'serious' about the craft as others.
I respectfully disagree. Jury or lottery would be far better than what we have now. The whole point of a jury is that the con can tailor the AA to their needs. This means that AB can set aside caps based on skill level so that artists are juried and then pulled based on available slots and their scores. Jury doesn't mean "only the best artists get in" - it's up to the jury to balance out skill and variety in the AA.

The FCFS system in place right now (no set time, not on a third party system built to handle traffic) means that AA sign-ups effectively act as lottery anyway. The same concern of "not serious" artists can be applied to FCFS systems as well. Switching to a true lottery would 1) alleviate stress on all sides (for both artists and staff) and 2) prevent unnecessary site crashes that happen every year.

I strongly implore AB's staff and admin to fix this ASAP.

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Re: Sign Ups Changing?

Post by VikingSheep » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:53 pm

How long ago was, "in the past"? Answers change, especially as an alley grows. As an artist "on the ground," so to speak, I have heard approximately one artist in fifty support the current FCFS system for Anime Boston. There are two main points that have made FCFS no longer tenable for so many AB artists.

1) Not having a set sign-up time. Not only does this cause more stress to the artists, it also puts more stress on the site's servers. Instead of hundreds of people refreshing the site for five minutes, you have hundreds of people refreshing the site for hours. That costs money in bandwidth, and it also prevents non-artists from accessing the Anime Boston site for information about the convention.

2) Anime Boston is just too large for FCFS. The tables sell out in three minutes. If you're not quick enough on the refresh, you don't get in. If you don't type fast enough, you don't get in. With the site's crashing issues, even if you do refresh and type fast enough, your application may crash when you submit it, making it all pointless. Combined with no set sign-up time, is it any wonder that people have legitimate panic attacks?

As for the the problems with other systems, may I suggest the one that Otakon uses? They have a juried lottery. I know you're worried about quality with a lottery, but if you do a quick jury (not an in-depth assessment, just a quick yes or no on quality) on the entries then you can minimize, as you put it, your chance of working with artists that aren't seen to be as serious about the craft as others. On the other hand, since it's not an in-depth jury there's more opportunities for new artists to break in.

If you insist on continuing with FCFS, at the very least move the sign-up off-site and give an exact time when it will go live. Eventbrite is an excellent solution used by many conventions. If you want to continue using a form for a letter of intent, Google Forms is an off-site solution. If it's not possible to release the link early and only schedule the form (or tickets, for Eventbrite) to go live at a specific time, you can use Twitter and Facebook to release the link when it's time. As much as we artists would greatly prefer lottery, if you insist on FCFS there are ways to make it happen without so much stress to us.

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