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Bay Area Night Photography Message Board Active Discussions › Lottery System For Selecting Participants.

Lottery System For Selecting Participants.

Steven C.
San Jose, CA
Post #: 708
Quite a few of you have expressed concern about not being able to attend events because they fill up quickly. In many ways we are the victims of our own success with so many interested members.

We've been kicking around some ideas about that and have elected to use a lottery system for at least SOME events (and perhaps all).

The first lottery event was for 4 free "Catching the Moon" webinars contributed by StarCircleAcademy­ (a $27 value each). We'll use this event to fine tune the way we run the lottery system.

See the event for details about how this particular lottery will be run. Please feel free to make observations or questions here about any concerns you may have by joining this discussion.

In general we will be dividing events into two groups: "Supporters" and "General". Supporters are those who are current on their annual OPTIONAL donations as described on this page and who have not been a "No Show".

"General" includes everyone both supporters and those who have not contributed. The allocation of available space between supporters and general members is at the discretion of the event host(s).

With a lottery everyone who enters the waiting list prior to the deadline has an equal chance to be selected. By allocating space specifically for supporters, we are showing our appreciation for those who have contributed materially or financially to keeping this site and our activities running.

The event organizer(s) are free to pre-allocate people for an event - e.g. those who will be assisting. Or, perhaps to allow some number of "first come, first served" spots.

Also, to keep matters fair, we'll be rigorously tracking people who:

  • Fail to show up
  • Drop out at the last minute
  • Bring more people to an event than they have signed up for.

Those who do the above will be counted as "No Shows" and will be excluded from the lotteries. If we didn't enforce the no-show exclusion then people could scam the lottery system by entering every lottery on the "chance" that they might want to attend. We notice that some of you are doing that now by grabbing the RSVPs and then deciding at the last minute you can't attend. For example, the Night at San Jose Camera and Video we negotiated space for 40 people, but only 20 actually attended - half the space was wasted on no shows.

Coming up next... some Q&As.

Steven C.
San Jose, CA
Post #: 709
Q: I want to bring a guest, how does that work?
A: You and your guest(s) must all be selected by the lottery for the available spots.
EXAMPLE: Mary, Larry, Curly, Moe, John and John+1 are on the waiting list for 3 available spots.
When numbers are drawn, the order is Curly, Moe, John, Larry, John+1 (Guest), Mary.
However since John and his guest were not both chosen for the top 3 spots, those selected would be Curly, Moe and Larry.

Q: What if I don't RSVP before the Supporter Lottery, can I be selected in the General lottery?
A: Yes if the general lottery is held at a later time and you RSVP before the the General Lottery deadline.

Q: What if there are 5 spots for supporters, but only 4 supporters enter the lottery?
A: All the supporters will be selected and there is no Supporter Lottery. The extra space(s) will be allocated to the "general" admission lottery.

Q: What if I discover I can't come?
A: Withdraw 3 days before the event date (or earlier if stated in the event description)

Q: Do supporters have the opportunity to be selected TWICE? Why?
A: Yes, if there are two lotteries. In addition to being supporters, they are regular people, too!

Q: What if I discover I can't come and it is later than the withdrawal date?
A: You'll be marked a No Show. If you have a good reason why you should not be marked a no show (e.g. death in the family) send a private note to your event host. Reasons that will not be accepted are "I had to work later than I expected" or "I got lost" or "Traffic was horrible" or "I forgot". Obviously if we know the only road in was closed, we'd make an exception. The decision rests with the Host and/or the Leadership team.

Q: Is there an advantage to NOT including guest(s)?
A: Yes, your chances of getting in a lottery are better. And, most people don't realize this, but when there is an automatic waiting list, Meetup will not assign a spot to a person with guest(s) unless they are next in the list and there are at least enough spots available.

Q: If I am selected in the lottery can I give my space(s) to someone else?
A: No. The next person(s) on the waiting list will be selected when you drop out. If you drop out before the general lottery, your space will be given out in the general lottery.

Q: How long will I bear the "no show" stigma if I become a no-show?
A: Six months seems about right.

Q: Will you remove my RSVP if I have been a no-show?
A: Usually no. However since No Shows are barred from lotteries you would only be able to attend an event if you are selected from the waiting list because others drop out.

Q: Is there any advantage to RSVPing early?
A: Yes. See the question above.

Q: Is there any disadvantage to RSVPing early?
A: Yes: if you are automatically moved to yes when others drop out and don't attend you become a no-show. Your chances of this happening are higher if you are at the top of the waiting list.

Q: Will this lottery thing bring Peace in the Middle East and solve World Hunger?
A: While we are hopeful, we suspect not. confused

Q: How do I become a supporter?
A: Donate­. See here.

Q: Does this mean there will be more spaces for events?
A: No. The space allocated for events depends on many practical considerations including the capacity of the location and the attention of the host(s).

Do you have any other questions or suggestions? Please ask!
user 13025968
Fremont, CA
Post #: 85
What means current on optional donation to be counted as supporter?
Donor is clear it counts for that year but how about Patron and Sponsor who donated year(s) ago?
Steven C.
San Jose, CA
Post #: 721
Enrico wrote:
What means current on optional donation to be counted as supporter?

Prior years do not qualify as current supporters for the purpose of the lottery. So someone who was a patron in 2010 but has not donated since is not "current".

Here is how the lottery tool chose the top spots for the "Moon Chase Event" lottery:

All current supporters who entered the lottery appear in the left column. In the "Wait List" column everyone appears again for the general lottery (except those for whom we have recorded no shows in the last 6 months). The tool randomizes both lists and the top two were chosen in each category.

Congratulations to Joolz, Ron H, Alex (by the way there are 4 "Alex"s with no initial or last name!) and Harvey.
A former member
Post #: 3
If none of the Alex's show up, I can go as an Alex =)

Steven C.
San Jose, CA
Post #: 722
If none of the Alex's show up, I can go as an Alex =)
Fortunately, we know who you are!
Steven C.
San Jose, CA
Post #: 728
Some interesting data about attendance.

The worst attendance we had was for the October Night In Yosemite Event. 8 people signed up. 1.5 showed up (giving half credit for a person who went, but didn't meet the group leader).
No show rate: 81%

February 9th we had an event at the San Jose Camera and Video Store.
Out of 40 spots, 20 showed up. That's a 50% no show rate.

The February 22 event at Moss landing had 6 "shows" and 18 no shows. 72% no shows

The most recent event, February 28th there were
25 spots and 15 attended (perhaps 16). So the no show rate was 40%.

The best attended event: San Francisco Skyline. 10 spots, ALL showed up.

So now you all understand why we're adopting a zero no-show tolerance policy. Fail to show, and you face removal from most (though not all) events.
Jing W.
Cupertino, CA
Post #: 1
Since most of the events ended up with many no-shows thus wasting the precious spots, would you consider allowing a limit number of really serious wait-listers to be at the meeting point as standbys? I'm sure there would be some members who are willing to take a chance to try for an open spot or go home (or shoot somewhere else). smile

- Jing Wee
Harvey A.
Novato, CA
Post #: 13
Steven, I really appreciate all of your time (along with the other organizers) in managing this meet-up. You guys have put together some great events and provide some exceptional education in the process. I myself have been frustrated that it is difficult to get on the RSVP list quick enough with the 1409 members of this meet-up. I appreciate you working on ways to try to make it more available, such as the lottery. Must take up quite a bit of time to manage this! You are right on with blocking no-shows, as they are just disrespectful to others. Again, thanks for your time and efforts!
Steven C.
San Jose, CA
Post #: 731
Since most of the events ended up with many no-shows thus wasting the precious spots, would you consider allowing a limit number of really serious wait-listers to be at the meeting point as standbys?
That, IMHO, would be more chaos. How do we know who is "serious"? We think "supporters" are more serious because they've put down some cash to keep this group running, but otherwise? The reason that there are limits is because there need to be due to space, etc. We DO "overbook" knowing that there will be some cancellations. But we can't predict how much (or how little) to overbook. We know there would be as much anger if we set up an event for a dozen people and there ended up being two dozen competing for precious tripod space.

This just pisses me off. I would have loved to have gone to the Moss Landing event, but it was full by the time I got the email. With all those no shows why not leave events unlimited?
Unlimited events are chaos. The hosts have done their homework and know that the pier, sidewalk, parking area, etc. will only hold a certain number of people. The number one complaint we get on "unlimited events" is "... no chance to interact with anyone..." We *do* have and will continue to have some unlimited events where they make sense. With the lottery, being "quick to RSVP" is no longer necessary. The overloaded meeting issue is not unique to Bay Area Night Photography. I see the same trend in other groups. We also stopped sending emails because Meetup sends those reminders even when events are already (way over) full.
And if angers you that it was under attended, put yourself in the shoes of the organizer who drove down from Sonoma to host the event!

I'm not participating with this group anymore due to the limits and inability to sign up.
Sadly, you're not the only one we've heard this from and we miss you, really. There are 2 sure-fire ways to get in on nearly every event.
1. Host it! 2. Assist in a material way in making it so.
And a third way will help a lot, too: be a supporter (we know you are, Deborah, thank you).

You are right on with blocking no-shows, as they are just disrespectful to others. Again, thanks for your time and efforts!
We've been alarmed ourselves about no-shows. And the main reason is that people who COULD have gone didn't get to go.

Thanks all for your frank and useful observations. We appreciate it.
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