2017 Event Registration

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dndgeek, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Cloak n' Dagger

    Cloak n' Dagger Level 0 Character

    Well if that's the only problem, then the simple solution is to apply code that doesn't allow opening up multiple instances of the same page. While I don't know enough about the technical side of coding, I do know that it's possible to do it. One page, one cart. This is only my second year attending Gary Con; in the past I've always attended Origins which has always used a "load cart when registration opens" process and imo it's the easiest and most fair way to handle registration.

    I definitely would not want to register based off of a tiered badge system; having to "pay more" just to get first picks might seem viable, but really only caters to anyone who has the money to spend, those that can only afford lower level badges are left with the scraps and leftovers to pick and choose from and that just doesn't seem right. I'm all in favor of the way it is now, with Diamond and Plat getting to pick 1 or 2 events as a guarantee, Gold and Silver should stay the same, allowing the same chance at registration with the exception that Gold badge allows the purchase of more events overall.

    The system that the staff is using now isn't a bad system, it just has one major flaw, not processing the items in the cart that were available (as opposed to kicking the entire cart back). If the system could process all of the events and simply kick back the ones already full, then it would work just fine.
    Poindexter likes this.
  2. jim skach

    jim skach Troubadour

    Every year...same process. Multiple tabs each with an event. Click Clack Moo. Last year it was all three of us doing it at the same time. The Girl and I did not fare as well; The Boy hit it big. Such is the randomness of life.
  3. athornton

    athornton Footpad

    I sort of like the idea of preloaded carts, which get processed 5 minutes (or whatever it takes) before the click-fest resumes with whatever's left.

    But I also think a great deal of this could have been avoided if the system had used a queueing mechanism for ticket management, rather than relying on fairly direct database access by cart submission. I don't know if I will really put together a demo of what I mean in time to show event staff at Gary Con, but the fundamental insight is that the event is the unit of synchronization, and if your tickets are represented as messages in a queue, and you only get to write to the database when you have successfully acquired a ticket, then you end up with a total number of DB writes equal to the number of event tickets or fewer. Paolo Greco and I were kicking around some ideas yesterday (not over beers, weirdly) and I think we have a pretty decent design.

    The other thing that would probably help would be to have a read-only replica of the database and consult THAT for event times and other (non-ticket) details; it doesn't matter if that data is a few seconds stale, and it removes the load from your write-target database.
    Poindexter and Handy Haversack like this.
  4. Jamie Hale

    Jamie Hale Level 0 Character

    Were I to guess, the major flaw is that it's built as an in-request e-commerce WordPress plug-in running on a single instance shared with the database, and not as a high volume transaction processor. It was built to make periodic sales of t-shirts and artisanal soaps.

    Mechanically, the existing system *could* work just fine if it were built out - like TicketMaster and others - to handle peak volume. And that means load-balancing on the front end, and a processing thread/process in the back end de-coupled from the web requests.

    I don't like the pay per event model. I like this one. It just crashed and burned. WordPress, right? When all you have is a hammer... etc.
  5. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    This is pretty close to the mark as far as points of failure, limitations, and your suggestions are in line with what we are planning.
    PBurke likes this.
  6. Jamie Hale

    Jamie Hale Level 0 Character

    *bing* *bing* *bing* *bing* *bing*

    Yay! What do I win? :)
  7. Jon

    Jon Level 0 Character

    For transparency as to the seriousness of the problem, this commingled system led to a $3,600 charge to my credit card for registration to an event. Once I privately alerted folks to the problem, I did not get to keep the event registration associated with the dollars charge. Nor was I later placed back in manually for the event which at that time and for days still had room.

  8. Jamie Hale

    Jamie Hale Level 0 Character


    I had to sign up for a PayPal account - something I had successfully avoided doing since they screwed me a decade ago - to buy my badge. I wasn't able to just give a credit card number. But if what you say is true, that means they were storing your CC# someplace, which is really not something they should be doing. There are regulations that govern storing that sort of information.

    What you describe is both a mechanical problem (almost a liability really if there were financial implications) *and* a customer service one.
  9. Jon

    Jon Level 0 Character

    It did go through PayPal to my credit card. And, like you, it seemed to force me to activate a PayPal account, something I've avoided for years.

  10. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    We do not store CC#s. Any real money transactions redirect the user away from our site to the paypal site. In most cases, this requires a user to manually authorize the charges. If you had a different experience, please PM Thomas so he can see what happened.
    mwisconsin likes this.
  11. Jamie Hale

    Jamie Hale Level 0 Character

    Like on registration day when you checked out your cart full of event registrations, it bounced you to PayPal to pay? Instead of just using your GP/SP? That's a bit broken.

    And if you mean it somehow automatically charged you through PayPal, without you confirming a $3600 payment, I *really* don't understand. Didn't think that was possible.

    Though the number 3600 is interesting, because it's the equivalent of 4 GP if each GP is 900 SP, and each SP is $1. Was it a 4GP checkout?
  12. Jamie Hale

    Jamie Hale Level 0 Character

    Yes, that's what I would have expected.
  13. Jon

    Jon Level 0 Character

    Bingo on the 4 GP: our checkout was 4GP - we are a couple who game together and got 2 x 2GP on the same event. The organizers said they had no idea how that was even possible that the system charged us $3,600; nevertheless, it did. The system also charged the expected 4 GP.

    I've not suggested or intimated it stored my cc number and have no reason to believe that was a problem.

    Yep, on registration day after our first registration set. I was eventually refunded the $3,600 and taken out of the event, an event that we bought 2 extra badges just to attend.

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  14. Jarlaxle

    Jarlaxle Troubadour

    A nice cigar! Here, lemme light it for you...........

    *runs as trick stogie explodes*
  15. glamcrist

    glamcrist Footpad

    I don't think it required an actual PayPal account, just payment through PayPal. Yes I bought badges with a payment on PayPal, but it was a one time transaction and I opted out when it asked if I wanted to create an account.
    Of course, the formatting is designed to imply that you need an account, and the opt-out is in small letters on the side, but that's on PayPal, not GaryCon staff.
  16. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    We could also make that opt-out clear at checkout on our own side to help reinforce the point that an account is not needed.
  17. Jamie Hale

    Jamie Hale Level 0 Character

    It's actually much more complicated than that, and seemingly random. I'm still convinced it has something to do with me being in Canada...

    *Sometimes* when I go to check out through PayPal - for anything I'm purchasing anywhere - it allows me the option of checking out without having an account. Other times, as soon as I select Canada as my country, the page reloads and insists that I either log in or create an account. In this case, there's *no* way to make the purchase without an account.

    In the past I have been able to work around it by using a different browser on the same computer, or a different computer. But for GaryCon I couldn't make it work. In all other cases, when it didn't let me pass, I've been okay letting the purchase drop. But I *really* wanted to buy my GaryCon badge...

    I'm *fairly* certain that particular "feature" has nothing to do with how the vendor it set up, and so whether or not you announce on your site that it's optional is immaterial. But I could be mistaken.
  18. mwisconsin

    mwisconsin Administrator Staff Member

    For our part, there's no configuration option from the client website that allows us to filter by country specifically for PayPal purchases, or send PayPal anything beyond our various API authentications.

    I wonder if there's a setting on the business account for PayPal, however, that limits accepting non-US funds from "guest" accounts. Crazy Canadian dollars are suspicious, yo.
  19. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    Where do you live? Free volunteer employment for Gary Con?
  20. glamcrist

    glamcrist Footpad

    Well! That is just bizarre!

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