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Staff Pin Trading Feedback Thread

BekerBeker Child's Play Program DirectorSeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
Its been a while since I sought out feedback on the PAX Staff Pin Trading event. We have made some changes over the last few PAXen, hopefully you feel it has improved, but as we approach this next big one, I'd like to see if you have any other thoughts. Specifically, thoughts on time in the pin trading corral, number of people in at a time, trading experience, waiting corral experience, or anything else.

If you have anything you would rather not share here, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Let us know, everything will be Noted(tm).

-Beker/Erick
mV2y6kv.png
Lazorz

Posts

  • mightyh0bbesmightyh0bbes Subterranean Arcadian SeattleRegistered User regular
    I think it went well at South. Maybe a banner explaining pin trading at the...like entrance to the waiting corral for newer collectors or passers-by that don't know about it. Something to pique their interest. In the "dump out"/community trading area maybe a banner showing any trading panels/merch/pin trading opportunities later in the show. Stuff that hasn't happened yet as of the time of the trade event. Maybe even a Expo pin map, again, to help newer community members.

    www.paxsignaturegenerator.com:8080/signature.png
    verybluetardisagentcooper
  • jwquinlinjwquinlin Registered User regular
    Didn't make it to South, but my thoughts on the difference in execution between Prime 15 and East 16 are all positive. Because of choices, I walked up last minute to the event but still got in and was able to make it to all the tables.

    Lazorzagentcooper
  • SolelronSolelron Wandering Gamer Cornelius, ORRegistered User regular
    As someone who has used the Medical pass side of it, I found the usage at Pax Prime '14 to be far better than '15 as far as instructions go and consistency. That being said, You also need to be careful of too much favoritism for the medical badge community.

    I liked the layout of the '15 where it spun around a corner, however the games kind of delayed it. I might recommend having 2 segments: 1 for people after the staff pins, and 1 for those wanting to try to trade for higher values, but know that you will NOT get the staff pin in that line. I'm not sure if this would work but its something to look at. (FTR: I usually am primarily after the staff pins as I have a harder time finding the staffers other than when they sit at the booth near merch due to booth requirements). This would also help the people who can't make it into the staff event who are just after the staff pins to be better served.

    agentcooper
  • HingoHingo Minneapolis, MNRegistered User regular
    My experience at South 2016 was better than East 2016, but it could also have been due to the grouping I was in. The outward circle of tables was a welcome change, and helped a lot with the crowding. As for my anecdotal evidence between South and East (I didn't take headcount info), it felt like less people were around the tables at South in each grouping compared to East. My reasoning for saying this is that I found it much, much easier to move between tables at South. This could just be a factor of East 2016 I was in the group of mainly hardcores, so people could have just spent more time looking for those "sweet uptrade pins" and not moving between tables until they've made sure they checked over all the pins. The tables had around 3-4 people deep at almost all of them but one or two at East, and South felt less packed.

    The removal of the games definitely helps with throughput, but is simultaneously sad because they were a ton of fun, and it was always great seeing PRD's twitter posts of pin game teasers.

    The corral at East was a little too large in my opinion. Most people just crowded toward the front, waiting to be let in (again, this could have been due to the hardcores in the group, but I would also guess new people would be chomping at the bit to get in as well). The tables were a good concept in the corral, but no one really used them for my group. I tried to get people involved. Maybe 2 tables was just too much, 1 table is all that is necessary?

    Announcing when there was 5 minutes left in the trading area at East 2016 was a godsend. Please continue doing this forever.

    Trading experiences - the staff just felt down that day. Striking up a conversation with anyone was not going anywhere, no one was really as talkative as past trading events (not even Jerry). It made me sad. I got an Ugin from Brian who had it placed upside down in front of him (I'd recognize that snakemoose outline anywhere) and that made my day as far as trades went. The energy level was still down, regardless of a rogue Snakemoose get. Not sure how to address this, or if it was just me interpreting things wrong.

    Regarding feedback in general: If anyone knows of any new people to trading/the forums/etc., please direct them here! I know @Beker cares about all feedback and takes action where necessary/possible, but PA can't make changes if no one speaks up. The "new trader" is a silent majority in this community, and they have very different experiences than the people who have been here since 2013 have had.




    Note: The info above is clearly anecdotal, and I am using South and East 2016 as references for "recent" PAXen to discuss the changes made over previous PAXen.

    Pins for trade!
    2015 PAX Prime Omeganaut (I will forever hate Katamari)
    LazorzSammy.Samagentcooperbravesaturn
  • GerzzogGerzzog OhioRegistered User regular
    The unavoidable pin storm that was three pin panels on the same day plus the pin trading event was stressful. I know that this is not something that can easily be avoided. The pax line twitter said the line was capped and I thought I wouldn't make it so I almost didn't even try. However, when it was close to the end I figured what the efff I'll try. I was able to get in and get my pins and even get over to the master of orion signing that was at the same time. So all in all it worked out. If I could make one suggestion, i would say update if the line is no longer capped so that if you think you can't make it you can see that the line is opened back up and you can try to get in. If I just went off the line capped message and didn't go check I would have missed out.

    agentcooper
  • astroboiastroboi Melbourne, AusRegistered User regular
    I've only been to one staff trading session, at last year's pax aus. In the queue, there wasn't a huge amount of trading going on (that I saw), but then I didn't initiate any. I was enjoying looking at everyone's lanyards and thinking that I didn't have anything anyone would want :P When we got into the trading area, it seemed like a bit of a free-for-all. I didn't realise you're only supposed to trade two pins with each staff member so I was looking for anything and everything I wanted. Also people (myself included) were jumping around from one table to another, so maybe there's some better way to handle the flow of people - have a one-way line of tables or something? I don't know.

    It would be great to have more time to chat with the staff, but obviously that means you can't get as many people through, so that's probably not possible.

    Now that I know how it works a bit better, I'm really looking forward to doing it again!

    limedragonflyagentcooper
  • PAX_SkeletorPAX_Skeletor Melbourne, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    Last years PAX Aus was my first trading event too. Generally it was very good. I think perhaps a bit more communication as to the 'rules' of the area would be very helpful, especially for new traders. Most of the people round were unaware that the 'corral' section was designed as a trading area, and most assumed it was simply a continuation of the line and milled around the front. Perhaps some clearer signage would help, plus also using the guidebook listing to give a quick breakdown of how the area is set up.

    limedragonflyagentcooper
  • limedragonflylimedragonfly Melbourne, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    PAX Aus last year was also my first trading event and I was kicking myself I hadn't been in previous years! Like others have said, I didn't make an effort to trade with people in the line, which I will be attempting to do this year. Also, I loved that the staff "refreshed" the tables as the waves of traders came through, meaning that being halfway down the line (which I was) didn't negatively effect my chances of getting pins I was after from staff (outside of the staff pins). Overall I had an extremely positive experience and it was that event that cemented my pin addiction and lead to me signing up here :).

    agentcooper
  • WigumWigum Registered User regular
    This was my first year actually collecting pins, and throughout the entire PAX it was a pretty positive experience for me. This PAX I made it a point to get to any lines/panels that I wanted to see fairly early as I missed out last year by cutting it too close. It moved quickly, I thought the small staging area was a great experience as I got to meet more pin people and move around without being stuck in one place in line. I also got to put names to faces of some of the people I didn't get to meet yet, and even got a trade or two in. I didn't see how the staging area worked once it was more normal people, as I think the first group was a very high percentage of people from Pinny-Pals. I'm hoping the following groups were as social as the first one was.

    I remember last year that one of the staff trading events was either at the same time, or started near to a Patrick Rothfuss signing, and it seemed that there was more of a conveyor belt going on there. There seemed to be a more clearly defined entrance/exit and you went down the tables in order, getting to trade with staff as you went. I wasn't exactly sure where to start this time, and there were times where the flow of people was conflicting. I ended up getting to speak/trade with all of the staff, but it was obvious from the looks I shared with some people that I wasn't alone in feeling that way.

    Thanks!

    bravesaturnagentcooper
  • PedroAsaniPedroAsani Brotherhood of the Squirrel [Prime]Registered User regular
    It all depends on your goals for the trading event. Is it meant to be the easiest place to get the Staff Pins you can't find because some Staff are veritable goddamn Hermits? (Dave Coffman, you PAX Sasquatch.) Is it meant to be the place where you can get some one-on-one time with the Staff? Is it an obvious place in the Guidebook for new Pin people to meet other squirrel-infested brains? Or is it a full-blown trading event where everyone can mingle?

    Get Staff Pins: A
    One-on-one time: C
    New Pin people meet others: B
    Trading Event: D

    For those who have spent the weekend hunting Staff with large (metaphorical) nets, this makes the last few acquisitions easy. We needed 4 Staff, queued up and got them. Simples.

    Staff interaction is difficult depending with whom you wish to get time. Mike and Jerry followed by Khoo is where the usual scrums tend to form. I am not advocating splitting up the Staff or rearranging them, because I'm sure they want to sit with particular people for Reasons. But if that is an option, it might help some. The other problem is time. I don't know how many people were in each batch, but say 60 people get 15 minutes in the Staff Corral. Each Staff member can only talk to someone for 15 seconds if they are going to talk to everyone. It's difficult to have a conversation in that time frame, and it's made harder by knowing that the longer you talk to someone, the more time you are taking away from other people. If you know where to find them at other times, you can skip talking to them and just grab Pins. But it's kind of cold and unfeeling. The scrums and typical human brain behavior (most people will attempt to process the tables from left to right, with a few going right to left) mean that anyone who needs all 14 Pins is rushing through everyone just to make sure they are done before being moved on by the Enforcers (who treat the time limit as rigid, to the detriment of at least one person who didn't get all the Staff Pins in time because they couldn't move very fast).

    Meeting new people: Having this on the Guidebook is a big help. The one reason it doesn't get an A is because the batch system means trading in the queue is more difficult once people start entering the Corrals. So whilst you can walk up the down the queue to an extent, it isn't as free as it once was. And once you have made Staff trades you can only trade with the people in your batch. Which is the next part.

    Batch processing means that once you have a batch, your trading is only with those people in that batch. In the queue, if you don't trade early your interactions go way down. Once you get to where the Staff are, your trades are zero but for the Staff themselves. Partly the limited time, partly because the Enforcers want to move anyone who steps away from the tables out of the trading area early. There is a point where efficiency of crowd control becomes abrupt and overzealous. The best Trading Event I have attended was Aus 2014. Space was given over to tables for the attendees to use to rummage, trade and gather. One-in-one-out meant that anyone who wanted to trade with people getting in later could stick around and mingle.

    Hingoagentcooper
  • HingoHingo Minneapolis, MNRegistered User regular
    @PedroAsani fair point, I forgot completely about the snaking line phenomenon at previous events that allowed for seeing new people to potentially trade with as you moved closer to the front of the line.

    Pins for trade!
    2015 PAX Prime Omeganaut (I will forever hate Katamari)
    agentcooper
  • saxmansaxman ChicagoRegistered User new member
    I feel like south '16 was the best so far in terms of organization. Though I've only attended 3 (Prime '14, Prime '15, and South '16). The space was larger and the number of people let into each group seemed more controlled then at prime. @Hingo mentioned announcements of time remaining, that along with knowing what the fixed time allotment is as the group enters would be appreciated.

    As a casual trader I really enjoy the staff trading events because it gives me a chance to get cool pins using randoms I've collected at the expo.

    The queue line has been a good place to socialize, but with more pin community events throughout the weekend it really is the same group of people moving from place to place. Not that that is a bad thing.

    dZiQogW.png
  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    edited May 2016
    I can tell you that staff sit where they are told, based on assignments developed by Robert in an attempt to put more popular people with less popular people. Regardless of how it might seem, we do tend to spend a lot of time thinking about little details like that.

    While I have no problem with people trading with each other in line, and in fact that is one of the reasons we developed the "up next" corral idea, with the growth of the Community Pin trading event, I feel less need to make sure it happens in this queue. while queue room setup has room for a snaked line, that would require even more setup, which takes even more time for Line Management when they could be doing other great work in PAX. tl:dr, we will snake the line if convenient, but are unlikely to spend much effort on it and instead will likely increase our support of the community pin trading event.

    You are also more then welcome to trade with each other just outside the staff corral. Maybe that should become another community pin trading area. Batch system seems to work well for a couple reasons though, so its not likely to go away anytime soon. While we always make an effort to make our "shoeing" gentle, it is something we can constantly work on.

    I think East and South were both 15 minutes sessions. How did that time feel?

    Thank you so much for the feedback, keep it coming.

    Beker on
    -Beker/Erick
    mV2y6kv.png
    bravesaturndmosineeKeroan
  • PedroAsaniPedroAsani Brotherhood of the Squirrel [Prime]Registered User regular
    Beker wrote: »
    I think East and South were both 15 minutes sessions. How did that time feel?

    Thank you so much for the feedback, keep it coming.

    For South, 15 minutes was ok. There were other opportunities to see the Staff, particularly Mike and Jerry at the signing. I think with East the lack of a separate signing event meant that face time was at a premium. I know for most of us, we can hit up the CPA [redacted] but that isn't known or available to everyone. I know at South there was the bandland extra area, and a lot of Staff took some time to sit there. Maybe that would be possible at other PAXen in the future? If the signings are being deprecated because PA don't feel the traffic is enough any more then maybe just "come and talk their ears off*" for an hour or so.

    If the Community Pin Trade is going to be the primary place for trading, then some help advertising it as such would be a big boost. Even with the Panel educating new people there were still those at the PA Trade who didn't know how the system worked, didn't know who they could trade with, where to get Pins, etc. Being able to reach out to those people is important and for me, walking the queue made it an easy and organic part of the interaction. I know Evan had the booth, but there were those who didn't realize what it was for and only asked questions when they got to the trade tables.

    East being 15 minutes, I think it felt a little rushed for a lot of people. I don't know how many were in each batch, but I think an extra 5 minutes would have helped those who got stuck in a scrum.

    *I realize ears are not meant to detach

  • KeroanKeroan Chicago, IllinoisRegistered User regular
    I have to say that I got to interact SO MUCH with the pin community at Prime near the merch booth because there was a little unmarked table setup where staff would chillout every so often. It was very nice to take a peek and see who was sitting there and I actually got to talk to some of the staff (usually I don't want to block other's access so I move on). The pin community used that as an unofficial trade point since there was plenty of room and I traded there all three days. It would be really cool to have something like that at other Paxen because it was so gosh darn cool to have when I had it.

    Sammy.Sam
  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    Keroan wrote: »
    I have to say that I got to interact SO MUCH with the pin community at Prime near the merch booth because there was a little unmarked table setup where staff would chillout every so often. It was very nice to take a peek and see who was sitting there and I actually got to talk to some of the staff (usually I don't want to block other's access so I move on). The pin community used that as an unofficial trade point since there was plenty of room and I traded there all three days. It would be really cool to have something like that at other Paxen because it was so gosh darn cool to have when I had it.

    Yea the little table near merch is great, and something we will try to keep assuming space allows. We know both the staff and community like the interactions that can happen there.

    -Beker/Erick
    mV2y6kv.png
  • PedroAsaniPedroAsani Brotherhood of the Squirrel [Prime]Registered User regular
    Beker wrote: »
    Keroan wrote: »
    I have to say that I got to interact SO MUCH with the pin community at Prime near the merch booth because there was a little unmarked table setup where staff would chillout every so often. It was very nice to take a peek and see who was sitting there and I actually got to talk to some of the staff (usually I don't want to block other's access so I move on). The pin community used that as an unofficial trade point since there was plenty of room and I traded there all three days. It would be really cool to have something like that at other Paxen because it was so gosh darn cool to have when I had it.

    Yea the little table near merch is great, and something we will try to keep assuming space allows. We know both the staff and community like the interactions that can happen there.

    It would be really useful if anyone who is there tweets it so people hunting for missing Staff Pins can get there and trade.

    limedragonfly
  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    PedroAsani wrote: »
    Beker wrote: »
    Keroan wrote: »
    I have to say that I got to interact SO MUCH with the pin community at Prime near the merch booth because there was a little unmarked table setup where staff would chillout every so often. It was very nice to take a peek and see who was sitting there and I actually got to talk to some of the staff (usually I don't want to block other's access so I move on). The pin community used that as an unofficial trade point since there was plenty of room and I traded there all three days. It would be really cool to have something like that at other Paxen because it was so gosh darn cool to have when I had it.

    Yea the little table near merch is great, and something we will try to keep assuming space allows. We know both the staff and community like the interactions that can happen there.

    It would be really useful if anyone who is there tweets it so people hunting for missing Staff Pins can get there and trade.

    From past experience certain staff do, however we all know cell service isn't always reliable/people spontaneously show up briefly.

    SkeleVader
  • PedroAsaniPedroAsani Brotherhood of the Squirrel [Prime]Registered User regular
    PedroAsani wrote: »
    Beker wrote: »
    Keroan wrote: »
    I have to say that I got to interact SO MUCH with the pin community at Prime near the merch booth because there was a little unmarked table setup where staff would chillout every so often. It was very nice to take a peek and see who was sitting there and I actually got to talk to some of the staff (usually I don't want to block other's access so I move on). The pin community used that as an unofficial trade point since there was plenty of room and I traded there all three days. It would be really cool to have something like that at other Paxen because it was so gosh darn cool to have when I had it.

    Yea the little table near merch is great, and something we will try to keep assuming space allows. We know both the staff and community like the interactions that can happen there.

    It would be really useful if anyone who is there tweets it so people hunting for missing Staff Pins can get there and trade.

    From past experience certain staff do, however we all know cell service isn't always reliable/people spontaneously show up briefly.

    I mean attendees too. Spamming the twitter timeline will help visibility.

  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    Twitter is old school, kids today snapchat.

    -Beker/Erick
    mV2y6kv.png
  • SolelronSolelron Wandering Gamer Cornelius, ORRegistered User regular
    Beker wrote: »
    Twitter is old school, kids today snapchat.

    Yes but some of us ARE old :)

    limedragonflyluckycharmClixBekerKeroan
  • vonhistvonhist Mr Melbourne, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    Some of us are really old! Note the white in the beard.

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