2017 Registration Changes

There’s a registration lottery this year

  • Starting May 15th, you can sign up for the registration lottery to attend Campfire Tails 2017.

    Every week, the entries are shuffled and added to the queue for getting a spot.

    If you miss the first/second/etc week, it’s not necessarily too late, but you will be behind everyone who signed up in an earlier week than you.

  • When you get a spot, you’ll be notified by email then have 48 hours to complete and pay for your registration.

  • You can get a refund if requested before the deadline.

    We no longer allow registrations to be transferred.

  • The +1 system from last year’s wait list is returning.

    You’ll be able to make sure that your ride/mate/bestie is able to come too, if they were signed up but didn’t get a spot.

The cap for this year is 200 attendees, but we believe interest is likely to exceed that, which is why we’re instituting this this lottery-based process.

There are a lot of details in the updated registration policy that could impact you, depending on your situation. Please take a look.

Kitchen Volunteers

If you worked two or more meals in the kitchen last year, please send @Koinu a PM here on the forum with the username of who you want to give your extra reserved spot to. The deadline for doing so is May 15th, but the sooner I can get that sorted the better.

Note that this is entirely separate from the way +1 spots are given out with all registration opportunities. Both you as a volunteer and the recipient of your extra reserved spot are treated as having reserved spots.

So, why all this?

####When we sold out last year, it was a surprise to us

We did of course see it coming several weeks before it actually happened, but the attendance cap had always been a sort of theoretical thing—a safeguard to prevent us from being overwhelmed. The registration system didn’t even have the functionality to limit the number of sign-ups until a few weeks before we hit the cap.

We tried to handle it fairly, giving preferential notice about the upcoming early closure of reg to volunteers who hadn’t signed up yet (and setting a deadline for them to do so), and conducting the wait-list lottery for when some of those spots came available, but we believe it could still have been handled better.

First-come first-served kinda sucks

The reason we didn’t do the wait-list last year as first-come first-served is that it would have given an unfair advantage to the people who found out about it first, and there wasn’t really enough time to announce it far in advance of it actually opening.

Favoring those who are enthusiastic about an event (versus, say, those with the deepest wallets) is something we find appealing, but even when announced far in advance, first-come first-served still has some downsides. It disfavors those who can’t get away from a job or other obligation at the exact time the sign-up for something goes live, which is deeply unfair.

We want this to be a low-stress experience

Having a rush of activity all at the same moment is stressful for everyone involved, and when the system handling that activity can’t handle it, it gets even worse. Having spots go preferentially to people who can avoid work and spend all day mashing F5 is extremely unfair, and even when the system can handle it and it’s over in a matter of minutes, it’s still hella stressful.

Although somewhat complex, the system we’re adopting this year should be very low-stress. If you’re super-excited about CFT and want the best chance you can get to go (barring having volunteered last year), all you need to do is be sure you sign up during the first week. It doesn’t matter when during the week you take care of that, you’re on a fair and equal footing as everyone else.

Likewise, when it’s your time to finish and pay for your registration, 48 hours should be more than enough to do that and coordinate with whoever you’re giving your +1 spot to.

Finally, the biggest feature of this system is that it’s adaptable to however much interest we actually have this year. We expect interest to exceed our raised cap of 200 this year, but that’s not a given. If we did a period of first-come first-served then transitioned to having a wait list, that’d still have all of the problems of a rush in the form of trying to beat the transition to having a lottery/wait list.


I (Koinu) have had a few collaborators help with developing this process and debugging the details, but I’m still very much interested in feedback from the community at large, particularly regarding how this compares to other events’ handling of sell-out conditions.

Feel free to reply here with questions as well, although please do read the full registration policy first. This post and the registration page are just summaries of the process, and there are several details that are addressed only in the policy itself.


Is there any sort of guarentee for groups larger than 2?

Additionally, if I am reading this right are the drawings for entries weekly, up to certain point? And when is the cut off?

There’s no special provision for groups larger than two, but the way it works, everyone in a group’ll be able to finish registration together if at least half of them got spots, they just have to coordinate assignment of +1 spots.

There’s no absolute cut off except for July 31st. You can always get added to the list before then, but once there is a list (made by shuffling the sign-ups at the end of the first week; each week is only shuffled amongst that week before being added to the end), the system will give out as many spots as it can as quickly as it can (accounting for +1 spots, etc).

If we get enough sign-ups during the first period to sell out, that’ll have the implication that most of the people who wind up going will have recieved their spots and paid during the May 22nd-May 24th completion window.

Re: Volunteers

If you earned a volunteer credit last year or otherwise have an unspent, unexpired credit in the system, you have a reserved spot. This means that your own spot is guaranteed and you have until Jun 26 to register. (You may get your lottery-based chance at giving out a +1 spot earlier than that, however. If that happens you need to finish and pay for your own reg within that 48 hour window or else you won’t be able to give one when you do register.)

Note: The volunteer credits earned in 2016 are not in the system yet, but will be added some time in the next few weeks, before lottery sign-ups open.

I have a question, assuming I win a slot, which is fucking slim to no chance, I don’t ever win shit, how am I to pay? I don’t have a paypal account. Can paypal just take my credit card information and process it from there? I don’t bank as I don’t care for the crap banks get away with, and I don’t use paypal for pretty much the same reasons. So… options? Last year I had someone else pay for me via their paypal account, and then transfer the registration to me. But you can’t do that now, so… what the hell am I suppose to do?

It’s only fair if you don’t work for a living. I can’t be giving my employer last minute notifications that I need days off. This sort of thing has to be planned months in advance when you are an industrial worker. This system doesn’t work too well for those of us that need to make plans for such things at least a month in advance, preferebly more.

If you can’t use PayPal you may log in to the reg system in the company of someone else who does have a PayPal account, have them complete the payment portion of the process, and repay them privately. They could even do it remotely for you if you’re willing to trust them with the password to your CFT account (or type it in for them over screen sharing), although I do not recommend that.

The vast majority of spots will be settled far in advance of the event. The spots are not trickled out slowly to the queue: as many offers as can sent out in parallel are.

The overwhelming majority of people who wind up going will wind up registering this month.

well that’s good to know. Still… not knowing is worse than being told no.

You’ll be able to see your position in the line as soon as the first end-of-week happens and you’re added to the queue. “You are #91 of 160. Now serving <= 85.” (Not all of those 85 are going to complete reg or have a +1, so the available spots get reallocated and it moves down the line as fast as it can, accounting for it needing 2 spots per person.)

@Polybun I was on my phone and just noticed that your replies were to the registration lottery from last year, which has substantial differences from the process for this year. Please take the time to read this thread, and I apologize if any of my answers seemed confusing or contradictory due to context mixup.

The first sign-up period is now live at https://registration.campfiretails.org/

So I registered but I am not sure if my friend registered in time. If i get a slot can she still be my plus 1?

If your friend is in the queue to register at the time you get your registration offer, you can give them your +1 spot after you register (assuming you aren’t registering as someone else’s +1). It doesn’t matter when they got added added to the queue (which happens every Monday at 6am), they only need to be in the queue (not “pending”).

Hi friends,

I registered a while back on the strength of my volunteer credit from last year. Is it too late to bring someone on as a plus one?

Correct; +1s are for fixing the situation of folks who signed up together being split apart. As a volunteer credit holder, you were “signed up” as part of the first week, and everyone in that group did get one (or more) opportunities to register already.