We need to talk about @UKGovCamp ticketing…

UKGovCamp is an unconference for people interested in how the public sector does digital stuff. I’ve helped organise it for the last few years.

It is a popular event. Very popular. So popular that tickets go unavailable in seconds and are sold out in minutes.

Unavailable means all the tickets are in the process of being applied for. Sold out means all the applications are complete.

To try and make it fairer for everyone we release tickets in batches. We publicise these batches in advance.

But many people still don’t get tickets because they’re:

  • physically or mentally challenged
  • not at computer when tickets go live
  • not sure when the tickets are available
  • not aware of UKGovCamp until its too late

The only advantage to the whole situation above is the buzz of actually getting a ticket. I’ve seem many jubilant tweets in the moments after tickets are released.

But I really worry about anyone without the dexterity to bag a ticket. It feels like we’re potentially excluding a bunch of people.

Theres also a large number of people who are used to this. They know the rigmarole and technique to acquire a ticket. Some people call them the “govcamp clique”.

So I propose we make a change for future events – a ticket lottery. This would mean:

  • anyone who wants to come could apply for a ticket
  • we could open ticket applications much sooner
  • it would hopefully be less stressful
  • attendees would be picked at random

That last point is worth clarifying. By random I mean we would:

  • close the ticket applications
  • download details of everyone who applied
  • randomly sort them in a spreadsheet application
  • Give the lucky 200 people at the top a ticket

To be totally transparent, the randomisation process could be live streamed.

Hope that makes sense. Please let me know if not.

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