#150 Flock Voluntary Admission Fee and Travel Contribution - 2018
Closed: approved 2 years ago Opened 2 years ago by bex.

I'd like council approval to continue the voluntary admission fee and travel contribution option that we had during Flock 2017 in Flock 2018. To refresh your memory, attendees to Flock are asked to make a voluntary payment of 25 USD (scaled using the big mac index to other regions/countries). Attendees were free to set the cost to any number they wished, including $0.

The primary objective was to help defray the costs of attendance and allow more money to be made available for funded travel. The secondary objective was to cover the losses associated with no-show attendance (things like food commitments, t-shirts, etc.).

I had no complaints reported to me last year about the request. I did receive the following feedback:

a) One person did not like that we were using Paypal as our payment processor. I arranged for this person to not have to use Paypal directly, but had to convert their alternative into a Paypal payment in order to get the money into our "account." This person understood, but would like for us to continue to try to find alternatives.

b) Several people noted that our paypal collections came to an address associated with my name and not a generic address. No one indicated that they believed I was going to steal the money but they said it looked funny. One Red Hat manager contacted me for confirmation.

c) Red Hat finance who provides financial services to Fedora as part of Red Hat's support asked us to use an alternative collection method. The general guideline they would like to see enforced is that we use a system which will batch and hold the money and do a single transfer. While Paypal can technically do this, using PayPal is similar to using a bank and creates challenges. Therefore they suggest alternative services, such as EventBrite.

Therefore, I would like council to approve the following:

1) We will ask for a voluntary payment toward Flock from attendees of 25 USD (or the scaled amount for their region). Attendees are free to set the payment at whatever amount they wish, including 0 (zero). Attendees are reminded that counts for pre-arranged items, such as catering, may be made based solely on the basis of pre-registration and may be limited to individuals who paid an amount greater than 0. This was not the case in 2017 but we cannot guarantee this will be in 2018.

2) The council approves the use of EventBrite (or an alternative service) that meets financial needs. @bex is asked to conduct an open search for alternatives prior to the selection.

I am open to ideas, feedback and amendments.


+1 to both proposals.

Voluntary Admission fee was good initiative, considering our last experience where many people registered but only few turned on.

How did we used this fee? To allow more contributors to join Fedora or something else Or what's plan for future?

I would suggest to check on Pretix (https://pretix.eu/about/en/) instead of EventBrite. Pretix is open source and it could be deployed in our servers. They use Pretix for Chaos Communication Congress, a conference of 12,000 people. There are many integrations with other payment providers that can be enabled, including PayPal and Stripe for credit cards. There are also some nice features like support for automatic ticket generation, support for mobile tickets, etc.

They apparently do also have a hosted option. It's definitely better for us to support and use open source, but we shouldn't be deploying and running things like this in our own infrastructure, because Flock is in support of our core effort and putting ourselves in the business of being a ticket vendor is a distraction.

(not a council member)
I'd like to consider that either travel contributions are notified before we collect admission fee or reimbursed if requested early enough. I'd like to remind that depending where come from (and your personal situation), it can be very costly to go to Flock and funding may impact your attendance.
That's a matter of inclusiveness, we cannot fund everyone, but at least, let's not take fees from people whose attendance depends on funding or not.

Otherwise, I think the proposal made by Bex is good

+1 to both.

Also, I don't think we need to revisit and reconfirm the payment thing going forward. I'm surprised this was even brought up this time.

+1 to both even here. Fee is fine and I think it worked well.

i received a number of complaints that

  1. there was no 100% req opt, it was other and this was confusing and made it seem that 100% was not possible

  2. the $25 fee was complained about a lot, in some countries it was out of whack, it was also not obvious it could be zeroed out and iprovided assurances to multiple regitrants that their reg was complete even tho they put 0 in the field. the biggest confusion was whether or not the $25 would be taken whether or not you received funding.

+1 to both. Also I agree with @duffy's points. We may want to modify these things a bit in the main flock site.

@duffy When you say: "the $25 fee was complained about a lot, in some countries it was out of whack" do you mean that people felt that $25 US in their local currency was too much, or that the country-based conversion we used to try to account for local economies was not right for some countries?

On 100% funding — offering 100% funding to conference attendees is extraordinary. We're fortunate that we're able to do this; we want Fedora contributors to be able to join us without being limited by their economic situation. But, we also don't want this taken advantage of by people for whom contributing some amount to their own expenses would not be a big deal. Previously, when all-or-nothing funding was the only option offered, many people took it even when they really didn't need it, which means we could bring fewer people ovrerall. I'd like to retain the notion that 100% funding is not the baseline but something we can offer in special circumstances. At the same time, we don't want to get deeply into assessing those circumstances — that's not our business. I'm definitely open to a different UX which accomplishes this more successfully.

Voluntary Admission fee was good initiative, considering our last experience where many people registered but only few turned on.
How did we used this fee? To allow more contributors to join Fedora or something else Or what's plan for future?

The funds were used to extend travel funding and to cover costs on no-shows.

I would suggest to check on Pretix (https://pretix.eu/about/en/) instead of EventBrite. Pretix is open source and it could be deployed in our servers. They use Pretix for Chaos Communication Congress, a conference of 12,000 people. There are many integrations with other payment providers that can be enabled, including PayPal and Stripe for credit cards. There are also some nice features like support for automatic ticket generation, support for mobile tickets, etc.

As I recall, pretix doesn't mean one requirement, which is batched delivery. We need the funds to show up as a single accounting transaction when they enter our books. EventBrite does this by holding funds. I am very willing to research this if we get council approval to move forward.

(not a council member)
I'd like to consider that either travel contributions are notified before we collect admission fee or reimbursed if requested early enough. I'd like to remind that depending where come from (and your personal situation), it can be very costly to go to Flock and funding may impact your attendance.
That's a matter of inclusiveness, we cannot fund everyone, but at least, let's not take fees from people whose attendance depends on funding or not.
Otherwise, I think the proposal made by Bex is good

During this past Flock people applying for funding were not required to make a voluntary contribution and any contribution they made was counted toward any voluntary copay they offered. The system did not convey this message well and that is a communications improvement planned for this year.

i received a number of complaints that

there was no 100% req opt, it was other and this was confusing and made it seem that 100% was not possible

Many people requested 100% funding, I am sorry none of the people who couldn't find the button on the screen chose to contact anyone who could help them.

the $25 fee was complained about a lot, in some countries it was out of whack, it was also not obvious it could be zeroed out and iprovided assurances to multiple regitrants that their reg was complete even tho they put 0 in the field. the biggest confusion was whether or not the $25 would be taken whether or not you received funding.

The fee automatically scaled when the registrant chose their country. Many people chose to pay less than $25 (and a few chose to pay more and in one country's case were asked to consider paying more). I've addressed the funding communication above. Again, I am sorry the people who could not figure out how to reduce the request did not contact someone who could help them.

@mattdm

"@duffy When you say: "the $25 fee was complained about a lot, in some countries it was out of whack" do you mean that people felt that $25 US in their local currency was too much, or that the country-based conversion we used to try to account for local economies was not right for some countries?"

I don't see any difference between those statements: there were some countries where they felt $25 US in their currency was too much, and the likely reason was because the conversion factor used was not right for their country. So I'm not sure how to answer that question. There was at least one person who emailed me whose country wasn't on the list.

Re: offering 100% funding - how many people was the 100% funding offered to this year, given the hump / confusion over whether or not it was even possible?

"Many people requested 100% funding, I am sorry none of the people who couldn't find the button on the screen chose to contact anyone who could help them."

There was no 100% button. There is a particular state of mind asking someone else for money puts someone in, and that it disproportionately affects those who likely need it the most. This situation isn't a simple transactional click-the-button kind of thing and yet it is still quite valid. When the option isn't there, we're telling people "don't ask."

"The fee automatically scaled when the registrant chose their country. Many people chose to pay less than $25 (and a few chose to pay more and in one country's case were asked to consider paying more). I've addressed the funding communication above. Again, I am sorry the people who could not figure out how to reduce the request did not contact someone who could help them."

I designed the screen based on the requirements I received so I am well aware that the fee scaled. I am letting you know that for some countries, there were folks who found it disproportionate. I would suggest taking a look at those few people who chose to pay less than the suggestion and see if they were from the same country, in order to improve the suggested fee for next time.

I don't see any difference between those statements: there were some countries where they felt $25 US in their currency was too much, and the likely reason was because the conversion factor used was not right for their country. So I'm not sure how to answer that question. There was at least one person who emailed me whose country wasn't on the list.

I want to distinguish between cases where the conversion factor was off, and cases where people did not want to pay the reasonable equivalent of $25.

@mattdm Oh, ok. So there were folks who didn't want to pay the equiv of $25 because they were asking for funding and didn't want to pay it if their funding wasn't approved and they didn't get to go - reasonable. Those were the only folks who didn't want to pay it. The folks who complained about it in terms of amount said it was out of proportion in their local currency.

Reading through this ticket, I believe we have two outcomes:

  1. This ticket is approved.
  2. Communication needs to be improved:
    - ensure people understand the ticket fee is voluntary
    - ensure people understand how the copay works and that it is possible to ask for 100% funding
    - ensure people understand that the ticket fee scaling is just a suggestion
    - ensure people understand what to do if their country/region is not on the list
    - ensure people understand how funding requests work and when they should pay a voluntary ticket fee if they so desire.

Is this correct?

Metadata Update from @bex:
- Issue priority set to: Next Meeting

2 years ago

Yes, I think that's correct. If there are more specific things, let's have new tickets

Metadata Update from @mattdm:
- Issue close_status updated to: approved
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)

2 years ago

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