Today +Jan L and me got into an argument with +Tim Weber about our policy at JSConf EU to do ticket sales on Sundays. Twitter absolutely sucks for conversations, so I move it here. In the end we were called elitist (not by Tim himself) which is something we feel about really strongly to the point that it actually hurts my (and I know it is the same for the others) feelings. We actually try to be as un-elitist as possible. For the things that guide our community read this article and watch the video by +Chris Williams http://voodootikigod.com/jsconf-eu-2010-speech

About selling tickets on Sundays:
Let me start with a story: When we first did JSConf EU something weird happened. We were sold out. What happened? A large corporation X bought ALL the remaining tickets. Initially we were happy, but it turned out when JSConf came, almost no employee of X showed up. Thanks for all the money, but we want to do an event for the community and that involved actually having real attendees and not just sold tickets.
This is why we are really paranoid about selling tickets to real people and not anonymous corporations. We have debated a lot of ways to do this (like solving really hard JS trick questions to be allowed to purchase a ticket) and eventually settled on two very simple rules:
- one can only buy one ticket per transaction
- ticket sales start on a Sunday
The idea behind the Sunday rule is: Buying tickets on Sundays sucks, so you only do it if you really, really want one (which makes it really likely you actually show up). Also big corporate purchasing departments don't work on Sundays, so they are left behind.
Now you have to understand that there is really no good time to start a ticket sale if they are gone after a couple minutes. It will always suck for somebody. E.g. if you do it during the week, it sucks for people who actually have to work and can't buy tickets. If you do it in the European morning you discriminate against Americans and about every reasonable time of the day is bad for our friends in Japan.
Because every time sucks, we pick the one which increases the likelihood of actual human enthusiasts getting a ticket. Now Tim made the argument that this discriminates against people working in normal Jobs who can't afford to pay the ticket from their own money before eventually reimbursing it with their employer. I don't personally buy that argument. It is common practice to be able to go to your employer and get cash before the actual purchase because this is required for any kind of cash transaction.

About being elitist
We try to be as inclusive as possible as a community. Limiting my argument to conferences, here is what we do:
Confs actually have a tendency of becoming elitist, especially those which sell out quickly. Here is what we do against it:
- We have a strict policy against having the same speakers at two consecutive events. We sometimes break this, but keep being really good at it. This makes the circle of speakers much bigger than you see at other programming language events. +Brendan Eich is an exception here, but I think everybody will support that :)
- We absolutely positively don't give away tickets to our "friends". Everybody has to go through the ticket purchasing process and has to "stand in line" on Sunday.
Given the two things above I can't see how the community could become elitist as the "elite" is very likely actually very different people at every single event. (There is an exception in the form of +peter higgins but that is a long story).

To close this way too long post, I'd like to reemphasize that JSConf is an event done by volunteers for the community. None of us is getting paid for this and 100% of the ticket price (and of the sponsoring money) is spend to make the event the best it could be within our ability.
cc +Holger Blank
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