Author Topic: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?  (Read 39151 times)

Offline phunhog

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 183
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #105 on: February 28, 2013, 09:07:08 AM »
There's no easy answer to any of this, demand clearly swamps supply. We've had good suggestions of caps, earned places, qualifying rounds etc, but what I focus on is who is entering. Anyone can enter, its all inclusive, but we should be setting expectations. I realize this may sound arrogant or elitist, so hear me out. If I you don't honestly think your beer can win BOS, then why enter?.  If you've got some score sheets back from other competitions with a 32 and "great beer" in the comments, well done, but that's not going to cut it in NHC.  Beers submitted to NHC should be labors of love, tweaked recipes that have been rebrewed and improved until they're perfect to their owners

If your beer isn't consistently medalling in AHA competitions / state fairs / MCAB qualifiers, or at least regularly scoring in the upper 30s / 40s, then all you're going to get from NHC is more feedback, and that's not what NHC is about. I've got six beers going into NHC that have medaled multiple times and regularly score hi 30s and 40s. I've been brewing for 7 years but havent entered in the past because I haven't felt my beers were good enough. This year I decided I was ready to step up to the plate. This year I think I'm finally good enough for NHC. I think NHC should be where the best beers in America duke it out. Maybe thats already taken care of with MCAB. Justs my 2 cents.

I apologize to anyone I offend with this; I'm very passionate about brewing, and don't want to see the AHA implode from unsustainable growth.
+1!!!!   And that is what a higher entry fee will do..people will be sending the beers that they feel are the best of the best.  It will help lower the amount of people "carpet bombing" the competition with every beer they have brewed in the last 6 months.   The brewers who brew beers specifically for the NHC,and have put in many hours refining and brewing will pay the higher entrance fees. The guys just looking for feedback will opt out and find other comps. 

Offline noghri_vir

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #106 on: February 28, 2013, 09:07:28 AM »
The two years I was the organizer up here I heard the same type of stories from many of our BJCP judges in the area. They didn't have a beer in the contest so they didn't feel the need to give back.

I'm speechless about that kind of attitude.
me too


Same here. Good thing we have people like that running for the AHA Governing Committee...  ::)

You know, I'd really hate to call out Denny here but I never saw him at the last 2 years NHC, Slurp n Burp, Fall Classic, HOTV, Oregon State Fair, KLCC Judging competition or Septemberfest. So apparently they are already on the board....there's your rolleyes.....

Sorry Denny. I still love ya:(

Offline noghri_vir

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #107 on: February 28, 2013, 09:11:55 AM »
I don't see where it's extremely exclusive.  Everyone had the same opportunity to experience 503 Service Unavailable errors as anyone else.  The brewer has to make a decision if it's important enough to take time off from work, shift their lunch hour, or call in sick to be available for the opening of registration.  Moving it to a Saturday or evening may work, but not everyone is working banker's hours, (2nd & 3rd shifts, working weekends, etc ), so you potentially exclude them.

I am against a prequalifier for the ability to enter the first round of the NHC.  That's potentially 3 brewing days for one competition depending on the style.  Now you exclude the people who try to fit a brewday in between work, kid's karate, family time, and all the other crap we save up for the weekend. 

I enjoy enter the national competition, but the rule changes proposed will exclude me from entering in the future (prequalifier, $30 entry fee, etc.)...so mission accomplished I guess.

I don't see an too much of an issue with lowering the limit to 10, but I would never enter that many anyway, so I'd hate to exclude the one who do.

I'm glad I have this in print and that I said it before it happened, but anyone who was in IT and have hosted sites that get a flood of traffic for events like this could have seen that this was going to be a disaster. Opening up all of the sites at once without some type of scalable solution to handle the traffic was a poor decision. They should have either had cascading openings for each of the regions which could have handled the server load better or they should have done better testing in the first place. Did anyone actually run a test on the system with and expected serverload of 20-30k sessions?

Offline noghri_vir

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #108 on: February 28, 2013, 09:15:02 AM »
There are two separate issues here.  Obviously, demand has been increasing every year... all regions filled up within 3 days last year, and a few hours this year.  There has been lots of discussion on how to fix this.

The other problem is that the registration software that the AHA switched to this year is garbage.  It's unacceptable to have unqualified people hacking together technology like this.   Looking at the "company" behind it (zkdigital.com), it's some guy in Colorado who probably knows people in the beer world but lacks any technical background other than some web design skills.  You need to be licensed to do my taxes but any random guy can still write server software?  C'mon, it's 2012.

The software is actually better then anything else out there at this time. I argue that the problem was that the server it was living on wasn't scalable enough and the AHA didn't do enough testing before hand to see if it was able to handle the load. If they did they would have seen this was going to be an issue in the first place.

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2335
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #109 on: February 28, 2013, 09:26:17 AM »
There are two separate issues here.  Obviously, demand has been increasing every year... all regions filled up within 3 days last year, and a few hours this year.  There has been lots of discussion on how to fix this.

The other problem is that the registration software that the AHA switched to this year is garbage.  It's unacceptable to have unqualified people hacking together technology like this.   Looking at the "company" behind it (zkdigital.com), it's some guy in Colorado who probably knows people in the beer world but lacks any technical background other than some web design skills.  You need to be licensed to do my taxes but any random guy can still write server software?  C'mon, it's 2012.

I'll put on my business hat for a second and say, if the AHA needs somebody to redo their systems for this, I am currently lead developer for a group of sites that each get ~60k hits per day, or about 40 connections per minute. And that's a slow day. I'd love to volunteer a bit of time to help build something nicer.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline brewmanator

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #110 on: February 28, 2013, 09:39:16 AM »
Why set an arbitrary limit to the number of entries a person can enter, when you can just determine the number with a 2 step registration process.

Step 1) Put your personal information into the system and declare how many entries (1-82) you would like to enter.  This can be done over the course of a week if you want.  Then lock it down.  No more people can enter.  This fixes the problem of everyone logging on all at once.

Once you know how many people want to enter, then you set the limit on entries per person.  Since you know how many entries each person would like to enter, you have the potential to allow the more ambitious brewers the opportunity to submit as many entries as the competition will allow.  There is the potential of having more entrants than entries under this type of registration.  I don't think we are there yet, but if we are there then the only fair way to allow members to enter is by lottery and limiting the entries to one per person (or household).  If so, hold the lottery, inform the lucky and unlucky members and proceed to step 2.  Assuming we have more entries than entrants, you then you let each member know how many entries they are allowed and proceed to step 2.

Step 2) Registering and paying for the entries.  There could be a mad rush on certain regions, but at least you know there is spot available.  Thus you will probably need to allow people to register in multiple regions.  This window could be open for a week as well. 
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 09:51:44 AM by brewmanator »
- Mike

Offline bonjour

  • Administrator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1771
  • Troy, MI, 37mi, 60.9deg AR
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #111 on: February 28, 2013, 09:42:33 AM »
Efforts are still underway to recover from what happened.  AHA Staff is in early and leaving late.

I see all this analysis of what happened and the truth is we, the AHA, BA, and GC, have suspicions but have not yet completely followed thru on what happened, have not completed the analysis of what happened, something about being too busy correcting what went wrong. 

You cannot fix a problem until you know exactly what went wrong.  It is too early to tell. 

I am a software tester by trade and you cannot tell the cause by looking at just the User Interface, which is all our members have seen.

A promise.  We will look into what happened and take measures to ensure it does not happen again.

Last year there were issues, these were analyzed and addressed over the past year.  On a preliminary basis it looks like we have a different set of problems this year.  EVERYONE on this end do not want events/registration to roll like this.

Fred
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline theDarkSide

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2077
  • Derry, NH
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #112 on: February 28, 2013, 09:42:49 AM »
and here's a comment from you on conference registration last year:
"...Obviously the servers are overloaded but it will eventually go through.  It felt like I was trying to get Buffett tickets."   ;D

Yes, I did say that but I didn't think it was an issue.  Like you said, last year was a walk in the park compared to this year.
Sergeant - BNArmy Member
AHA Member
Seacoast Homebrew Club Member
https://www.facebook.com/SeacoastHomebrewClub
Stephen M.
------------------------------------------------

Offline noghri_vir

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #113 on: February 28, 2013, 09:44:37 AM »
Efforts are still underway to recover from what happened.  AHA Staff is in early and leaving late.

I see all this analysis of what happened and the truth is we, the AHA, BA, and GC, have suspicions but have not yet completely followed thru on what happened, have not completed the analysis of what happened, something about being too busy correcting what went wrong. 

You cannot fix a problem until you know exactly what went wrong.  It is too early to tell. 

I am a software tester by trade and you cannot tell the cause by looking at just the User Interface, which is all our members have seen.

A promise.  We will look into what happened and take measures to ensure it does not happen again.

Last year there were issues, these were analyzed and addressed over the past year.  On a preliminary basis it looks like we have a different set of problems this year.  EVERYONE on this end do not want events/registration to roll like this.

Fred

Could you please give us some details on what type of server load testing was preformed?

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11704
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #114 on: February 28, 2013, 09:49:56 AM »
The two years I was the organizer up here I heard the same type of stories from many of our BJCP judges in the area. They didn't have a beer in the contest so they didn't feel the need to give back.

I'm speechless about that kind of attitude.
me too


Same here. Good thing we have people like that running for the AHA Governing Committee...  ::)

You know, I'd really hate to call out Denny here but I never saw him at the last 2 years NHC, Slurp n Burp, Fall Classic, HOTV, Oregon State Fair, KLCC Judging competition or Septemberfest. So apparently they are already on the board....there's your rolleyes.....

Sorry Denny. I still love ya:(

Chris, if they were on a Mon. night, I'd be there.  Unfortunately, I almost always work weekends.  Believe me, I'd rather be judging.  When I am able to judge, I certainly don't do it on a quid pro quo like some of the people you mentioned.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline theDarkSide

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2077
  • Derry, NH
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #115 on: February 28, 2013, 09:54:54 AM »
+1!!!!   And that is what a higher entry fee will do..people will be sending the beers that they feel are the best of the best.  It will help lower the amount of people "carpet bombing" the competition with every beer they have brewed in the last 6 months.   The brewers who brew beers specifically for the NHC,and have put in many hours refining and brewing will pay the higher entrance fees. The guys just looking for feedback will opt out and find other comps.

I don't agree with this.  This year, I specifically scheduled my brew days for the competition, entered beers that I thought could win ( some have won this year including NHC ).  Even though I paid more than $30 to register my entries this year, if I had to pay $30 to register one, I just wouldn't bother...even if I had won with that beer throughout the year.  I also think the banquet awards ceremony wouldn't be as exciting as it is now, knowing that anyone has a chance to win, not just the ones with the means (i.e. $$)

With the cost to attend NHC every year going up, it just wouldn't be worth it to me.
Sergeant - BNArmy Member
AHA Member
Seacoast Homebrew Club Member
https://www.facebook.com/SeacoastHomebrewClub
Stephen M.
------------------------------------------------

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4554
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #116 on: February 28, 2013, 09:55:41 AM »
There are two separate issues here.  Obviously, demand has been increasing every year... all regions filled up within 3 days last year, and a few hours this year.  There has been lots of discussion on how to fix this.

The other problem is that the registration software that the AHA switched to this year is garbage.  It's unacceptable to have unqualified people hacking together technology like this.   Looking at the "company" behind it (zkdigital.com), it's some guy in Colorado who probably knows people in the beer world but lacks any technical background other than some web design skills.  You need to be licensed to do my taxes but any random guy can still write server software?  C'mon, it's 2012.
Was that last sentence sarcasm? My humor detector is on the fritz.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Online mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2902
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #117 on: February 28, 2013, 09:58:09 AM »
They should have either had cascading openings for each of the regions which could have handled the server load better

Except that anybody can enter any region, so everybody would just try to enter in the first opened region at the same time.
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline bonjour

  • Administrator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1771
  • Troy, MI, 37mi, 60.9deg AR
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #118 on: February 28, 2013, 10:02:47 AM »
With the cost to attend NHC every year going up, it just wouldn't be worth it to me.
Can you be more specific? 
Conference cost, Hotel cost, or Travel cost?
The first one, Conference cost, has had very few increases, Hotel, we have a little control over and have held the increases down, travel we have no influence on.
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4554
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #119 on: February 28, 2013, 10:07:50 AM »
Last year I had an O'fest that got a 42 in a local competition with >1000 entries. In the first round it got a 33. Sent a keg to club night, and some guys named Mitch Steele and Tasty McDole were behind our booth when I got back, with lots of questions about the beer along with a lot of praise. That was my reward last year.

Just wanted to point out sometimes Festbier will get a judge looking for a Maerzen. So much for the other competitions as an entry filter - the crapshoot factor.

Maybe retiring the Ninkasi is a solution (thought I would never say that). Homebrewer of the Year can be acheived with one entry.

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!