Meet the 36C3 track team “Resilience and Sustainability”

We’re 36C3’s Resilience and Sustainability content team and want to show you just our bit of work that helped making this year’s Fahrplan as amazing as it has turned out.

Our team consists of hackers and scientists, tinkerers and PhDs and was formed for 34C3 when we felt that the conference was developing a blind spot between complete destruction of all the IT things and the fascinations for the resulting apocalypse. We wanted to give a stage to new and shiny useful technology for a better and more resilient world – with actual prototypes!

This year’s motto “resource exhaustion” added a perspective on sustainability to the track – even though the term is rather overloaded. There’s a plethora of conferences selling you on the most recent hypes about how machine learning, crypto currencies and the cloud will save the world, but we think that it is in the spirit of this community to question everything, think and focus on technology that will last for much longer – both physically and from a software engineering point of view. We found it fitting to see how the existing resources can be used and reused, who’s building resilient technologies that can help people in emergencies, oppressive regimes or off-grid situations, and – in a broader scope – how can we build the systems of the future not riddled by the problems of our generation.

Along the way, we hope we can make software developers think about the impact of their busy-looping JS, bad communication patterns and faulty software architecture – all of which are  significantly contributing to climate change.

The concept of resilience itself – especially combined with sustainability – is rather interdisciplinary, part hacking and making, part science and politics. This puts us in competition with other track teams trying to catch the most interesting lectures for a given subject, but also allowed us to trade slots with those teams as well, once we were running out of our allotted time budget. ;)

Next year, we hope to collect the “haveyoursay” feedback much earlier so we can incorporate your feedback and follow your suggestions for valuable speakers and topics.

While we were quite pleased with the submissions we found once CfP kicked off, our curation process started way earlier: Reflecting on feedback we received after 35C3, we came together in IRC and RL, brainstormed about interesting projects we heard about in the past year, thought about relevant topics and identified speakers worth having.

Even then, the speakers we “invited” still had to go through our rigorous curation process. After all, our team received a total of 74 lecture submissions and had to narrow them down into only 15 hours (in 18 lectures) of 36C3 programme. We vetted each submitter, trying to make sense of their submission, read their papers, ask and answer questions and spend the remaining time meeting and coordinating with all the other track teams, before finally writing this blog post! If we add up all the time spent preparing our 18 lecture foot steps in the Fahrplan, we’re looking at one or two weeks full time work for each of us.

In the end we’re quite proud of the topics we could cover this year. Of course, we’re still not short of topics to cover next year :-) It’s time for more critical reflection of wastefulness within the computer nerd scene and how we can minimise the environmental impact of our C3s and Camps in the years to come.

36C3 Phone registration is open

english version below

Wir freuen uns, euch mitzuteilen, dass trotz Resource Exhaustion die Registrierung der Telefon-Nebenstellen für den 36. Chaos Communication Congress geöffnet ist. Entgegen sonderlicher Meldungen in diesen sozialen Medien auch ohne Voucher :-). Ihr könnt eure DECT, SIP oder GSM Nebenstelle im Generic User Registration Utility (GURU) registrieren. Die Anmeldung eurer Geräte vor Ort könnt ihr wie im letzten Jahr selbst vornehmen. Vergesst eure Geräte und Ladegeräte nicht, denn auch in diesem Jahr möchten wir die 6488 Nebenstellen vom Vorjahr knacken. Damit ihr motiviert werdet, eure Telefonie-Endgeräte mitzubringen, werden wir euch mit kleinen Videos auf unserem Twitter-Kanal bis zum Kongress begleiten. Das erste ist schon online.

Eventphone 36c3 LogoWe are pleased to inform you that even with Resource Exhaustion the registration of telephone extensions for the 36th Chaos Communication Congress is open. Don’t get confused by the social media, it works without any voucher :-). You can claim your DECT, SIP or GSM extension in the Generic User Registration Utility (GURU). Like last year, you can register your devices on site yourself. Don’t forget your devices and chargers, chasing records, this year we want to break last year’s 6488 extensions.

Stay connected!

Chaospatinnen on 36C3

english version below

Es ist wieder soweit – der Chaos Communication Congress steht vor der Tür! Wir sind wieder in Leipzig, und erwarten wie immer, dass viele neue Leute überlegen, zum ersten Mal den Congress zu besuchen. Darunter auch Du? Möglicherweise kannst Du ja ein bisschen Unterstützung gebrauchen, um einen guten Start zu haben.

Für wen sind die Chaos Mentors da?

Bist Du eine Hackerin oder Mitglied einer anderen unterrepräsentierten Gruppe und bist Dir unsicher, ob Du Dich wohl fühlen wirst? Hast Du spezifische Bedürfnisse, die Dir die Teilnahme erschweren? Interessierst Du Dich für Themen wie Datenschutz, Security, Hardware Hacking oder Netzpolitik, hast aber bisher wenig bis keine Anknüpfungspunkte zur Community? Du besuchst den Kongress, hast aber den Eindruck, dass Du gar keine*r von diesen „Hackern“ bist, und das Gefühl, nicht richtig dazuzupassen?

Dann möchten die Chaospat*innen Dich auf dem Congress herzlich willkommen heißen und Dir den Einstieg erleichtern:

Du bist hier genau richtig und wir möchten Dir dabei helfen, einen spannenden und schönen Aufenthalt zu haben. Als „Chaospatenkind“ bekommst Du eine Patin oder einen Paten zugeordnet und eine Gruppe, die zu Dir passt. Die Patinnen sind im Vorfeld für Deine Fragen da, heißen Dich am ersten Tag willkommen und erkunden mit Dir das Gelände. Gemeinsam finden wir raus, wo es für Dich interessante Workshops und Talks gibt und sind für Dich als Ansprechpersonen da. Auch im Vorfeld sind wir Ansprechpartner*innen für Deine Fragen, Sorgen, Bedürfnisse oder Wünsche. Außerdem haben wir während des ganzen Congress’ einen Treffpunkt, an dem man sich es mal gemütlich machen und andere Chaospatenkinder treffen und kennenlernen kann.

Wie geht das?

Melde Dich bis zum 8. Dezember bei uns an, indem Du Dich hier mit ein paar Infos über Dich registrierst. Melde Dich bitte so früh wie möglich an, da wir schon vor dem 8. Dezember anfangen, die Gruppen zu erstellen. Schreib uns ein bisschen was über Dich: zum Beispiel, was Dich zum Congress führt, wieso Du Dich an die Chaospatinnen wendest, wofür Du Dich interessierst und ob Du spezifische Bedürfnisse hast. So können wir für Dich eine passende Patin oder einen passenden Paten finden und eine Gruppe mit ähnlichen Interessen zusammenstellen. Deine Chaospatin wird Dich und Deine Gruppe dann vor dem Congress kontaktieren, damit Ihr Euch gegenseitig kennenlernen könnt. Auf dem Congress selber seid Ihr eine Bezugsgruppe und könnt gemeinsam den Kongress erkunden.

Warum machen wir das?

Wir selbst haben seit 1, 2, 10 oder 30 Jahren immer wieder eine großartige Zeit auf dem Congress. Wir wissen aber aus eigener Erfahrung, wie schwierig der erste Schritt sein kann. Gedanken wie „Eine große Hacker*innen-Konferenz, passe ich da überhaupt hin?“ sind uns nicht fremd – viele Chaospat*innen waren selbst einmal Chaospatenkinder. Aber keine Sorge – ist der erste Schritt getan, warten tolle Menschen auf Dich – und die Gelegenheit, unheimlich viel zu lernen. Aber Austausch ist keine Einbahnstraße: Auch die Community auf dem Congress kann vieles von Dir lernen und lebt von der Diversität der Teilnehmenden. Deswegen wollen wir mit den Chaospatinnen auch solche ermutigen, die sich von alleine nicht getraut hätten. Wir wenden uns also insbesondere an Personen, die nicht der stark repräsentierten Gruppe cis, männlich, weiß angehören. Natürlich schließen wir aber niemanden aus.

Für Paten und Patinnen:

Natürlich suchen wir auch dieses Jahr wieder tatkräftige Unterstützung von netten, erfahrenen und zuverlässigen Patinnen und Paten. Wenn Du Lust hast, Dich einer Gruppe von Neulingen anzunehmen und sie zu betreuen, dann melde Dich doch bitte auch bei uns an. Erzähle uns etwas über Dich und womit Du Dich gut auskennst, damit wir passende Patenkinder für Dich suchen können. Vielen Dank schonmal für deine Unterstützung.

Bitte beachten:

Die Chaospatinnen sind eine schöne aber auch sehr anstrengende Sache. Daher die folgenden Bitten:

  • Anmeldung bis zum 08.12.: Melde Dich bis zum 8. Dezember an, Anmeldungen die danach eingehen, werden wir nicht berücksichtigen können.
  • Keine Führungen: Bitte seht davon ab, spontan Leute an uns zu verweisen. Wir bieten keine Führungen an (hartnäckige Fake News!) und das Programm ist für diejenigen gedacht, die sich im Vorfeld angemeldet haben. Wenn ihr Leute trefft, die Orientierung und Anschluss suchen, dann überlegt erstmal, wie ihr sie selber unterstützen könnt. Jede*r Hacker*in kann auch spontan Chaospate werden!
  • Für Einzelgänger*innen: Bitte schickt keine Menschen zu den Chaospat*innen, die bereits Anschluss zum Congressumfeld haben und keiner Minderheit zugehörig sind, nur weil sie zum ersten Mal den Congress besuchen. Werdet selber Chaospaten, und entdeckt den Congress gemeinsam neu!
  • Keine Tickets: Ihr könnt nur Chaospaten werden, wenn Ihr auch ein Congress-Ticket habt – wir können leider keine Tickets anbieten!
  • Ankunft: Bitte gib an, wann Du zum Congress anreist, damit Deine Chaospat*in/Chaospatenkinder zu diesem Zeitpunkt auch schon anwesend sind.
  • Registrierung: Hier könnt ihr euch anmelden.

Voller Vorfreude

die Chaospatinnen
Twitter: @chaospatinnen
Mastodon: @chaospatinnen@chaos.social

English version

It’s that time again – the Chaos Communication Congress is coming! It may be the third time in Leipzig, but this will be many people’s first visit the Congress – perhaps even your own! Maybe you need a little help to get off to a good start.

Who are the Chaos Mentors for?

Are you a member of an underrepresented group in the hacker community, and unsure if you will feel safe and comfortable at the event? Do you have specific needs that make it more difficult to participate for you? Are you interested in topics such as privacy, security, hardware hacking, or network policies, but have so far had little-to-no connection to the community? Perhaps, you’re visiting Congress, but you have the impression that you are not one of these “hackers” and feel you don’t quite fit in?

Then we would like to welcome you to Congress and make it easier for you to get started! Feel welcome at the Chaos Communication Congress with the Chaos mentors!

You’ve come to the right place, and we would like to help you to have an exciting and beautiful stay. As a “Chaospatenkind” you get a godparent assigned and a group that suits you. Before Congress, the godparents are available for your questions, will welcome you on the first day, and explore Congress with you. Together we will find out where there are exciting workshops and talks for you, and we are there for you as a contact point if you need us. Before Congress we also act as the contact person for your questions, concerns, needs, or wishes. During Congress, we also offer a comfy meeting place where Chaosmentees can meet and get to know each other.

How does it work?

You have until December 8th to register, you can do this here. Please register as soon as possible as we will begin to create the groups before the 8th of December. Tell us a bit about yourself, for example, what attracted you to Congress, why you turned to the chaos mentors, what you are interested in, and if you have specific needs. This way, we can find a suitable godparent for you and put together a group with similar interests. Your chaos mentor will contact you and your group before the Congress so you can get to know each other. At the Congress you are an affinity group and can explore the Congress together.

Why are we doing this?

We ourselves have had a great time at the Congress for 1, 2, 10, or 30 years. But we know from our own experience how difficult the first step can be – many Chaosmentors were Chaosmentees at their first Congress. Thoughts like “A big hacker conference, do I even belong here?” are not foreign to us. But do not worry – once the first step is done, great people and the opportunity to learn a lot about yourself await. But the exchange is not a one-way street: the community at the Congress can learn a lot from you as well and thrives from the diversity of the participants. That’s why we want to encourage those who would otherwise hesitate to come without the Chaospatinnen. We focus on people who are not part of the mainly represented group cis, male and white. Of course, we will not exclude anyone.

For chaos mentors

Of course, we are again looking for the enthusiastic support from friendly, experienced, and reliable mentors this year. If you feel like taking on a group of newbies and looking after them, please register here.

Tell us something about yourself, your interests, and what you know a lot about, so that we can find suitable godchildren for you. Thank you in advance for your support.

Please note:

Running the Chaospatinnen is great, but also a lot of work. Therefore a few requests:

  • December 8th deadline: Sign up until December 8th! Sadly, we cannot accommodate registrations after this date.
  • Plan ahead: Please refrain from spontaneously referring people to us. We do not offer guided tours (persistent Fake News!) and the program is for those who have registered in advance. If you meet people at Congress who are looking for orientation and connection, please support them! Any hacker can become a Chaos Mentor!
  • Lost souls: Please don’t refer people to us who are already well connected to the Chaos, and who also don’t belong to a minority, just because it is their first Congress visit. Become their mentors instead, and re-discover Congress with them!
  • No tickets: ChaosPatinnen is only available for guests who already have a ticket to Congress. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide tickets.
  • Help us plan: Please make sure to specify your planned arrival date to Congress. This will help us match you up with the mentor who can welcome you when you arrive!
  • Call to action: Sign up here!

We are looking forward to seeing you at Congress!

the Chaospatinnen
Twitter: @chaospatinnen
Mastodon: @chaospatinnen@chaos.social

Call for Angels für den 36C3 Aufbau und Abbau

English version below.

TL;DR

Der Aufbau und Abbau des 36C3 braucht Engel!

Wenn ihr beim Aufbau helfen wollt, kommt ab dem 18.12. zum Messegelände und meldet euch beim Heaven im CCL oder in Halle 4 für Infos.

Bringt euch warme Arbeitskleidung und feste Schuhe mit. Bonuspunkte gibt’s für Sicherheitsschuhe!
Seid vorsichtig – der Aufbau ist eine Baustelle! Achtet auf euch und andere, haltet Abstand von Maschinen und Fahrzeugen und lasst eure Haustiere zuhause! Kommt mit euren Kindern bitte nach Möglichkeit erst zur Veranstaltung.

Wenn ihr ein paar Tage länger bleiben könnt und euch ewige Karmabonuspunkte verdienen wollt, helft beim Abbau! Der Abbau startet nach der Closing Ceremony und dauert bis zum 05.01.2020, sprich weniger als die Hälfte der Aufbauzeit. Also brauchen wir im Abbau alle Engel, die wir kriegen können. Mehr Infos zum Abbau folgen auch noch in einem gesonderten Blogpost.

Für mehr Infos checkt die kommenden Posts im Eventblog.
Konkrete Fragen: 36c3@c3loc.de

long version

Wie jedes Jahr brauchen wir auch für den Aufbau des 36C3 so viele helfende Hände wie möglich, damit sich die tristen Messehallen in einen bunten Chaos Communication Congress verwandeln.
Der Congressaufbau startet dieses Jahr am 16. Dezember. Die ersten 2 Tage werden die einzelnen Teams vor allem mit Ankommen und Bootstrapping beschäftigt sein, bevor wir richtig loslegen. Sinnvoll parallelisierbar wird die Baustelle erst danach. Auch die Fülle an Aufgaben ergibt sich erst im Laufe der Zeit, sodass wir vor allem den Nicht-locals empfehlen, lieber noch ein paar Tage zu entspannen und ab dem 18. Dezember zur Messe zu kommen. Keine Sorge, Arbeit gibt es ab dem Zeitpunkt jeden Tag mehr.

Was muss im Aufbau alles gemacht werden?
Es gibt eine riesige Vielfalt an Dingen, die erledigt werden müssen, sodass alle etwas finden sollten, das ihnen liegt. Teilweise sind die Tasks geplant und stehen vorher fest, aber die meisten Aufgaben ergeben sich spontan, da wir den größeren Teil schlecht vorher planen können. Vor Allem die zeitlichen Abläufe sind im Aufbau eher variabel und können sich schnell mal ändern. Deshalb gibt es auch keine Schichten im Engelsystem. Schaut einfach vor Ort, was euch liegt und ihr gerne machen wollt. Fragt am besten im Heaven im CCL nach, was gerade erledigt werden muss, und lasst euch dort mit Infos versorgen. Falls der Heaven noch nicht aufgebaut sein sollte, kommt zum Preheaven in Halle 4.

Was muss sonst noch beachtet werden?
Die Hallen sind im gesamten Aufbau unbeheizt, bringt euch also warme Kleidung mit, die dreckig werden kann, und festes, robustes Schuhwerk. Bonuspunkte gibt es für Sicherheitsschuhe mit Schutzkappe S1 oder höher. Wir haben einen kleinen Vorrat an Schutzausrüstung mit den grundlegenden Dingen, wer aber gerne seine eigenen Handschuhe, Werkzeuge, $(Sicherheits-)Gadgets hat, ist mehr als herzlich eingeladen, diese mitzubringen.
Auch, wenn beim Aufbau oft eine entspannte Atmosphäre herrscht, ruft euch bitte trotzdem immer wieder ins Gedächtnis, dass ihr euch auf einer Baustelle befindet. Achtet auf euch und die Menschen in eurer Umgebung. Haltet großzügigen Sicherheitsabstand zu den Baumaschinen, Autos und Flurförderzeugen.
Kommt mit eurem Kind bitte nach Möglichkeit erst zur Veranstaltung. Kinder sind, insbesondere unbeaufsichtigt, in den Bauabschnitten ein enormes Sicherheitsrisiko – vor allem für sich selbst. Lasst auch eure Haustiere Zuhause. Eine Veranstaltung mit fünfstelliger Zahl verkaufter Tickets ist ohnehin nicht der richtige Ort für Tiere.

Und der Abbau?
Der Abbau beginnt an Tag 4 direkt nach der closing ceremony und dauert bis zum 05.01.2020.
Gerade im Abbau brauchen wir jede Hilfe, die wir bekommen können. Alles, was in zwei Wochen in der Messe errichtet wurde, muss innerhalb von 6 Tagen wieder auf LKW verladen und abtransportiert werden – also in weniger als der Häfte der Zeit. Wir sind dankbar und freuen uns über alle Engel, die nach der Veranstaltung noch die Möglichkeit haben, ein, zwei oder mehr Tage länger zu bleiben und beim Abbau zu helfen.
Genauere Infos zum Abbau folgen im Laufe der nächsten Wochen als eigener Blogpost.

Für mehr Infos checkt die kommenden Posts im Eventblog.
Solltet ihr konkrete Fragen haben, wendet euch an 36c3@c3loc.de

Wir sehen uns in Leipzig!
Euer LOC


English Version

Call for Angels for the 36C3 buildup and teardown

TL;DR

The buildup and teardown of 36C3 needs angels!

If you want to help with the buildup, you can come to Messe Leipzig from the 18th of December and show up in Heaven (CCL) or in hall 4 for info.
Bring warm clothes and solid shoes. Safety shoes, if you have some.
Be careful – buildup means the halls are construction sites! Take care of yourself and others. Stay in safe distance from vehicles and heavy machines and leave your pets at home. Please don’t bring children before the official start of the event if possible.
If you can stay a couple of days longer and want to earn eternal angel karma please help with the teardown! Teardown starts after the closing ceremony and goes on until the 5th of January, which means we have less than half the buildup time. So we need every possibly available angel. We will post more info regarding teardown on this blog soon.

For further info check the Event Blog for publications.
For concrete questions: 36c3@c3loc.de

Long Version

Like every year we need as many angels as possible for the 36C3 buildup so that the boring halls evolve to one shiny colourful Chaos Communication Congress.
This year’s buildup starts on the 16th of December. During the first two days there will be mostly just team arrival and bootstrapping before it all really takes off. After this more parallelized tasks will show up every day. The majority of tasks take some time to surface. Because of that we ask especially the non-Leipzig-locals to rest some days instead of arriving early and come to the buildup from the 18th of December. Don’t worry, there will be more than enough to do and more with every day.

What needs to be done?
There is a huge amount of variety in the tasks that need to be done so that everyone should find themselves a topic that fits them. Some tasks have been planned before but the majority of things happens quite spontaneously because we cannot anticipate everything very well beforehand. Especially the time tables are very fluid and can change quickly at times. Because of that there is no angel system or online shift planning used during buildup. Just come over and pick a task that suits you onsite. Please ask in Heaven, which is located in the CCL, what needs to be done at the moment or get yourself some info. If Heaven is not running yet come to the Preheaven in hall 4.

What else must be observed?
The halls are not heated during buildup. Bring some warm clothes that don’t mind some dirt and bring solid shoes, bonus points for safety shoes S1 or higher. We have some personal protective equipment (PPE) to offer but if you can bring your own working gloves, tools, $(safety-)gadgets you are more than welcome to do so.
Despite the often chilled atmosphere during buildup please remember and be aware that the buildup is a construction site! Take care of yourself and the people around you and keep safe distance from heavy machines, cars, forklifts, trucks etc.
Please don’t bring children before the official start of the event if possible. Children are an immense safety risk in the construcion areas – mostly for themselves. Please also leave your pets at home. An event with 16.000 attendees isn’t the right place for animals anyway.

And the teardown?
Teardown starts on Day 4 directly after the closing ceremony and goes on until the 5th of January.
Especially during this phase we need every help we can possibly get. Everything brought into the halls during the two weeks of buildup needs to be brought out again within six days – which is less than half the amount of time. We are thankful and happy for every angel who is able to spend some more days onsite and help with tearing down this huge event.
More info especially regarding teardown will be posted on this blog soon.

For further info check the Event Blog for publications.
If you have concrete questions please contact 36c3@c3loc.de

See you in Leipzig!
Your LOC

36C3: re-generative design :-)

If you played around with veith yaeger‘s 35C3 design, chances are you used bleeptrack’s 35C3 design generator.

If you loved graphorama‘s CCCamp19 design as much as we did, you probably enjoyed bleeptrack’s cccamp19 generator just as much.

We are sure you’re going to love bleeptrack‘s 36C3 design.
Of course, there’s a 36C3 generator by bleeptrack :-)

Enjoy!

As usual, you can find a styleguide, example logos and fancy open source code in the wiki.

36C3: Camping

Du schläfst am liebsten im eigenen Bett?
In deinem fahrbaren Untersatz bist zu Hause?
Du suchst nur noch nach einem gut gelegenen Platz?

Deine Suche hat ein Ende. Du wirst das Congress-Gelände nicht verlassen müssen.
Tragen deine Füße nicht mehr, fällst du einfach ein paar Schritte aus Halle 2 direkt ins eigene Bett. Morgens machst dich kurz frisch und stürzt dich zum Frühstück gleich wieder ins Getümmel.

Direkt auf dem Leipziger Messegelände haben wir wieder einige Stellplätze für Wohnmobile, Wohnwagen und Bullis klargemacht, von denen du dir nun schnell noch einen sichern kannst.

Für 150€ pro Reisemobil oder Wohnwagen bieten wir dir

  • einen Stellplatz vom 25.-31. Dezember (jeweils 12:00h), inklusive
  • Frischwasserversorgung
  • Stromversorgung (230V/16A)
    Hinweis: Der Anschluss kann als Schuko- oder als 3-poliger CEE-Stecker (DIN49462) ausgelegt sein, daher solltest du für beide einen Adapter mitbringen
  • Chemietoilettenentsorgung und
  • Duschmöglichkeit in direktem Zugang

Family Area

Den Congress besuchen viele Menschen, die in ganz unterschiedlichen Zeitzonen leben und zu unterscheidlichen Zeiten des Tages aktiv sind. Für Familien werden wir daher einen Family Bereich einrichten. Wenn ihr als Familie anreist, gebt uns bitte kurz bescheid unter 36c3-camping@cccv.de – gern auch schon vor dem Verkaufsstart.

Bitte beachten Sie das Kleingedruckte

Die Teilname am Camping setzt ein gültiges Congress-Ticket voraus, weil sich der Camping-Bereich auf dem Veranstaltungsgelände befindet.
Das Camping-Ticket beinhaltet kein Congress-Ticket.

Weitere wichtige Infos haben wir im Wiki zusammengetragen. Bitte lest sie aufmerksam!

Wie auch schon im letzten Jahr wollen wir das Gelände wieder sauberer verlassen, als wir es vorgefunden haben.

Verkaufsstart!

Der Vorverkauf startet am Montag, 25. November 2019 um 17:00 Uhr unter tickets.events.ccc.de/36c3camping

Behind the scenes: Chaos Communication Congress presale

A scanner, watching you. Beep!

A scanner, watching you. Beep!

Have you ever tried to solve a problem that is completely, utterly, ridiculously impossible?

Welcome to our world! We’re the team running the Chaos Communication Congress ticket sales, and we want to follow the good example set by the content teams, and explain a bit of our work.

Now, from the outside, our problems may not seem all that impossible. In fact, you may think we have very little problems indeed: We run the presale of a conference that is notoriously sold out, and that’s generally what you want when you organise an event, right? Well, yes and no. Our primary goal is neither to sell every last ticket nor to increase our prices knowing that we’ll be sold out anyways – our goal is to invite participants in a way that is consistent with the values represented by our event and our community.

The Chaos Communication Congress is first and foremost a community event. Its unique beauty as well as its unique challenges originate in the fact that we are a huge distributed anarchical group of unpaid volunteers who manage to build an event for over 16000 people, every year. To make matters even harder, our completely self-organised decentralised structures work without a single point of authority. If you think that this cannot possibly work, you’re not alone: It’s hard to explain to people on the outside, and when we try, we’re usually met with a blank stare or disbelief.

None of our Congresses would work without two overlapping, vaguely-defined groups of people: The teams who spend inordinate amounts of time before and during the event organising and working, and the local groups and hackerspaces who do a lot of great work throughout the year that has nothing to do with Congress at all. Without the people tinkering in hackerspaces, running smaller events, creating awesome new hacks, educating people, visiting schools to talk to kids, running workshops, discussing positions and organising protests … we wouldn’t have the vibrant community that turns Congress into an event without its like.

Consequently one of our goals is to make sure that both organising teams and active people from other groups have a chance of attending Congress – but at the same time, we don’t want to limit ourselves completely to people who have already done their part. We’d be completely caught in our own filter bubble, and therefore we also want Congress to be accessible to new people.

This is a tough one. Fundamentally, there cannot be a perfect solution: We sell less tickets than people want to buy and our community grows larger every year. Period. Which means that some people will not be able to buy a ticket, no matter how much they want to, or how good a fit they’d be for the event.

Possible solutions to this are manifold: We could turn the event into a private event only for people who are already part of the community. We could just increase our ticket prices until the demand balances with the available tickets. We could go by “seniority” within the community, or by capability by introducing artificial technical barriers (a quiz? a hidden ticket sales server via ssh?). We could insist on a personal recommendation from a trusted person, or expand this into a dystopian voting system where only people with a sufficient number of votes get in. We could set certain quotas by demographics and then distribute tickets according to age, gender, social status, income, text editor, or hair color. We could make ticket sales entirely random (more on that later), or just sell as many tickets as we can, ignoring the problems that start when you let a community grow faster than it can support itself. But we don’t think any of these are a good idea.

Our current solution works like this: We don’t sell all tickets to the general public. Instead, we start by handing vouchers to all dedicated volunteers from last year’s Congress, so they can buy a ticket for this year if they want to. Simultaneously, we also give vouchers to local groups, like hackerspaces, and some activist groups. Their vouchers spawn new ones once they have been used, so that these groups can distribute the vouchers among themselves. Roughly half of our tickets are sold to somebody with a voucher. (The truth is slightly more complex, and if you like reading rule books, you can read up on them in our documentation).

Once the tickets reserved for the active community are used up, we turn to the remaining tickets, and sell those in three open presale days. They are notoriously gone within minutes, if not seconds. The technical challenges of serving several thousand requests per second in an attempt to sell tickets is interesting in its own right, but we’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader for another post.

Obviously, this is not an ideal system and it fails in a variety of interesting ways. For example, local groups may have questionable priorities when distributing their vouchers. People may have broken mailservers and will never receive their voucher. People who use a reproducing voucher may take a long time to pay, blocking people who wait for their replicated voucher. If you have very slow internet or slow reflexes or are not aware of the urgency, buying a ticket in the open presale is nearly impossible. It’s frankly heartbreaking to talk to people who will not be able to attend Congress.

And that’s a significant part of what we do: As the presale team, we answer all emails sent to our address, usually within a day. Last year, we received a total of 2690 emails and sent 1764 in 1623 threads, so roughly 10% of attendees contacted us. This excludes spam, but includes bounces – because we look at those, and try to figure out if there was a typo in the mail address, or if we know somebody who knows this person and can get in touch with them. If you write us, you don’t receive a canned response either – every response is more-or-less lovingly created by one of the four of us.

Other than that, what do we do? We usually deal with requests for vouchers from various groups, which has served to expand our knowledge of geography. Occasionally we help settle local conflicts when one group won’t talk to the other – it’s the Chaos *Communication* Congress, after all. To keep our workload at an unreasonable-but-possible level, we try to send vouchers to only one place per city, region, or thematic community. We also help people who found one of several tempting ways to make errors in their ordering process (typos in email addresses or payment references are the favourite). We help with payment difficulties and supply people with documentation for their visa application. We prepare the on-site ticket checkin – scanning this many tickets is a challenge of its own, of which we have written more here. We also administrate the servers, which is especially challenging when preparing for the open presale days, which can see request spikes of more than 16.000 requests per second, and requires a bit of careful planning. Before the presale starts, we negotiate conditions with the local public transport company, and help determine the ticket prices and what average ticket price we need to reach – you can always see the chart of average ticket prices here.

We’re also constantly looking for ways to improve the presale. Every year we make some minor changes and adjustments that go mostly unnoticed (which is good!). We have experimented with simulating parts of the presale, to get a feeling for the results that we would introduce with different replication rates, spawn times, and distribution mechanisms. This also involves talking to lots of people to help us balance the needs of different groups: Within Germany and from abroad, from within the community and newcomers, marginalised groups and people who have been around for most of CCC’s history, people who cannot participate in a regular presale for health reasons, and so on.

We’re nearly always happy to discuss your ideas, and we only have two requests if you want to let us know what you think: First off, please assume that we’re trying our best – because we are, and people who send us very angry mails about our malice or our incompetence just make us sad, but won’t improve the presale process.

Secondly: Please do not suggest that we try a lottery. We know, it’s tempting – it’s the first solution that springs to mind to solve this problem, but it’s also just not going to happen. The short explanation is: Any lottery that can’t be cheated easily will require us to check people’s IDs at the entrance, and that’s not something we are willing to do – both due to the logistical challenge of slowing down the entire check-in process extremely, and because we follow the principles of minimal data retention. We don’t care about your official names, we don’t want to check your ID, and we run screaming when thinking about the implications of this level of data aggregation.

A last note: While we have seen a lot of bitter, or angry, and occasionally hateful messages, we have also seen plenty of support, humour, and good-natured snark, which makes the whole effort more than worth it. Thank you!

36C3 content teams running full steam

Last Sunday at midnight the submission period for our Call for Participation ended. The last submission, by a Swiss, landed just in time at 23:59:20 UTC. Our content curation teams will now use the next two weeks to review, rate, sort, and ultimately decide on a large number of submissions. We intend to inform all submitters on November 11th on whether we found a place for them in our Fahrplan.

At the time of our coordination meeting on Sunday there were 690 pending submissions in our system. To put this into perspective: If you would want to just spend a minute to review them all, you would be busy for eleven and a half hours. Another way to look at the numbers is that nearly five percent of 36C3 participants have applied to present a lecture!

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