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CTF teams nearly final, the last spot could be yours!

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  • CTF teams nearly final, the last spot could be yours!

    19 of the 20 teams are set. (see www.ddtek.biz)

    Yet one spot remains.

    Are you an alternate team that wants a guaranteed spot?
    Are you rich and were too lazy to qualify?
    Are you a qualified team that wants to the minimize competition?
    Are you a smoked somewhat leet animal that wants to further qualify?
    Are you somebody with no skillz that just wants a high-profile place to show off prized sheep?

    If you are any of the above, head over to http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=120943768765 and make it yours!
    Last edited by vulc@n; July 4th, 2012, 08:22.

  • #2
    Re: CTF teams nearly final, the last spot could be yours!

    Originally posted by vulc@n View Post
    19 of the 20 teams are set. (see www.ddtek.biz)

    Yet one spot remains.

    Are you an alternate team that wants a guaranteed spot?
    Are you rich and were too lazy to qualify?
    Are you a qualified team that wants to the minimize competition?
    Are you a smoked somewhat leet animal that wants to further qualify?
    Are you somebody with no skillz that just wants a high-profile place to show off prized sheep?

    If you are any of the above, head over to http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=120943768765 and make it yours!
    Not that my opinion matters much, nor will it change anything, but hey, this is an open forum. Selling a slot in the infamous CTF skill challenge contest seems really....wrong. People work very hard to qualify and pre-qualify for this thing and now someone with deep pockets, regardless of skill, gets to be in that hallowed room? Hrm. Hrm, I say!
    "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

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    • #3
      Re: CTF teams nearly final, the last spot could be yours!

      Originally posted by eris View Post
      Not that my opinion matters much, nor will it change anything, but hey, this is an open forum. Selling a slot in the infamous CTF skill challenge contest seems really....wrong. People work very hard to qualify and pre-qualify for this thing and now someone with deep pockets, regardless of skill, gets to be in that hallowed room? Hrm. Hrm, I say!
      [Included below is a collection of observations, not judgements. Later, I'll include worries, which are not judgements, either.]

      It is the trend, and the ways things have been going. At one time, people running contest entirely paid for their contest or event out of pocket. Much of their contribution in the form of human work-hours put into making their contest/event a success.

      At some point in time, the boundaries of what any individual could reasonably contribute out-of-pocket, including well-to-do benefactors, was exceeded. People looking to end on a positive note, went all-out and pulled all stops before handing their contest or event to others.

      Anything less than the new high water mark would likely be viewed as, "not as good as [last year||when .* was running it||'before']" so alternate funding sources are considered.

      Good or bad, a switch from, "we're gonna break the rules, smuggle in our own booze and not pay the hotel their 'fees'" to, "we need to pay the hotel their fees, hire security guards, and maybe pay for insurance," and, "check government issued photo ID at doors," has been happening little-by-little over the years. (Reason often suggested for this switch: "when you are young, you have little in the way of assets to lose, but when you are older, you *probably* have more to lose if criminal actions or civil actions are made against you.")

      Some have argued that this switch to make these contests or events more "mainstream" is not a "hacker core value." These people have made comments asking why we don't exploit the system, and find ways around the rules and requirements of, "the man."

      No matter how things are considered, even if we choose to ignore rules, and try to avoid, "paying the man," the trend in growth and increasing costs is not sustainable for individuals, and a choice must be made to either find alternate revenue streams, or cut-back on expenses in some way. (An increase in the number of people at a party is one example of where things have grown quickly over the years as Defcon has grown.)

      Outright commercial ad-space is still viewed as, "not really a grassroots hacker conference," as commercial ad-space is sacrificed for compensation to run a contest or event looks, "bad."

      Some contests (crash and compile) have looked to have the cost shared by the players in providing their own booze, or cash for their own booze. The Defcon Shoot has taken this approach, too, and used the cash to pay for things like shaded spaces, chairs, supplies, and more.

      [I'm trying really hard to avoid politics here.]

      Ultimately, it is up to each person or group running a contest to decide what they want to do. If the hotel imposes restrictions on contest, events or parties on premises, then the Goons in charge of those spaces must decide to agree with those, or risk no longer being a goon. The people that want to run a contest, event, or party under the umbrella of "Defcon" must also then decide if they want to abide by the rules passed down through the goon in charge from the hotel, or risk being ejected from con or having their contest or event shuttered. The people attending the contest, event or party also must decide the same, as the people running the contest, event or party impose the rules handed to them onto the attendees, contestants or members. Everyone gets to make their own decision, and decide to abide by the rules or not, and risk the consequences of their decisions. (Control follows responsibility.)

      We can complain, or worry all we want, but unless there is competition to, "do it better," the complaining is just a request made by people not necessarily doing the work of the people actually doing the work. (People that run the Pre-Defcon Party put their own action ad work into play instead of just complaining about how things have changed; they decided to resurrect a party in a style closer to what they remembered and enjoyed. :-)


      [Now, some comments on worries I have about these trends, which I have expressed many times in the past. These are not judgements about what people are doing, but expressed concern over trends and where this may take us if it becomes a, "slippery slope to commercialism."]

      Alternate revenue streams to fund contests, events or parties has been a problem for a while, and some decisions have become polarizing events in Defcon history. One memorable example of this was the, "WiFi Shoot-Out," a contest primarily over demonstrating the greatest distance to transmit and receive 802.11* traffic, eventually over two classes: un-amplified and amplified. During the closing ceremonies, the person running this contest took time out to thank all of their sponsors, and some recall more time being spent to thank sponsors than to comment on the contest, how it worked, who won and how they won. (This was not the first time this kind of thing happened, and likely won't be the last. It is, however, a memorable event for many attendees and goons.)

      There is worry that the above kind of "advertising" to a "captive audience" at the closing ceremonies or signs in the contests and events area advertising for a sponsor could cause Defcon to look more like a consumer electronics show from the 90s with all the pageantry of, "booth babes," free swag, business card collection bowls with free prize drawings, and more. (The forums are a kind of space with captive audience, and we more strictly enforce this, "no advertising," rule for smilar reasons, often to the dismay of those that want to promote for their sponsors, or advertise their latest security book.)

      In the spectrum of ways to cover expenses, this seems like an unfair advantage to offer those people with money to buy their way into a contest. If this is the only advantage provided within a game, and the revenue acquired is used as they describe on their ebay ad:

      Originally posted by ebay
      * money from this auction will be used to cover reasonable expenses related to
      running DC20 (2012) CTF/Quals. any surplus will be donated to the eff.
      I don't see it as a really bad thing for a contest or event. There was a Defcon Party that was run like this, where people could pay through paypal $XX.00 to get special tickets to bypass any lines. The party didn't happen as planned, but it was attempted and many people were willing to pay, and some tickets were donated to an EFF raffle/contest.

      If this becomes a slippery slope, where cash allows a team to "buy or influence a win" then I would find problems with this, and this is a worry I have when cash is introduced into contests like this. (An example of this that most people would agree is, "wrong," is, "Pay us $10,000 for an extra 300 points!") For people that earned a table at the CTF, they can attribute an additional financial "value" to their hard work -- a value someone else paid with cash.

      If anyone wants to start a thread in Community Talk about these kinds of changes to fund contests, events or parties, feel free to do so. If anyone wants to reply to this topic, I may fork a copy of posts here into a new thread in Community talk so that we do not pollute this contest discussion with something that could easily become off-topic.

      [Here is where I *do* have a judgement:]
      A thing that has bothered me since this thread started was the use of the forums to advertise this ebay sale. I think leaving this as-is is a bad idea, and will open the door to other people trying to do the same thing, making the forums into a craigslist of sorts. I've considered /dev/null-ing this thread because it likely violates our "no spamming" rule, but I'm still trying to decide; it is a difficult problem. It is part of a contest, but is an advertisement for a sale. There is an unresolved conflict here. I am open to your thoughts as members and attendees on how this should be treated.

      :-/
      Last edited by TheCotMan; July 9th, 2012, 00:20.
      tiny font: _. ___ _... ___ _.. _.__ .._ ... . ... __ ___ ._. ... . _._. ___ _.. . ._ _. _.__ __ ___ ._. .

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      • #4
        Re: CTF teams nearly final, the last spot could be yours!

        Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
        Lots of stuff about the evolution of DEFCON
        true dat.

        Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
        [Here is where I *do* have a judgement:]
        A thing that has bothered me since this thread started was the use of the forums to advertise this ebay sale. I think leaving this as-is is a bad idea, and will open the door to other people trying to do the same thing, making the forums into a craigslist of sorts. I've considered /dev/null-ing this thread because it likely violates our "no spamming" rule, but I'm still trying to decide; it is a difficult problem. It is part of a contest, but is an advertisement for a sale. There is an unresolved conflict here. I am open to your thoughts as members and attendees on how this should be treated.

        :-/
        I'd typically agree with you, but I think this particular posting is arguably of a different nature. It's not a generic classified ad, it's an ebay sale that's only relevant to defcon 20 attendees. Beyond that, it's only really relevant to DC20 attendees that have an interest in CTF. traditional routes of advertising the sale of a position (TV, newspaper, air-dropped psyops pamphlet) are unlikely to reach DC20 attendees interested in CTF, but would reach a bunch of people who shouldn't be purchasing a spot anyway.

        As for the sale of a spot - shrug. it potentially means the competition is ever so slightly easier. Although I expect that the teams willing to shell out $3k for a spot are the ones who were just barely bumped out of qualification by traditional means, so it probably doesn't affect that much.

        That said, if that team was really 'qualified' all along, and the only reason they didn't get a spot was because DDTEK artificially lowered the available spots so as to sell one, that's a bit fishy tbh.

        What kind of surprises me is, given earlier announcements, I was under the impression that all spots were accounted for. Did someone drop out, or one of the previous qual methods not pan out? Or was this actually planned from the beginning?

        EDIT:
        Maybe this was the 'surprise announcement' that was intended for the weekend of quals?
        It's not stupid, it's advanced.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: CTF teams nearly final, the last spot could be yours!

          In the early (and mid? Late?) days of CTF evolution there was always an element of anything goes.

          I think this is an acknowledgement of that, and an experiment. Whoever team #20 is, they are really going to get some attention. Way to put the spotlight on yourself.

          Team #20 also helps offset some costs instead of having to explore sponsors. I am looking forward to seeing how it works out.
          The Dark Tangent: Use PGP for email Key ID: 0x8B0B476D
          Fingerprint: EA2B 63F9 2219 9171 2AB1 0065 FC59 8B0B 476D

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