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  • H0wned
    *While the entrance to the main panels was intuitive, the entrance to the villages wasn't. It'd be nice for there to be signs near the panels that better described where the location of the villages were.
    *Schedule re: village talks. Why is it that only the Packet Village had its talks listed in the booklet whereas other villages didn't? I only found out after-the-fact that there was a debate with a Congressman over encryption that happened in the Crypto village. I would've attended it had I known beforehand it was going to happen.
    *Placement of villages - Kinda all over the place. Was a pain to go back and forth between some of them.
    *Cyber - Could we start poking fun of those who say "cyber" all the fucking time? I understand Feds are obsessed with that word, but all I can think of is Bloodninja when I hear it. I understand the word isn't going away, but the least we can do is mock people who refuse to use hacker lingo at a hacker conference.
    *Keep Thursday empty! I love to use it to get my bearings and work on the badge challenge and talk to people without the pressures of needing to see half a dozen tracks.
    *All the walking billboards advertising their companies are kinda annoying. I know it's freedom of expression (of that attendee's marketing department), but that doesn't mean mockery shouldn't be judiciously applied :^).

    Now for the more contentious parts.....

    So please, if you're male, you don't really get to dispute that.
    I was bullied as a kid, and I don't need it as an adult. I tire of this kind of rhetoric and am very uneasy about any efforts Def Con may make to accommodate a culture that wants to normalize overt hatred of attendees based solely on their physical attributes. Note I am not referring to TiaraCon's "women's only" events. That's their choice and more power to them. I am referring to people who want to dictate what other attendees are permitted to do.

    For Hacker Jeopardy, I personally would like to see it go back to its more politically incorrect roots. I do understand that it does put off a number of people, so why don't we have a separate kind of hacker culture event that is less overtly freewheeling political incorrectness for those who find use of such language alienating?

    Also I wouldn't mind a guy version of someone stripping down to underwear. I'm not gay, but I'm perfectly okay of responding to criticism of only appealing to one sex by appealing to both :^).

    I strongly support freedom of expression, but I vehemently oppose any argument that dictates one person's freedom of expression must come at the cost of another's. It's inherently McCarthyist and will lead nowhere good. At best, it would lead somewhere bland and uninspired.

    Hell, I heard someone got reported to hotel security solely for saying what GNAA stands for. I find contacting hotel security in response to politically incorrect language utterly reprehensible and is antithetical to hacker culture and must not be condoned.

    I understand some people seem to think humor must have an overt social meaning and that saying GNAA means you actually hate homosexual African Americans, but I see no reason to force adults to be filtered to accommodate such people in adult events. I wager the best way forward with that are notices saying this language should remain in adult events and to be 100% free-wheeling free speech in them.

    Outside of the giant fucking "Cyber" from the "Cyber Grand Challenge" plastered in the main hallway, I had a blast this year! Looking forward to DC25.
    Last edited by H0wned; August 15, 2016, 00:52.

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  • TheCotMan
    Again, thanks to all of you for your thoughtful comments, supported ideas and most importantly suggestions on what you think would work best to fix things. This is one of the most productive threads we have had on the forums in a long time. :-)

    Thread is still open for more feedback. I will be building the report starting on Aug 19 which gives you all about 1 week to get your thoughts and ideas included.

    Thanks again!

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  • defdog
    After a generally positive DC24 experience, I'd like to provide some comment in regard to goon organization. To be harshly honest, from the perspective of "user experience", I found the average goon to be uninformed and unhelpful. At a few critical junctures at the con, information would have been a godsend and would have saved many people hours waiting in what ended up being fruitless lines. Goons were not to be found, expressed exasperation, or directed us to further goons, in distant parts of the casino, where the experience was repeated.

    To be less harsh, I don't think this is because goons are being lazy or mean. Volunteering is hard, thankless work. What I do think it's indicative of is a lack of training.

    Furthermore, most goons seem to lack access to a general chain of communication. Not having a chain of communication can be exciting, but in this situation, it's a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, and the left hand is shunting 8,000 people towards the right hand that doesn't have its AV running yet.

    I don't want DC to become like other cons. But I don't think that DC will lose much of its flavor if we streamline - a little bit! - goon ops and training. Modest proposals towards this include:


    - All goons miked up. Constantly manned dispatch desk gets news, goons call dispatch if they've got a problem.

    - Assign goons in pairs. If one needs to leave the area for some reason, communication with that area hasn't been lost, and any needs it has can be addressed by someone fully familiar with them. Building small units that know each others' style also wouldn't hurt.

    - Assign goons based on experience. A noob shouldn't be directing traffic next to the elevators, and a vet shouldn't be stuck inside of the HHV all day. Man plans, god laughs, but giving goons an idea ahead of time of where they'll be and what they'll be responsible for there isn't a terrible idea.

    - Speaking of pairs, noob/vet pairings and mentorships.


    - Goon school. New goons learn from older ones - *before* the con starts. Guidelines on dealing with typical situations. Best methods transmitted, warnings issued, rape whistles distributed.

    - Give goons real training in physical security. It's a lot more about making people think you're on their side (convincing them you're looking out for their best interests) than yelling. You can tell the more experienced goons almost instantly because they have this critical skill.


    I honestly think that if some of these problems are addressed DC25 may see "more bang per goon". And with us getting bigger every year that's a need that won't go away.

    Thanks for reading, looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.

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  • Undertaker
    Ref MrMonopoly's Comment:

    Swag: I was frustrated to see the swag booth closed on Sunday even though the program claimed it would be open. Why was it closed?

    Response: Swag for all intent and purpose was sold out on Saturday night and there was not sufficient merchandise remaining to warrant opening on Sunday. If there had been sufficient product remaining, they would have opened according to the program

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  • QualityFeedback
    Things that need improvement:$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$

    lollinecon and trafficcon: I haven't been to Defcon in a few years, and things have gotten way worse in this regard. Okay the registration line is WAY better. Things go quickly and people get their stuff in a timely manner, so that is great. But holy shit, everything had a line. Some lines had lines to get into lines. Then traffic getting from point a to point b was ridiculous. The big choice before was "do I want to go to villages or do I want to go to talks this hour." Now the choice is more "Do I want to be near hardware, talks, or wifi/skytalks for the next few hours because I won't be able to get to anything else without winding up in a line." I really hope the Ceasars venue improves things, because this was the one thing I loathed about this otherwise amazing convention. At least I got some moderate exercise in.

    Oh also, a much more minor *dislike* but CTF having its own chill out room in the Rio was also cool. I guess I could see why this isn't done, with the space available, but it was interesting.

    Also a minor note: Nobody seemed to understand one of the LPV helpers when he kept dropping hints that he was dry. Does nobody buy each other beers at Defcon anymore? (I remedied this. I was just surprised nobody else seemed to get it.)

    "Improvements" I do not under any circumstances want to see:$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    "DESEXUALIZE ALL THE THINGS!" You are expecting a hacker (!= security professional) convention in the middle of Las Vegas of all places to be a beacon of prudishness for the sake of your politics? To put this in perspective you are complaining about hackers having a damn party in the convention hall of a casino that features actual "exotic" dancers at their card tables. What makes this worse is DefCon has always been accommodating to people wanting to expand for their own parties. If you want, you can actually run a "Inclusivity"con/Progressivismcon/Beigecon/CulturalImperiaismCon adjacent to hacker jeopardy complete with safe spaces and adult coloring books and have the DefCon seal of approval while doing so. All that would require is for you to put it together! But that isn't what people asking for this kind of thing want. It's not about having a slice of the pie. It's about owning the pizza parlor. I'm sick of seeing this shit everywhere.

    Reminder: Hacker Jeopardy got big because it appeals to (one may even say "includes") a wide range of people at the convention.

    analCoC: Equally stupid is the idea of a code of conduct for a convention for people who break rules for a living. I don't think this needs elaboration.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Things I was happy to see this year:

    Workshops: I didn't go to any, but it is good to know they are there and that I can go through the slides of the ones I wanted to hit. They seem like a great way of getting skills/training especially if you are new.

    More water stations, could use even more but I could always find water.

    Lots more room for HHV and lockpick village. Lots more/better quality soldering stations than when I went... and HOLY SHIT PARTS TO TINKER WITH. Actually, HHV all around was freaking amazing this year. I can't wait to see how it is next year.

    More things to do at night, ranging from parties to lounges.

    Actually, that is just it: DefCon still being DefCon, just bigger more grandiose and with more people. I love it and hope next year is even better.

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  • technicus
    So, my only real concern is the media. I would like to see them in bright yellow/black referee style shirts so they are easily identifiable at ALL TIMES. Even on the 26th floor or anywhere else related to the con. I will be really upset if I see my non-photogenic face someplace. Also, I have no idea if this exists, but clearly marked "no-media" areas and enforcement of said areas. I'd like to see draconian measures in place. If you need help with this, I can apply my ex-military experience to this where we all fear the one person screwing the others over and police ourselves.

    Other .02's:

    Lines: Best part of DefCon are the lines. Or, maybe the parties?
    Parties: I lied, the best part of DefCon are actually the parties. Or, is it actually the lines?
    Talks: I have not read the requirements TBH, but break them into three parts: 1) DefCon Presentation for that 20-30 minutes, 2) back-up info which can and should be overly verbose, 3) references if any. I do not really want to listen to someone ramble on through dozens or more slides. I dunno why anyone would as we all just want the slide deck.
    Water: I saw it everywhere. Might have had to walk to the next room or the other, but was always able to fill my bottle. Thx.
    Newbs (Technical/Skill Concern): Everyone must find their own road. We all have strengths and weaknesses. You simply can not expect a group to deal with that. You have to spend your own time ingesting fundamental knowledge.
    Newbs (Social Concern): Dunno what you are expecting. You are in a sea of 20k strangers. But I met some same strangers and we remembered each other. Also met some new strangers I can't wait to see next year. Gotta make your own friends, the odds are actually in your favor with 20k people. Toxic BBQ to the rescue as its much smaller.

    Thanks for the effort guys! Have already made arrangements for next year... aww yes.

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  • astcell
    Since DC25 will not be at Bally's/Paris some of these points may be moot: I'll use - for sad and + for yay.

    - The divided hallways are a good idea but just like most real freeways they do not take into account the volume of people traveling, or lack thereof. More than once the crowd going towards Paris was almost at standstill while the line going the other way to the vendor area was empty. It doesn't help that the elevators are right there tooo with people just stopping. And there are those who stopped traffic on the spot to play Pokemon... I was right behind them and made sure they understood there were holding up about 800 people.

    - Bigger signs would be nice. Or at least bigger letters on sign that point us here or there. We have no need for creative white space on the billboards, let's use the space for information. It's what we all crave.

    + I was amazed at the speed of the registration line, wow!

    + Loved the beanbag chairs. I so want one. I hope a vendor has them next year.

    - Speaking of which. It is NOT COOL for a vendor to raise the price while you are looking at the item just to encourage you to put up or shut up. No need to out them here, I told others looking at the same item what happened.

    + Hacker Jeopardy - wow what political muck has been dragged into it this year. I have been going since DC8. It has been "topless" however there were well placed pasties installed, and it was but for a very short time a long time ago. And believe it or not, the ladies who perform as VV and BB actually like the job. None are pressured into it whatsoever. I have spoken with the great majority of them. I remember the first year HJ went PC. Talk about overcorrection. Not everyone will always be happy, so I give them a + because of how quickly they adapt to the complaints and still manage to give a great evening to everyone.

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  • DJ Jackalope

    It's been voiced, but we definitely need more water stations. I know that Caesar's Entertainment wants their $4 for a bottle of water, but...keeps attendees out of the hospital.

    Talking about traffic in the halls is slightly a moot point, as we won't be at Bally's- although, obviously some pointers can be kept from here and used there. There is more electronic signage on the conference room doors at Caeser's as there is none in Bally's.

    Keep DC TV. Best stuff ever (when its up)

    I liked the villages and contests kind of being separate- but the 26th floor vs the Bally's hallway divide was huge. I never saw the 26th floor.

    Maybe have something in the program that says Goons are your friends and to go to Goons first instead of the Bally/Caeser's security (obviously depending on the issue). We lost the whole kind of mentality that Goons are to keep attendees from talking to hotel security or Metro and to keep our issues in house somewhere at the Riv/Rio because DC got too huge to spread the word. Goons were WAY nicer this year and I didn't have some of the -huge- negative things that happened to me involving new Goons that happened last year happen this year.


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  • DJ Jackalope
    From talking in person to GMark the Vannas and the Ref, I know Hacker Jeopardy has come (not surprisingly) under a bit of fire--
    My suggestions:

    1. Hire a Vinyl Manna who is GORGEOUS to do the two HJ shows along with the other hostesses. There's gotta be a few of those roaming around Vegas with all the male strip shows in town.

    2. Other option is to do away with the Vannas (I know--urgh!) and make HJ super serious. (But I know that isn't the spirit of the game.)

    Maybe with the introduction of either a serious game or a Chippendale, more women will play. I'm not saying that's a fix at all, but hey, it might be. I'm definitely not wanting to speak for the female population of DC because I'm always the odd one who goes head first into doing all the stuff that society seems to dictate that only guys are supposed to be doing. (Women don't need to have their own con for this, just close your eyes and take the jump!) I've been approached MANY times by the HJ crew to come play, its on my bucket list, but I've never been able to because I have DJ gigs in the middle of everything. I'm assuming many other women have been asked as well. I don't know their reasons for saying no.

    Quick .02

    I agree on the extra Thursday stuff for the villages/etc that Deviant was saying up there ^. Vegas isn't cheap. Its nice not to have Vendor open until Friday to get a day to get acclimated, unpack, and set up. Keep Thursdays for 101 Track only.


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  • Just a Girl
    Originally posted by autobahn View Post
    In general, I think defcon needs to make a real effort towards inclusion and diversity. I can already hear the kiddies yelling "SJW SJW SJW!!!" but seriously. Defcon's behind on this. I'd love to see DT/others work on creating a diversity/inclusion department or at least including that as a core function of one of the existing departments. Defcon needs a much more solid code of conduct, that code of conduct needs to be communicated WELL to all attendees, and it needs to be enforced. Also, attendees need to feel safe and comfortable and have a place to report things that violate said code of conduct. I've heard comments from many that they simply don't feel safe reporting things to the goons some times, or that goons have actually dismissed their concerns. Some thought should go into this.
    Diversity of the goons is going to be an important diversity step for the whole con.

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  • Just a Girl
    Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
    The issue with changes to the schedule last-minute have been a problem for decades...
    One of the better ideas that was created to help with this was the Information Booth...
    We have not yet found a really good solution to this issue that is:
    I think you are treating symptoms, not the core problem.

    I'd expect lots of churn in an unconference or a small conference but for a large conference the timetable has to be more locked down. This wouldn't be an issue if it happened less frequently.

    I'd spend more time on preventing schedule changes than on solving how to we tell people about a lot of changes issue.

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  • Just a Girl
    Originally posted by braydawg View Post
    On an unrelated note; l am a first time defcon attendee. I attended alone and find myself at one point very lonely and mopey. I did find one gentleman who spoke to me for an extended period of time about his affiliation with the conference on the 26th floor while he worked a party... I think the 803 party. I don't remember his name but I would like to give him a shout out if he happens to be around. He helped me feel a bit better. As a 30 year old man no one else is really responsible for my happiness but he still hung around. I wore black/red shorts and a red t-shirt if he reads these forums and happens to read this post. He wore a leather jacket and was bald with long hair. Also thanks to the 803(?), 801(?) party for providing me with free alcohol. This was one of the few times I showed up before the mob and managed to get my drink on and not sit in a line.
    A designate area for lost / overwhelmed people is good for any conference. Somewhere close but not too close to Information Booth.

    You should also see the twitter thread from the event start and harvest some that information into a newbie guide. The tag was #BadDefConAdvice. At the beginning, it did appear to be anti-advice for newbies. Then it drifted into bad infosec advice.

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  • Just a Girl
    Originally posted by _multithreading View Post
    It sounds like more of an engineering/data-gathering problem than anything, in terms of being able to change the traffic lane widths quickly. Finding a one-size-fits all solution to all talks in all tracks would not be very easy. However, to a certain extent, I'd imagine that the attendance of a particular talk can be estimated, and lanes potentially adjusted several minutes before the end of the talk or before people start coming in. Ideally, having the red tape posts on some sort of mechanical track that can be slid remotely would be nice, but that's easy for me to say if I'm not the one tasked with building such a contraption.
    Are we dealing with problems or symptoms? Traffic is a symptom to me.

    The real problem is timing so people can take more time to stream out and spacing big events so the corridors outside big events aren't overwhelmed.

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  • Just a Girl
    Originally posted by _multithreading View Post
    Since it ends up needing to happen every year anyway, why not divide the hallways into 'lanes' of traffic from the get-go? Make some signs to point people in the correct direction, have 'exits' for the different tracks, etc.

    A wish-list item would be some service to check to see if a track is full and standing in line is a waste of time, though I do love me some linecon.
    Hire a consultant from Disney on wait line management. They have good resources on this topic.

    You need the "abandon hope if you are past this point because the event is at capacity" type notification.

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  • Just a Girl
    Originally posted by Jenshadus View Post
    Considered digital or analog signs? There is a lot of screaming going on. Example have a whiteboard outside (and inside) for signing up for the workshop sign up room on the first day to apprise people of workshop availability. Mark presentation lines with stand up signs rather than yelling directions or putting them on the floors. Never been to one of these before and it seemed chaotic. Maybe that's the whole point. Just wouldn't hire you for ant wedding planning

    Sounds like a related isue is the height of the signs. Screens higher on the walls would make the signs easier to read from farther away.

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