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What was great? What was not? How would you make DC30 better than DC29?

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  • What was great? What was not? How would you make DC30 better than DC29?

    Hello, we hope you are enjoying yourself at DEF CON 29, or if it is over, have enjoyed yourself at DEF CON 29.

    This is the annual thread asking for feedback.

    What was amazing, and should return for next year?
    What was problematic or difficult, and should be changed?

    Assume you are the Dark Tangent and you were considering how to run DEF CON 30... what would you change and how would you change it?

    Constructive criticism is the best, as we see an issue, and your proposed solution. Having them in public allows others to agree with your view and contribute to a solution.

    How would you make DEF CON 30 better than DEF CON 29?
    Last edited by number6; August 5, 2021, 22:12.

  • #2
    DEFCON has been amazing! Last year was my first, and I'm attending online again this year.

    With this year's theme being "Can't stop the signal", I wanted to provide some thoughts on the idea that a hybrid DEFCON may only be a one-time deal. In short, I would love to see a hybrid DEFCON continue in to the future. Having DEFCON available online made this convention available to me and a few others I know, and if I had to guess, many that I don't know around the globe. Whether it be due to finances, travel restrictions, work coverage issues, other conflicts, etc. having a hybrid DEFCON allows people to experience the fun when they otherwise would not be able to. It allows the signal to continue to spread, between those that have been a part of the signal for some time, and to new people hearing it for the first time. Being able to participate online has allowed me to interact with many cool people, especially as we all work to solve our badge puzzles and interact over talk Q&As. It has been a great experience. I recognize it is a lot of work, as DT said in the opening talk, and I truely do appreciate it.

    "Can't stop the signal, Mal..."


    • #3
      Give people who paid for badges their badges.. yeah.. I can't get in cause I'm not vaxxed.. but at least give me my shit that I paid for... Nothing like sitting at the white bar in Paris watching everyone play with their badge.. and here you are.. .minus $600 cause I paid for two badges... but i can't play... cause I can't get into defcon.. cause my doctor said I can't get the vaxxed... so what can you do better??? give me people what they paid for... and at the very least... maybe my fucking hybrid access that I should have access to


      • number6
        number6 commented
        Editing a comment
        panda322 : Thanks for the constructive criticism!

        For when this is reviewed by decision makers, looking for how to make DEF CON 30 better, more issues related to this are posted by the same user in this thread:

    • #4
      Originally posted by panda322 View Post
      Give people who paid for badges their badges.. yeah.. I can't get in cause I'm not vaxxed.. but at least give me my shit that I paid for... Nothing like sitting at the white bar in Paris watching everyone play with their badge.. and here you are.. .minus $600 cause I paid for two badges... but i can't play... cause I can't get into defcon.. cause my doctor said I can't get the vaxxed... so what can you do better??? give me people what they paid for... and at the very least... maybe my fucking hybrid access that I should have access to
      I empathize a bit, but should have been a bit more self aware and gone the safe mode route. You would have your badge which seems to be the main issue, you would still participate, and you wouldn't expose yourself or others (as a possible carrier, regardless of medical condition) during a global pandemic. Specially in an event that made it clear you had to be vaccinated to attend.

      I'm just saying.


      • number6
        number6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Some people said they were not informed. How did you learn about the vaccination requirements? If we were to try to make sure more people knew about the requirements, how would you look to solve this?

        Complaints can show us where we can be better. Ideas and proposals are golden.

        What did you like about DC29 which should come back? How can it be made better? What was awful at DC29 and how would you make it better?

        Thanks for any ideas you can provide!

      • SFCLVGT
        SFCLVGT commented
        Editing a comment
        From reddit/r/defcon, the first link. It was made 4 months ago and pinned by moderators. 4th paragraph.

        "We plan to REQUIRE wearing masks and being vaccinated to participate in-person. We plan to socially distance seating and tables, and the convention properties will have increased air circulation and filtering. If the law requires us to do something different, we will do whatever the law requires."

        I guess it could have been made "aggressively" visible through an agreement while buying the ticket?

      • number6
        number6 commented
        Editing a comment
        I think it was posted on reddit, on the forums, in the details when you looked at the item description in the online store and Jeff sent out an email to email addresses included in the purchase. You first saw it on reddit. Thanks!

    • #5
      Bring back spot the fed


      • number6
        number6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Do you mean bring back "Spot the Fed" as preemptive 'events' on stage in the main speaking tracks where the audience cheers or boos the questions and answers as to whether the person being questioned is likely to be a fed or not? In what way would you like to see t come back?

    • #6
      You’re treating this like it’s a choice for me for the vaccine. I had planned and scheduled for a vaccine for June, but my doctor told me not to get it. So I’ve already booked everything and I already purchased my ticket.

      for some people getting the vaccine or not isn’t necessarily a choice and since it’s new, we don’t know if we can/should take it or not until we speak with our doctor. With the time frame being so close, the vaccine being new, some states/countries rolling out vaccination at various rates, it’s tough.

      im just saying… we should at least get the stuff we paid for with the exception of physical access and allow us to easily transition to digital with our physical badge code.


      • number6
        number6 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the constructive criticism!
        Jeff provided a path for people to use a trusted in-person proxy to acquire their in-person badge and stuff that comes with it, including a HumanPlus code for Discord in this thread:
        (The process still doesn't grant physical, in-person access, as that requires a wristband which is acquired through visiting a proof of vaccination station, but it does get access to a physical badge for entry and the stuff that is handed to the badge recipient at time of pickup.)

        Were you able to work something out in this thread through your DM like exercise the proxy option discussed in the forums?
        Last edited by number6; August 8, 2021, 02:08.

    • #7
      I was lable to later on (very very late yesterday when I found out) but as feedback: That wasn't very well communicated which created frustration.


      • #8
        Maybe have Feds who want to register at info booth and what talk they will be attending. Aftwr the talk allow 2 mins to spot the fed in the room.


        • #9
          It looks like DefCon 30 will be 10 days long, according to the reservation system for booking a hotel room for DefCon 30. Is that correct, or do the group rates allow us to show up far in advance of the con start date? Knowing the actual dates of the con would help.

          Also, it would be helpful to understand which hotel will house the villages, tracks, etc. This would help people with mobility issues plan better which hotel to pre-book. If we knew which hotel would provide the most "centralized" access, we can make a more informed choice.


          • number6
            number6 commented
            Editing a comment
            Before DC 30, hotel reservations allowed for the DEF CON Rate to apply from the Monday before con through to Sunday night, which would be 7 days, even though the convention has mostly been Thursday-Sunday.

            In the closing ceremonies, Jeff mentioned something about how Workshops have so much demand by attendees for classes, and people were disappointed in being unable to get a class, that Monday, Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday?) he might add professional classes for people that are interested, so they can enjoy the con without worrying about losing time to a class. (*-Please do not cite this as a direct quote.)

            *-Please review the closing ceremonies when they are up for an authoritative answer, as my comments here are based on memory, and memories are seldom as accurate as we think.

            This may be the source of what seems like 10 days in hotel reservations, even though the main conference may only be 4 days (Thursday-Sunday) while extra events may happen before the main conference (Toxic BBQ, the Unofficial DEF CON Shoot, other meet-ups or parties, combined parties for some people from DEF CON near the end of BlackHat, etc. Then add professional classes/courses the Monday, Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday?) after the main conference.

            These are best guesses.

            I do not even have a guess for the final floor plan for DC 30. Someone else might be able to answer. Even if there was a floor plan for DC30 right now, it would almost certainly change between now and next year.
            Last edited by number6; August 9, 2021, 21:51.

        • #10
          I scheduled time off work, booked a room, and paid for in-person registration this year… then the delta variant happened, and found the risk of exposure in Las Vegas outside the masked/vax'ed conference unacceptable. So I canceled my room and most of my registration, but kept the time off, worked around my house, and watched talks as I worked. The Twitch-based streaming worked beautifully. I hope it continues even if we do return to "normal" operations.

          Indeed, I hope it expands! Even when I do make the trip, there are times that working on a task or a workshop or a contest from someone's room or some random lounge space works better than jamming into conference floor space. The more content I can reach from other locations, the better the experience.

          I'm also really pleased with Marc's reports on how well people complied with this year's unusual demands. Only the tiniest fraction of people resisted. The vast majority of our community looked out for each other. Thank you all for not fucking it up! (And I hope to see you all again next at the Forum!)


          • #11
            I'm big on the power of retrospectives (in the agile software model), and hope to come back with a list of feedback. Top line, though: I loved it!! This was my first ever DEFCON.

            Quick feedback here, though, because I'm looking for documentary info as I put together my podcast on DC29... would it be possible to pay to have some of the top presentations transcribed? The key reason for this is that it allows you to SEARCH. Like, "which presentation was I at that talked about XYZ?" (which may actually pop up some others that you did NOT attend, but somehow that subject came up). In particular, right now, I'm looking for some things Jeff said in the opening and closing ceremonies. I can't find the audio of those on the media server, though maybe that's still being processed.

            Do we record stuff like Hacker Jeopardy? And drunk hacker history? I was looking for a snippet of the crowd saying DFIU and "it was like that when we got here".

            More later... but on the whole, I personally think you guys did an amazing job with a hybrid con.


            • #12
              If you have food being served in the venue please add a list of ingredients to the name card. This will help people with allergy or dietary restrictions determine whether they can eat something there or not. For example: it's impossible to know at a glance whether a meat alternative burger in the chillout room can accommodate vegans or only vegetarians if there is cheese or has dairy in the bread.


              • #13
                I've always liked the choice of presentations and it certainly contributes to the success of Defcon.

                It was a bit of a loss that the dealers were so poorly represented.
                I missed the simultaneous transcript. Really.

                It was a nice event again.
                Thanks to all who made it possible.


                • number6
                  number6 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sorry, there might be a regional semantic language variation; what do you mean by "dealers" (in Las Vegas, dealers often refer to people dealing cards at Black Jack and other card tables, but when used in the scope of sales of cars, can refer to the sales people or the business and all employees that sell cars, and it can also refer to people who sell drugs.)

                  Are you referring to the vendors at in-person DEF CON when you type about dealers? (Not a problem if you do, I just want to make sure I understand your intended reference with this.)

                  It is possible that there will be post production work to add transcripts later, but I know of no public announcement to that point for DEF CON 29 content.

                  The Call For Papers Review Board tries to be selective in choices of topics, to avoid too many presentations on the same topics, and to provide help to people submitting talks on how to improve their submission for a talk and possibly re-submit.

                  Any things you would change?


                • Altairwood
                  Altairwood commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I must have sleep, I meant the vendor area, where you could always find something interesting because it was so nice and big.

                  Unfortunately, I learned English almost only from computer magazines, so it is often difficult for me to understand the pronunciation. The transcript always helped me to understand the spoken text well. A real (big) advantage at Defcon.

                  I would not think about changes until Defcon has moved to Caesars forum. At most, the orientation can be improved, but that was perhaps also due to the rapid changeover. That will be completely different again in Caesars Forum.

                  And I find a certain chaos ... charming.

                • number6
                  number6 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks! In English there are words that mean one thing in one English speaking country but mean another in a different English speaking country. Not a problem with the variation; I just wanted to find out if what I thought you meant is what you were trying to convey.
                  Pants vs Trousers.
                  Cookies vs Biscuits.
                  Chips vs Crisps.
                  Pit vs. Stone.
                  Pop vs Soda vs Coke vs fizzy drink vs *
                  Then there are regional phrases as memes, too.
                  Variation is not a problem. Thanks!

              • #14
                My biggest gripe was something that DT and the organizers could not do anything about, and that is the dragging-on of this stupid {f-bomb}ing pandemic! :(

                Yeah, I agree that I was disappointed in the low number of vendors. Again, I don't blame any for not attending or pulling out.

                Also disappointed that so many villages went virtual at short notice. Ditto with Skytalks pulling out, but again, I understand why all of this happened.

                I know I'll think of more just as soon as I hit POST.