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Lessons learned from DC30: make DC31 even better

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  • Lessons learned from DC30: make DC31 even better

    Sunday, August 14, 2022 will be the last day of DEF CON 30.
    While you all have it fresh in your memories, let us know what worked well and should come back, but also let us know what didn't work and how it can be made to work, or what should be abandoned and why.

    Assume you are the Dark Tangent and you were in-charge... WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

    Constructive criticism is the absolute best! Tell us what was wrong and how you would fix it.

    Last edited by number6; August 14, 2022, 12:17.

  • #2
    I'm new to this forum, so I'm not sure if this is the best place to post, but i have a number of feedback items:

    - Website information did not make it clear that paying by Cc would be shut down on a certain date. Only that is it was available. So counting on that and then scrambling for a cash solution last minute was frustrating. The added atm expense, cash flow, and needing to locate an ATM is a barrier.
    Solution: Be more clear up front with dates.
    Right now the FAQs still say that it's an option without any caveats.
    - Stop criss-crossing traffic flows. Traffic flows like it does on the road. Move forward on the right side. Having escalators in traffic flow areas go against that just creates problems. Mish mashing everyone as they fight their way forward. Similarly, make sure escalators are working. Better signage for elevators.

    - Tell people where badge pickup is. Is it cause we are hackers, they just think it's funny to make people figure it out? I can't find the info anywhere on the website. Asking people with a badge ends with 'we got ours at blackhat' or 'cesars forum'. O.m.f.g. Defcon has been at Ceasar's in other years. That had the Forum tower. Do you know how much time we spent looking for where to pick up a badge? So much walking. I was exhausted before we got started. It wasn't as cesars at all. I accidentally heard someone explaining to another person stuck in Ceasers Hell that the LINQ also has a Ceasers Forum? Whatever sick f*cker decided that was a good name for something across the street from Ceaser's Forum? The website says "Aug. 11-14, 2022 at Caesars Forum + Flamingo, Harrah's and Linq in Las Vegas!"

    Ceaser's forum plus flamingo, harrahs and the linq is not the same thing as Ceasers Forum in the Linq plus the conference center in the Flamingo.

    Solution: communicate clearly, on the main site "Registration is at X spot in Ceaser's Forum *at the Linq*" would be a good way to avoid sending people on an F'ing goose chase just to get in.

    Low Vision hackers cannot read the booklet. Dark print on a dark background was hard enough to read for me, whose vision is fine. My daughter and son with retinitis pigmentosa cannot read that. Please create with accessibility in mind.

    I've seen talk here about wanting a village. One theme i hear in talks is that hacker mentality is partly about keeping your data accessible, the right to repair, keeping diversity in development so that different perspectives are accounted for and that exclusion is minimized.

    In order to do that, you have to understand where other people are coming from. Consider a village where folks can experience different accessibility technologies, (screen readers, sensory equipment, powered wheelchairs,) or equipment that allows them to experience a simulation of a disability. Combine with a call to action to look for ways to be inclusive in software development, make equipment and hardware hacks that increase accessibility, or just give devs something to think about as they create software...

    Just some thoughts...

    To summarize: Normalize clear communication in the 'main' communication channels, better traffic flows, better signage, better contrast pamphlets.


    • Delchi
      Delchi commented
      Editing a comment
      Some great stuff here! Head over to HDA ( Hackers With Disabilities ) in the forums and drop some of this wisdom. We do have a easy-to-read PDF with zoom infopack every year.

      As for the Caesar's confusion : The Forum Shops is a mall of consumerisim attached to Caesar's Palace. Caesar's Forum is across the street, and connected the linq / harrahs, etc.

  • #3
    The caesers forums not being at ceasers hotel was confusing. Quite a few of us struggled to find it, as it wasn't really clear from the event description. Some of us might have chosen different hotels had we known that none of the events were actually at the Caesars hotel. Maybe a FAQ section on the site/app that gave very clear guidance
    The merch line congested the halls to the point where it was just an anxiety inducing cluster. Linecon? Try Cattlecon. I think containing it in a large room like the badge line would have helped a lot.

    I couldn't tell what kind of merch i could get before spending the whole day in line. Maybe if there was a way to preview it before reaching the end of the line then it would go faster?

    Would be nice if there were food vendors located in the event space. Deciding to grab a "quick bite" essentially meant missing out on an entire time slot


    • Delchi
      Delchi commented
      Editing a comment
      There were food vendors in the Chill Out Room - but it needs improvement. The line was long and slow , and had accessibility issues.

  • #4
    Merch line was very time comsuming and takes away from other things we could be doing.

    No reason why orders couldn’t be purchased and paid for ahead of time with the option to ship or pickup onsite.

    Masks were un-necessary; since the rest of vegas was unmasked. It’s an all or nothing. Masks offer little benefit when packed on top of each other in line and during talks where social distancing was impossible.

    Also agree that food vendors in the Caesers Forum convention area would have been nice.


    • #5
      Concession stand in Chillout room needs improvement as mentioned already. Slow slow line. Long line. Prices way way way to high. It was actually price gouging. I felt swindled.

      Cattlecon (also mentioned in post above) not linecon, is a much better descriptor of Merch line. I tried 3 times and gave up so I could get to my track lectures. It was more like a CattleSaleBarnCon (if you’ve ever worked in the back of a cattle auction/sale barn you know). Getting prodded by the goons constantly about packing and formation. Felt
      like the slaughterhouse was next.


      • #6
        Heavy verbal spears and blockades about mask wearing actually made me angry. There’s a better way. Work hard to find it for 31. Felt bullied this time. Uncool.


        • #7
          Can we keep the badge life channel on the discord for specific discussion about badges? It makes it so people dont post it to the linecon channel or the other general channels.


          • #8
            I would like to start a village.
            Fragrance Hacking Village.
            We would give people free deodorant and free clothes if they are stinky. They would be picked by goons and given a stick of antiperspirant and told to report to the Fragrance Hacking Village for free clothes and shower.
            We would also do other fragrance hacks like creating our own perfume and whatever is related to fragrances and defcon.


            • JenAMarshmallow
              JenAMarshmallow commented
              Editing a comment
              As there are alot of people with sensitivity to fragrances I think this would not be a good idea accessibility wise unless it was held at a totally different building.

              Additionally people keep mentioning stinky people but I gotta be honest with the masks I couldn't smell anything except the vegas mud water and occasional skunks weed

          • #9
            Actually scrap the shaming part of my other post. We wouldn't shame people by being picked. We would give out gatorade water and free clothes and a shower in a hotel room if they want.


            • #10
              nvm my boss said there too much red tape for this at work to do sorry


              • #11
                Keep the online web store open for merch to avoid 10,000 people lining up for merch and blocking the hall.


                • #12
                  I think it would be useful if the villages stated here or elsewhere if a talk will be recorded or not so that schedules could be planned accordingly. Obviously that isn't Defcon directly but it would be very convenient. I also +1 the better details on badge collection and also location of events in general it was kinda a guessing game of how to get to stuff and to make sure your in the right line/spot.


                  • datadamage
                    datadamage commented
                    Editing a comment
                    YES! Definitely this!

                  • JenAMarshmallow
                    JenAMarshmallow commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I agree wholeheartedly with this one, also I think it might be good to mention to the villages that podcast recordings of the village talks are an option too, that way they don't have to worry as much about the recording stuff needed to video record

                  • D4em0n
                    D4em0n commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Was there an issue recording talks at the villages this year? The ham radio village and RF village didn't record their talks and there were a couple I would have loved to see but I was busy hacking and doing the CTFs.

                • #13
                  • Helpful and kind goons.
                  • Great village workshops

                  • Painfully thick minded and useless goons.
                  • Loud mouthed by passers at village workshops

                  Ohh yeah. Forget the current form of merch lining. It was a scandal. Sort out online ordering and pick up for us that ‘dare’ to pay online, like registration and keep a line hell for those that want to be ‘anonymous’.


                  • #14
                    I miss the old venue; better access to rooms and communities. This setup reminded me too much of black hat .. shuttling to some place w no food and hard to really get to sessions between sites. Since it was cash only no ATMs anywhere and food choices were really limited. Not many sessions were video/transmitted so you could watch when rooms were full which still happened too frequently.

                    upside - space and lots of it so you had a better chance of seeing a session. hope more badges come next year badgelife and a shout out to Ironwood Cyber for their TRON badge.. didn’t get it but it stole the show… LOVE the policy Village! Best new group but it needs to be more of a village where like minded folks can talk versus a room. Every session was overflowed.. Jeff hope you see this let’s expand POLICY VILLAGE! Cyber is a team sport.


                    • #15
                      Sort out Merch so that a long so line you can see it on google maps doesn't develop. Make the linecon more manageable, maybe with a line for pre-reg. Policy village was great, we needed more of that at defcon.

                      Can we *please* make Mental Health Hackers an official village in Defcon 31, mental health is important and defcon as important a conference as it is should treat it as such.