Registration Survey Data (2012)


The fact that Youth Dance Weekend 2012 filled up within 14 hours generated a ton of discussion both online and offline. While the popularity of YDW and strong support for its mission are exciting to us as organizers, the registration crunch raises issues of fairness and accessibility and has challenged us to think about how our registration procedure relates to our larger mission as a weekend.

In response to the many comments and concerns about registration in 2012, the YDW Committee issued a statement and survey to a) share our thinking on the matter and b) gather your opinons about the current process and potential changes for the future. You can read more about the statement and survey here…

We found this data invaluable while shaping our new registration process and want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out a survey. Below you can find a summary and analysis of the results, plus our conclusions about how to use the information.

Data Summary

  • We collected a total of N = 75 responses.
  • Since this survey was open to anyone with the link, it is impossible to calculate a response rate, but if you take our email list of 450 people to be the number of surveys issued, then the response rate equals ~17%.
  • On average, respondents have attended YDW 1.6 times.

We categorized our variables as follows:

  • 2012 Registration Process

    • How well did the 2012 registration process work for you?
      • Pre-registration communication
      • Opening date and time
      • Using the website form
      • How fast registration filled
      • Getting on the waitlist
    • Answers were on a 1-4 scale from “Horrible” to “Excellent”.
  • Attendance

    • How important is it that various groups of people be able to attend YDW?
      • Me, personally
      • My friends
      • Newcomers
      • Veterans
      • People who attended before, but not last year
    • Answers on 1-5 scale from “Unimportant” to “Very Important”
  • Registration Systems

    • Do you support the following registration systems?
      • First Come, First Serve
      • Lottery
      • Reserved slots for newcomers
      • Delayed registration for veterans
      • Staggered registration
    • Answers on a 1-5 scale from “Strongly Oppose” to “Strongly Support”

We also asked people to identify their registration status in regards to the 2012 weekend with the following results:


2012 registration status - barplot

  • 67% registered for YDW 2012
  • 17% were on the waitlist
  • 7% considered joining the waitlist
  • 9% were not interested in attending YDW 2012


2012 Registration Process

In general, people thought the 2012 process went okay, but they were most upset at how quickly registration filled.

process variables - barplot

  • Most people (80%) were aware of the registration start date and time.
  • 70% responded that pre-registration communication was “fine” or “excellent”
  • 60% said that the opening date and time were “fine” or “excellent”
  • 80% had no problems using the website
  • 75% said that the speed at which registration filled was less than “fine” and of those responses 14% said it was “horrible”.



In terms of who should be able to attend YDW, newcomers were highly favored, while “people who went but not last year” seem to be the least important.

attendance variables - pie charts

  • 94% (!) responded that it was either “important” or “very important” that new people be able to attend YDW.
    • No one said it was unimportant for new people to attend.
  • About 60% said it was “very important” for themselves to be able to attend.
  • 60% (though not necessarily the same individuals) also said that it was either “very important” or “important” that their friends be able to attend.
    • However, this group also had the highes proportion of the “unimportant” votes.
  • ~60% said it was only “somewhat important” or “unimportant” that people who went last year be able to attend again.

 Given previous year’s attendance, we think YDW is fairly accesible to newcomers, but it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to making sure it remains so.

Newcomers 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Total 179 145 151 161 141
1st Time 179 96 78 77 56
Percentage 100% 66% (? 34%) 52% (? 14%) 48% (? 4%) 40% (? %8)


Registration Systems

As for changes in the registration process, it seems to be an even split between support for first come, first serve (FCFS) and support for lottery.


registration variables - barplot

  • Combined 49% “support” or “strongly support” the first come, first serve system
  • 40% either “support” or “strongly” support a lottery system.
  • A majority (73%) believe that we should reserve spots for newcomers


Waitlist Payment

We also received copious feedback about how our waitlist works, specifically whether payment should be required to join the waitlist. The overwhelming majority of respondents prefered to not pay up front when joining the waitlist.

waitlist payment - pie chart

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DISCLAIMER: Our sample size (N=75) is rather small and some of the tests below violate statistical assumptions. That being said, while the conclusions drawn are of limited statistical power, the observed trends are interesting to examine and have helped guide the YDW Committee in our decisions regarding registration.

Attendence vs. Registration Method

After assessing the general responses, we wanted to know more about how an individual’s responses for the questions about future registrations were correlated. In other words, did someone who said it was important for the them to personally attend oppose a lottery system? Were those in favor of newcomer’s attending also in favor of delayed registration? To determine patterns we made a large contingency table:


attendance & process variables - correlation table

  • Across the board, it was very important to people that newcomers be able to attend YDW. Unsurprisingly, this correlated with strong support for reserved slots for newcomers (Spearman’s rank correlation,  = 0.4, p-value = 0.0003)
  • Those that indicated that it was important or very important that they personally be able to attend YDW more strongly favored FCFS than a lottery (Spearman’s rank correlation, ρ = 0.39, p-value = 0.0005)


FCFS vs. Lottery by Registration Status

We also wanted to test if 2012 Registration Status was correlated with level of support for the various Registration Systems.

Those who were able to get into YDW 2012 were generally supportive of FCFS.

fcfs by registration status - barplot

However, Pearson’s Chi-square test shows that Support for FCFS and Registration Status appear to be independent (?2 = 14.75, df = 12, p-value = 0.26).

Opinions on using a lottery system were more mixed, especially amongst those who registered for YDW 2012.

lottery by registration status - barplot


Yet, once again these variables are independent. (?2 = 17.84 df = 12, p-value = 0.12)

Finally, we tested whether those who supported FCFS also supported a lottery.


fcfs vs. lottery - contigency table


There does seem to be a negative correlation between support for FCFS and support for a lottery (Spearman’s rank correlation, ? = -0.41, p-value = 0.0003) and these two variables are NOT independent (?2 = 25.5611, df = 16, p-value = 0.06). The greatest number of people support both FCFS and lottery.

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Our main take-aways from all this were:

  1. Whatever registration method we use, we should be sure that newcomers continue to be able to attend.
  2. The window of opportunity to register should be open for a longer period of time.
  3. We shouldn’t make people pay to be on the waitlist.
  4. Support for FCFS is slightly more widespread while support for a lottery is slightly more intense, but it is highly unlikely that either of those trends gets beyond sampling error. There is support for both systems.

The follow up to all of this, of course, was that we implemented much of this data in our decision to switch from FCFS to a lottery system. You can read much more about the changes and our though process behind them over here.

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