2016 Regional Swap feedback

Discussion in 'Events & Announcements' started by Vhuang168, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Let's give the BOD some feedback on this last swap!


    Things that could be done better/different!?!

    Rants!?! (Soapboxes for rent!)

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. travis furia

    travis furia Guest

    I loved is. Had a blast. The swap started a few minutes late but who cares! I would say it was perfect. It would be nice to see a few more venders but other then that it was awsome.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. cbrennan4

    cbrennan4 Guest

    I had a great time as well and hat's off to the BOD for a really well organized event! There was a great turn out and I was able to pick up some nice pieces in the swap and a few from the vendors as well. I really enjoyed the raffle and the BOD did a great job procuring some really nice prizes. I was lucky enough to walk away with the Legendary Corals prize pack and the Frag-A-Rack.
    A suggestion for future raffles would be to use the raffle ticket method some of the other clubs employ where they sell tickets in groups of 20 that have the same number. Makes it easier to track down your number especially with the faster pace of the raffle.
  4. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    First off, I am not bitching and moaning at anyone even though it may sound like it. Had another bad night of cluster feeding and I don't get to sleep in anymore so might not be spelling out what I mean to say.

    Picking announcement, I overheard there was an issue with a laptop and a connector? I'm guessing there was a standard VGA connector and someone brought a mac or some newer computer that only had HDMI slots? (and this part is NOT a criticize of the announcers, you guys did a bang up job!) but letters like B, C, D, E, G (i.e. most of the picking groups) do sound very similar when said over an old speaker system in a large area so sometimes it was hard to hear what was coming up next etc.

    Club invests in universal video adapter(s), maybe one both for a mac or a PC (although I think most windows based computers still have the legacy VGA port)
    A sheet of paper with a letter on it on the podium

    Coral labeling, I only looked at the softie/zoa area so I'm unsure if this was isolated or widespread. But many labels were inadequate. I'm and old salty reefer so I don't need to know light, tank flow, etc, I can google that stuff if I really didn't know, but have some description of what the coral is should be a BARe minimum. If you don't know the exact coral that's fine, "Acropora sp, stick, zoa, etc" works great and if you don't know some fancy proper name that's OFTEN used, that's fine too, but at least tell us what color the coral is. I get that people are often stuffing these into containers right before they leave for the swap, and I'm appreciative of the generosity of others who gave lots of corals and may not have time to make fancy labels, but the day of the swap, turn your lights on a few hours before you leave to let all your zoas open up or what not, so you can actually tell what is what.

    Coral checkers be more diligent in moving corals from registration to coral tables. I realize that it's often a matter of just going on instinct saying "zoa, zoa, zoa, LPS table" but if you don't see any description, make them write it on there. Maybe even get to the point of letting people know it's not acceptable and your corals will not be accepted. I dunno. This has been a problem that has gone on the entire history of BAR and no solution has been found, implemented and actually worked, plenty of solutions, not much implementation, so you don't know if solutions actually would work.

    Just something to throw out there, but a more comprehensive "this is what is acceptable frag sizes" and have it based on specific corals. I.e. zoas, most bonus/rare zoas needed more than a single polyp, so if you put a single polyp of an "unknown" zoa into a container it's not cool. Mike (Ender) wants to do away with birdsnest (I'm guessing the pink variety, or maybe the not so pink more brown variety), maybe have corals that are on the way to being banned have size minimums, want to give a birdsnest, you need a mini-colony. You want to put GSP in, then it is required to be on a rock the cross section of a baseball, even if that means a larger container is necessary.. And only ONE of these "borderline" corals per person, if you have more than make your 'frags' larger. There are people who still do occasionally want those corals, and if no one picks them, then put them on the freebe table AFTER the swap (then throw them away and keep the container if no one picks them still), the idea of a newbie table is great, but is it really a nice thing to do to give them a coral that potentially will grow out of control and take over their tank?
  5. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    I had fun at my first ever frag swap, but was not expecting an all day event. I was exhausted once I got home because I also had to drive the length of the Bay Area round trip from Santa Rosa to San Jose.

    To reduce the length of time, I suggest limiting he groups "A" to "F," and on the second alphabet round and after allow people to pick two corals. Too bad the projector was down, because in addition to displaying the group letter on the screen, combining it with a winning raffle ticket number over two picking groups would also expedite the process.

    Also, registration should be limited to 60 minutes and the swap start at noon instead of 1pm. I drove over 70+ miles to get there but arrived promptly at 11, yet the cafeteria felt empty of members until 12:30. That way, there's plenty of time to socialize after the event and get people to help tear down.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  6. dswong01

    dswong01 Supporting Member

    We should not accept frags of corals unless they are mounted. There were 5 or more frags of green nepthea that were unmounted.
  7. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Hmm, I think I had that "what color are these zoos" issue, so I turned on the lights and waited..

    I think it ran well. I mean, at least I got a piece of green birdsnest!

    I admit I did some night-before fragging, mostly for anemones since they tend to walk away from whatever rock you got them from, so they are best served fresh. But it was nice to see pre-mounted frags. Maybe we should require that frags must come on some frag plug, either a disk or golf-tee shaped one, or some rubble.

    Back in the day, we actually had frag demos/meetings and explained how frags can be made and mounted. Maybe we could combine a frag swap with a frag talk, so while people are waiting for their group to be called (I was in group J!) we can actually make use of that time, (aside from mingling) to hear some thoughts/ideas on fragging. My kids got bored waiting, since they didn't chat with reefer friends, so they played on their tablets for hours. I can see that maybe we can ask people to volunteer to talk about how they go about fragging corals, etc. Doesn't have to be formal or anything. Just a thought for the future.

    I agree with Mike on "a piece of paper with the picking group", as a good indicator of current picking group.

    And my advice to attendees ... bring a lot of frags. Why? Because there are frags YOU want there, and if you can distract other people with the awesome frags YOU brought, they are less competition for your own frags!

    container standardization: Looks like most of use buy containers at Smart and Final. But do the small ones contain enough water for a coral to comfortably sit in for 6 hours or so? Maybe move up a size? Maybe make a minimum size? I don't know if they corals actually suffer for it, but having more original water volume might make it easier to account for spilled water or make acclimation easier on them.

    label standards: I don't know how many times this one's been rehashed and at one point someone made a template, made to print out to a standard Avery label size. Maybe we encourage the use of a template? Otherwise, they seemed fine to me, except some people have terrible handwriting!

    I think it ran well though, I think we've done enough of these things in the decade of BARs existence that things are streamlined. It's a matter of how each member "packages" frags that can make it "better". And my suggestion on small talks is just something we could offer as a live forum to help pass the time between picks, especially if you are in the A or J groups!

    We should encourage people to bring their used equipment for sale or swap at the frag swap too, it's a good way to squeeze in some more stuff while the big room is rented out. Let's people clean up their garages and share items?

    ALso ... I personally disagree with banned corals. I think there should be a "common corals" or "easy to care for corals" table for newbies.

  8. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    This goes towards something I'm very guilty of ... not fragging a month ahead of time so the frags can encrust to a plug. Hard to enforce.
  9. boun11

    boun11 Supporting Member

    I had a lot of fun chatting with old faces.

    Before the "Free for All round" I overheard a dad telling his son (maybe 5 or 6 year old) "come on let go pick your first coral." I think it would be great to have 1 round of any kids that want to go pick their first coral go and pick before the "Free for All round." Even with all of the madness that kid was able to pick two corals :)
    Newjack and travis furia like this.
  10. Benaminh

    Benaminh Guest

    You sound like a drug dealer o_O

    ...the first one's free....
    Coral reefer likes this.
  11. Yippee

    Yippee Supporting Member

    I believe there were more people that came last year. Figuring out how to increase the attendance should be a priority.

    If there is a type of coral that is in abundance and last to be picked, I think it would be a good idea to ban/discourage the coral. It would be good for the swap to have a balanced variety. Having a donation table for these corals should be available.

    I had a good time and came home with some nice picks. Brought 8 and took home 5. Crystal Flame, Neon Monti, Gonzo's Mushroom, Space Monsters and Molten Lava Lepto.
  12. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I really like this idea. During the free for all one of my daughters held something up and said this looks nice, should we get it? I'm like "Honey, it's the free for all, if you like it hold onto it". My other girl was watching netflix. It would have been nice to let them wander through and pick something ... though it's true they wouldn't know if the tank specs were capable of keeping the frag alive by reading the labels, but I think any "hard to keep corals" have already gone. Common corals are common because they are hard to keep. Let's face it, GSP is so easy to keep we consider it a trash coral, but if you look at it, it's actually beautiful!

  13. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Another thought is that maybe people should bring more than three frags. Having three different varieties is less important. Maybe drop that two two varieties, but say you need to bring 4 frags minimum, even if it's one frag of coral A and three frags of coral B.

  14. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Im onboard with getting Birdsnest on the ban list. Every swap Ive been too Ive always seen a ton of it. The swap shouldn't be a dumping ground. If nothing else put it on the free table. I also like the idea that we should move it up to registration at 11 swap at 12. There is always going to be some issues with anything we do but overall it went pretty well. The vendors were a perfect fit for the swap.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  15. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    I think the ton of birdsnest was meant to be generous so everyone could have a frag that wanted one, not to be dumped. All of that birdsnest only counted as 1 frag entry, I think. Aren't there always people who would be pleased with GSP, Xenia, Kenya tree, birdsnest, common montis? If you ban too much there is nothing for newbies.
    My other comment is that when I had my first reef tank back around 2001 frags were MUCH larger. I was shocked when I attended my first swap last year and saw the downsizing. haha Also, does almost no one keep Caulastrea, Tubipora, Turbinaria, Pectinia, Colt coral (I saw it is banned), yellow polyps, table acros anymore? Maybe being in group J at the swap I missed seeing some of the variety. I hope I can get some new corals in circulation for non-SPS folks.
    AWESOME swap! I also love the idea of some sort of semi-planned activities during the swap, a used material swap (doesn't really compete with livestock vendors), and a shorter registration time. Lots of reef enthusiasts there who would have loved to talk shop and share stories I bet, but I didn't speak to many people.
    Coral reefer and travis furia like this.
  16. It was a great swap -- very well run. I hate even chiming in with suggestions, but since you asked....
    1) Shorter round times. Four minutes was too long.
    2) More room in the frag area. The tables were just to close together and with the poor labeling on some it made it impossible to see what was what if you were stuck behind someone (plus I'm short.)
    3) The labeling seemed much worse than the other swaps I've been too this year. Not sure what can be done about this though. Maybe if there was some way to provide a standard sticky label with lines to write info.
    4) I'd cut sown on the total groups by two or three. Ten groups was just too many especially at 4 minutes per. If the table are spaced better you could cut the number of groups down to seven or eight and it would be quicker.
    5) I'd love to see a members equipment table area. An actual place to swap and sell equipment. We all have closets full of it. A simple label on a item with a club members name and a number to text while inside the swap would be all that's necessary. Perhaps someone to watch the area. People could peruse the items and then test the seller to meet at the table.
    6) The last swap had a better set-up for tables. It was fewer but larger round tables. It encouraged people sitting together and conversing.
  17. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    I agree with @Yippee about the importance of attendance. More people means more corals being swapped, vendors are happier with more traffic, and there's more people to converse with. This is also arguably the hardest thing to control though. I think the BoD did all they could to encourage attendance so I'm not implying that there was a shortfall on their end. The raffle prizes were great and putting up flyers at the lfs was a great idea too (thanks @Enderturtle).
  18. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    The ton of birdsnest came from Nav's tank breakdown. I was instructed to frag it down and bring it to the swap. If I didn't bring them, it wouldn't have been that bad. I saw maybe 4-5 from other reefers. We also want to consider that birdsnest covers a wide variety of coral. Technically my ORA Bird of Paradise is also a birdsnest as is the Ponape. The people doing the registration already have a lot on their hands. They can always use more helpers if someone wants to volunteer to police the incoming frags.

    I felt that 10 groups was way too many. Some groups only had 3. Maybe limit the groups to 6? That way people aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs while waiting on their group to be called again?

    I think a way to generate interest is to have super nice corals in the swap. But we have to make it worth the peoples time and money to frag 1 of their nice pieces to swap. People who bring ultras hope that others bring ultras to swap. I certainly was and was fortunate @Dominic Lucero brought a frag of RR The Vinh which I managed to snag. If people are sure there will be nice pieces equal to what they are going to bring, more will be willing to make the trip and the effort to frag their prized corals.

    I propose an Ultra round. Everyone that brings an ultra gets 1 ticket. Even if you bring 10 ultras you get 1 ticket. But you can trade 2 bonus rounds tickets for another ultra ticket. Only 1 ultra round. 3 mins.

    This rewards the people bringing ultras. Also encourages them to bring ultras and more bonus corals.
    Dominic Lucero, neuro and Enderturtle like this.
  19. jestersix

    jestersix Sponsor

    So now a Vendor will chime in...

    Overall a really nice swap - I chuckle at the folks talking about travel for the event, I drive four hours to get to the swap at least an hour before it opens to set up - and I'm the rock guy! The livestock vendors really have a challenge. If the frag starts too much earlier it might be an issue for Vendors. I would encourage everyone to try and save up to buy at least one item from a vendor, it really helps encourage a good selection! Doesn't have to be a big ticket item, they always have awesome examples of beginner corals.

    I know BAR always used to have a template for labels available - I may even have it saved on my computer. Everyone was encouraged to use that template to label their frags.

    It seems the clubs are doing things to try and encourage higher end corals, and in so doing are pushing frag sizes down. I didn't check on this swap, but other swaps have allowed a bonus ticket for "x" number of frags - seems like folks will try to squeeze out a few more frags to grab another bonus ticket. Having done check in myself more than a few times, not sure how you get around the size and labelling issue - but if you do it will make for a better swap. I recall in my hobbyist days driving the four hours one way because BAR always had HUGE frags - I took home more than one mini colony from a BAR swap (including gorgeous Ponope and Bird of Paradise mini colonies, LOL. Hey, I love birdsnests). Maybe have a bonus for larger frags or mini colonies?

    I know I had a ton of positive feedback from my Aquascaping meeting - pretty sure you could get a Coral Vendor to come talk about frags and fragging (in a pinch I would be happy to, I've done a ton of fragging over the years) and those guys are Pros! Sharing experience makes everything better. We should be constantly improving our skill set, and BAR can certainly be a part of the exchange of information to do just that.

    As a sponsor for a number of clubs, it seems there is a shift towards Social Media that the clubs are not picking up on. Forums are increasingly quiet with the exception of the bigger "internet only" forums like Reef2reef, Nanoreef or that other big one I never look at...Not sure what the answer is; however I do sponsor a club that does not have a traditional web page forum set up - they are exclusively Social Media based and are very successful. I'm past the age curve to really understand how all that plays out, but just know there is a new trend for sure.

    Every member of BAR has something to contribute - this is a great club with a fantastic history. Please get involved - many hands make for a light and successful event. Thanks to the BOD, the members and especially those that spent their hard earned money with me! Thank you for letting jestersix be involved...
  20. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    - Remember the spirit of the swap is that we want to share (and thus "back up") our corals with each other, and of course to get a piece of something you don't have. The idea of "ultra" frags is understandable, but what makes them "ultra rare?" is it that they are extra beautiful AND hard to keep? Well consider that Bubble Tip Rose Anemones were once so hard to keep (and beautiful) that a single specimen would sell for around $200. But as time went on, some hardier specimens were introduced, that cloned well... I have one and have brought MANY of them to the swaps.
    So .. it is no longer "ultra". If there was some "Nuclear Sunburst Acan" that everyone covets as "ultra", it's probably because when it was first discovered and harvested for hobbiests, each tiny frag was $100, so OF COURSE we consider it rare and ultra. But as time goes on and as frags are shared, it is less "ultra rare".... isn't this part of the goal of the swap? So that we can share beautiful pieces with each other and help the frags stay in the community? Like I've said before, I love GSP, it's colorful and looks so very cool ... but it's banned because it's so hardy and every one has them. Ditto with devil's hand and toadstools....common because they are hardy and almost everyone has them, but they are nice! Frogspawn and torch corals are great, but "common".

    BUT ... who determines what's banned and what's ultra rare? and why are there rules for them at the swap? I think all frags should be welcomed...and to some extent I think ultra should be less ultra BUT I totally understand that if you paid $100 for a cool zoa colony, you want to swap polyps for other $100 frags... I get that.
    So maybe there SHOULD be a ultra rare frag table ... but I suggest that maybe the ultra rare table be it's own side-swap... So along with the regular swapping, the few ultra bringers can simply gather at another table, put their frags down and just swap them among themselves if they want. OR they can put their frag into the common swap.

    I'm just sort of against the idea that "These 10 people get to pick 5 times first because they brought five frags of Nuclear Sunburst Acans each". I'd much rather have those 10 people, if they want, swap their rare corals among themselves, but then for the common pool of frags, they simply take their place in their groups like everyone else.

    - As for groups. I think the numbers can be spread out better with a less random group picking.
    Currently, you show up, put your hand in a bucket and pick a group. That's great except ... you put the letter back into the bucket. A simple method to get a more uniform distribution is what we call a "greedy algorithm" in programming. After someone picks a letter from bucket A, they place the USED letter into bucket B. People pick from bucket A until it's empty, then they pick from bucket B and discard the consumed letter into bucket A, repeat. This way at the end, there is a uniform distribution of people in each group with only a few groups with at most one extra person.

    Newjack and jestersix like this.

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