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  • November 28, 2015, 02:39:10 PM

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Author Topic: Bogus names on attendance list  (Read 578 times)

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Bogus names on attendance list
« on: Today at 04:29:27 AM »
Dear eHellions,

I'm the co-organizer of my company's Christmas dinner (about 40-50 people attending out of 150). I create an online form for people to sign up, and send the link along with teasers and other info about the party. Everybody pays for their dinner and the company kindly provides some items/a little money for raffles and door prizes. We are a growing company, with new faces every year,  and have internal and external employees (ie, some belong to other companies and prefer going to their company's Xmas do, but a number come to ours, or both). The atmosphere is friendly and in general, we all get along quite well. Ages range from twentysomething juniors to 50+. At the dinner, we have a Secret Santa and a team quiz -this is what we did last year and it was very well received. The organizers (Jack and I) are volunteers.

This year, we are having an inordinate amount of bogus entries (like Superman, Bill Gates, or "me"), five so far, and this muddles up the form, as entries cannot be deleted (last year there was only one fake). I know that in all, it's not that much. Some people have joked to me about it, and so far I've joked back ("yeah, looks like we'll have some important guests"), especially since they certainly aren't the ones that inserted the fake names and at the time I felt I should brush it off and ignore it (I'm keeping a clean copy of the list elsewhere).

Others are frankly unimpressed, and have let me know to offer commiseration. After all, we are all adults and this is something I'd expect in high school. I agreed and thanked them for their support.

I'm quite sure Jack has received similar comments, but we haven't talked about it as we are busy with other issues (both party- and job-related).

Now for my question: should we, as organizers, "officially" address the issue? I'm leaning towards ignoring, but I don't want to send the message that this is all right, or have it happen on other forms (we organize other socializing activities during the year, and I'm generally involved). What do you think? Ignore or address? If so, how?

Many thanks for reading!  :)


  • Boring in real life as well
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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #1 on: Today at 05:44:51 AM »
I think I'd send something out reminding people that you need a firm number, the fake guests aren't helping and this is going to hinder your plans.
Nothing to see here.

Awestruck Shmuck

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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #2 on: Today at 05:54:48 AM »
Can you be gentle/a little silly, and still make the point? Maybe it won't help with this years event - but in future add a note to the first invitation/email asking people to quit messing?
for this year though:
"Hi All, we've had some special guests register their attendance - Super Man and the Tooth Fairy are coming as plus-ones apparently, and as you can imagine such high profile guests add significant workload to the volunteers plates - so unless you will be covering the cost of their plates, please avoid inviting superheroes or mythical/magical characters! Thanks, Social Committee"
It's so silly that you have to deal with that - as you say, they are adults!! Being on a social committee can be such a chore when people don't do some basic cooperating. I'm annoyed for you!!


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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #3 on: Today at 06:39:31 AM »
that's annoying. Can't yoru IT people identify where the emails are being sent from? (We also use an online form program and we *are* able to delete/amend entries)

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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #4 on: Today at 08:58:30 AM »
Understand that this is really annoying (especially if you can't delete from the automated form) but how is it affecting the organising process?

If you have a clean copy of the list, minus the five or so bogus names, then you have the information you need about actual numbers or am I missing something?

I'd be inclined to ignore unless it was causing a lot of extra work (maybe it is?). Mostly because I'm unsure how much effort you'd need to expend to get it to stop.

IME, people who get the giggles over anonymously providing bogus names are not likely to respond to requests to stop doing so because they think they're hilarious and get a kick out of doing it. The annoyance factor can be an added bonus, sometimes, depending on the person involved. That's based on a few pranksters I've known over the years. YMMV.


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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #5 on: Today at 12:31:00 PM »
I would be really straightforward.

"A reminder to register for the Christmas party.
However, please do NOT fill in a fake name on the form; the system won't let us delete them, and they're getting in the way and making our job more difficult.
If you're not coming, just don't file anything."


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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #6 on: Today at 12:42:36 PM »
I agree with Psychopoesie -- I'm not seeing this as problematic. Maybe I'm just not understanding why you can't/don't ignore the fake names unless it's something like the superheros get a double entry into the raffle? If that's the case and Superman wins, when Clark comes up to accept his prize? Disqualify him due to the double entry.

At the same time, I know you want to nip this in the bud because it is irritating and can become a problem.

Since you are already receiving responses, I think it's a bit late this time to address the situation, but for next time:

With some of those automatic forms you can set it up were certain fields must be filled in before submitting. Can you set it up with one spot being the phone extension or return e-mail? Or set it up so that only one response is allowed.

Maybe some sort of notice with your next event stating something like "Bogus entries are not acceptable and may disqualify you from the entire event."


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Re: Bogus names on attendance list
« Reply #7 on: Today at 12:49:21 PM »
First off, thank you for your answers and support!

The form is anonymous, so there is no way of identifying the pranksters. It's a Google form, where the first thing I see is the "bad" number (which cannot be edited), and there's a link to a spreadsheet which is editable (by me). So what happens is that every.single.time, I go "Oh, dear! X more people have signed up!", and a second later "...let me check the spreadsheet... it's mostly the fakes (sigh)". A minor annoyance indeed, and if this is the worst thing that comes up, I'll be one happy organizer :D

I'm concerned that saying nothing may set a precedent that it's all right to do so; but I also share Psychopoesie's point about some people actually being spurred by the attention and make matters worse.

I like Awestruck Shmuck's suggestion of preemptively addressing the issue on future occasions (and I love your wording for this one! :) ), but I may go for a more neutral tone. Since I'm usually a gentle jokes person, a change of tone might better convey that no-one is amused. How about:

"Please do not enter fake names, since the form isn't fully editable and it makes it more difficult to keep track of attendants. Thank you!"

(by the way, my country's language is not English, so this is the closest translation).

Note: I was typing my answer (I'm a painfully sloooowww writer) and Toots responded with a suggested wording along the lines of what I was thinking, so I may be on to something there! :)

Note 2: Some very good suggestions from jpcher too. Did I mention I am a slow writer?  :P