Students using College Wifi report technical errors when buying Trinity Ball tickets

Communications and Marketing officer Julie Smirnova confirmed that “Trinity Wifi became oversaturated due to a high volume of users accessing it at the same time”

Students using College Wifi were blocked from buying tickets for Trinity Ball on Ticketmaster, according to reports made to Trinity News. They were seen as bots with no prompt to complete a CAPTCHA available.

30 students confirmed to Trinity News that when they tried to purchase tickets for Trinity Ball on Ticketmaster using College Wifi, an error page appeared and blocked them from entering the queue to purchase T-Ball tickets.

One student told Trinity News that the error page “was the first pop up after clicking the link in the email [sent by Ticketmaster]” and when they “tried to Google search Ticketmaster”.

Another student said that they arrived on the Ticketmaster website “15 minutes early”, but was unable to get tickets while using the College Wifi. They explained that they noticed other friends who joined the queue later than them had already purchased tickets while they were still on the error page.

The error page read: “Pardon our interruption. As you were browsing something about your browser made us think that you were a bot.”

According to the error page, a person on Ticketmaster may be perceived as a bot when they are moving at “superhuman speed” through the website, when the person has disabled cookies from their web browser, or when a third party browser plugin prevents the JavaScript language programme from operating.

Several students also reported to Trinity News that they did not have any of these problems and were confused why they were registered as a bot.

The error page asked those blocked from proceeding to buy tickets to “complete the CAPTCHA below” to “immediately regain access to the site again”. However, students speaking to Trinity News confirmed that there was no CAPTCHA test below the text to prove that they were not a bot and they were unable to purchase tickets as a result of this.

“There definitely needs to be a different system,” one student said. “Because there wasn’t even a CAPTCHA available on Ticketmaster.”

Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Communications and Marketing Officer Julie Smirnova confirmed that she has “spoken to our Administration Officer about this and was advised that the issue was that Trinity Wifi became oversaturated due to a high volume of users accessing it at the same time”.

“In future, students will be advised to use an alternative network in advance of ticket sales to prevent the issue from recurring.”

College Wifi operates on the main campus, Trinity Hall and other College buildings outside of campus such as College Green. Students speaking to Trinity News confirmed that they were in campus accommodation, Trinity Hall or other parts of campus using College Wifi when the error occurred.

One student living in Printing House Square told Trinity News that they and all of their flatmates received the same error.

Several students told Trinity News that when they switched from using College Wifi to personal data, they “got in straight away”, with some then succeeding in purchasing Trinity Ball tickets.

One student noted that they were purchasing tickets with another student, and while they accessed Ticketmaster with “no hassle” using their data, the other student could not access Ticketmaster while on College Wifi.

Another student claimed that, after switching to 5G on their phone, the CAPTCHA appeared and they were able to proceed to buy tickets.

Between February 20 and February 27, students were required to pre-register for Trinity Ball tickets and create a Ticketmaster account using their College email address. Those who pre-registered for tickets received a unique code to enter on Ticketmaster when entering the queue for purchase. Tickets for Trinity Ball went on sale on Ticketmaster yesterday, March 1.

One student who lives in a non-College affiliated accommodation said that students attempting to buy tickets using the accommodation’s private Wifi also had issues purchasing tickets. Trinity News is awaiting confirmation from the College IT Service Desk for how College Wifi may have affected users on Ticketmaster.

This is the first year that Trinity Ball tickets were on sale on Ticketmaster. Smirnova explained that this decision was made by the Trinity Ball committee, but it is her “understanding that the ticketing system used last year crashed due to extremely high demand, and was replaced with Ticketmaster because it could accommodate the high volume of users trying to purchase tickets”.

“This meant that this morning, although a number of minor issues were reported, the Trinity Ball committee was able to distribute 6000 tickets in under 7 minutes without a system crash.”

The Trinity Ball committee has been contacted for comment.

In a statement to Trinity News, College said: “We can confirm that we do not have any controls or blocks on Ticketmaster site access. Nor were any complaints made to our service desk team.”

Trinity Ball is due to take place on April 14, with Two Door Cinema Club headlining. Trinity Ball this year is operating on reduced capacity due to construction works on campus. TCDSU previously told Trinity News that this will be the last Trinity Ball on campus “for five years”.

Previously, residents of College campus who did not get Trinity Ball tickets were prohibited from entering campus and leaving their apartments between 7pm and 2am.

Ellen Kenny

Ellen Kenny is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News and a Senior Sophister student of Politics and Sociology. She previously served as Assistant Editor and Features Editor