Due to space, you can only accept a certain number of participants.
Now, say your "program" has become insanely popular. You're successful, you're doing something people love, and you suddenly have a "wait list" of people all wanting into those limited spots. This is pretty ideal, as far as the program's success is concerned.
But... those participants who are left out start to whine. They don't want to be on the wait list. For whatever reason, you can't fit them in, and darn it if they aren't going to try every trick in the book to figure out how to get in.
A few things I have seen:
- Begging. (This runs the gamut from polite "please?" to full out drama-queens that say you're ruining the life of them/their family/their friends)
- Offering bribes.
- Harassing the volunteers working for you (begging or generally being a nuisance).
- Threatening to tell others not to attend your event or threatening to get others to leave.
- Insulting the organizer's "business skills" for not providing enough space for them.
- Threatening to get the organizer fired "and you'll be jobless and homeless and never work in this field again!" (....these people don't realize that it's volunteer)
- Threatening to set up an even better version that will steal people away from yours (have fun organizing it and getting all the volunteers you need, dude!)... and then, when you appear unphased by that "threat," they then ask for all of your notes and contacts on how you developed your program/event, as well as for your help in doing it (wait, wut?).
This happens with shows. This happens with conventions. This happens with banquets. This happens with camps. This happens with MMO raids; it happens for raiding slots on the roster itself. You know what? If your program has a first-come, first-serve policy, if you showed up late to registration or your raid, tough luck, try to get in next time. Or if it has requirements and a ranking system preferential to the best applicants/participants (including hardcore guilds and competitions), oh well: try harder to improve before you come around again. The world doesn't revolve around a single person: it's a group effort, and others want that spot just like you do.
The most outrageous (and hilarious) that I have seen is one from outside of the game, where a mother threatened to drop her child off at an event that had no further registration space and said "there won't be anything you can do about it!".... to which the organizer calmly quoted her the phone number for Child Protective Services, as 'they are usually involved in cases of child abandonment.'
In the case of a recurring event, rotation can be set up (such as we often see in WoW raids): those on the previous event's wait-list may get priority on sign-ups for the next event. This, of course, can only work to a point: the person still needs to actually sign up and submit all appropriate paperwork (medical documents, bio forms, payment, etc). Showing up unannounced to the limited event because you think you're entitled to a spot just means you'll get embarrassment; the best you can do is to just be available on a wait list and ready to hop in if a spot opens up. Going around saying you're going to an event when you haven't even been invited/listed/registered is also a sure way to get embarrassed.
I will say this, though:
Being polite, helpful, and understanding will get you much further than being a PitA.
So, limited spots: acknowledge them. Apply for those spots following the rules set out by the leadership. If you missed out, don't be a pain about it... especially if it's being run by volunteers who aren't getting paid to put up with BS.
Disclaimer: no, this wasn't sparked by anything from my current raiding situation :) breath easy, my guildies!