Rule 1: Do Not Speak of Parking Hack. Cartoonist’s Hint Violated The Rule?

From the Jackson Hole News & Guide:

This Lift Lines cartoon by Ryan Stolp ignited a firestorm on Instagram from commenters accusing the author of intentionally revealing flaws in the parking gate software at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The loophole was removed the next day. Stolp said he had no idea how the cartoon would be interpreted to impact employees and stood by his comic.

Cartoonist Ryan Stolp hinted at some hacks for regulars and employees at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in a the March 14 issue of his three times a week Lift Lines cartoon for the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

As the Cowboy State Daily explains the loophole exist because of:

an entry grace period which would allow parkers to quickly change their minds and exit the lot for whatever reason within 15 minutes. If instead, a user were to also use the online app ParkWhiz to prepay within the grace period, they could choose that “exit for free” option without actually leaving until the end of the day.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide explains it this way:

He pressed a button on the screen at an automatic gate, which spit out a ticket for parking. Then he opened the ParkWhiz website, which prompted his phone’s camera to scan a QR code on the paper ticket. Because it was inside the grace period for free parking, the website guided him to check out without a charge. This was performing an open secret known among resort employees as “the hack.”

The News & Guide explains the cartoon’s depiction of the levels of secrecy:

“Well, I’m not going to blow up any of these actual hacks,” Stolp said, “which is why I kind of spun the comic into a hierarchy of secrecy.”

The cartoon is a three-tiered gatekeeping scheme.

First, a skier’s personal powder stash is depicted under lock and key. Then, the first tram or free lift ticket hookup is even more heavily shielded behind barbed wire and prison-esque security. Finally, “Free parking at the resort hack” is the most fiercely defended behind a guarded gate labeled with the acronym for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

It is acknowledged by all that management knew of the parking lot “hack” and pretty much ignored it. That is until grumbling by the hackers blew up on Stolp’s Instagram page, in effect telling the world of the parking system’s glitch leaving those in control no choice but to put a stop to it.

Back to the Cowboy State Daily:

At face value, to the uninformed, the comic discloses very little. Only those in-the-know would have filled in the blanks and when they did, the chatter on socials only sealed their parking fate.

“As an outsider, this gave nothing away. The commentors did that,” wrote Jacqueline Karsten.

“The irony is that if this comic comments had not blown up the hack still might work,” commented Julie Wilson.

The secret seemed to be safe with in-crowd until they turned on one of their own.

Cartoonist Ryan seemingly responds to the situation in a follow-up cartoon.

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