Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

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Mofessor
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Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Mofessor » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:12 pm

Burning The Man: Burning Man’s Ticket (& PR) Fiasco
FEBRUARY 7, 2012
tags: Burning Man, Burning Man Ticket Fiasco, Crisis PR tips

By Alyssa Royse

I miss PR. I was good at it. Hell, there was a time when both Fast Company and PR News declared me one of the best. Not because I liked working a billion hours a week, which is what it would have taken to rise to the top of my profession, but because I have some weird instinctual ability to know how people want a story told to them. I particularly love Crisis PR. That’s some fun stuff. It’s the greatest challenge, but can also have the greatest rewards. In the short-attention-span, high-adrenaline way that I like to live, that’s the juice.

Last week was a distracting orgy of PR catastrophes. Between Burning Man and Komen,  some smart people were doing really dumb things. But, at my heart, I’m a Burner, and I really want to fix this. I can’t, because it has nothing to do with me. I do have friends who are involved in BMORG (the organizing offices of Burning Man,) and I think the world of them. They are good, smart, well-intentioned people who, collectively, really screwed the pooch on this one. They are feeling, understandably, attacked and therefore defensive. They have been noticeably silent in all the social media hubub about the ticketing fiasco, except to throw the occasional barb on my (and other friends) Facebook walls when we bitch about the new ticketing process. I can’t say I blame them, I’d feel attacked too.

But there are ways to fix this. Yes, it started as a disastrous change to how the event is ticketed, but now it is a full-blown PR disaster, and ignoring it will only make it worse. On the upside, the ticket fiasco seems to be taking a back seat. On the downside, distrust, anger and dissolution are now in the driver’s seat. You cannot sit quiet on this one.

So, if I were doing PR for my beloved Burning Man (or anyone else in a PR crisis,) here’s what I’d tell you to do. And how. This is good PR advice for anyone, take it. Use it. Really.

1. OWN IT!  So far, all we’ve heard from BMORG is, essentially, “chill, there’s not really a problem.” Well, if the vast majority of your constituents are telling you there is a problem, then there is a problem. And they are telling you what it is.

Are you tempted to say, “eh, it’s only a couple hundred people on Facebook?” Generally speaking, it takes 1,000 readers to get 1 comment.  So for every 1 comment you see, there are about 1,000 people who agree with it, but aren’t saying anything. On both sides.

When everyone is telling you that there is a problem, and you tell them that there isn’t a problem, you are essentially telling them that you do not trust or value their opinion, and that you know better. That is an especially large problem in this case since your constituents told you, leading up to the change, that there would be problems. This was predicted by your followers, and you told them they were wrong. Now it’s all happening, and you’re telling them it isn’t happening. They are not stupid, and by not acknowledging the reality of the problem, you are telling them that you think they are. 

You simply have to acknowledge that there is a problem. Fundamentally, you cannot have a dialog with a group of people if you can’t even agree on a starting point for the discussion. That starting point is the foundation of the solution and you MUST go where your constituents are. They are having a problem, you must have it with them. Without that, any solution will fail. It will make the problem worse.

Dear Burners, we, the BMORG, really messed this up. We had the best intentions, and it just plain didn’t work. We are as frustrated as you are, as confused as you are, and are really trying to find a way out of this mess. Many of you don’t have tickets, and without you, none of us have a Burning Man. We get it. Yes, we should have seen it coming, it’s not like you didn’t warn us, but we didn’t. It’s kind of like we were over protective parents – we had the best intentions, but we didn’t know what we were doing, we didn’t ask for help, and now we’ve gotten our whole family lost.

2. FEEL THEIR PAIN. Ultimately, you want your users to trust your brand. (And don’t give me this “community” and “family” crap right now. You are a brand, and you are dependent on your users to trust and use your brand. Then, and only then, can you go back to calling us all a community and a family.)

You need to show actual empathy for the constituents that are alienated by your current policy decisions. Acknowledge that you know this is more than a vacation, more than a week in the sun, more than some humpity-hump to the wumpity-wump. Acknowledge that you have violated the trust of your users, and that you understand how that makes them feel.

So now we have to get us un-lost, and we know that’s going to be extra hard because you don’t trust us anymore.  You feel like we let you down, and frankly, we kind of agree.

We know that Burning Man is more than a party, it’s a lifestyle. It’s an act of generosity in which you go all-out to create art and others go-all out to appreciate it. We know that, without you, we have nothing. And we know that we’re at risk of losing you.

No matter how good our intentions were, we’ve left you, quite literally, out in the cold, all dressed up with nowhere to go. So why would you believe us if we asked you to trust us, and come to our party anyway?

3. BE HUMAN. Right now, by pretending that there isn’t a problem and that you did nothing wrong, you are furthering the rift between you and the community that you are actually trying to serve. The relationship between a brand and it’s consumers is no different between that of two lovers. Imagine that you caught your lover in a lie that caused a great deal of damage to your relationship, and they just looked you in the eye and said, “I’ve done nothing wrong, I know what I’m doing, what are you worried about?”  It would likely end your relationship. This is no different.

Instead, be honest and human.

Here’s why you should trust us again, or still. We are human. We were faced with incredible change at Burning Man. We sold out for the first time last year, we changed our organizational structure, we increased the size of our board. Really, it was a time of great change for us – and we are just a bunch of people. So, we did what a lot of people do, we put our heads down, shoulders forward and plowed through with brute force. As a result, we didn’t listen as well as we should have, and we didn’t think things through as well as we should have. And although this is a mess, we have realized how much you mean to us, how much our actions impact you, and that really, we are lost without each other.

We will fix this, together. We don’t know how, but we know we don’t want to lose you, and it should start with us listening to you.

4. MEET THEM WHERE THEY’RE AT. If your users are bitching on social media, meet them there. Don’t stay in the ivory tower of your own web site and make them find you. If people are having protests in the street, don’t take out print ads. If people are in the South, don’t head for safety in the North.

The classic PR example here is British Petroleum’s less than awesome “Beyond Petroleum” ad campaign in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.  That stunk of green-washing and created backlash. Sadly, y’all are doing that too. They should have been having town halls in the Gulf, feeding the people, cleaning the beaches and literally holding hands. You guys should be on Facebook, engaging in the dialog. You should be really listening, connecting, talking – get yourself back into the community before the rift is so great that it cannot be bridged.  Don’t have enough staff? Get ambassadors, now. Find the people who are being reasonable and engaging in the dialog and reach out to them.

You guys have something that most brands don’t have – true love. Use it.

To start fixing it, we’re going to find some Burners, people who aren’t part of the BMORG, and are actually part of the pissed off masses, and work with them to be a bridge between BMORG and the rest of the community.  It’s clear that we can’t fix this alone, but we also can’t fix it without some orderly dialog that generates actionable ideas.

We’re listening to you, and scrambling to fix this, together.

5. TAKE YOUR CUES FROM YOUR PEOPLE. It’s a mess, right?!  You don’t know how to make the angry masses not be angry, right?!  Wrong. They’re telling you what they want. All you have to do is listen to them. The beauty of that is that not only have they offered you solutions – name / photo linked tickets, single price tickets, more ingress lines with fewer greeter antics – by taking their suggestions, you are showing them that you trust them and are actually in it together. What’s more, you’ll get them to DO THE WORK FOR YOU! There have been countless offers for everything from communications work, system architecture, volunteer committees etc….. Use it. Ask for help! Trust your users.

To that end, we are looking into your ticketing suggestions. We think they’re good. Even if we can’t get to it this year, you  have our PROMISE that we will try to do it for next year. We also hear how much you want to be involved in helping us solve this problem. We will be thrilled to work with our community to build new systems that are more efficient, inclusive, and likely to result in the vibrant art and culture that makes us who we are.

You can look for those announcements in the next couple weeks. We can’t finish this transformation that quickly, but we can start it. And we appreciate that you’re all in this with us. (Yes, we wish we had done this sooner, but we didn’t, so thanks for being part of it now. )

6. MAKE ACTUAL CHANGE, CAREFULLY. When people are this pissed off, you have to do something. Before it’s too late. In this case, you have two distinct things that probably need to happen:

Change the ticketing system.
Deal with the leadership that got you here.
The ticketing system was screwed from the get-go, and the results have been worse than even the biggest Chicken Littles amongst us would have guessed. You, simply, have to change it. You haven’t printed tickets yet, so really, you could do it for this year. You can attach a name to the bar code, just like you do for early entry passes…..

But if nothing else, do it for next year. But start now.

You have also lost a lot of trust in terms of the leadership that got you here. While no one needs to be fired or publicly shamed, you do need to figure out how it happened and tell people that you understand it. Take a lesson from the Komen foundation. Karen Handel is gone, as of today, which is the best thing that could have happened to them. HOWEVER, it may be too little too late, because people are now looking long and hard into the politics and systems of the Komen Foundation. You guys are in the same boat. So you need to start looking for the things that others are going to find.

We are also trying to figure out how this really happened in the first place. If it’s “just” because of the changes and being overwhelmed, that might be good news, because it means we’ll get better as we go. However, it’s also possible that we are  tired, or in over our heads, or that some of us have been doing this too long and are too stuck in our ways. That would not be good, and we promise to look at that too. After all, solving a problem is no good if we’re just going to repeat it. We promise, no sacred cows. Or, no sacred pink furry unicorns with fire-horns, as the case may be.

Regardless, this will be interesting. I don’t know if this is the end of Burning Man or a new beginning. Maybe this is the dawn of the many regional burns, and the influx of Burner culture into the default world 365 days a year. That would be awesome.

What I do know is that the people who are running Burning Man are good people. They are smart, kind, generous, visionary and to call them names and call “conspiracy” is unfair. They also fucked this up, badly, and for them not to admit it is just as unfair. But we will, one way or another, get through this.

I, for one, will volunteer to do my part. I’d do just about anything to keep the principles – and event – of Burning Man alive. And I know I’m not alone. But BMORG, you have to do your part. I hope this helps you. But, mostly, I needed to get it off my chest. This is my area of expertise, and seeing it go so badly awry was just distracting the hell out of me. Especially as something I love so much is suffering so badly.

And no, I don’t have tickets. I don’t know how I feel about that – it changes on a minute to minute basis.

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by vargaso » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:40 pm

Pretty much.

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Lassen Forge » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:53 pm

Alyssa hit the damn NAIL on the HEAD. Will they listen? We shall see, will we not.

I posted this earlier, and I post it again - whoever they have as their PR adviser - FIRE THEM. And if you're ignoring them, FIRE YOURSELVES.

You have a fracking DISASTER on your hands, org, and if you continue to Kum-Buy_ah it, you will lose what you have. Pushing it out with a "Well, we know we maybe messed up, we'll do something, but we won't tell you" AIN'T CUTTING IT.

You need someone - ANYONE - of your partners to step up and take some DECISIVE action, damnit. Thought MG would, but it's ore KumBayAh stuff. DO SOMETHING - NOW. MAKE A DECISION, or SAY YOU PLANNED ON SHAKING PEOPLE UP, or GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING DECISIVE TO GO ON.

As it is... No one asked me, but MY ENTIRE THEME CAMP did not get tickets. NOT ONE. One of the anchors of Terminal City (remember the article in PissClear? TC is in, Center camp is out? Yeah, THAT Terminal City...). One of our other camps is putting a brave face on it, but honestly - YOU GUTTED YOUR MAIN DRAW - your theme camps that make your theme.

So... FESS UP, STEP UP, and DEAL WITH IT. DON'T SUGAR COAT IT, either through some halfassed pr thing or via a backdoor commentary... COME OUT WITH IT, DEAL WITH IT, and FIX IT. Or tell us THIS WAS THE PLAN so we can go on about our biz.

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by junglesmacks » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:10 pm

Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by knowmad » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:15 pm

And no, I don’t have tickets. I don’t know how I feel about that – it changes on a minute to minute basis.
For so many of us are the same.
And the many affect the masses.
Thanks for articulating what some of us have been trying to.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by LegendZero » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:23 pm

In before Trilo greenwashing post. Joking aside I really wanna see his and lemurs response to this, am I alone?

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by RevDusty » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:25 pm

Well done.

I've been thinking about the Komen - Bman connection too lately. I don't think Komen will ever recover (and I really don't believe they should - but that's another story).

I love Burning Man and it saddens me to see what is happening.

I have communicated with several large art collectives and theme camps. They have about 10 - 15 % of the tickets they need (actually worse than the 20 - 30% we've been hearing, but BMORG knows about it). They aren't seeing any extras out there, and they are so connected they would be certainly be hearing about them.

The reality is that some of these art collectives are bailing on the event. They don't have time for this kind of BS; they create, and there are other venues for their creations, both on and off playa. These are groups that have made art that you all know and love, and they have bailed. It's not a case of "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" either, these are people who want to keep creating awesomeness for the event, and will do it with or without a grant. But they gotta get in (and gift tickets in mid-summer ain't gonna do it - too late).

It comes down to this: there is no way, not 2011 weather, not Dr. Seuss videos, not Time-Life book mentions, that there are 70+% newbies coming. I don't believe it.

The systems was gamed, and we are all the losers.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Herring » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:51 pm

I believe a large proportion of newbies entered the lottery "just in case" and probably won't end up going. But those that flake probably won't even feel bad for selling their Tier 2 ticket to the highest bidder.

I really enjoyed reading this. Imagining them saying the right thing is almost as good as them actually doing it.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by The CO » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:19 pm

Do people write letter like this to livenantion when a show they are promoting sells out?

When everyone is telling you that there is a problem, and you tell them that there isn’t a problem, you are essentially telling them that you do not trust or value their opinion, and that you know better.
I think it is worth noting (again) that the only people with the data to confirm or deny anything at this point is the org. By that token, they may in fact know better than anyone else out there what the reality of the situation is.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by BBadger » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:21 pm

Every wall-of-text should have a TL;DR summary at the beginning. My eyes literally blur the moment I see so much text that it requires scrolling for that single reply/post, and I immediately skip to the comments afterwards. I am thankful you used paragraphs to break up the text though; some people don't even do that.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by vargaso » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:47 pm

BBadger wrote:Every wall-of-text should have a TL;DR summary at the beginning. My eyes literally blur the moment I see so much text that it requires scrolling for that single reply/post, and I immediately skip to the comments afterwards. I am thankful you used paragraphs to break up the text though; some people don't even do that.
Seriously. That's an excellent policy in general. I just added TL:DR to the cover of my copy of Infinite Jest. Next up, Moby Dick. Oh, the things I won't read!!

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by vargaso » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:49 pm

The CO wrote:Do people write letter like this to livenantion when a show they are promoting sells out?

When everyone is telling you that there is a problem, and you tell them that there isn’t a problem, you are essentially telling them that you do not trust or value their opinion, and that you know better.
I think it is worth noting (again) that the only people with the data to confirm or deny anything at this point is the org. By that token, they may in fact know better than anyone else out there what the reality of the situation is.
Probably people don't feel as passionately about a Black Eyed Peas concert as they do about BM (please tell me that's true).

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Leo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:55 pm

Mofessor,
This is a brilliant piece of writing and expresses the frustration that I feel but haven't been able to articulate. A simple "WE FUCKED UP" from the BMORG would be a good start. The puff piece written by Maid Marian reminds me of the line: "I didn't do it and I won't do it again".
Best Regards,
Leo

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by BBadger » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:59 pm

vargaso wrote:Seriously. That's an excellent policy in general. I just added TL:DR to the cover of my copy of Infinite Jest. Next up, Moby Dick. Oh, the things I won't read!!
Essentially what the book jacket summary is for. We need some pull-quotes here too.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by lemur » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:08 pm

LegendZero wrote:In before Trilo greenwashing post. Joking aside I really wanna see his and lemurs response to this, am I alone?
TL;DR: There can be no fix until we can determine the true demand for tickets. True demand is real people who intend to go, excluding scalpers, speculators and hoarders. If true demand is below the sell out point, we only need to implement systems to keep the true demand 'true' (like names on tickets) to avoid a sell out while hoping that true demand doesnt increase beyond the BLM population limit. If the true demand is above the sell out point the fixes would be keeping true demand 'true' and things like restructuring the event to discourage demand or raising BLM cap. TL;DR


The lottery system isnt a failure if the "failure" (see: people not getting selected) is due to increased demand from newcomers. Seeing as we dont know where the increased demand is coming from it's surely speculative, at this point, to call it a failure just because people didnt get tickets. If the demand is from actual participants, newcomers too, many people not getting tickets isnt a failure, its just The Way It Is®. Not prioritizing on theme camps, art collectives, or volunteers by not giving them preferential treatment when it comes to getting tickets might be a failure if we are willing to ignore the 'radical-inclusion' ideal.

If there was not any increased demand and everyone got a ticket through the lottery the sale would have likely been considered a success (see: "i got mine"). No, scratch that, people wouldnt even be thinking of it in terms of a 'success' because everyone would have got a ticket and not cared anymore than that.

If the LLC were able to anticipate such a high demand a "fix" could have been would to prioritize on the 'core' of the community, theme camps, art collectives, and volunteers. This would effectively eliminate radical-inclusion, starting a popularity contest of which theme camp or projects deserves the limited number of tickets more than others. We end up in the same situation of people being excluded, people being pissed off on facebook because they didnt get picked. That fix only serves as a bandage to make sure theme camps show up, while still pissing people off.

Right now we dont know where the extra demand comes from, scalpers, hoarders, or newcomers.

Not knowing that, and being unable to change it at this point, without pissing 40,000 ticket holders off, itd just be a guessing game in terms of finding solutions for 2012, and maybe even 2013. You cannot know where the fix needs to be applied without knowing where the demand is.

Playing whack-a-mole will get us nowhere without knowing for sure where the demand was actually from. I think we can be sure that the problem is more demand than tickets. Whether the demand is from scalpers, hoarders, or newcomers we wouldnt even be discussing this if the event didnt sell out.


If the demand is from newcomers, there is no fix. There would really be no fix at all unless we could get the BLM to raise or eliminate the population cap and-or restructure the event to decrease demand. Well actually, the only fix (see: bandage) here would be playing the popularity contest and giving some camps access to tickets while excluding newcomers and vets alike in the process. We would lose the radical-inclusion ideal. Also, people would still end up pissed off on facebook offering solutions and fixes. But at least the theme camps could make it!

If the demand comes from hoarding or speculators, first you'd have to be able to verify that they are actually hoarders or speculators. STEP might be able to help us verify how many people got extra tickets. And if there truly is many hoarders or speculators youll have to eliminate the possibility of doing that. I dont see how they could do that, each person who might have hoarded surely LOOKS like a legitimate customer. We would have to know that eliminating hoarders and speculators dropped the demand below the sell-out point to know if this would truly be a fix. Otherwise it is just a bandage and we still end up with people pissed off on facebook without a ticket because demand exceeds supply.

If the demand is from scalpers they can do their best to put systems in place to stop it. They could do things like the oft-proposed 'names on tickets' solution while adding 500 entry gates to allow that to work. There are many other possibilities that we have seen suggested to combat scalpers. But, again, we would have to know that eliminating scalpers would drop the demand below the sell-out point to know if this is truly a fix. If demand is still too high it remains a bandage that also ends up with people pissed off on facebook without a ticket.

With all of that in mind.. we get to this:

Unless we can determine the "TRUE PARTICIPANTS" (excludes speculators/hoarders/scalpers) ACTUAL demand for tickets we cannot come up with a solution to address the demand issue because we wont really know what the demand issue actually is.

If it is determined that demand is ABOVE the sell-out point for our BLM permit population limit.. there is likely no fix, unless BLM raises the population cap or the event is restructured to reduce demand.

If demand is below the sell out point once we determine the actual participant demand, we implement systems to keep the actual demand from being corrupted by non-participants and hope that actual demand doesnt increase beyond the BLM permit limit.

If actual participant demand is ABOVE our BLM permit limit:

no amount of PR is gonna fix the situation.

names on tickets isnt gonna fix the situation

having 500 gates isnt gonna fix the situation..

eliminating the lottery isnt gonna fix the situation

eliminating tiers isnt gonna fix the situation

prioritizing our theme camps and art projects isnt gonna fix the situation

doing all of this together and many more things will not fix the situation..

The only REAL 100% fix if the actual "REAL PARTICIPANT" demand is above the BLM permitted sell-out point is to raise that population cap or restructure the event to decrease demand.

No fix will be a true fix, one that pleases 100% of the people 100% of the time, until we can determine if the real participant demand is above or below the BLM sell-out point. We'd just be speculating and possibly not solving anything.

Good PR wont fix this.

Once we know the true demand, excluding all the bad things like scalpers, hoarders, and speculators then we can work on finding a real fix.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by lemur » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:07 pm

tl;dr if this is too long you suck tl;dr

I'd also add that Crisis PR is nothing but shining shit and promising fine mahogany. Unless there are really people looking at the issues and determining whether or not solutions to concerns can actually be found no amount of shit shining is gonna ACTUALLY fix anything..

You might be able to save your worldwide brand and avoid a boycott with good Crisis PR but the fucked up situation will remain fucked up until you fix it, if it is even possible to fix it. Burning Man isn't a brand in the traditional sense, we can only buy tickets once a year and there is only one burning man. There are plenty of other Gas Stations, plenty of other Cancer Charities, but only one burning man. Many people are invested in burning man much more than they are with mere brand loyalty, in ways that dont even relate to brand loyalty. (there are few places you can do Crude Awakening)

The only place where Crisis PR can actually solve a problem is in the political world or in a media frenzy about a personality doing something stupid. Also, Crisis PR can help when a company messes up and you need to save the brands image (like the BP Oil Spill example the article references) to avoid people going to a competitor. In the BP Oil Spill example, good PR wouldnt have fixed the Oil Spill, the good PR was intended to protect their brand loyalty and stop people from going to another gas station. But burning man doesnt really have a direct 1:1 competitor, gas stations do, most charities do, too.


The problem with Burning Ban is like finding out that Corn (ticket situation) is poisoning people (not-selected for tickets) and they dont know what the cause is (dont know where the demand for tickets comes from), there isnt enough info to fix the problem (too much demand for tickets). There really is not a 1:1 competitor to corn (there is only 1 burning man), so there really is no brand to save (bonnaroo and coachella arent burning man). Good Crisis PR wont be able to convince you that corn is safe to eat (problem isnt fixed if you dont have a ticket) because you know that people are still being poisoned and hurt no matter how much the PR people say they care (still dont have a ticket even if burning man apologizes). The only solution is to make corn safe to eat (make it so everyone who is able to go can go).

Burning Man needs to find out a way to make the corn safe to eat (figure out where demand comes from, deal with problems that demand presents, keep demand 'true' by eliminating baddies, and maybe getting BLM to raise population cap and-or restructure event to reduce demand.). Good Crisis PR cannot do this.. It can only make the shit a bit shinier.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Saguache » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:18 pm

Pretty much, yes. Too bad this didn't come from BMORG
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Elderberry » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:54 pm

:lol:
LegendZero wrote:In before Trilo greenwashing post. Joking aside I really wanna see his and lemurs response to this, am I alone?
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by trilobyte » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:28 pm

Greenwashing? I'm no PR person, but I do know how to look words up on the internet - isn't that spinning stuff to make it seem more environmentally friendly?

I skimmed the post earlier in the day, after someone else played parrot on Facebook. Certainly means well and she makes some good points, but I don't agree with everything she said. Blamestorm and shake your fists all you want, I still believe the wild card that mucked up everybody's odds was the one thing not one person could ever have predicted (and I don't recall seeing anybody calling it on the boards)… a massively viral video that likely led to more new signups (both as percentage and total number) than the event has seen in over a decade (the total number may be a record for all we know).

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by Dr Dilemma » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:40 am

lemur wrote:If the demand is from scalpers they can do their best to put systems in place to stop it. They could do things like the oft-proposed 'names on tickets' solution while adding 500 entry gates to allow that to work.
"I could be wrong" ... but I don't see why putting pictures on tickets, a-la Glastonbury, would add any appreciable wait time at the gate. They have to inspect every ticket now anyway. How much extra time would it really take to look at the ticket, look at the picture, look at the face? Even if people had to show IDs with their tickets I don't see how that adds extra time. Each and every ticket is being inspected anyway. Searching through trunks and showers takes the bulk of the time at the gate. So why exactly would we need to add 500 entry gates?

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by EB » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:51 am

trilobyte wrote: I still believe the wild card that mucked up everybody's odds was the one thing not one person could ever have predicted (and I don't recall seeing anybody calling it on the boards)… a massively viral video that likely led to more new signups (both as percentage and total number) than the event has seen in over a decade (the total number may be a record for all we know).
Sorry, Trilo, even for you, this is a pantload.

Occam's Razor says usually the simplest explanation is the right one and right now the simplest explanation is that the BMORG allowed everybody to game the system and thus everybody got boned.

There have been COUNTLESS Burning Man videos -- viral and otherwise -- floating around the web since ever there WAS a web. With nudity even!

One Cat In The Hat video DID NOT MOVE THE NEEDLE. Sorry. Wrong. Thanks for playing. Here's an edition of the home game.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by The CO » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:01 am

Kestrel-

10 seconds per ticket x 53,000 tickets= An extra 8834 hours at the gate.

That's assuming that there are no problems and every ticket inspection only takes 10 seconds. Let's call 15% of the ticket interactions 'difficult'. We'll say they take 60 seconds each.

The problem interactions now add another 6625 hours to the gate operations.

So far, that's an extra 15,459 man-hours at the gate. At 4 hour long shifts, that's an extra 3865 volunteers gate needs.

How big is your camp? Got an extra 3000 volunteers? I'm sure we can find the other 865 no problem.

@EB-Actually, Occams Razor states that when presented with competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by lemur » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:02 am

EB wrote:
trilobyte wrote: I still believe the wild card that mucked up everybody's odds was the one thing not one person could ever have predicted (and I don't recall seeing anybody calling it on the boards)… a massively viral video that likely led to more new signups (both as percentage and total number) than the event has seen in over a decade (the total number may be a record for all we know).
Sorry, Trilo, even for you, this is a pantload.

Occam's Razor says usually the simplest explanation is the right one and right now the simplest explanation is that the BMORG allowed everybody to game the system and thus everybody got boned.

uhh no it doesnt..
[occam's razor is] a principle that generally recommends that, from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.


The statistical view leads to a more rigorous formulation of the razor than previous philosophical discussions. In particular, it shows that "simplicity" must first be defined in some way before the razor may be used, and that this definition will always be subjective.
lets see about 'fewest assumptions':

in your scenerio: we assume the system was vastly game-able to the point where demand far exceeded supply.. we also assume that the system was in fact heavily gamed. (without much evidence to prove this, the LLC claims that even camps that stacked the odds in their favor with many entries still did not get many tickets.. only 1% of tickets sold so far are on scalper sites)

in 'lotsa newbies wanta go': we assume that many newbies wanted to go and used the system as designed (and we base this on evidence such as a 10fold increase in facebook 'likes' in one year, plus a viral video with over 1 million hits in the time right before the burning man lottery took place)


also, when dealing with statistics and applying the razor....... how do you define simple ? because you agree with it ? because it SEEMS simple or logical, to you? we need to agree on what 'simple' means before we can even apply it..

surely its just as simple, or possible or even probable that demand increased as it is that the system was games.. RIGHT?



I think you need to need to try again.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by The CO » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:05 am

Lemur! Double whammied High Five!

(everyone loves to cite Occams Razor, until they understand it.)
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by anile » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:05 am

Burning Man never heard of Occam's Razor. Every time there is a problem, the BMan solution is to make it more complicated, more obscured from view. And add in the double-speak... for example: last year's "We encourage sharing of resources with your neighboring camps" email list announcement, after which placement would not, under any circumstances allow you to know who your neighbors were.

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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by EB » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:10 am

The CO wrote:
@EB-Actually, Occams Razor states that when presented with competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.
EB's Hypothesis: BM ticket requests went up exponentially because a new, flawed system was introduced which allowed Burners to game system.

Trilo's Hypothesis: A Dr. Suess-inspired viral video suddenly made everybody go apeshit and want to go to Burning Man even though, throughout the years, many, many such videos have surfaced -- FEATURE FILMS even -- yet, this one, particular video, was SO WONDERFUL, so well-produced, so alluring that it -- and it alone -- contributed to a 60% gain in ticket sales.

There, ya go, CO, which one do you think Occam would choose?
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by EB » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:12 am

The CO wrote:Lemur! Double whammied High Five!

(everyone loves to cite Occams Razor, until they understand it.)
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by The CO » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:19 am

Evidence for EB:

<1% of tickets being resold.
Many theme camps have not enough tickets.

Evidence for Trilo:

Population growth curve of BRC over the last 10 years, supported by data.
Massive growth of fan base according to facebook likes and vastly increased registration on eplaya.

At this time, the committee will now here submissions for other supporting evidence from either side before making a decision.


Only supporters of logical fallacy engage in ad hominem. Oops, I fell victim to my own description!
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by EB » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:27 am

Whatever. The CO now joins Lemur on my "foe" list. So it goes.

Guys, I'm not into starting flame wars. You love the event, I love the event. I just had to call Trilo out on his nonsense as he has been spreading it pretty thick over these threads since the lottery.

For my part, I will re-double my efforts toward positivity and hoping STEP works out & to putting forth a "positive solution" ala Isotopia's thread.

Good day, all.
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Re: Ticket Fiasco, PR Perspective

Post by lemur » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:30 am

EB wrote:
EB's Hypothesis: BM ticket requests went up exponentially because a new, flawed system was introduced which allowed Burners to game system.

Trilo's Hypothesis: A Dr. Suess-inspired viral video suddenly made everybody go apeshit and want to go to Burning Man even though, throughout the years, many, many such videos have surfaced -- FEATURE FILMS even -- yet, this one, particular video, was SO WONDERFUL, so well-produced, so alluring that it -- and it alone -- contributed to a 60% gain in ticket sales.

There, ya go, CO, which one do you think Occam would choose?
evidence: The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

assumption: A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof

proof: Evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement.


yer doing it wrong... you cant claim the things that are actually evidence as assumptions just because it pleases your hypothesis.


the Dr Suess video isnt an assumption, it is evidence.. we know it exists and went viral right before the main sale with over 1 million views

the facebook page garnering 10x more interest is not an assumption, it is evidence, we know that happened


the system was possibly gameable, this is something we know, but was it gameable to the extent where demand might far exceed supply? we dont know, and have no evidence, that would be an assumption..

Did the system actually get gamed to the point where demand far exceeds supply? we dont know and have no evidence, that is an assumption.. (the only evidence we have about the system being gamed is 1% of available tickets being on the market right now)


two assumptions in favor of system being gamed: #1 that it was gameable to the point of far exceeding demand, and #2 that it was actually gamed to the point where demand far exceeded supply

we do not have sufficient evidence to bolster either of these assumptions, and the only evidence we do have suggests that claim #2 is unlikely as, at this point, only 1% of tickets sold are for sale on scalper sites and that people who leaned the table in their favor by ordering extras did not meet much success if any

one assumption in favor of increased newcomer interest: #1 newcomers want to go to burning man

the dr suess video and facebook things arent part of that assumption, they are EVIDENCE in support of that assumption..
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