Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

A forum for community conversation and deeper discussions about the cultural direction of Burning Man.
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jcliff
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Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by jcliff » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:31 pm

After reading the Cultural Direction Setting Vision, I have a couple suggestions to share. First, here's the link:

https://journal.burningman.org/culturalvision/

Assuming that increasing citizen participation and volunteerism would help steer cultural direction, I think we could do more to offer Burners, especially the new ones, user-friendly options for discovering ways to volunteer on playa. I understand that Spark was created to facilitate collaboration and networking, but I don't think it gets a lot of traffic. The Burning Man website, Burner profile page and the First Timers Guide offer info on volunteering, but the lion's share of the opportunities shared are for BM departments, and not much specific info is shared. It's mostly just descriptions of the department and instructions to fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire. Lots of clicking links and navigation through pages.

Suggestion 1) Could ePlaya add a Volunteer Opportunities forum under the 2019 Event section? This would give artists, projects, villages and camps, departments, etc. a means to attract volunteers while offering participants an easy way to learn about opportunities and their specifics.

Suggestion 2) The Org should do more to promote ePlaya as the best option for researching all things Burning Man and take some of the responsibility for information sharing back from a few social media groups and their idiot trolls? Too few Burners, both noobs and vets, know about ePlaya.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by lucky420 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:02 pm

You have good ideas
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:41 pm

I find on-Playa volunteerism during the event to be the cultural spare change found between the cushions of a discarded center camp sofa.

The ultimate rounding error of cultural currency, relegated to the least common denominator of feeling accomplished in some inconsequential way.

If you’re volunteering and don’t got a fancy radio and a staff vehicle... you’re just self-soothing.

Go build something amazing. Then burn it!
Go push some boundaries.
Go jam some culture.

Do-Ocracy, always was, always will be.

There is no cure for this current sickness.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:30 pm

Volunteerism The Movie:

Bucket 1: TTITD really benefits from this category and it is existential:

ESD, GPE, DPW, Rangers, Flaggers, Staff (radio and vehicle folks), Airport - the FAA and Medivac portion, you know, real stuff.

Bucket 2: Important stuff but not existential: i.e. BORG is cheap.

Ice, Earth Guardians (pr stunt), Potty Project, BED, Harm reduction and similar services of tangible merit.

Note: Ice is existential and mandated by The state. It’s here cuz BORG is cheap and folks actually want to spend time in a freezer-truck - who knew? ;)

Bucket 3: Who gives a fuck category ... doesn’t make or break TTITD.

Airport - the silly stuff, Cafe, Guardians of anything, Greeters, Lamplighters - oh, pretty!, BRCPO, Playa Info, all other volunteers.

So, if you’re not in Bucket 1 - your sucking a pacifier.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by MrHedgehog » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:16 pm

jcliff wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:31 pm
Suggestion 1) Could ePlaya add a Volunteer Opportunities forum under the 2019 Event section? This would give artists, projects, villages and camps, departments, etc. a means to attract volunteers while offering participants an easy way to learn about opportunities and their specifics.
I do find it somewhat incongruous that an event that encourages Participation and Volunteering, and discourages Commodification, has no links to Volunteering on the front page of its website, but does have a link to a Marketplace where you can buy burner memorabilia.

It looks like posts about Volunteering (either for theme camps or ORG departments) are currently going into the "Art & Performance" section, even though that's sometimes a bit of a conceptual stretch.

If a new section isn't created, then just renaming that section to "Art, Performance & Volunteering" would be a huge help, IMHO.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by MrHedgehog » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:13 pm

Token wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:30 pm
Volunteerism The Movie:
...
So, if you’re not in Bucket 1 - your sucking a pacifier.
Jeez, so I guess that my time as a member of Bucket 3, as a Temple Guardian, is totally wasted then. That's good to know.

The 10hrs that I spent on Sunday last year, closing the Temple, setting the perimeter so that other folks with way more skills than I could safely prepare it to burn, advising distraught people how to get last-day remembrances put in the Temple ... and then finally working on the burn perimeter itself so that more of the other people who contributed to the project, and the Rangers who already do so much elsewhere, could actually watch a burn that they love ... that was pointless because I didn't have a radio???

Does it make any difference that I get a radio and a BRC ID this year from my other volunteering gig? Or is that also a waste of time? ... It's not on your list, because two new groups were added in 2016, the Man Watch and the Burn Perimeter Support Group.


We can certainly agree that the city, and Burning Man as a whole, has changed a lot since it was the place that you fell in love with.

We can also agree that the BORG absolutely relies on volunteers as cheap-labor to run things that other "festivals" might have to hire people for.

Where we seem to disagree, is that as the city has grown, become a more-complex entity, and been "civilized" from its old Cacophony Society days; I understand that there is now a real need for some folks to take on not-particularly-creative and often-boring jobs in order for the whole thing to run smoothly.


Or instead, the BORG could just raise the ticket prices another few hundred dollars each and truck in hundreds of low-paid-folks to do those jobs, and then we can commodify the whole event even more, encourage more spectators, and have everyone just stop complaining about plug-n-plays, and sherpas, and how the rich folks are spoiling it all. Does that sound like a good idea?
Last edited by MrHedgehog on Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:16 pm

Pretty sure there are some BORG emails the OP can contact directly on the topic. We, FB and Reddit all are nobodies in the great chain of (Burning Man) being.
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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:37 pm

MrHedgehog wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:13 pm
Token wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:30 pm
Volunteerism The Movie:
...
So, if you’re not in Bucket 1 - your sucking a pacifier.
Jeez, so I guess that my time as a member of Bucket 3, as a Temple Guardian, is totally wasted then. That's good to know.
Yep! Pretty much so.

Don’t think for a second that all you’re hustle before Temple burn really made that much of a difference.

It’s all good, you felt nice after that. Got your reward for all the hours of pointless “guarding” of the temple.

Just realize that you can be replaced by a section of steel pipe at the next burn.

Like I said before, there is a shit-ton of “volunteering” for the sole purpose of self-gratification.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:59 pm

MrHedgehog wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:13 pm
Token wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:30 pm
Volunteerism The Movie:
...
So, if you’re not in Bucket 1 - your sucking a pacifier.
Does it make any difference that I get a radio and a BRC ID this year from my other volunteering gig? Or is that also a waste of time? ... It's not on your list, because two new groups were added in 2016, the Man Watch and the Burn Perimeter Support Group.
Hehehe “Man Watch!” Sorry, that’s just ridiculous!!! Cacophony riots and all.

Yeah, new groups cuz folks done stupid things.

I skipped allot of them, conclave, DMV, BMIR, Media Mecca, Hot-Topic / thunder-dome. etc.

The point is; this ain’t personal, you’re probably a swell fella and you’re friends like you.

It’s a critique on the perceived cultural value of BRC. Fucking volunteerism was never the point. It was all about the zone trip, neon in the creek, tripin’ balls without the drugs.

Being free to express yourself and DO fantastic shit.

And here we are talking indentured servitude for some unicorn ideals.

Hence the pacifier.

It’s perfectly fine if you don’t jive my harsh and bitter.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by MrHedgehog » Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:47 pm

Token wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:37 pm
Just realize that you can be replaced by a section of steel pipe at the next burn.
Oh, Token, you really don't understand the level of scrutiny that Burning Man comes under from Federal and Local authorities these days.

Yes, most (but not all) of the perimeter volunteers could probably be replaced by a fence. If you still came out to TTITD, is that REALLY what you would want to see at every burn? :shock:

We had that fence at the 2017 Temple burn, and I certainly don't remember anyone being particularly happy about it.


2017 Burning Man Radical Ritual

"The Temple Burn, a perfect ritual for representing that healing, was still carried out the following night. It took intense negotiations with law enforcement officials to even allow the burn to go forward, and the compromise resulted in a heroic effort by BRC personnel to build a perimeter fence in a matter of hours. The Fire Art Safety Team’s resounding call for more perimeter volunteers in the wake of the tragedy was answered by more than 700 people."


Even with the fence, if volunteers hadn't turned out to stand the perimeter, then the BLM and Law Enforcement wouldn't have allowed the burn to happen.

If volunteers don't continue to keep on stepping up to sacrifice a few hours of their time and stand-the-line on perimeters, then current and future burns are still in peril. That is why I volunteer with the Burn Perimeter Support Group (great folks, lousy name).

My Heroes Wear Orange Vests


It's not the city that you remember ... you just can't "Go build something amazing. Then burn it!" anymore.

I hear your pain at losing something that you loved, but please understand ... it's gone.

How The West Was Won: Anarchy Vs. Civic Responsibility


P.S.

I take no offense at all in your opinion, I'd love to have seen the BRC that you (and many people that I know) remember so fondly.

Despite the changes, there is still crazy beauty there that needs to exist in this world.

Nope, "volunteering" isn't the same as "creating". But without those volunteers, then the whole thing just doesn't function properly.

And yeah ... "Man Watch", I laughed at that one, too. Until I realized that as well as acting as docents to help acculturate the 30% of burgins every year, those folks also help take some of the pressure off of the Rangers.

It's a big city these days, everyone doesn't have to be ESD, GPE or a Ranger in order to contribute. There is room for folks with lots of different passions to help ... that certainly seems like a good definition of "Do-Ocracy" to me! :wink:

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by wandererbkb » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:06 am

Suggestion 2 certainly has merit as I have found reading through eplaya to be a very valuable source of information. It's also interesting to read the different opinions people have about the direction burning Man has taken.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:11 am

MrHedgehog wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:47 pm
Token wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:37 pm
Just realize that you can be replaced by a section of steel pipe at the next burn.
Oh, Token, you really don't understand the level of scrutiny that Burning Man comes under from Federal and Local authorities these days.

Yes, most (but not all) of the perimeter volunteers could probably be replaced by a fence. If you still came out to TTITD, is that REALLY what you would want to see at every burn? :shock:

We had that fence at the 2017 Temple burn, and I certainly don't remember anyone being particularly happy about it.


2017 Burning Man Radical Ritual

"The Temple Burn, a perfect ritual for representing that healing, was still carried out the following night. It took intense negotiations with law enforcement officials to even allow the burn to go forward, and the compromise resulted in a heroic effort by BRC personnel to build a perimeter fence in a matter of hours. The Fire Art Safety Team’s resounding call for more perimeter volunteers in the wake of the tragedy was answered by more than 700 people."


Even with the fence, if volunteers hadn't turned out to stand the perimeter, then the BLM and Law Enforcement wouldn't have allowed the burn to happen.

If volunteers don't continue to keep on stepping up to sacrifice a few hours of their time and stand-the-line on perimeters, then current and future burns are still in peril. That is why I volunteer with the Burn Perimeter Support Group (great folks, lousy name).

My Heroes Wear Orange Vests


It's not the city that you remember ... you just can't "Go build something amazing. Then burn it!" anymore.

I hear your pain at losing something that you loved, but please understand ... it's gone.

How The West Was Won: Anarchy Vs. Civic Responsibility


P.S.

I take no offense at all in your opinion, I'd love to have seen the BRC that you (and many people that I know) remember so fondly.

Despite the changes, there is still crazy beauty there that needs to exist in this world.

Nope, "volunteering" isn't the same as "creating". But without those volunteers, then the whole thing just doesn't function properly.

And yeah ... "Man Watch", I laughed at that one, too. Until I realized that as well as acting as docents to help acculturate the 30% of burgins every year, those folks also help take some of the pressure off of the Rangers.

It's a big city these days, everyone doesn't have to be ESD, GPE or a Ranger in order to contribute. There is room for folks with lots of different passions to help ... that certainly seems like a good definition of "Do-Ocracy" to me! :wink:
OK, you make a strong point for Burn Perimeter and Support being in Bucket 2 - BORG needs this and not enough rangers to go around.

But please, the Guardians are completely unnecessary and a knee jerk reaction. Tour guides telling folk how it is out of some misplaced fear another crazy person will do a Thursday Man.

BTW, you can still build and burn things. It’s no different than 5, 10, 15 years ago. You contact art support, show then what you want to do, arrange for the DG to be delivered, then you build.

The whole culture impact of Bucket 3 volunteering and the perceived benefit is simply a compensating control for some poor decisions the BORG made over the years. Nothing more.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:34 am

At the Old Burning Man, they used to yell on bullhorns “Come as close as you dare, we don’t care if you die!”.

Token is putting it pretty bluntly, but I tend to agree with the sentiment he’s expressing.
People flying or bussing in, joining a camp, and “ volunteering” to supposedly help in some insignificant way on someone else’s project is not what made BM what it is (or, was).
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:05 am

Mr Token is correct in his analysis. I would generally agree with his Movie breakdown. I've volunteered with several.

Another angle at this is that Burning Man is a temporary city that has to spin up socially right now.

The culture, nowhere in the 10-12 principles, requires strangers get along and make friends. It's not an isolated solo zone trip.

Our challenge is bringing virgins into Burning Man culture who thought they were bringing festival culture to Burning Man.

So the volunteer systems are all about quality interaction between the volunteers and brain chemical good vibes for participating. Every volunteer position does not need to serve the BORGcorp economic goals.

We are fortunate that the Earth Guardians are a long tradition. Mark Hall, the decision maker, has a thing for some of what the Earth Guardians do. Personally I believe the BORG needs an ingenious peoples relations department. It needs an immediate focus on the Pyramid Lake Paiute relationship.

If you would like to make suggestions, the BORG email spots are many and known.
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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:51 pm

Another thing that bugs me to no end in the whole culture discussion ... the term acculturation.

It doesn’t fit the message.

BM does not acculturate, it assimilates.

To acculturate, you take the best parts of two cultures and merge them, with the hopefully result of something better overall.

BM ain’t that. BM assimilates culture and slams it against the 10 principles.

Hope the big heads at the top can some day figure out the difference and set things straight. They are the BORG after all. Own it! ;)

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by jcliff » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:05 pm

I'm gonna circle back and restate the intention of my original post:
1) To propose that ePlaya add a forum under the Event section that could offer people that are looking to participate and those that are looking for participants a spot to connect. I made mention that it would give people some options beyond Borg department volunteering.
2) To suggest that the Org could do more to get ePlaya on people's radar more than it is.

Token, you have strong opinions on the value of volunteering at TTITD (or lack there of,) no problem. You're entitled to them. But I call bullshit on using someone else's post to ram through the equivalent of a massive philosophical suppository. If you have a critique, analysis, whatever on the cultural value of Burning Man or volunteerism, start a discussion. I should be able to share a couple ideas to this community without having to turn over the floor to you for a schooling on culture and diagnostics of where I fall in your participation value hierarchy. I hate the fact that a thread I started with intention of boosting participation now reads like it does. As if we need another diatribe from the old guard on who's doing it wrong and why.

Since you've directed us here, I'll share my thought on your analysis. Let's go with your assumption that most people who volunteer at the Burn are ultimately just self-soothing/doing it for personal gain. My question for you is, who cares? Even if having fun is the only value added benefit....who the fuck cares? Participation / volunteering is fundamentally a personal enterprise. Those of us who do it have our own reasons for doing so and that should be the end of the story. As you said, Do-Ocracy always was, always will be. Or does that only hold true for your idea of what Burning Man should be?

You said that only Bucket 1 in your Volunteerism Movie was existential. Did you mean necessary for the existence of TTITD? Because existential normally relates to the human experience. Are you proposing that my participation as a Lamplighter (Bucket 3 - Who the Fuck Cares?) holds no existential meaning because it's not necessary for Burning Man to exist? Because my contribution to BRC doesn't provide something that you deem essential to your Burn, it has no existential value? Where does my human experience factor in on your volunteerism taxonomy? Let me help you with a title edit...Bucket 3 - I Don't Care.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:34 am

jcliff wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:05 pm
I'm gonna circle back and restate the intention of my original post:
1) To propose that ePlaya add a forum under the Event section that could offer people that are looking to participate and those that are looking for participants a spot to connect. I made mention that it would give people some options beyond Borg department volunteering.
2) To suggest that the Org could do more to get ePlaya on people's radar more than it is.

Token, you have strong opinions on the value of volunteering at TTITD (or lack there of,) no problem. You're entitled to them. But I call bullshit on using someone else's post to ram through the equivalent of a massive philosophical suppository. If you have a critique, analysis, whatever on the cultural value of Burning Man or volunteerism, start a discussion. I should be able to share a couple ideas to this community without having to turn over the floor to you for a schooling on culture and diagnostics of where I fall in your participation value hierarchy. I hate the fact that a thread I started with intention of boosting participation now reads like it does. As if we need another diatribe from the old guard on who's doing it wrong and why.

Since you've directed us here, I'll share my thought on your analysis. Let's go with your assumption that most people who volunteer at the Burn are ultimately just self-soothing/doing it for personal gain. My question for you is, who cares? Even if having fun is the only value added benefit....who the fuck cares? Participation / volunteering is fundamentally a personal enterprise. Those of us who do it have our own reasons for doing so and that should be the end of the story. As you said, Do-Ocracy always was, always will be. Or does that only hold true for your idea of what Burning Man should be?

You said that only Bucket 1 in your Volunteerism Movie was existential. Did you mean necessary for the existence of TTITD? Because existential normally relates to the human experience. Are you proposing that my participation as a Lamplighter (Bucket 3 - Who the Fuck Cares?) holds no existential meaning because it's not necessary for Burning Man to exist? Because my contribution to BRC doesn't provide something that you deem essential to your Burn, it has no existential value? Where does my human experience factor in on your volunteerism taxonomy? Let me help you with a title edit...Bucket 3 - I Don't Care.
Point taken. I’ll step aside.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by jcliff » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:00 pm

Token wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:34 am
Point taken. I’ll step aside.
Thank you for handling my heavy-handed retort so gracefully. I had some "typer's remorse" after the fact, and was pretty sure I had some mollywop comin' my way. I appreciate the pass on that. :wink:

I really did like a lot of what you and other posters brought up. As someone who works with a team that's always desperate for volunteers, it's been good to think more about motivations in play.

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Re: Suggestion for BRC Cultural Direction & ePlaya

Post by Token » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:13 pm

jcliff wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:00 pm
Token wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:34 am
Point taken. I’ll step aside.
Thank you for handling my heavy-handed retort so gracefully. I had some "typer's remorse" after the fact, and was pretty sure I had some mollywop comin' my way. I appreciate the pass on that. :wink:

I really did like a lot of what you and other posters brought up. As someone who works with a team that's always desperate for volunteers, it's been good to think more about motivations in play.
Big Hug!

I try to be reasonable and I do evolve my views over time. It evolved even in this thread.

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