Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

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Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by trilobyte » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:56 pm

Burning Man CEO has written an excellent post on the Burning Man Journal titled Cultural Course Correcting: Black Rock City 2019 (you can read that here), it is absolutely worth reading and further discussion.

It's a long post, and rather than trying to cross-post it in its entirety or excerpt bits and pieces in that post, just click this link to go read it. You can post in the blog post's comments, or better still post replies and discuss below.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by trilobyte » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:16 pm

I posted a comment on the blog thanking Marian for the post. I thought it made a whole bunch of excellent points, many of which I have been trying to make to people at HQ for the last several years. I also said I thought it was kind of a shame that instead of directing people to the online community on Burning Man's own site, they directed people to a site that engages in commercial data mining on an unprecedented scale.

I strongly believe that. For the last few years there has been increasingly frequent and increasingly more alarming stories about the ways Facebook user data is both commercialized and exploited. Even though my work schedule hasn't given me much opportunity to socialize on the board lately, I spend even less time on that site. Compared to that social networking platform, this is a decommodification and data-mining safe-space.

I heard back from someone at HQ shortly after, they read the comment and took it to heart. As a result, we've created this board so there's a dedicated place for the conversation, and they've updated the blog post to link to this community.

The blog post itself, as well as the reaction to my comment confirms to me that Burning Man is listening. 🔥

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Traveller in Time » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:32 pm

As you said :D

Why are the boards not connected ?
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by dustibacon » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:44 pm

:P Thank you Jack Rabbit for the recognition and accepting the challenges to begin to make some of these important changes.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Papa Bear » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:01 pm

Marian also got back to me with more information about DGS and problem theme camps (in response to one of the comments I made on her article). She gave me permission to share it with others, so here it is:

“Camps who have received a warning of any kind from the organization will usually see a reduction of anywhere from 25-75% of their previous DGS allocation. The reduction is related to severity of the infraction.“

I think that's welcome news - reducing the DGS allotment will definitely add impact to those warnings.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Scooter9 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:22 pm

[Bravo for taking the discussion off Facebook. Anyone who finds it too difficult to click a link to ePlaya rather than FB probably doesn’t feel strongly enough about radical self-reliance :-)]

I am only a three-time Burner, 2016-2018, so I showed up after the culture had already started to shift in certain areas.

From the perspective of a complete newbie, however, the shift was obvious my first year. Some people I encountered on Playa were ... well, self-reliant. And they demanded it of me. They made art or did something to make the event more awesome. And they clearly appreciated that I do the same.

Other people were far more dismissive. One gentleman in an impeccably (purchased) costume, pushed his way in front of the line for flatbread and made it clear I was Beneath His Notice. As he and his friend strolled away, his friend said, “... and tonight you’ll see it’s like the greatest rave ever.”

It was pretty clear this attendee was interested in having an experience provided, with no thought to the role he was playing in others’ Burn.

Which isn’t to say I expect everyone to be polite or courteous. Rather, it’s the fundamental attitude of “hey there’s free stuff let me get as much as I can” versus “someone is giving me the gift of flatbread, how can I be a gift to everyone else, too?”

I don’t know what to do in moments like that without being obnoxiously judgmental, but it seems like those are the moments when it might be possible to start a discussion that might make an impression.

Any thoughts on how to actually help shape the culture “on the ground” as a participant?

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by unitof » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:32 pm

Are there any plans to publicize the 55-page commodification report Marian mentioned?

Or any other reports produced which led to other announced changes or efforts?

If not, I encourage the Project to do so. Knowing what you’re finding helps assure us our impressions match your data.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by daveola » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:18 am

As a 18 year dedicated burner, I was excited to start reading Marian's post.

In the end, though, I can't help but wonder - is that really all they can do?

I am not one to talk about how "Burning Man now sucks" like most 6 year burners do, in fact I often work hard against that notion, see:
http://ultrastunt.com/Has-Burning-Man-Changed/

But there certainly are some issues and challenges that need to be addressed, and I can't help but wonder if the BMOrg is willing to take on the changes needed.

I do not believe that the city is filled with PnP camps, but I also don't believe that it only had *one* PnP camp. Why was only one banned? Why do we need to warn a PnP camp? They don't need to be at the table at all, there will be others to fill it's space.

We also now are dealing with ticket scarcity issues (which admittedly are mostly self-inflicted and overhyped, but are still the reality of hitting our BLM limits). Many people have suggested going to a You-Buy-It-You-Use-It ticketing system where your ticket has your name attached to it and only can be resold through something like STEP. This system has worked for regional burns, and it seems like a great answer to scalpers. Maybe it won't work for BRC - but have they even addressed it or explained why? Has it been taken into consideration?

I love the home we build. I will fight for it. I do not think BRC is about to die or implode. I think it's going to live a long life. But part of that is because we will do our job to defend it. Can we get more help with making that happen from the Org that runs the event?
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:10 am

I don't see a reason to increase the DGS allotment.

It seems that only 10% of the people do all the real work.

And if they ding the "bad" camps, the "good" camps can get more tickets.

So why the increase???

Cut DGS by 10% so more solo's have a chance. 8)
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Traveller in Time » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:08 am

DGS is for more installed base burners. More solo would increase virgin count.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Skuzzy61 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:32 am

The first step towards progress is acknowledging the need for change.

I like it (says the guy with one burn under his belt).
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:17 am

On the Instagram & other social media posting from the playa:

I don't think there is a technical solution. So it is up to us to encourage people to post their photos and streams later, off playa. That delayed gratification supports immediacy. But no instant posting for a week is going to challenge cultural habits.

We can start by setting the expectation that the event is a wilderness camping trip, not a festival - where mobile coverage is expected.

All IMO.

Background:

The area is remote. There is one radio tower about 15 miles away. Two companies set up temporary receiving towers at the event for the BORG and BLM/LEO. One of the companies sets up temporary antennas for temporary mobile phone base stations on private land near the playa.

I don't believe the BORG has enough economic leverage to prevent temporary cell coverage for the event. BLM doesn't have any legal leverage.

In the past there has been a philosophical resistance to filtering the destinations accessible from the camp WiFi systems that connect to the BORG antennas. To do so technically would involve Great Firewall of China-level efforts: blocking various social media sites and all known VPN services.

Some camps bring satellite dishes and very few of those would have the capability to do a restrictive firewall.

It will only be a few years before more satellite services are available and mobile base station beam steering antennas alleviate the cell congestion on the playa.
Last edited by some seeing eye on Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Token » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:19 am

DGS created a privileged class. So long as that model persists, this will be a futile effort.

Logic Fail:

Jane Q Public - you get a random chance of getting a ticket.

If you fail in the general sale, tough luck.

Then you are told: “if you really want to go, you will find a way, network, hustle”.

DGS John Q Incorporated - here are your tickets. Have fun. Be sure to bring your gizmo.

Put the fucking experiment back into the culture!

Kill the DGS and open a collaboration space where the “doers” lucky enough to score a ticket can get together, pool resources, and build fresh things.

The BORG has forgotten how this all started - organic mischief.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:35 am

My personal opinion:

I believe the ticket haves and have nots debate is a small part of the culture discussion, and the culture solution.

Here and on the several other forums, the ticket discussion is eclipsing the culture discussion.

The culture discussion is about behavior on playa and how that is informed pre-playa.

I'm fine with the ticket adjustments, they are a small welcome change, but a small part of the solution.


As for the PnP, concierge camps etc. The BORG has huge levers. Their location and approximate number of campers is known. The outside services they use is known. The BORG has special cultural trainers and inspectors dedicated to them. If they are not placed ahead of time, it is very difficult to get the OSS infrastructure spun up and the camp trucking it in after gate opening takes time to set up.

But in any conceivable situation, those camps are going to be able to get tickets, via the secondary market or their own keyboard warriors - so actually the BORG has little control over PnP tickets.
Last edited by some seeing eye on Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Skuzzy61 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:38 am

some seeing eye wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:35 am
My personal opinion:

I believe the ticket haves and have nots debate is a small part of the culture discussion, and the culture solution.

Here and on the several other forums, the ticket discussion is eclipsing the culture discussion.

The culture discussion is about behavior on playa and how that is informed pre-playa.


As for the PnP, concierge camps etc. The BORG has huge levers. Their location and approximate number of campers is known. The outside services they use is known. The BORG has special cultural trainers and inspectors dedicated to them.

But in any conceivable situation, those camps are going to be able to get tickets, via the secondary market or their own keyboard warriors - so actually the BORG has little control over PnP tickets.
Well said. Could not agree more.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by JohnEBGud » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:24 pm

trilobyte wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:16 pm
I posted a comment on the blog thanking Marian for the post. I thought it made a whole bunch of excellent points, many of which I have been trying to make to people at HQ for the last several years. I also said I thought it was kind of a shame that instead of directing people to the online community on Burning Man's own site, they directed people to a site that engages in commercial data mining on an unprecedented scale.

I strongly believe that. For the last few years there has been increasingly frequent and increasingly more alarming stories about the ways Facebook user data is both commercialized and exploited. Even though my work schedule hasn't given me much opportunity to socialize on the board lately, I spend even less time on that site. Compared to that social networking platform, this is a decommodification and data-mining safe-space....

The blog post itself, as well as the reaction to my comment confirms to me that Burning Man is listening. 🔥
I agree with your opinion on FB. Thank you for speaking up and for the time and effort you devote here.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by DustfishDiva » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:19 pm

From my perspective, DGS is the only reason Dustfish (which has been on playa 20 years) has lasted. If our core builders and crew were at the luck of the draw getting tickets, there would be nobody to build camp. Back when tickets began becoming scarce, and before DGS was created, this started happening and we really struggled.

In addition, DGS let's us have some wiggle room with ticket prices. Some of our biggest contributors simply cannot afford the skyrocketing ticket prices. As a camp we can help offset some of that cost through camp dues and fundraisers, allowing our starving artists to continue returning to Playa and sharing their gifts.

Dustfish has been around a long time and we've continued bringing our culture to the playa, long after the passing of our founder. We are not a turn-key camp. We are rarely fancy, but we are legit, old school and we model the 12 principles for others. DGS allows us to continue keeping it real and showing new burners what that looks like.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:28 pm

The ticket price is one thing I don’t have issue with, I can see why it costs what it does, but I sure as hell don’t want to pay even more just so someone else can go cheaper.
The ticket is usually one of the least expenses. If that’s someone’s make-or-break, attending this expensive party is a questionable choice and I don’t feel I need to personally subsidize it for them.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Grumpy Otter » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:44 pm

I am a member of a small informal camp that practices the 10 principles and is self sufficient. We watch out for each other and host a daily Rum Bar. I think there are hundreds of small camps like us, that do not qualify for the Direct Group Sale, but are still contributing and participating. I can understand the support for placed groups that share their experience and especially the artists, but it seems like the choice to have an ever bigger share of tickets going to DGS is squeezing out the small camps and the individuals that also make Burning Man what it is. The message is you need to join a big camp if you want to come to BM. This is discouraging for those of us that are scrambling to try and get tickets and participate in our own ways.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by mgb327 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:33 pm

Grumpy Otter wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:44 pm
I am a member of a small informal camp that practices the 10 principles and is self sufficient. We watch out for each other and host a daily Rum Bar. I think there are hundreds of small camps like us, that do not qualify for the Direct Group Sale, but are still contributing and participating. I can understand the support for placed groups that share their experience and especially the artists, but it seems like the choice to have an ever bigger share of tickets going to DGS is squeezing out the small camps and the individuals that also make Burning Man what it is. The message is you need to join a big camp if you want to come to BM. This is discouraging for those of us that are scrambling to try and get tickets and participate in our own ways."


+1000. Same with our small camp. We gift 2000 or more cold drinks out in deep playa mid-day. We are the Playa Penguinos, we don't want to register as a theme camp, as then we will get "placed", we like it out where we have camped for 8 years, 3;30 and J-K.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:32 pm

Being in a big camp isn’t the only way to get DGS.
In fact I’ve gotten DGS tickets many times and it was never because of the camp I was in.
It did always have to do with being the actual person who was actually bringing and doing something.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Lonesomebri » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:20 pm

What a dance. Having ticket buyers join a camp is the intent of the powers that be. An intent to have everyone be a participant. In real life that doesn't make sure all the camp members are participating, and some of the best Burners rule the Burn without ever being tied to an official camp.

In my fantastical world there would be more Main sale tickets, with the stipulation that the person using that ticket can camp out and use porta potties for a week, do they know what LNT means, can they cook something over propane, is getting dirty cool with them? This, along with purges out on K and L of the concierge hotels, opening of books, blocking WiFi and cell, tarring the feathers, registering DJs like drones, and mandatory drug testing daily at my camp.

And last year we saw a good live band killing it down on the Esplanade, seemed to have a real draw. The singer humble brags how wild it was for the band to show up the night before on playa, and after this single show they have to rush off playa that very night to go play other exotic locations. And I thought about those tickets these people used for their 24 hours on playa, doing a gig... No solution or anything, just an observation.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by daveola » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:08 pm

People are talking about lots of different things, which makes the conversation quite disjoint.

How do people feel about having multiple threads, one for DGS, one for PnP, etc.. etc..?
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Traveller in Time » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:17 pm

There are, this is the weaving thread, all converging into one solution.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Token » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:06 pm

Traveller in Time wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:17 pm
There are, this is the weaving thread, all converging into one solution.
Says the cat that can’t tell me what the burn smells like.

Your posts are cool and stuff, more or less, but this bag of rabid monkeys ... maybe you step back a bit, let those who had Playa foot and thigh chafe have a go at it.

Just a suggestion.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Ratty » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:03 am

And last year we saw a good live band killing it down on the Esplanade, seemed to have a real draw. The singer humble brags how wild it was for the band to show up the night before on playa, and after this single show they have to rush off playa that very night to go play other exotic locations. And I thought about those tickets these people used for their 24 hours on playa, doing a gig... No solution or anything, just an observation.
Yea. That was either Alan Parsons or the other band, Robot something, that opened for him. (Alan Parsons just won a Grammy. I don't get it.) Alan Parsons said when he heard the I Robot theme he sat at home waiting for an invite. None came so he begged on board. He evidently has an I Robot song or album. He's a huge big deal in Canada. He rose in my lost years so I had no clue.

I don't think slapping a staff credential on them for 24 hours cost anyone their ticket to ride.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by Lonesomebri » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:34 am

Ratty wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:03 am
I don't think slapping a staff credential on them for 24 hours cost anyone their ticket to ride.
So this is why we now pay a 9% entertainment tax for our community? What outfit were they staff for? Can any camp get this "staff credential" to cover their entertainment?
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by some seeing eye » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:29 pm

I'm noticing that after Marian's missive, people are being a lot nicer online. ePlaya the most change, FB the least.

We have to train up the new participants on the culture. I have said before, looking at the census, we need to select a greater portion of virgins who return in year two, and even beyond year two.
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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by LeonardPotato » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:51 pm

I agree that this is the better place to be v. facebook so, I have copied my post here.

I know BM is like nothing else. But this is the first time I have seen a large organization respond this way to the feedback of those who attend/make the event. The whole thing could of gone to shit and become just another week of camping with plug and play camping and corporations exploiting the event. Instead, they are fighting it. Rooting out those that are making a negative impact and asking all of us to help. So, to all the people who want to continue the same old rhetoric, now is the time to show that you are going to be part of the solution. If you think Burning Man has lost it's glory, then come back and restore it. Spread the word of the culture, attend the event, do it the right way and report those who do not. Take the survey! Clearly they are listening. What a great opportunity to empower those following the principles and make Burning Man great again.

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Re: Cultural Course Correcting post by Marian Goodell

Post by capnjonny » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:07 pm

For what it’s worth this will be my 4th year on playa. I spent 2 years attempting to get a ticket, waiting in the que til the last minute only to be told I didn’t get in. For a lot of people that would have been their F@@K this moment. I on the other hand, had two friends who were veteran burners that kept stoking the flames of my desire. They suggested that I could join their small camp and therefore get a guaranteed ticket. I eagerly agreed and that summer, after exhaustive preparation, I drove my little truck and trailer up to the desert where I enthusiastically immersed myself in the Burning Man experience. I can truthfully say it changed my life.
The next year I spent months designing and building a lighted sign for our camp and was totally psyched up for the event only to break my hip falling off my bicycle 2 months before show time.
Being unable to drive a stick shift I couldn’t take my truck and trailer. Also, I couldn’t ride a bike. Emailing my camp mates of my situation I was resigned to staying home when one of my mates offered to lend me a mobility scooter. My wife agreed to let me drive the family van, and I was off to the races.
Last year, I volunteered to help build a large playa installation and spent many Saturdays both at the build site and in my shop at home fabricating parts for it. I also volunteered and was accepted to work Gate.
My burn was a roller coaster ride of conflicting emotion. I really hated watching our installation burn. Being a builder by trade and inclination It killed me to see something I had invested so much of my self destroyed , especially since most of the spectators watching the flames had no real appreciation of what went into its creation. Being somewhat of a loner I found the night a rather lonely time. In the dark, invisible to others, I roamed from place to place, feeling like I didn’t really belong.
Then came the day, and I got out of bed and hopped on my bike and spent the next 10 hours crisscrossing the city soaking up the energy that is Burning man. I Got my feet washed and spent an hour discussing life with the wonderful woman who attended me. I went to a hugging workshop and then practiced on anyone who was willing, man or woman. I rode from one end of the city to the other giving and getting love wherever I went.
I experienced burning man as a maker, as a taker, and as a giver.
And then I donned the Black
Working gate was like going behind the scenes at Disneyland. I became part of the BORG. I started to experience what it is like putting this circus together and holding it together and making sure the trains run on time.
Standing at the gate, in the dark, staring at an endless line of headlights disappearing in to the dust I got an idea of what hell must be like. No matter how fast we brought them through the line never got any shorter. I could imagine myself, chained to a post repeating endlessly for ever “Let me see your ticket and vehicle pass”.
But then I also got an epiphany. As I processed car after car of smiling, excited faces who had been waiting in line for hours I realized that everyone was a volunteer and we were all bozos on this bus.
I guess I saw a few plug and play camps with their air conditioned yurts and their walls to keep the unwashed masses out. But most of what I saw was a whole lot of grinning people having the time of their lives. Maybe if the plug and play camps were required to host a substantive event in order to get placement that would make them less onerous . And Art cars should be treated like busses , with a regular route with bus stops where riders were forced to get off to make room for new riders.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Burning man is still awesome no matter what you may have heard, and I am going to keep going till I cain’t go no more! And if you see me at gate or in the black Hole be sure to say hi.
Cap’n Jonny

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