BMorg's position on limiting population?

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Lo
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BMorg's position on limiting population?

Post by Lo » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:58 pm

Hi,

I am mostly just curious about this topic, I don't have much of an opinion. It seems as Burning Man gets bigger, some things are sacrificed while others are gained. But it also seems to me that it cannot grow absolutely indefinitely. The most obvious problem to me is the logistics of getting large numbers of people in and out in a short period of time on a two-lane highway. So I'm wondering if anyone knows is the BMorg has any pre-existing thoughts about what sorts of eventualities would lead them to limit ticket sales, if any. i.e., Is the organization so committed to the idea that anyone should be able to come that they would never under any circumstances limit ticket sales, or is it something that might happen eventually if the event gets so large that certain key elements start to fall apart and there is no other solution?

Thanks for any information or thoughts.

Lo

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Post by Mr. Mellow » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:05 pm

Well, Exodus is beginning to be a freaking nightmare but I have no idea how it could be dealt with beyond giving every camp a suggested departure time or letting those of us with huge two axle trucks departing the playa after we tear down our theme camps alternative departure routes so we aren't spewing four times the exhaust into the atmosphere idling and clogging up traffic.

Yes, a hint of self-interest there.
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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 07, 2006 7:47 am

If you read the 5 year permit, ticket sales were limited to 40,000 in 2006, with a max increase of 2.5% each year after that....
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Lo
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Post by Lo » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:03 am

Oh, wow, I didn't realize that the sales already had been limited. Interesting.

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diane o'thirst
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Post by diane o'thirst » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:46 am

From all reports it seems we haven't come close to the ticket cap. How many were out there this year? 30,000 some-odd?
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SnowBlind
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Post by SnowBlind » Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:12 am

diane o'thirst wrote:From all reports it seems we haven't come close to the ticket cap. How many were out there this year? 30,000 some-odd?
Actually it was over 39,000, so if 40,000 was indeed the limit, then we came fairly close.

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Post by diane o'thirst » Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:48 pm

Thank you. I heard 30,000 people.
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Re: BMorg's position on limiting population?

Post by Curmudgeon » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:17 am

Lo wrote: So I'm wondering if anyone knows is the BMorg has any pre-existing thoughts about what sorts of eventualities would lead them to limit ticket sales,
I believe that it was Actiongrl who proposed what should have been a perfectly reasonable alternative to ticket caps. If there were other burns going on at the same time in other locations, more people could have the experience without say, 300,000 people piling up in a location ill equipped to handle a crowd that size. "The regionals are the future of Burning Man" is a quote that I seem to remember.

At least around here (Chicago) and in other places as well, this vision has not become reality. There are many reasons for this, but one of the more frustrating ones seems to be a widespread attitude that "I'll get involved once things really start happening", which just turns into self-perpetuating slack. Nobody does anything, so nothing happens, so nobody does anything. Eventually, would-be organizers give up and walk away, which brings us to point two.

Let's say I head out into what would be my local Burner community, looking to get involved myself. If one isn't a good fit for the raver subculture, which I'm not, one tends to find that there really isn't anything to get involved in, even when "local" events really are local, and aren't being held in Kentucky or Appleton, Wisconsin, which, by the way, is actually nowhere near Chicago. Good luck if, like a lot of people in these post-downsizing, post-outsourcing days, one finds oneself without the opportunity for full-time employment, trapped below the poverty line, and tries to travel distances like that. This is almost impossible, and at the end of struggles that would make for a halfway decent movie, one ends up with one's prize - getting to watch badly stoned people sitting around in a daze, a few of them stumbling through freeform dances while somebody spins records. Aside from maybe the lone fire spinner and the chance to put down bets on how long it will take him to start a grassfire at the rate he's dropping those poi, one is having the exact same evening that one could have had at a dive in Wicker Park, where the sound system would have been better and fewer drugs would have been circulating.

It's not a scenario that is going to make many people say "I'm glad I did this". Even if one is intrigued with the potential, one's imagination overpowering one's eyes as it were, and one tries to stick with it, not many people will stick with one as one does so. So, one doesn't build up a critical mass of people, things aren't happening and we're back to the same old vicious circle with nobody getting involved because nobody's gotten involved, and the only change is that one has now lost time and money one can ill afford to lose. Eventually, one just gives up.

The problem is that the first on the scene, set that scene in stone. Even if the vast majority of potential participants would be interested in creating something much different and with a far greater diversity of interests served, they are driven off more quickly than they can gather, often quite deliberately and with great hostility. So, those looking for the art or the weird science or other nonrave related attractions aren't going to tend to find them at our regional burns, and not at most of the others either, from what I've heard. So everything but the raving spills into one spot in Nevada, where the crowd grows to an unmanageable size.

"If there are no rules, then everybody will just magically get what he wants" is a wishful fantasy, not a rational philosophy of management, but it is dogma and thus problems never get seriously addressed. So what else is new, right? Dog bites man.

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Post by sputnik » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:23 am

I read a figure of 38,954 on the info board in Center Camp on Saturday. I've also heard significantly smaller figures about total population. However, based on the new satellite photo taken on Thursday, and comparing this with a similar photo taken last year, I have to say that I can see an increase in population. 4,000 more seems quite reasonable.

The BLM permit allows the event to grow to a maximum of 50,000 by 2010.

Personally I'd like to see a cap on sales, but how do you do that? What if only half the people of a village are able to get tickets because some sort of lottery system is used? What about selling blocks of tickets to theme camps and then a lottery system for the rest?

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Post by Unfront » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:37 pm

Where can I see the a satleite(sp?)/arial photo of BM2006?
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Post by sbjody » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:02 pm

i had heard from a gate friend that it was 42,000 on thursday, and wikipedia has 39,100 (est)

I have heard that burning man is not a spectator event however then it can not support it self with out spectators. Example the artist creates its work to be seen. Personally I would like to see everyone that goes to burningman to be creating and in return to be a spectator. In short I would love to lose the drunken partiers, who are just there to be entertained; I find those are the people whom bring our community down. It hurts when I put so much effort into an art project that gets vandalized for some ones amusement. I know another artist would not diminish someone else’s work. So I believe that like a grant art project and theme camps, if you want a ticket you have to submit what you are doing for buringman. Course I know the follow through on it would be hell, but I would love to see things go in this direction.

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Post by sputnik » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:09 pm

Unfront wrote:Where can I see the a satleite(sp?)/arial photo of BM2006?
Upfront, check the other threads on the board. I don't want to pull this off into a side discussion.

http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... highlight=

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Post by SnowBlind » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:28 pm

sputnik wrote:Personally I'd like to see a cap on sales, but how do you do that? What if only half the people of a village are able to get tickets because some sort of lottery system is used? What about selling blocks of tickets to theme camps and then a lottery system for the rest?
Even right now with tickets being officially sold till (almost) the end, you see some amount of scalping going on, but at least the official ticket sales put a ceiling on that. The problem with limiting ticket sales is that you open the door to even worse scalping. I can only image how much black market tickets will go for if you stop selling them at some point.

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Post by sputnik » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:38 pm

I may be wrong about being able to see the population diff in the images. I'm not seeing it now.

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Post by diane o'thirst » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:10 pm

Keep in mind that children under a certain age (I believe it's 9, correct my math if it's otherwise) are admitted free. They don't count towards the ticket cap.
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Post by RINGMASTER » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:49 am

when we left the man burn, the tally was at 38,989

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Post by mars » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:16 am

Personally, I don't like the idea of limiting the population...

Burningman is all about new people coming in, getting turned on and thinking, "Next year I'm gonna do___________ (fill in the blank with an art project, art car, theme camp, crazy bike or costume) and I'm gonna bring ______________ (fill in the blank with another great person who will be thinking this same sentence next year).

That is how it started and that is why it keeps growing. Why stop the process?
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Post by doberman » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:22 pm

[quote="mars"]Personally, I don't like the idea of limiting the population...

Burningman is all about new people coming in, getting turned on and thinking, "Next year I'm gonna do___________ (fill in the blank with an art project, art car, theme camp, crazy bike or costume) and I'm gonna bring ______________ (fill in the blank with another great person who will be thinking this same sentence next year).

That is how it started and that is why it keeps growing. Why stop the process?[/quote]

nice thought!

thats what a will-to-come virgin burner is thinking.. :D my friend that introduced me to all this, would think exactly the same.. you're not alone!

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Post by blyslv » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:27 pm

1. Don't like Exodus (and who does?). Leave when everyone else isn't! Pack the night before and get up early and drive at 5MPH right to the tarmac. It's easy and profitable. Or leave right after the man burns. Or stick around and clean up for a day or two.

2. I think, but am not sure, that the original burn was about 80 people. That's your benchmark, not what the event has grow into over a ~20 year period. Instigate it. Say "I am incinerating some art, you are invited and please bring something to burn or at least some snacks." Don't get involved with the bureacrats who want to have the BM logo. Fuhgedaboutit! So only 10 people show up? So What? Just make sure your're having the most fun of anybody in a 1000 mile radius and next time you'll have 20, if growth is all that important to you.

3. The ORG will never limit ticket sales. The ORG, like every other for-profit corporation in America, is concerned with maximizing shareholder profit. It is their legal duty. Thus to limit ticket sales would be a direct violation of their duty to maximize shareholder value. IOWs it ain't going to happen.

Thanks and please have a nice day!
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:54 pm

sputnik wrote: What about selling blocks of tickets to theme camps and then a lottery system for the rest?
Can you imagine the sort of Potemkin theme camps that will spring up in order to get their block of tickets? Plus the sort of scalping that experience with a theme camp--not just a ticket.
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Why should you be allowed into the most dangerous arts festi

Post by gyre » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:39 pm

I told people entering at the gate that the population had been capped and newcomers were being restricted. No cap on people who'd been-it wouldn't be fair. I blamed it on blm-everyone believes the blm would do that-even some who'd attended before thought it was true.

I made newcomers justify their attendance if they wanted in.
I wish I had video. Some of the answers were fabulous.
One girl got really excited, uh, uh, because I built a giant kaleidoscope (and she starts pulling giant pieces out) and I made hundreds of these art pieces to give away (I don't remember what they were but not junk) and she pulls a huge bag out and... and I just waved her in at that point. We should give her a ticket. I heard the kaleidoscope was built somewhere too. One girl rang the bell, looked around at the huge crowd, took her clothes off, looked around again then headed straight into the darkness towards center camp.
And she's new!!
Wait till next year!
Some people froze up or showed me their underwear.
It was pretty hysterical.

If we limit attendance, I recommend this approach.
If you're at the gate, you should do it anyway.
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:49 pm

What's BMorg doing to encourage regionals? Are they boot-strap or are they getting help?

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Post by alienfry » Sun Oct 01, 2006 3:08 pm

if the permit has a cap, there's a cap. concerts and other festivals sell out. i hope burning man never reaches maximum capacity.

but it will eventually happen.

can you imagine if 80 years from now it's still happening? for a 100th anniversary, would you expect anything less than a hundred thousand people trying to come?

.

our camp has parties. parties with tons of communal food and booze and we set up artwork, interactive artwork, and we play and do crazy things and LNT.

and we've had small, 10-person get-togethers and we've had as many as 40 people. we're not afraid of "no one will come."

what i DO see as a problem is that we CAN'T announce some of our activities to the world. we're afraid that EVERYONE will come. we're not sure if our gatherings on local dry lakebeds are even legal. we think they are. it's BLM land and people hike / camp / dirtbike out there all the time. but we've heard about what happens to raves out there. we've seen it (hell we've been and still sometimes go to them). and although our camp events are NOT your typical rave-party situation, the local authorities don't differentiate us from thousand-person cheese-dick reunions with 100 yards of fuzzy pink fabric, 200 pacifiers and 300 pieces of moop.

the day we're able to celebrate freely sans expensive permits OR with the money to actually get those permits/security, that'll be the day larger regionals will actually work. that's when that will have a heavy draw that curbs the ever-growing population of our magnetic city-BRC.
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Post by diane o'thirst » Sun Oct 01, 2006 5:25 pm

alienfry wrote:can you imagine if 80 years from now it's still happening? for a 100th anniversary, would you expect anything less than a hundred thousand people trying to come?
I'm not thinking that far ahead, but there's going to be a total solar eclipse crossing over the Playa in August 2045. That's a little less than 38 years from now. Not a significant round-numbered anniversary but the excitement and desire to attend will be likely be high. I'd be surprised if there wasn't <i>at least</i> 150,000 people coming out for that. They'd probably even move the festival dates to coincide with the eclipse on just that premise.
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Tue Oct 03, 2006 2:18 pm

alienfry wrote: can you imagine if 80 years from now it's still happening? for a 100th anniversary, would you expect anything less than a hundred thousand people trying to come?
I got that day booked. Sorry.

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Post by Tiara » Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:14 pm

There seem to be a lot of rumors surrounding population figures.

The population numbers as of noon each day of the event are the basis of user fee payments to the BLM. As such, these official counts are not widely distributed.

Peak population was the highest it's ever been this year. But it did not exceed 40,000. (It was over 39,000).

An interesting trend is that the peak population count is happening earlier and earlier each year. It takes into account the number of people entering and leaving the gates. It would seem that lots of people want to avoid exodus, yahoos, etc and are heading home before the weekend.

As to population caps, the stipulations for the 5 year permit that was negotiated this year are available in a public document. No speculation is required.

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Post by mars » Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:23 pm

I definitely noticed that it was more crowded earilier in the week this year...wednesday night felt like friday night, and friday felt like burn night...in terms of population numbers.
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Post by diane o'thirst » Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:12 am

After the Wednesday storm, I saw a bunch of people leaving the city with loaded up cars.

Heh. Couldn't take it! Image
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Post by AntiM » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:23 am

the day we're able to celebrate freely sans expensive permits OR with the money to actually get those permits/security, that'll be the day larger regionals will actually work. that's when that will have a heavy draw that curbs the ever-growing population of our magnetic city-BRC.
The Utah Burn (Synorgy/Element 11) is held on private property and has needed permits for the last two years. The permits/potties/tickets/misc. are paid for by ticket sales. About 200~400 people attend, it is a really good event, but the size of the property and the permit requirements limit growth. Would I go to it instead of Burning Man? Well no, Utah's only a day's drive from Black Rock; I'd always prefer to do both events. Besides, Labor Day still sees the outdoor burn ban in place; the Utah burn is held early before fire season really gets started out here in the West. Much the same thing with Singularity, great event and relatively close by, but no substitute for the Mothership.

More regionals are a good idea for the folks who cannot make the trip to Black Rock City, but in the long run, regionals only spawn more burners!

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Post by Ugly Dougly » Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:55 am

Dunbar's Number
Primatologists have noted that, due to their highly social nature, non-human primates have to maintain personal contact with the other members of their social group, usually through grooming. Such social groups function as protective cliques within the physical groups in which the primates live. The number of social group members a primate can track appears to be limited by the volume of the neocortex region of their brain. This suggests that there is a species-specific index of the social group size, computable from the species' mean neocortex volume.

In a 1992 article, Dunbar used the correlation observed for non-human primates to predict a social group size for humans. Using a regression equation on data for 38 primate genera, Dunbar predicted a human "mean group size" of 147.8 (casually represented as 150), a result he considered exploratory due to the large error measure (a 95% confidence interval of 100 to 230).

Dunbar then compared this prediction with observable group sizes for humans. Beginning with the assumption that the current mean size of the human neocortex had developed about 250,000 years BCE, i.e. during the Pleistocene, Dunbar searched the anthropological and ethnographical literature for census-like group size information for various hunter-gatherer societies, the closest existing approximations to how anthropology reconstructs the Pleistocene societies. Dunbar noted that the groups fell into three categories — small, medium and large, equivalent to bands, cultural lineage groups and tribes — with respective size ranges of 30-50, 100-200 and 500-2500 members each.

Dunbar's surveys of village and tribe sizes also appeared to approximate this predicted value, including 150 as the estimated size of a neolithic farming village; 150 as the splitting point of Hutterite settlements; 200 as the upper bound on the number of academics in a discipline's sub-specialization; 150 as the basic unit size of professional armies in Roman antiquity and in modern times since the 16th century; and notions of appropriate company size.

Dunbar has theorized that 150 would be the mean group size only for communities with a very high incentive to remain together. For a group of this size to remain cohesive, Dunbar speculated that as much as 42% of the group's time would have to be devoted to social grooming. Correspondingly, only groups under intense survival pressure, such as subsistence villages, nomadic tribes, and historical military groupings have, on average, achieved the 150-member mark. Moreover, Dunbar noted that such groups are almost always physically close: "... we might expect the upper limit on group size to depend on the degree of social dispersal. In dispersed societies, individuals will meet less often and will thus be less familiar with each, so group sizes should be smaller in consequence." Thus, the 150-member group would only occur because of absolute necessity, i.e. due to intense environmental and economic pressures.

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