Steve, Exaggerate much?
As the new:experienced ratio changed to the point where there were 10 to 20 new participants every year for every one experienced participant,
The BRC Census will help you feel better about how many virgins attend each year.
Maybe you're not understanding me. My claim is that the problem is effective communication and reception of values, not virgins, though virgins and short time participants play an important role in that problem.
Obviously, supposing there were 10 for every one experienced burner since the city was in the 30k range, the city would be well over 300k by now. Yes, it's an exaggeration, but to prove a point. I stopped attending regularly in 2007 because of what I felt was a major departure from BM core values with the "Green Man" fiasco. I know I'm not the only long time attendee who quit because I've discussed this many times with people since then.
I'm sure you'll find the numbers here all fucked up, too. I do the people part of mental health, not the statistician part:
Let's knock the numbers down by quite a lot and make it easier to conceptualize, then. Suppose you have ten long timers and it's 2007 (ten burns or more) and let's say you have four five year burners and one virgin for every two of the two previous groups (7 virgins total). Three long timers drop out in 2008. 3 virgins return as mid-termers and one five+ drops out, and 6 virgins show up again. The lottery happens. Long time burners are reduced by two, mid-termers increase, and virgins drop to 5...so now we have 5 long timers, 6 short to midtermers, and 5 virgins. Long time burners are PISSED by the lottery and car passes. 2 more long term attendees drop off, the mid-term number grows, and virgins remain static.
At this point, the remaining long timers are the only people there who can communicate to others what they perceive to have been the original conditions and values of Burning Man. The attendees who started after 2005 call them haters and say they're clinging to old shit. This group communicates some
values to the new attendees, but very selectively. When the lottery hits, some of their most tenured drop out, as well. 2008 becomes a threshold for "long term". Many of these, however, got their sense of values from the 2005 crop who selectively communicated. They don't really communicate values as much at all and you know...it's pretty much cool...people can figure it out on their own. Their numbers are somewhat reduced by the lottery as well. Turnkeys begin popping up, created by people who started attending in 2007 - 2010. They know the ropes, they know how to set up a camp, they have the resources to do it for others, and they start charging for their services. The people who show up for the turn key experience DO NOT WANT to have values communicated to them. They already know what Burning Man is about. It's about being beautiful in the sun for a week, doing as much cocaine as possible, and taking selfies. The original values are now very badly watered down and attempts to communicate them are almost always met with shouts of "evolve" or with quiet admonitions about not being able to step into the same river twice or whatever other quote I read in my positive affirmations calendar this morning before the Cupertino campus staff meeting.
I don't have time to pour over the census and draw you attendee graphs, but the picture I've painted here bears truth nevertheless. There has been a push away from the values of Burning Man as it was once; even at its most chaotic, it was mindfully chaotic. That mindfulness has been largely replaced by other values and I maintain the change is due to what I've shown above - first, an inability to communicate values, followed by selective communication of values, followed by disinterest in favor of new values (which I believe are largely superficial).