Spam is Bad

I had to shut off new member registration for a bit while I deal with a nasty spam attack. I am getting hit with 150 spam accounts a day. Meanwhile, I will try and open up more pages and am still looking for someone to help compile a list of queer events for the big event. Keep watching the twitter @queer_burners which feeds off the Facebook, too. On Facebook we are listed as “Gay Burners”.

Response to Burners.Me Article

When working on building something with passion and meaning behind it, there is likely to be no shortage of detractors. The win is when there are cheerleaders out there too. This thing that is QueerBurners.Com, what could be Quire, or become a voice in the Burning Man regional construct, these are all things very foreign to some members.

My name is Scott aka Toaster and I started Queer Burners, once known as Gay Burners, with a desire to create a place for LGBT+ men, women and various transitions to connect. I believe we have a unique spin to this lifestyle under the 10 principles that offers something special to the community as a whole. It was never meant to be political or divisive. It is growing and maturing. I hope Quire will elevate it to the next level.

A couple of times people have posted on Facebook, told me in person, and complained on ePlaya that there could be no reason for a site like Queer Burners dot Com. Hundreds and thousands of people say otherwise based on membership and guests visiting the site.

BMorg has been supportive of this site on some level. Partially by letting it exist. Partially by donating a lot of take-aways for the QBLS. On a couple of occasions with posts in the JRS.

One of my mistakes in the evolution of QueerBurners [dot] Com and the projects I have undertaken since joining the burner community in 2008 is that I have looked to BMorg for approval. Sort of like an unconfident child seeking a parents support. It never came and often that parent was too busy to acknowledge. But there were times when there was something of a relationship there. Before moving to San Francisco.

QueerBurners [dot] Com will do everything it can to be supportive of BMorg and the mission of Burning Man under the gray lines of the 10 Principles. Although not acknowledged officially, not disavowed, we have enjoyed a nice and almost polite coexistence.

Burners.Me

An article posted May 4/2012 on www.burners.me used a lot of quotes from this site extended from the Burning Man Leadership Summit. Turns out another attendee posted very similar comments that were also included in the article. Combined they were highly critical of BMorg in their response to safety concerns expressed at the Summit. Although the issue was rather poorly answered on Saturday (dismissively so) the conversation continued through Sunday at the Summit.

3 queer R.C.’s had very different points of view about QueerBurners [dot] Com but all were supportive in general. I listened carefully to all the feedback. There was a lot of shock and surprise that there were these kinds of concerns; even though women have been issuing these same concerns about aggressive male behavior before we spoke up.

There should be no mistake that the words shared on Burners.Me are those of myself (Toaster aka Scott), but I do not want to make good things happen by being a bully. The words expressed were real and came from those who attended the QBLS. Those words were my mission when attending the BMLS. I wrote them, but tried to convey a message, one that I hoped would make something positive happen.

The fact people are talking about it is a win. The fact that some R.C.’s have made a joke out of those concerns is a concern which makes the Burners.Me article very pointed. But we want BMorg as a partner. Even as BMorg crumbles from a series of mistakes in 2012 damaging it’s relationship with its own community and it turned a blind-ear to the concerns we still stand strong to carry the message of the 10 principles bravely forward because they do really mean something and work.

The path of least resistance

Any sense of drama or discourse seems to send a lot of Burners packing. Many will quickly put their hands over their eyes, ears and whatever protects the rosy image of the perfect Burner world. Many employ a tactic openly discussed called “Shunning” to shut the voice of discourse down rather than take any critical feedback. The path of least resistance is to deflect it or ignore it.

We have a challenge right now to be the best we can. I was forced to acknowledge the dismissive comment by Andie Grace that: Burning Man attendees are responsible for their own safety … Yes we are. Radical Self-Reliance is a major principle we live by. But by some estimations 70% of the people attending Burning Man in 2012 have never participated or understand the 10 principles.

I am not an advocate of more L.E. or BLM! But if Burning Man is not going to acknowledge the danger, we have to create something within our community that makes us more aware and less vulnerable in Black Rock City. In the end we, in our regional and social communities, have to be much more security conscience this year. More so than ever before.

Bottom line… QueerBurners [dot] Com and Quire is not here for politics or to battle BMorg. We are here to be a community center point to help network people. Find Queer camps, Queer resources or more. Some of our members are not interested in politics or to see any official representation with Burning Man… they just want to have fun and look at cool stuff. You still have that… some people will be organizers while some will be the participants/partiers or whatever… enjoy that. If that is your groove then be groovy, baby.

Conclusion

The article by Burners.Me was very unnerving as I read it because it was the sharpest points of a conversation splayed out and they sounded like a lot of frustration. While there is some frustration from someone like me who has put himself into the line of fire. I cannot help but feel like Don Quixote when looking to Burning Man for any real acknowledgement.

I suggested it was time for queer Regional Contacts representing the Queer Community of Black Rock City and beyond, but there was no real support. But, who is out there taking our issues seriously? We have friends in BMorg and there are some amazing people there, but the Regional team who should be listening is not. When our concerns are treated like a joke on their private boards there is something wrong. When I ask about safety I am dismissed – there is something wrong.

The dialog is still going on and all we can do is see where it goes. Burning Man is not Burning Man anymore, they are the Burning Man Project. The ticket disaster is still a shit storm. And now the BLM sanctions against Burning Man for their attendance issues last year are causing havoc. It really is a year of evolution for Burning Man… certainly Fertility 2.0 can have a deeper meaning in the end. Will the Queer community have a voice? Time will tell…

 

Queer Burner Leadership Summit

2012 1st of its kind Queer Burner Leadership Summit

Queer camp leaders, community leaders, get together for our own summit before the Burning Man Leadership Summit to talk about issues in our communities (geographically) and with our queer community relationship with the lifestyle.

Dialog is already brewing and some discussions already on the table. It is time to actively reach out to BM Queer participants/leaders. The one VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember is the word Queer before any of these terms is NOT EXCLUSIVE and not derogatory. We have some great hetero or hetero-adjacent friends that are a part of the community of all genders. [AGENDA]

March 16th to the 18th / 2012 in San Francisco

As this year’s Burning Man season starts up, it’s time for queer theme camps, villages, art projects & mutant vehicles to Come Together to…

DISCOVER… which queer projects are coming back for 2012,  how to plug in, and start working together to build amazing Black Rock City gayborhoods!

RECRUIT… new camp members, workers and support for your project!

LEARN… from your queer burner peers… and share your insights too…

DISCUSS… Hot Topics, like applying Ten Principles to your collective’s efforts, and how the Fertility theme relates to Gay Camps?

POLISH… your camps anti-MOOP efforts… with tried & true LNT best practices that can help you earn the coveted post-burn Green rating

BECOME… Part of the queer playa community!

Cosponsored by queer theme camps:
+ Camp Beaverton / Gender Blender
+ Comfort & Joy
+ Sun Guardians
+ The Pink Gym
+ Astropups
+ Poly Asylum
+ …and more!

Cost: Sliding scale will be asking for $25.00 / attendee for food and event expenses. No one who wishes to participate will be turned away for lack of funds.

If you can make it to the city we can help you with housing and food. You can chose to stay in a hotel on your own dime, but we are a community and have a lot of members in the SFO area that are there for you, too.

VENUE: TBA but will be centrally located and easily accessible by train and bus. It is not recommended that you rent a car as parking in this city is hell and expensive.

PLEASE RSVP ON FACEBOOK IF YOU CAN [LINK] TOO

Leadership Summit Attendance Form and Fee Payment

[contact-form-7 id=”1759″ title=”Summit”]


See payment in right side bar… Thanks!

Letter to Members

Hey everyone…

While at Burning Man and since I have had the pleasure… no “pleasure” does not even describe… bliss of meeting members of the site in all corners. Sometimes in some surprising places.

The site and our Facebook page is really busy and it goes far beyond the numbers of registered users at each location.

  • 390 People on Facebook
  • 273 Fully Registered on GB
  • 319 according to the backend which means about 40ish people have not finished their registration.

August is ‘shockingly’ a busy month for Burners. The facebook page in August had 100,000 freaking views!!!!! I was awestruck when I saw that information. The web site had 5,200 visitors 3,600 of which never saw the site before!

Of course in September the numbers dropped more dramatically on the Facebook to 23,500 for September, but that is nothing to sneeze at. Web site 3,160 views with 2,690 new visitors; at least according to Analytics and Insights.

Why is this important?
This is not a pat on the back for me. NO! Sounds like it maybe, but when I meet people who tell me they appreciate this site and the links/info on it I want you to see it’s relevance to us as a whole. Each one of you are a cell to a body and that body is part of a collective community and we all are so strong together irregardless of gender identity, race, orientation or social status. This site is a gift to you from each other.

On the site…
There are a few very relevant articles on the site right now I want people to take a look at when you get the chance. The last two major postings were themed with the 10 principles:

There is more. There seems to be a natural link between Queer Burners and the Radical Faeriecollective and the site will put it’s toe into that. Would love your feedback. A couple members are going to be talking about that more moving forward.

New Security
I am working on trying to find the best solution for protecting the site from Spam postings. Most of which you all never see because I have filters protecting the integrity of the site. If you have problems let me know. Too many bad attempts at logging in will lock you out. So, if 3 times you try and can’t get in use the reset feature.

Getting Traction!
I am looking for suggestions on what you want to see this site do. If you are a PHP guru and can help develop some ideas in the form of widgets for a WordPress site like this please let me know.

The guys that made the interactive maps that were unveiled this year like burnermap on Facebook and the one on BurningMan[dot]Com … I talked to both hopefully putting a bug in their ear for widgets or something for sites like ours that would benefit.

Closing
Thank you all so much for being a part of this. I will be posting this on the site as  an article for those not receiving email. About 1/3 of you are not getting email from the site. I would also like to thankComfort and Joy for their amazing support.

We also have a new domain pointing to the site and all new art! We have www.queerburners.com pointing to www.gayburners.com … after all we’re all queer.

Love&Light to you all…
Toaster aka Scott

SOLD OUT!!!!

According to BMorg online Ticket Sales for Burning Man are officially sold out! That’s right kids, one of the biggest years ever for this event, is running out of tickets. …er, ran out of tickets? Something like that.

2011: Rites of PassageIn January when tickets went on sale Tier 1 and Tier 2 sold out within hours. That meant that a buttload of tickets flew through the door in spite of the miserable management of the on-line ticket system. Patient and experienced Burners are used to the insanity of 1st day sales, but thankfully they have been working on improving that system.

Attendance

The event is limited in it’s terms of being able to grow. Last year at it’s highest point which was Friday night the highest level of people present was just over 53,000 people. There is a magic number Burning Man has to look at as a tolerance (a gray line) before exceeding the attendance limit and getting fined by the BLM. According to Marian Goodell that tolerance floats around 52,000 because for a variety of reason tickets are issued for various services and contributors; bottom line to be there you have to have a ticket even if working it.

Marian GoodellOur BLM permit is the restriction. We are between 5-year permits and this year we need to stay with the max-population to be within 2% of last year’s max-population. We grow every year more than that, so we couldn’t allow the natural growth for 2011, we’ve had to shut things off to stay within the BLM’s comfort zone. Capacity is a relative term in the desert. We need to stay near the max pop of 52,000.” – Marian Goodell (7/25/2011)

There is a fixed in growth allowed of about 3,000 per year… and this is by word of mouth. In reality, growth is expected but there is negotiation involved between the powers that be that set those along with the required presence of Law Enforcement.

2011 Features

This year “Rites of Passage” features the CORE Project where 24 Regions around the World (YES! The World) are bring effigy’s somewhere between 15 to 20 feet tall to be placed in a ring around The Man and will be ignited a day or two before The Man burns.

The Man will be posed differently than ever before too!!! He will be in a stride, which means the entire body will be in a step.

25th Anniversary? Last year was touted as the 25th Anniversary of Burning Man going back to the days of Baker Beach. Word is that the actual anniversary, counting events, falling on 2011. Just an item from rumor control…

Rumors / Truth

There are always rumors and interesting stories flying around. Only believe what you hear from the source. Check out Burning Man on Facebook and their web site Burning Man [dot] Com.

Principles and Blurry Lines

Chuck-WeirdAmericaHelcoAtBurningMan1996905

With a recent discussion of monetization on the site and this author possible getting a gift from someone who wanted to post an ad on the site I thought it important to expand on at least one of 10 points in the ideology we opted in to when we joined the Burning Man community and decided to participate.

Let me start by saying that I will be receiving nothing from the person who wanted to advertise here. The policy will remain the same unless the community (you guys) say differently. That is: Create a New Post from the Dashboard menu at the top of the screen after you login. Only verified members can do this. Email me if there is a question on what that is.

10 Principles

Of the 10 Principles the one that came under fire here is about monetary gain under the entity that is Burning Man or by using any logos or representations of the organization. Gay Burners is not in any way an officially sanctioned or official part of the organization. This amounts to being a fan-site supporting a sub-culture of Burning Man itself. And yes, I can say they appreciate what this site is and who we are catering to.

Decommodification: In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience. [source]

On a recent trip to gather with Burners one of the topics of discussion was about money. Certainly we all see that Burning Man could not exist unless they raised money and paid salaries. I hear people jabbing their fingers at coffee and ice at Burning Man, but that money goes to some important causes. Have you seen the financial reports Burning Man posts publicly on how much it costs to put the whole thing on?

Things cost money. People make money and that money goes into their tickets, camping equipment, gas to get to Burning Man so reality is that money is more often turning around and going right back into the machine anyway.

There are some seriously blurry lines in this space because the cost of local events beside our individual journeys is getting more and more expensive.

Gay Burners Site

It costs me almost nothing to have this site and manage it. I paid for hosting and I paid for the domain name and annually that is about 20$. Yes, you see AdSence on the bottom of the pages, but there has been no revenue from that in all the time I had the account. And this is actually on a few of the sites I manage. I want people to have resources and options but not some namby-pamby corporate hoo-hah wanting to come on here to take advantage our audience.

We have about 150 members right now on this site plus 162 on the Facebook as of this posting.

The same person who criticized me in email made a dismissing remark about the population of this site and whatever anger or frustration that came from it was hurtful. What you guys don’t see are the analytics of the site. We actually are getting more than a thousand people a month looking at this site! Wanna see some of that? Look at the link in the left column in the section that says “Who’s On Line”.

[source of cover image featuring Hellco]

Decommodification on GB

I got some rather harsh feedback on the last email from a particular member that gave me some food for thought. There was some issue with the question I put on there about the request to place an ad and some remuneration to me for doing so. There is a reason I put the question out there.

Although the reaction was a bit over the top I understand the point of view and am willing to concede. I did not create this site with expectation of personal gain. Not a penny. Not a singe thing. So were all good on those notes I am stating it clearly.

When we look at the 10 principles even the people running Burning Man admit there are some seriously blurry lines on those principles and for everyone they blur on different levels.

So, we will just continue to put links as they are provided. Any member that wants to shout out on a favorite vendor or their own product you can have one posting page for it. Myself or any other Admins on the site can help post links as well.

Thanks for your understanding.

 

Members Posting on GB

There are some new changes on the site again. In an effort to make this thing something really cool, I keep trying to improve it and get all the LGBT-XYZers playing together. I know there are other sources out there, but I thank you for choosing GB when you can.

Please feel free to post your stories. Maybe you are venting. Did you know the mayor of Camp Beaverton is playa named Bucket? Do you know HOW she got that name… he he he… I do. BUT I would love to see that story and yours on here.

Please type right into the interface and avoid the copy/paste thing from word because it will bring all kinds of hidden code into the page if you can.

Please remember to follow the basic policies and use this page to login and make a new post.

Love & Light ya’ll!

Buis. Side of Burning Man

So, I was posting the new page Decompression Digest today when I realized that just recently I remember reading an article in The Examiner how Burning Man, LLC sued someone for using the word “decompression” in their advertising. I always hear haw fervently BMorg protected their name, been warned a few times be people who were excessively nervous, but never really saw much enforcement before.

Larry Harvey and Marian Goodell - The Business Side of Burning ManThis writer definitely believes in protecting the brand and the principles of an organization like this, which is why following Burning Man, LLC letter about coyright that went out to the general community I wrote the BM legal office describing both web sites managed by StudioSK (me) because of the use of the name “burner” in both titles (LVBurners.Com and GayBurners.Com). Each site contains a disclaimer about how this site is not a product of Burning Man, LLC or has any affiliation.

I find when writing anything on these site, legal words roll through my head, even before the idea of protecting the brand; which is a very close second.

It is what it is. I am writing this because when I started the previously mentioned page my mind reflected back to that article and how many times I have to carefully pluck my words to honor the unwritten contract I have with Burning Man. (pause) Wait, I guess I signed an agreement last time I went to Burning Man.

Wait, when I registered on ePlaya.

Er, uhm, my paperwork for my 2010 art project for Burning Man, LLC.

Basically, it’s everywhere. They are a corporation and at the same time is promoting the principle of Radical Self-Expression. If I were to ever become a Regional the contract would become official and binding on a new level, but I still honor all that.

This article is not a smooch the the legal ass of Burning Man, LLC and it’s registered Trademarks (sorry Dan), but something I felt like writing because of the wheels turning in my head with each of these creations. I have to make sure I do not cross the line. Anyone does, when it comes to playing with other peoples business.

Believe it or not, and only a few people know this, I actually was told by Marian Goodell in a very pleasant conversation that one of my previous posts really came close or stood on top of that line. Provocative was not a word I would use on that article from last year, but Marian said is was not as benign as I felt it was; especially since it dealt with a sensitive issue in the BM world.

The plus side is, some people at BMorg got to know me a little. The drawback… I can’t think of one. Hopefully the drawback won’t be people at BMorg getting to know me better because I would jump into that pool in a heart beat.

Bottom line is that myself and anyone posting on my sites, or anyone on their endeavors, have to be careful about the things we are representing. It leads us to respecting the bigger picture as well. So when I go into a long circle to get to a point sometimes with carefully worded phrases please understand.   🙂

Read more on the Business Side of Burning Man on LaughingSquid.Com

Site Update

As of today, I am processing a whole new revision of the site. The previous software I used for the site had some security problems. This one shold work better.

I appreciate your patience and for those of you who transferred over and joined the site once again. Hopefully you will see the improvements and the versatility of this site.

Thanks!

Toaster

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