Burning Man ticket decision addresses 1 Burning issue, not both

Steven Jones makes some good points in his discussion of the ticket lottery. The Burner community has 2 main issues with the ticket situation – major theme camps and art projects not going, and scalpers getting tickets that should have gone to Burners.

The announcement of 10,000 tickets going to Theme camps addresses the first issue, but not the second. It would be so easy to link the tickets to IDs, which seems to be the #1 request of the Burner community in all the comments flying around the noosphere –  and yet they don’t want to. With over 80% of voters suspecting a financial motivation to their shenanigans, you have to wonder why.

Maid Marian has some interesting answers:

“We already did the math,” she told me. “Just because you’re a theme camp on the map doesn’t entitle you to x-number of tickets.”

While there may be about 700 registered theme camps in recent years, Goodell said the LLC is focused on getting tickets to camps that are truly interactive or offer entertainment, transportation, art, or volunteers to key functions such as the Lamplighters or Gate crew. “And we know who they are,” she said.

Oh, so now they did the math?

“We are trying to make the STEP system be fluid, so if there’s only a limited number of tickets available then more people can get them,” Goodell said. “We want STEP to work.”

The IF here is very telling. Why would she be wondering IF there were a limited number of tickets in this crisis, isn’t that obvious? Not if the BLM permit increases in size.

Here’s Maid Marian on scalpers:

she just doesn’t think the scalper problem is as big as many burners believe.

But she doesn’t know for sure. “Nobody knows, it’s all speculation,” Goodell said, and that’s part of the problem. All they really know is demand for tickets this year far exceeded anyone’s expectations – Goodell will only confirm that there were 80,000-120,000 requests for the 40,000 ticket allocated on Feb. 1 – and that tickets often sold for double face value last year after the event sold out a month early for the first time in its 25-year history.

“Is it 100 people or 1,000 people that are going to take advantage of the community, and can we just discourage that?” Goodell said

Nobody knows? Surely somebody knows? What was the point of collecting 120,000 surveys if you don’t know?

Jones mentions one thing that I would like more information on:

Some bloggers out there have demonstrated how easy it is to generate multiple credit card numbers and argued that scalpers must have done so

Anyone have a link for this? I don’t think it is easy at all to “generate multiple credit card numbers” – if it was, hackers would not be breaking into the Playstation network to steal millions of them. They’d just print them at home.

[Update 1 – 1:07pm  Friday February 17,2012]

Comments from the noosphere:

idjoe says on the BMorg official blog:

@ Scalpers Delight, “Yay, no anti-scalping policy”

Delayed distribution HELPS scalpers by creating a ‘false’ scarcity now and a limited time “buying frenzy” later.

My preference is tickets connected with purchaser name, ID required upon admission.

And here’s Tim on Facebook:

BM ticket fiasco from an economic perspective:

The BM ticket fiasco is a great case study. They certainly created much more demand with the way they proceeded naturally completely overwhelming the limited supply. They 1) BM pre-announced that tickets would inevitably sellout this year (creates more demand) 2) they introduced a “lottery” system with a limited number of tickets (creates demand) 3) they introduced an obtuse non-transparent and apparently freely alterable criteria for ticket selection (creates demand!). Make you wonder whether in the entire BM team there was one economist?? Speaking (economic) truth to power…

Vote for transparency!

[Update 2 Feb 20, 2012 – BMorg added some further commentary on the issue of linking tickets to IDs]

[ADDED paragraph 9:15 PM 2.15.12] We have heard the call very specifically about “identify-based ticketing”. There is a strong desire from the community to have us attach a name to each ticket that comes into the event. There are some options in that regard that are more feasible than others. Unfortunately, none are seamless and all options cause various levels of disruptions not just to the organization but to community values like “gifting” that are and have been clearly in play. We’d have to motivate all intended ticket-holders to enter into a new process or plan, and for some that’s seen as a violation of privacy, for others it’s distasteful to change plans in mid-stream. It’s also important to include the impact this would place upon the box office and the gate. There’s no point in doing this if we are not be able to close the loop and enforce the identity-based solution. We must have a more complete picture of what identify-based ticketing will do to internal processes and whether it’s possible to motivate current order-holders to identify ticket holders and what that would look like.  We weren’t able to reach a firm and confident conclusion by today. We have to carefully weigh the decision with the intended consequences and consider potential unintended consequences before we move forward on this option. [end added section]

10 comments on “Burning Man ticket decision addresses 1 Burning issue, not both

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