The Guardian story is mostly a re-hash of other coverage (lazy journalism? She should be a blogger!) There were a couple of interesting messages though:
Mitchell Martin, editor of Black Rock Beacon, the newspaper for burners, has estimated that scalpers have snatched up between 15,000 and 20,000 tickets, although “probably closer to 15,000”. [Maid Marian] Goodell is dubious, though. “I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet who knows how many scalpers have tickets,” she said. “I wish I did.”
Why does she wish she did? What would she do then? And there must be someone – the scalpers have to know, right? I think 20,000 tickets to scalpers is financially extremely unlikely – without large scale collusion with BMorg.
…of course, you can still use money and get Internet at BMorg-controlled Center Camp. Big Brother doesn’t want you to feel safe.
But that plan has not been universally embraced. Critics say any ticketing criteria runs counter to one of the key principles behind Burning Man, its “radical inclusiveness”.
“It’s the best they could do with the mess they’d made” said Martin. “It’s grotesquely unfair, and … it means that more than a quarter of attendees will have been hand-picked by the [Burning Man organisation]. But it sure beats having 20,000 newbies standing around looking at each other and wondering WTF they should do for a week.”
Ah, Mitch. Another case of Burners not seeming to understand all the maths involved.
[Update, 9:39pm 2/22/12 – apologies to Mitch for questioning his Maths skills. He does just fine – see the Comments here, or read his own post over at The Black Rock Beacon]
A similar problem may be observed at night on the Playa, as Burners realize that 3 glowsticks over 7 days is not the same as “I’ll be glowing off the whole time I’m there”, and the odds of 1 person being hit by any of 50,000 bicycles are not the same thing as a 1 in 50,000 chance of being hit by a bicycle.
Don’t despair. Burners.Me is here to help.
We have 40% of tickets going to newbies, that’s 16,000 from the lottery release. Plus whatever tickets they can score from the secondary market. I think you could safely call that 4,000 – if you work off Mitch’s figure of 20,000 scalped tickets, 40% of that is 8,000 so 24,000 newbies. So yep, whether you like it or not you’re looking at “20,000 newbies standing around wondering WTF”.
Then, instead of Mitch’s estimated quarter, we have pretty much ALL tickets hand-picked by BMorg (well, hand- or mysterious algorithm that someone wrote by hand-)…except for scalped ones. The funny thing is, despite the protests and lamentations from BMorg that get parrotted through the community like they’re Fox News talking points: if you want to go to Burning Man this year, your best friend is the scalper. BMorg is only going to help you if they’re already your friend and you’re “on the list“.