Community reactions to STEP plans

A selection of comments from the Burningman official blog:

MutantVehicleOwner of America

Oh sure……no anxiety here. The emotional roller coaster ride brought to you by the Borg. 


Comments on previous blog postings have run about 10,000:1 in favor of identity-based-ticketing, and the predicted the inflow of tickets to STEP would run in the low dozens if STEP did nothing to pull in the tickets from scalpers and first-timers who might pick a big cash reward over a vacation to what is predicted to be the worst burn ever.

And so, the decision to apparently take identity off the table for the lottery tickets doesn’t even warrant a mention in the STEP rollout, beyond the FAQ that says it would get in the way of gifting? (As if STEP’s non-assignability doesn’t?).

And just to guarantee failure, the Borg won’t even eat the $7 in fees to make people whole, or pass those fees onto the new buyers? So if I held a couple of tickets, my choice is to sell at a loss through STEP, or sell at $1000 on Stubhub (the price where tickets are selling almost as quickly as being listed). Yeah, that’s going to be a tough decision for someone who has never attended and has no loyalty to Burning Man. If 5000 tickets came into STEP (and that’s probably 100x as much as will actually be the case), the Borg couldn’t find $35,000 to help make that a reality?

And it keeps getting better. As a potential buyer in the lottery, I had a choice of the price I was willing to pay. Let’s say $320 max was it. STEP can’t provide a max? My choice could be $420 or nothing?

It’s obvious that each STEP entry has to be assigned a sequential queue-position number, and they have to track the number that’s next up for a ticket-offer. Would it really be that hard to show “Your are number ___, Currently serving ___” ?? That would be really useful information to someone trying to make some plans to know if they have a shot at tickets. But then it would reveal the actual success of STEP, or lack of, wouldn’t it? The Borg’s not going for a lot of transparency these days, are they?

If scalpers were designed the system with a goal of helping scalpers, I can’t think of much that would be changed.


mtnscientist has a few good ones:

This reminds me of a quote I read recently from an old timer in the SFG, that these people could not figure out how to run a coin laundromat.

…I like the part about how they say they are giving the info so we “can plan accordingly”. To the contrary, based on the fact that no one knows if they can go or who else will be going (like their family, friends, camps), I think there will be very little room for planning this year.

…Yes, in agreement with most posters here, I don’t think its possible for Borg to do a WORSE job of this “ticket sale”. In fact, it is SO incompetent, I wonder if it is intentional (a girl scout troup could plan better), or some strange psychological experiment to see how much baloney people will take and still buy into something.


Exactly dude! What Other reasons might they have , since no-one could possibly be this incompetent? I mean, they have been consulting with Game Theorists, highly-read bloggers and everything? We have a whole series exploring some other possible motivations.


So the BMorg has made it clear, Burning man is the property of 6 people. The idea that Burning Man is a community is a myth. Despite any protestations or empty “apologies” the folks at BMorg have made, they never had any respect for the “community” or the people who have given year after year to the event. Someone wrote something about the poor PR effort the BMorg had made and for a couple of minutes they tried to quell the criticism by acknowledging their error and apologizing. But they never intended to actually listen to the “community” or sacrifice their intentions to the desires of the burners. We aren’t a community, we are simply customers for the BMorg and if we don’t like the way they choose to do things, too bad. Suck it up or go away. They don’t need you anymore. They’ve already sold out, so who cares if the event becomes empty and meaningless. You are nothing to them. Your opinions mean nothing to them. Since the BMorg refuses to do anything about scalpers, (to protect a few Burners who can afford extra tickets to gift) why don’t we head them off at the pass. If you were intending to sell extra tickets through STEP, why not just sell them for face value on Stubhub. That way you are supporting the community without supporting this farce.


Let me put on my cynic hat and translate what The Man is saying:

Sell your unused ticket to STEP, but we promised our friends they would make money on you so you have to eat the service fees (but what service was actually provided?). Oh, and we get to let our friends charge service fees on that same ticket again! That is great for our vendor! Thanks for supporting the “community”.

Sign up for STEP. Start your planning now! You must be checking your email at least every 72 hours from now till August 7th, just in case your number came up in the STEP line. What, you want to know your place in line? Sorry, we know your place in line but can not tell you. We also have no idea how many tickets will be available through this program, but we hope it is a lot so we can score more of those service fees. We are really encouraging people to use this system by requiring them to eat partial ticket costs.

Yay! Your number came up in STEP! Oh, you only signed up for the lowest tier of tickets because you could not afford the additional $150 of the upper tier. No worries! You got an offer to purchase a ticket from someone in the presale at $420! Only $180 over the low tier price, what a bargain. Act now, because if you pass on this “opportunity” you will not be able to sign up for another.

Yea, another fail for The Man. I do have to give some credit though. I can not dream up a way to alienate your “community” faster and more completely than this entire ticketing mess.

Jack C – hard to argue with the voice of reason

I oppose forcing ticket owners to take a loss in order to sell ticket back to STEP. It’s not unreasonable to ask buyers to pay an extra 12 dollars or whatever it is to cover transaction charges. We are looking to fight scalpers, not drive people to them.

also Loco with similar sentiments, echoing Colin Powell’s advice to Bush before Iraq

if its not broken dont try to fix it. hay BM you broke it fix it and dont ask us to pay to fix it do the wright thing.

StillGrumpy should consider changing his or her name to StillNaive

Also I think anyone who talks about Borg “greed” screwing up this year is completely getting the wrong end of the stick.
I’ve met/casually know a bunch of borg and while this year is a fuckstorm, I can’t for the life of me assign “greed” as a possible reason.

You could more reasonably say “naivity”, “inability to adapt” etc and these are all human traits and they’d prolly hold their hands up high right now, but I personally cannot at all believe it’s about personal money-grubbing.

Shit at BMORG HQ is not so cynical or amateurish that anyone has their hand in the till.

Tell us your thoughts about the way BMorg has invented and implemented this STEP ticket lottery system.

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