Help us Alpha Test New Site

Burning Man have changed their privacy policy, and are asking Burners to create Burner Profiles in order to apply for tickets. The data is owned by the multi-entity hydra which is the various Burning Man for-profit and non-profit organizations, and it is shared amongst any of their “affiliates”; if they suspect you of violating any of their many legal contracts or other things, they can sell your information to anyone they like. Oh, and if someone takes over Burning Man, the policy could be changed at any time.  At least that’s how I read the contract – I call on any legal eagles out there to correct me.

Although this news is a couple of weeks old now, I missed it while on vacation at the beach. I think they’re going in the wrong direction – this is a 1990’s Internet approach, not a 2013 one. A quarter of the world are on Facebook now, more than a third on the Internet: 2.4 billion people, up 566% since the year 2000; 4 billion email clients. 634 million websites, increasing at 51 million per year. More than 5 billion people with mobile phones, more than 1.1 billion on the Internet with smart phones; more than a billion people a month using Facebook. Facebook processes 2.7 billion Likes per day. People are sharing data, not trying to own the content created by others.

Think about this.

Burners.Me is just one of 60 million WordPress blogs. A few times, we’ve made the Top 100 WordPress sites in the world.  Right now, our Alexa ranking is consistently in the top million websites in the world – ie the top 0.15%. Here’s how we stack up versus the official sites, funded from the $24 million a year at the gate, the $12 million a year non-party budget, etc.:

  • Burners.Me – # 145, 865 in the US; #924,682 in the world; 87 sites linking in – we’re top million, have been almost top half million at our peak
  • Burningman.com #15,665 in the US; #59,555 in the world; 5,552 sites linking in
  • Burningmanproject.org too small for US data; #3,455,512 in the world; 60 sites linking in 
  • Blackrockarts.org too small for US data; #1,431,325 in the world; 293 sites linking in

And we’re not doing anything to make money from this. Just sharing our opinions, about a culture we love, and feel like we’ve been a part of for many years. You don’t have to agree with us, we welcome for you to comment here and disagree and share your own thoughts. We respect freedom of speech more than anything, definitely more than Burning Man’s 10 Principles.

I would really love for any readers of this blog to be able to post their own videos, photos, and stories. Some of the more adventurous Burners have been doing this anyway, and have been rewarded by the promotion of their project to tens of thousands of people per week. We promoted at least a dozen kickstarter projects last year, for example.

I use wordpress.com and I haven’t found an easy way to integrate the ability for anyone to upload their own photos and videos yet.

So today I’m trying a new additional platform where you can start your own discussion topics and share your own content, burners.ning.com. It’s rough and it looks like crap right now – that’s why we need Alpha Testers. Help us with ideas about how it can look and work better. Do you have any photos or music mixes from your times at Burning Man, that you’d like to share? Burning Man related stuff you’ve posted to YouTube? Post ’em, tag ’em. The ones on Flickr are too hard to find and discuss, in my opinion. Tribe had a moment of blossoming but died some years ago. Anything on ePlaya is clearly owned by BMOrg. And Reddit – who served 37 billion page views in 201injury infographic2 – has now seemingly been Tar’get’d by the Cop-y-Right Wing.

Let’s make this an online community for Burner content, that is more in line with the free and open spirit of the Internet. We ask anyone who is interested to please help us out, create yourself a free profile at burners.ning.com. Share as little or as much data as you want, hell make up a fake name, we don’t care – it’s the Interwebz! Upload some of your Burning Man photos, share some of your stories and music.  We will use the Creative Commons Attribution License – the content you choose as shareable can be used by other Burners for whatever they want, as long as they’re not profiting from it without acknowledging your ownership. The license does not erode your copyright ownership over your own digital information, it just describes a way that others can share your stuff on the Internet if they like it – without everything being red tape and a huge pain in the ass.

Whether this idea works or not is up to you, Burners. There’s nothing in this for us, in fact it’s only going to take more precious time and effort to administer; but it seems to me like the right thing to do. Or at least, to try…”there is no try, only do” – Yoda.

Information wants to be free! The world has benefitted so much from Open Source licenses and the philosophy of sharing and mutual benefit that underpins it. Not so much so from the Patent Trolls, suppressing brain-children because they want to own everything. These digital robber barons want to retain exclusive use of the invention, and restrict others from using it; this is the philosophy that led the world’s greatest scientist Nikola Tesla to die penniless, and is the opposite from that espoused by the Pirate Party about our obligation to share our culture heritage with others (for example).

Bruce Sterling? Now that’s a Burner from WAAAAAAY back. Is it a coincidence that Burning Man has eerie similarities to the sorts of things going on in the second video above – while it is being discussed as one of the similar events to the Davos World Economic Forum?

this infographic is from Russia...not sure what it all means!

this infographic is from Russia…not sure what it all means!

We search images.google.com for photos related to “Burning Man”, we share them under the Fair Use provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. We’re allowed to do this, because we’re discussing an event in popular culture. Wherever possible, I attribute photos, and always if we get requested to by the photographer. Sometimes we have taken photos down – being polite will get you further than threats for this one. But that’s for this blog, burners.me – me and some of my friends commenting and sharing our opinions about Burning Man.

burners.ning.com is for everyone – please post everything, share everything, let’s have a Burner repository independent of the BMOrg…because we all have no idea who is going to be running the BMOrg in 5 years. Criticize us all you want, open dialog with a view to progressing to better solutions is what’s going to make this community better – but don’t be hurt if we defend ourselves from your barbs.

If any Burners have graphic skills and an inclination to make this easier for the whole community to use, please help us make it look nicer. And anyone with Burning Man related mixes, please post it in Music, let us know what year and camp it’s from as well as the DJ name if possible.

If it’s meant to fizzle and fails, then it fails… no skin off our nose, at least we tried something; but if you can help all of us by using your graphics, Internet and Social media skills to help build the global community of Burners: join our free alpha trial and share your ideas about how we can make the Burner world a better place. And please post all your Kickstarter projects there.

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