“The Fox News of Burning Man” [Update]

“Burners.Me is the Fox News/National Enquirer of the Playa!”, cry the haters.

Is that really so bad? Both of these are successful, professional media organizations. The National Enquirer has been going for almost a century, and was financed by San Francisco media baron William Randolph Hearst as the testing ground for his new ideas. The Pulitzer Prize Board considers it a legitimate news source. Fox News is the #1 cable news channel in the US, a position it has held for 145 consecutive months. Fox has nearly 5 million followers on Twitter, and is primarily owned by its founder, the world’s most successful publisher, Rupert Murdoch. It broadcasts from Rockefeller Center to 100 million households in the US, and is considered “most trusted” by more people than any other news network.

faux-news-posterThose who doubt us think it must be a terrible insult, to compare this free blog written by someone whose day job and education is in business, not journalism, to these professional for-profit media organizations with thousands of employees. What would the haters prefer Burners.Me was like? CNN? The Wall Street Journal? Vanity Fair? Playboy? The late, lamented San Francisco Bay Guardian? Or burningman.org, who openly admit they have no requirement to be 100% accurate?

Whenever I come across someone saying “Burners.Me is full of misinformation, there’s no truth there”, I ask them to provide an example. Which they never can. If everything here was lies, then it should be easy to show some examples. If this site was only 99% true, would it really be fair to describe it as “full of misinformation”? In that hypothetical case, 1% means there would be 14 posts of lies here. And yet so far, nobody has been able to demonstrate one example of deliberate misinformation.

Is everything BMOrg ever says true? Absolutely not! As well as stating that themselves, we’ve proved it here multiple times. Is everything Burners.Me ever says true? Yes, to the best of my knowledge at the time I write it. Why would I want to lie, in a free gift to the Burner community? What is in that for me? I get enough haters just from telling uncomfortable truths. Why would I want to give the trolls more ammunition to use against me? I don’t understand how people think that spreading lies would somehow benefit me. Or why the trolls seem to think it’s fine for BMOrg and their Directors to lie, spin, and employ a Minister of Propaganda.

One of the more controversial claims I’ve made here is that Burning Man charges site fees for professional film shoots at the event, such as $150,000 to Vogue.

bm french vogue 2010

I’ve chosen this example to drill into, because one of the “social” media haters over the weekend tried to use it as proof that Burners.Me lacks integrity. I will show you where the claim came from, and why I believed it; how I’ve updated my readers as new information came in; and how semantics are used by BMOrg’s spin machine to mask underlying issues behind their carefully-chosen words.

Here’s what the original front page story about the Spark movie by Scribe in the SF Bay Guardian said:

When I asked Brown about whether he paid the LLC for access and the right to use footage they filmed on the playa — something I know it has demanded of other film and photo projects — Brown paused for almost a full minute before admitting he did.

“We saw it as location fees. We’re making an investment, they’re making an investment,” he said, refusing to provide details of the agreement. “The arrangement we had with Burning Man is similar to the arrangements anyone else has had out there.”

Goodell said the LLC’s standard agreement calls for all filmmakers to either pay a set site fee or a percentage of the profits. “It’s standard in all of the agreements to pay a site fee,” Goodell said, noting that the LLC recently charged Vogue Magazine $150,000 to do a photo shoot during the event.

We covered this at the time in The Spark of Controversy.

About this time last year, someone with high-level BMOrg connections told me at a social event that the Guardian got it wrong. So the very next day I published an update to the story, entitled Not So Vogue? and said:

According to our source, that story is not accurate. In fact, Vogue offered them this much money, and BMOrg turned it down. Or perhaps, BMOrg named their price, and Vogue turned them down. Anyway, the exchange of $150,000 for a photo shoot for Vogue, apparently never happened.

The source did not want to go on record with this , but gave me permission to publish. Read into that what you will. If this is true, then it’s surprising that BMOrg didn’t try to set the record straight with an official statement.

They also never asked the Guardian to print a retraction.

At the time, I did not name my source because he asked me not to. I can identify him now because sadly, Paladin, who was close to BMOrg because he was Danger Ranger’s attorney, died of a heart attack before this year’s burn. I only met him the one time, he seemed like a good guy, and someone in a position to know what he was talking about.

As it turns out, Paladin was not correct when he told me that Vogue offered them that much money but BMOrg turned them down. I was correct in my speculation that BMOrg named their price and Vogue thought it was too high and declined.

Anyway, after learning that Marian may have been misquoted by Scribe, I emailed her directly, and asked her what really happened. She didn’t get back to me, which gave me the impression that Scribe’s quote was accurate. I published the Not So Vogue post, sharing with our readers that some doubt had been raised about the story. I continued to use the site fees as an example of ways in which commodification has been occurring on the Playa.

Just over 2 months after I published this update and asked for her version of events, Maid Marian sent a message via the Contact form of this web page:

Steve Jones quoted me out of context, and it’s picked up here as if it’s true:


We NEVER ever took any money from Vogue to do a shoot. There has yet to be a shoot at Burning Man with our permission. What I said was that we always say no, and sometimes they come back and ask again…and that we sometimes use a high fee to just dissuade them from further conversation if they insist on being pushy. $150,000 site fee is absurd. And, if anyone said they’d do it, we’d just laugh. It’s like a dumb game with some of these companies, so we play along sometimes to just see how far they’d go.

When we say NO we mean no, and so many of them say: “pretty please”, or “why not”, or “for how much”….i mean really.

There seems to be a Vogue photo shoot in the 2010 November (or 2011?) French Vogue magazine that looks like Burning Man. If it is, we didn’t approve of it, and have scratched our heads internally about it since it was spotted several years ago.

Unfortunately, she sent this response long after I’d emailed her asking for clarification. Because she sent it through the site’s Contact page, rather than replying to my email, it slipped through the cracks when I was traveling and I didn’t see it for a couple more months. I thought she never got back to me; she probably thought I was ignoring her response. When I did see it, I decided to accept her explanation, and stopped mentioning $150,000 Vogue photoshoots in my commentary.

At the end of the day, does it really matter that Vogue didn’t hand over a check – that BMOrg was simply quoting them a six figure price? Charging site fees is Commodification, it’s as simple as that. Did Fest300 have to pay site fees, to film their commercial at Burning Man? Did AirBnB pay them, for their Black Rock City advertisement?

Search AirBnB for Burning Man, this ad is still displayed

Search AirBnB for Burning Man, this ad is still displayed

I can see how casually easy it has been for BMOrg management to use this claim as their shining example against Burners.Me. “Hey Marian, did we get paid $150,000 by Vogue?” “Absolutely not!” “Well Burners.Me is claiming we did, they must be lying, it must be a disinformation site”. 

The problem with that theory is, it wasn’t me who came up with the $150,000 site fee for Vogue. It was the SF Bay Guardian. And Marian Goodell doesn’t deny that she said that. I was just quoting someone else’s information, and providing a link to my source. If SFBG got it wrong, then why didn’t BMOrg demand a retraction – or correct us publicly in the comments to our story? Why didn’t their CEO just reply to my email?

tribesbmI formed an opinion based on a front page feature story from a newspaper, from pretty much the most trusted source I could get about Burning Man. Scribe is not just a professional journalist, he was the editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian before its recent closure, and he’s also the author of an impeccably researched book, The Tribes of Burning Man. He based his 5-page long article on hours of recorded interviews with Larry and Marian. If that is not a good enough source for me to quote, then what is?

Some might say “well you should have fact checked it” – but I did do that. When Paladin raised doubts to me, the next morning I contacted Burning Man’s CEO directly. And she didn’t get back to me for months.

Yesterday I contacted Scribe and shared Marian’s version of events with him. He replied:

I believe the context of that quote was in discussing the site fee that the film crew paid Burning Man to shoot there, specifically because I was raising questions about its appropriateness and conflicts of interest. She raised the Vogue thing to say that such site fees are routine and no big deal, which is sort of the opposite of what she’s now trying to say. She never asked for a correction on that point, and I know that she did read the article and was unhappy with my criticism of the film and deceptions in the transition to nonprofit status. I have no idea whether Vogue ever paid them anything, that was simply an anecdote that Marian volunteered and not something that was a strong focus of my story. 

Marian says they were just being ironic, playing a “dumb game”, laughing at the chumps who presumably thought they were having a professional discussion. Scribe’s memory of the conversation is different. Meanwhile, commercial news agencies are selling Burning Man photos, Google are running ads over YouTube videos filmed at the Playa, movies like Spark are paying site fees. Dumb game or not, this is part of BMOrg’s business model. And is it now the Burning Man Project getting paid for image licensing and movie royalties? Or is it Decommodification, LLC? This information has not been made transparent to Burners.

Even with the updated information that we finally got from the CEO – that BMOrg quoted a price, but Vogue didn’t want to pay that much – is it really Burners.Me that’s the bad guy here? What about BMOrg, proposing it in the first place? Isn’t this pure commodification: selling the art that gets created as a gift by Burners, to a magazine for profit? If an artist spends hours making an art car or costume that gets featured in Vogue, do they get a cut of these site fees? No, they don’t. Why should the detail that Vogue didn’t end up paying, completely over-ride the main point: that BMOrg is asking magazines to pay 6-figure sums as site fees for their productions? Isn’t this just another revenue stream, another nail in the coffin of a free-from-commercial-transactions Playa?

I don’t have all the answers, I’m not an insider, and those who are aren’t allowed to speak to me.

If we publish something that turns out to be inaccurate, I update the story. I spend hours doing research and fact-checking, and always provide links to the sources of my information. If I can’t verify something, I tell you that it’s unconfirmed; if it’s rumor or speculation, I highlight that. Just because something is a rumor, doesn’t mean it’s untrue – as we showed with this year’s Circus theme, and the VIP Donation tickets which BMOrg have now admitted to.

Yes, this site is opinionated, but that’s the whole point of blogging: commentary. I comment on what people are saying about Burner culture on the Internet. Someone writes an article somewhere, and I quote the part of it that relates to my point and give you my take on it. Then I invite readers to also comment, providing their own take. I always identify the source with links so that you can read the original stories in their entirety and make your own mind up. I treat my readers like intelligent adults, rather than dispensing propaganda and using the kind of trickery and slippery language we’re used to seeing from politicians.

Sometimes Burners.Me might get things wrong, or not get the full picture. Sometimes, as was the case of the fire-spinner flare-up at SF Decom, there will be conflicting versions of a story. In that case I try to present the different viewpoints, as well as my opinion. This is a blog, not the Bible; if new information comes to light, we update our readers. That’s why you frequently see [Updates] to the stories here. The comments are open, and anyone is encouraged to share facts, evidence, and their own opinions.

BMOrg can come here at any time, and correct anything they don’t agree with. Sadly, when they have commented here before, it’s generally been to criticize and launch ad hominem and straw man attacks, instead of to answer our questions.

haters gonna hate unicorn[Update 12/11/14 8:13am]

Lemur has commented that this very post is an example of misinformation.

lemur misinformation

this is an example of misinformation.

you’re referring to this as if it was their policy for anything published on their website, when you know that their response to your request to have information removed was explicitly about their COMMENT POLICY.

i believe the direct quote was “nothing in this post violates our comment policy. A comment not being 100% factually accurate is not grounds for removal”

you know this, I know this..

this is why its misinformation.

If BMOrg does have a policy requiring everything they publish to be 100% accurate, where is it?

This post might be an example of interpreting the facts I have to form an opinion: but that is the whole freaking point of the post! If you’re going to condemn it, please at least read the whole thing.

Let me provide some further examples behind why I made that statement:

Burning Man’s founder, Director of the Burning Man Project, and owner/Director of Decommodification LLC, the private company that owns all the assets of the business, Danger Ranger, publicly doxed me and published maliciously false statements as well as personal information. When I corrected him, both publicly and privately, he chose to completely ignore the facts. He didn’t change a thing he’d said, didn’t remove them. Instead, he took to burningman.org and the Regionals list to repeat them again, even though at this point he now new without a shadow of any doubt that they were lies.

Then the tag team of BMOrg’s Minister of Propaganda and director of Communications, who were responding to the many comments on their blog post which the community had waited 3 months for, said this when I raised an objection again to their Director spreading both personal and false information about me:

Screenshot 2014-12-05 19.38.09

This seems like an open admission to me. The context is important here. The context is not simply them being asked about their comment policy, the context is me asking them to remove false and personal information being posted at burningman.org by one of their Directors.

It’s also worth noting that none of us can post links on their blog, now called “Voices of Burning Man”. Any post with a link goes to the censors, who don’t seem to approve them if the link in any way supports a negative opinion about BMOrg. Many Burners have encountered their comment vanishing there, simply because they tried to back it up with a reference. BMOrg provide a field “web site” in the comments, if you put “burners.me” in that your post gets automatically censored. Yet somehow “Mortician” was able to post a link to Danger Ranger’s Facebook post that had been reproduced on eplaya.burningman.org.  They also had no problem letting “The Man” post a link to a negative tabloid story about me, in which I was the victim of a frivolous lawsuit and the Murdoch organization’s global hacking scandal.

The comment policy actually says:

we expect commenters to identify themselves in their posts, and conduct themselves as they would as guests at a party, where spirited conversation is welcome, but unruly and rude behavior is not…Anonymous comments are not permitted here. Our contributors will identify themselves when we write Burning Blog; in turn, we want to know who you are and that there’s a real person behind the words you post. We’ve seen what can happen in spaces that make it easy for “hit and run” comments: things can go completely septic, fast.

And yet, rude, anonymous and septic comments against Burners.Me and myself personally get to stay. No problem there.

There is more to BMOrg’s desire to not be 100% factually accurate than just their comment policy.

First of all, there is nothing in the Bylaws of the Burning Man Project, their Mission and Values statement, or anywhere else about truth and honesty. If there is any document from Burning Man that states that they DO have to be honest and/or factually accurate in what they say, I’d love to see it; it should be easy for them to produce it.

Let me give you a few examples of the public falsehoods they’ve spread.

1. On November 25 Minister of Propaganda Will Chase came here to comment on our post Donation Tickets: Here to Stay and said:

“Actually, charitable donation tickets are tickets that Burning Man donates to charities for their fundraising raffles”

On December 3, burningman.org said:

“The Donation Ticket Program sold tickets between May and July. No tickets were sold through this channel after August 1. Tickets were sold for face value plus a $250 tax-deductible donation to Burning Man Project. “


“We have eliminated the Burning Man Project Donation Ticket Program”

2. We leaked that they were selling tickets above face value to VIPs, and giving a small amount of the money to their charity non-profit. On October 10 on the Theme Camp Organizers Facebook group, I asked Rosie Lila, a BMOrg employee who we understand is their dedicated Commodification Camp liaison,

How did these Commodification Camps get so many tickets, Rosie?

to which she replied:

I don’t have specific information on the tickets distribution at this time.

I pointed her to Steven Young, who works for Burning Man and sent the email that we’d leaked.

Then readers leaked us screenshots, which we published on October 30. At this point they were still trying to ignore the issue. Despite my assistance to help the left hand figure out what the right hand had been up to, on Nov 11 they were still pleading ignorance at burningman.org:

How did turnkey camps get all their tickets?

Do turnkey camps get preferential treatment

?Were people buying blocks of tickets through the Burning Man Project donation ticket program in the days before the event?

….The importance of these questions requires collaboration and input from a wide variety of people including staff, theme camp leaders, artists, Regional Network leaders, turnkey camp producers, and participants. We are still gathering information and identifying the most effective solutions.

Eventually, they “came clean” and admitted to what they had done. However, they still said:

No tickets were sold through this channel after August 1

Proof that BMOrg continued to sell tickets to the “sold out” event after August 1, and after the OMG sale ended, comes from this statement from Danger Ranger’s Facebook page that I captured before it was shut down for TOS violations:

On the 21st of August, 2014, the first Burning Man ticket was sold for Bitcoin in a face-value equivalency transaction as an experiment in on-line reputational trust between individuals. Now all we need is a ‘Pay in BTC’ button added to the ticket purchase section of the Burning Man website.


3. BMOrg published a page, not linked to anywhere else on their site, saying “We pay $4,522,952 a year to the BLM”. This was picked up and repeated by the Reno Gazette Journal and other publications as a statement of fact, despite their 2013 Afterburn report saying the $4.5 million line item was for “BLM and other usage”. I contacted the BLM directly, and their manager responsible for Burning Man confirmed that BMOrg only paid them $3.45 million. We exposed this here, and questioned whether “Other usage” included a payment to Decommodification, LLC or the other private companies owned by the directors. BMOrg have never corrected or explained their misinformation.

4. Earlier this year, BMOrg crowed to the media “we have completed our transition to a non-profit”, as if it was now a fait accompli. Larry Harvey said “the truth is we’ve surrendered all rights of ownership”. It was left to us to prove that no, they hadn’t. What they had done was to create a secretive company called Decommodification LLC, owned by the 6 founders, and transfer the core assets of the business into that. Larry Harvey then revealed:

My fellow founders and I are the sole members of this entity whose chief property is the name “Burning Man”. This too will be transferred to the non-profit in three years time, unless the partners elect “not” to do so

I could go on, because there are many more examples, but I think I’ve made my point. There is a consistent pattern of misinformation from this organization. There is no policy requiring them to be truthful – if there is, let’s see it. Meanwhile, if someone can show us we’re wrong, we correct it. I try very hard to be truthful, and provide links to the source of all my claims. This update alone took me an hour and a half because of the need to do that.

As for Lemur, this is far from an unbiased person. This troll went so far as to create a dedicated hate site about me last weekend, chronicling my “meltdown” over being doxed in the DangerGate scandal, which used the phrase “in this author’s opinion” 13 41 times:

lemur apologizes


58 comments on ““The Fox News of Burning Man” [Update]

  1. Pingback: Dancetronauts: Too Loud For Burning Man? [Updates] | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. If you don’t mind my saying, your logic and conclusions seem to be weak, if not flat out faulty.

    As “Proof that BMOrg continued to sell tickets to the “sold out” event after August 1, and after the OMG sale ended” you quoted a statement from Danger Ranger’s Facebook page where he said:

    “On the 21st of August, 2014, the first Burning Man ticket was sold for Bitcoin in a face-value equivalency transaction as an experiment in on-line reputational trust between individuals.”

    How does a ticket sale between individual prove anything about the organization? People buy and sell tickets outside of STEP all the time right up until the man burns. Cragislist is rife with it, and nobody needs BM’s permission to do that.

    Is there some other bit of knowledge that didn’t make it into your post that led to the conclusion that this ticket was sold by BM itself?

    • How could a Burning Man Director POSSIBLY know what payment method was used in all private sales of tickets between individuals unconnected with Burning Man? Bitcoin could well have been used before for such transactions, in fact I’m almost certain that it was. I took it as implicit in him saying “the first” that he was talking about “the first by us”, because there is no other way for him to know.

      Do you have any proof that the transaction Danger Ranger was talking about had NOTHING to do with BMOrg? You could say “because he said it involved trust between individuals” but in that case, where is the evidence that these individuals are independent? How would such a transaction take place involving BMOrg but WITHOUT individuals? YMMV, this seems rather pedantic to me.

      Other proof that BMOrg sold tickets after the OMG sale ended has come from readers, one of whom sent us a screen shot of the transaction, others told us stories about buying Exception Tickets at the gate.

      Nice try with your troll site BTW. Let us know when you’ve finished it.

      • Gotcha. You are sticking to the smear journalism adage of “If he can’t prove he’s innocent, then he must be guilty”. Good show. Keep it coming.

        • Since when did it become a crime to sell tickets to Burning Man via Bitcoin? How could one prove they were “innocent” of such a thing? How is this in any way a “smear”? You think an association with Bitcoin is negative?

          • Immune to logic, you are. Slippery like an eel, you are. I came here with one single point and you are trying to twist the discussion into something else. My point is that your using Danger Ranger’s knowledge of an individual selling a ticket via Bitcoin as proof the org was selling tickets past a certain date is at best poor cognitive skills, and at worst a personal attack.

            You undoubtedly have proof the org was selling tickets. I don’t dispute that ‘donation ticket receipt’ you linked above. And for that I say ‘fuck the board, and fire the CEO’. But the two things are logically separate until proven otherwise, which you have failed to do.

            You obviously have issues with Danger Ranger. You whined like a baby that he ‘doxxed’ you, even though he didn’t post anything that wasn’t previously posted on Reddit or on your own Wikipedia page.

            Sorry for wasting your time with logic. But hey, at least you have new fodder for your troll machine, right?

          • Not true at all. Danger Ranger posted complete lies that have never been published elsewhere, and when I pointed this out to him, refused to correct his error – in fact, re-published his lies on burningman.com and his regional email lists. The link to Burners.Me was added to my Wikipedia page later. You can read all about it here – nobody else has called this post “whining like a baby”, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinion.

            It’s rather amusing that someone who has gone to the trouble to create the “tananbaum.me” hate site is criticizing me for “smearing” others. I note that, like a typical troll, you’ve completely ignored my actual responses and questions in relation to your points. I still fail to see what the negative connotation you’re trying to imply is in relation to Bitcoin sales. I think the trolling is more important to you, despite your protestations of being a champion of logic and honor.

  3. Pingback: Decommodification, Decentralization and Direct Democracy | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

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  5. It seems you avoid selling ad space here (and that is admirable), but could you at least set up a concession stand selling popcorn and sodapops (maybe some beers) so we can enjoy some refreshments while we watch the drama of the trolls coming at you?

    Sometimes is seems like a Jackie Chan movie where all the bad guys keep coming at Jackie (who, of course, is the good guy trying to help people out in his way) but all the bad guys are stupid-heads and want Jackie to go away so they lamely attack him but Jackie easily dispatches the dufusses because their lame attacks are so worn out. I am surprised no one has tried the old “Get out of your moms basement”.

    So yeah, what we really need is an online method of downloading refreshments. Can we get that invented already? I would love to be able to send my friends and you some drinks over the internet. 🙂

    And yeah, if we could get that teleportation device, and time machine, up and running soon, thaaaaat woooouuld beeee greeeaaaaaat.

  6. I’ve been lurking here for months, mainly because the information provided is good, and, frankly, it’s hella entertaining. I’ve always thought you didn’t really believe the extreme stuff posted- you were just presenting it because official channels wouldn’t and really can’t .

    I haven’t been to Burning Man, but would like to. I heard about it when I was in school in the 90’s, but never had the time or the money. They’ve been running the Spark documentary almost continuously on The Movie Channel and Showtime. It *makes* you want to go.

    I’m disappointed by what Danger Ranger did. He came across as a calm, thoughtful person. Guess I’ll have to also read more official blogs in future.

  7. It seems simple enough: point out what is incorrect, false or misleading in this blog. I know there is a lot of speculation, inference and triangulation based on the information that is available. This would not be the case if the BMOrg provide transparent and consistent information. All the double talk, incomplete informations, promises that turn out to not be promises, complex corporate structures, actions etc contribute mightily. I guess we should accept the “move on, nothing to see here”, “trust us we care” or “take your soma” message party and be happy….

    I would much prefer they come out and say “yes we are selling access to the playa to commodity camps, live with it”. or “we made a mistake and here is what we will do in the future”. I really thought that was what Ranger Danger was doing but the sleazy attacks on the critics proved otherwise. Judge people by their actions not what they say….

  8. At this juncture, I think you’ve made your point, and most people who read here have made up their minds. I’m a fan. But from here on out, more attempts at record-correcting are just going to seem obsessive, even considering DR’s outing of you. Keep up the good work, man! I’ll keep on reading.

    • Thanks, JV.

      As always, if a post here seems obsessive, or unnecessary, readers are welcome to practice Radical Self-Reliance and just not read those ones. There’s plenty of other content here. I hope my fans read everything, but there’s no requirement or expectation that they do.

      I feel that it is important to set the record straight now that my default world career and professional reputation have been brought into the debate. Some might call that obsession, I call it “self defense”.

      I also think that this culture of trolling highlights some bigger underlying issues in the Burner world and on the Internet. I will be writing more about that.

  9. Steve, have you considered finding another hobby and just walk away from Burning Man? Do you really have *nothing* better to do with your time than spending the entire off-season looking for things to whine about?

    If you are truly this unhappy with Burning Man then find something else to do! It’s really not that hard.

    • What makes you think I don’t already have other hobbies?

      Danger Ranger has brought my default world career into the discussion. As a result, I am forced to publicly defend my reputation, due to the professional ramifications of his slander. This has now gone beyond a hobby.

      Have you considered finding something else to do than reading Burners.Me if you don’t like it?

      • Wow, how lame that they keep going back to the old tried and true tactics, it is actually kind of funny. I hope you as amused as some of us at these lame attacks on you and never let them get under your skin. The org knows they are wrong, kind of full of shit and seeming increasingly proving to be amateurs. They can’t really be this lame, can they?

        Keep your chin up burnersxxx, you have fans far and wide who appreciate your efforts to try to improve burning man by speaking the truth, way more fans than just those who post here.

        Keep on laughing, having fun and drinking water. Thanks for making it better.

      • Seriously, just walk away… For your own health. It’s not like they will let you back on the playa so why continue the fight? For your reputation?

        DR had every right to decloak you. You are a public figure running a public blog. Maybe you should have considered your conservative business partners before engaging in an event like BM? *You* made the conscious decision to be a part of a drug/sex laden community. Don’t blame DR for bringing this fact to light.

        For someone who screams BM reveal the truth of their operations you sure can’t seem to handle the truth of yours. How is this not a double standard?

        • I can’t handle the truth? More like, I am being accused of all kinds of lies, and therefore feel the need to speak out to highlight the truth. There’s no double standard at all – it is BMOrg who are lying, and failing to correct their falsehoods.

          When I first attended Burning Man in 1998, I only had one company, and dealt with my customers primarily via the Web. Since then, my career has taken me to different places and opportunities. I have never gone to Burning Man for the drugs and sex. I go for the art, music, and awesome people that I meet there.

          In 1998, most people had no idea what Burning Man was. It had only been publicized in Bruce Sterling’s WIRED cover story, which does not mention sex and drugs.


          It is the more recent mainstream coverage, such as The Simpsons, Wall Street Journal, and Grover Norquist’s PR blitz that have highlighted these aspects. Even South Park didn’t go there.

          Here’s what the worldwide media is saying about the event these days: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2736228/Debauchery-desert-Wife-swapping-Orgy-tents-Drugs-tap-How-billionaires-Hollywood-stars-flocking-festival-makes-Glasto-look-SO-tame.html

          If your point “DR had every right to decloak you” was valid – and I believe it’s not – Danger Ranger could easily have said “Burners.Me is run by a guy who has been successful in tech”, without doxing me or spreading lies.

          I’m sure there are some in BMOrg who wish I would just cave in and shut up, and presumably this was Danger Ranger’s motivation. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback in the last week that there are many who work within this group and its broader volunteer base who are actually on my side. BMOrg living up to their own Principles is beyond just me and my opinions. It’s something that is vital to the continued growth and success of Burner culture, not to mention a legal requirement due to their Bylaws.

          • “I’m sure there are some in BMOrg who wish I would just cave in and shut up, and presumably this was Danger Ranger’s motivation. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback in the last week that there are many who work within this group and its broader volunteer base who are actually on my side. BMOrg living up to their own Principles is beyond just me and my opinions. It’s something that is vital to the continued growth and success of Burner culture, not to mention a legal requirement due to their Bylaws.”

            Now this would be an interesting article with substance. You defended yourself, well, and it’s time to get the spotlight back on the issues. If you are going to continue the fight and hold readers then it’s time to move on to the hypocrisy of the 10 Principles with accounts of insiders who see it first hand.

          • No-one will go on the record – most of them have signed contracts specifically preventing it. And some of the information I’ve been told has been in confidence – sharing it would expose my sources and create problems for people who are my allies. However, I do plan to address some of this in an upcoming post.

            Suffice it to say, there are still people within BMOrg who remain deeply committed to the Ten Principles, despite Larry’s recent proclamation that “they’re not rules, just an ethos” – which seemed to be a justification for some on the BoD completely ignoring them.

  10. http://i.imgur.com/W65WgTk.png

    this is an example of misinformation.

    you’re referring to this as if it was their policy for anything published on their website, when you know that their response to your request to have information removed was explicitly about their COMMENT POLICY.

    i believe the direct quote was “nothing in this post violates our comment policy. A comment not being 100% factually accurate is not grounds for removal”

    you know this, I know this..

    this is why its misinformation.

    • this is when you update the post saying “a previous version of this post said that burningman.org openly admit no requirement to be 100% accurate, this was false, their original statement referred to people things post in their comments section.”


    • Yes. Correct this Steve. It should say that BORG board members are only allowed to lie in the comment sections, personal facebook posts, various mailing groups within BORG, ePlaya and any other form of media such as the SFBG.

      • LOL. Thanks Meat. I am working on the correction now, unfortunately it takes some time to track down all the quotes and links I use to provide references to my claims.

    • Thanks for the diagnosis, Doctor “no comment”. I know who you are, despite these fake names you’ve been using to troll me across multiple sites. You keep saying “nothing more to say”, and then you keep writing more troll posts. I know that you have never met me in person, and are a struggling artist, not a mental health professional. So how can you make this claim?

      If I did have a mental illness, would that justify publicly discussing my medical condition? Seems like more doxing if true, and more poo-flinging from trolls if false.

      I’m sure anyone who does know me, including even some of my friends who work for BMOrg, would confirm without hesitation that your statement is just a continuation of all the lies and slander being thrown against me.

      Like the accusations that I own a plane, this one is impossible to disprove. I could say “no I don’t”, but I’m sure that wouldn’t satisfy the haters. How does one get a doctor’s certificate or other proof that I’m sane and “free of mental illness”, any more than one gets a statement of non-ownership of something? I don’t own a spaceship, or have any children, but how could I prove that? The DoD wouldn’t have given several of my companies a Munitions Export License if their thorough vetting had turned up any mental health issues.

      • It is obvious that you suffer anxiety disorder.
        Making you aware of it is a way to get you to see some clarity rather than fighting everyone on the internet.

        Despite what you think I have only sought to help you.

        You are just so perverse that it is impossible.

        • If you say you know who I am then you are welcome to call with an unlisted number and we can talk.
          I am a nice person who really cares about people.

          I was interested in Burningman stories and then they became about burningman bashing.

          When I confronted you about “facts” you have been on a tirade.
          All of your ???”facts???” Have broken down to the same spin as the above “vogue” example.

          You defend them in a circle with the same ??facts??? .

          It all becomes conjecture.

          I spoke up because I care and you have proven more vicious than caring.

          So I am no commenting my way out.
          I was never interested in trolling your boards.

          I have stopped following any blog.

          • And, of course, nothing you post under all the various anonymous names here and at places like Burn.Life is conjecture. You only deal in facts. Can you prescribe me Xanax, doctor?

          • You think I am doing things I am not.

            I know people shared my point of view and continued the debate.
            I was not “working” with them.

            I don’t have trolling accounts.

            Have a nice life.

          • It was ONE argument about “facts” a long time ago.
            we saw it to its conclusion and you lost.

            “Link to above”


      • Ughnnnn…. I have better things to do.

        You may not be aware but all that you do addresses my business negatively.

        I took a chance to address it and I was attacked in a manner I feel uncomfortable with and obviously threatened by.

        You have attacked my career as an artist more than once.
        As have your followers.

        Ebola, fox news, riots, political upheaval, and now an upcoming storm.

        All of these effect my business negatively.
        People don’t travel, eat out or buy luxury items if they are in constant angst. I live in a tourism hub and it negatively effects everyone.

        If you want to continue to malign the board that is on you.
        I don’t work for them or have any inside information.
        I wish you wouldn’t.

        I am one person who addressed the issues you presented, which was not a good idea apparently.

        I would like to peacefully check out now.

        Please stop engaging me or referring to me in posts.


        • You can leave any time you like. That’s on you, not me.

          You’re the one who came here to say that I have a mental illness. You’re posting anonymously, so your argument that me addressing accusations you’ve made about myself and Burners.Me, somehow affects your business because it affects tourism in the town where you live – which you haven’t disclosed to anyone here – is a joke. Maybe you’re just trying to get a rise out of me now.

          I have not posted about Ebola or riots. How do they affect you selling your art? Pretty sure there aren’t any riots going on where you live.

          • I left the Facebook blog after this fox news post.

            Forgive me for being naive and thinking you were NOT trying to emulate them.

            I am not interested in following anymore as I don’t need any more grief, and you are simply interested in tearing things down.

            As far as buying:
            When people are agitated or concerned they don’t spend or the patterns shift.
            It is all retail and tourism.
            It is all interconnected.

            I am the last on the food chain and the most vulnerable.

            Essentially; people will not relax and buy and spend on luxury when they are worried they will have to buy a hazmat suit.

            I have answered questions you have but none more for you.
            You are welcome to call and have a reasonable discussion.

            I would far better that outcome than any more Internet drama.

            Again have a nice life.

          • If I wasn’t clear and I dont doubt as I have other things to do.

            All negativity effects my business negatively.

            You are just one of many voices like Fox news that generates it.

            Now I know and I am checking out. Bye.

  11. Having an opposing viewpoint is offensive to the liberal mindset. I know this because I was born and raised in the lion’s den – Santa Cruz, CA. So saying ‘Burners.me is the Fox News of Burning Man’ is the return insult. It’s saying that you’re not with the program, implying that burner culture is a culture of liberalism (including support of all the ideologies under that umbrella).

    I was a card-carrying liberal for the vast majority of my life, and that’s not to say I’m a conservative now. I just finally had enough of they way that culture pressures its communities into compliance. It’s a massive chamber of group think. You could say the same thing about conservatives.

    People watch Fox News and it’s liberal opposite, MSNBC (et al) in the same way a drunk uses a lamp post – for support, not illumination.

    • There is definitely a tone of liberalism throughout BMOrg, and their ranks are stacked with many political Progressives. At the same time, Larry and Marian have tried to play up their conservative side. We’ve covered that in The Mainstream Republican Values of Burning Man?, and also noted Marian’s comments to SF Gate, the online site of the Chronicle:

      She said that, contrary to what people may think, she is not particularly liberal and, as a sign of her conservative cred, added that “my sister’s godfather is Antonin Scalia,” the staunchly conservative Supreme Court justice. “Burning Man on the outside has very liberal and socially strong principles, but I’ve been running it with very fiscally conservative policies.“

      My personal belief is that this whole “Left/Right” paradigm is a false system of control, based on the Hegelian dialectic. It is possible to have money, and care about those less fortunate; and to be a pacificst concerned about social issues, but also support the Second Amendment and a strong military.

    • The term ‘liberal’ has been hijacked by the democrats and today, as used by most, is synonymous with being a member of the democratic party.

      Unfortunately as Gore Vidal noted we really in this country have one party-the party of property and its two right wing divisions. Both parties are owned by the same wealthy elites. It’s all a con game that the majority has bought into.

      True liberals and progressives will little if anything in the democratic party representative of their beliefs.

  12. The amazing and beautiful thing about language is you can say facts that are 100% true and still be misleading. Regardless of how true the basic facts of a situation are, you use those facts to reach conclusions that don’t necessarily follow and then you present those conclusions as facts whether or not they are built on a pile of logical fallacies. That is why so many people feel that you are spreading misinformation while not necessarily being able to provide a specific example.

    Also, most people work full time and don’t have time to dig through thousands of long-winded posts looking for that one untrue thing they remember reading that one time last summer…

    • Uhm James, would you care to give some examples or are you too busy to do that? Do you only have time to come whine wha wha a bit and then you have to adjust your fedora and waddle back to flipping burgers?

      Your post may be the most full of crap things I have ever read here.
      “looking for that one untrue thing”
      LOL!!! Give it a rest burger boy… and get back to work!!!

      • You focused on one sentence of my post and used unfounded personal attacks to avoid addressing the actual point of my post, and you say mine is the most “full of crap” things you have read.

        Hey, at least you tried right?

    • It is not necessary to read through every post to find something you remember from last summer. As well as the search box we provide here, Google indexes our content.

      “Most people” may not have the time, but the trolls here have the time to comment against me under multiple identities, from hundreds of different servers, on many different sites on the Web, not just Burners.Me. They have the time to write hate sites about me, Danger Ranger had the time to dox me and slander me, and then had the time to repeat his lies on his own sites and send them out to his corporation’s mailing lists. He took the time to respond to comments to other people on his post, but couldn’t find the time to simply delete his false statements about me, let alone address them.

      You might be busy, but what you are saying is that NONE of the 120,000-odd followers of Burners.Me, or the “so many” more who are not fans, ever had any time to find ONE example. Is it perhaps more logical that there are “so many trolls spreading bullshit to try to discredit us”, rather than “so many posts of misinformation” at Burners.Me?

      • “the trolls here have the time to comment against me under multiple identities, from hundreds of different servers”

        I’m curious about this. How do you know this is happening? And why would anyone go through the effort of doing that? Sounds a bit conspiratorial to me.

        • WordPress provides the IP address of each commenter. I am thus able to see when multiple identities are attached to the same IP address, or if the same identity is using different IP addresses. Various Internet tools exist which will track the location of an IP address, and identify if it is coming from a mobile provider, a cable company, etc. – and where.

          WRT the “hundreds of different servers”, this was a specific threat made by someone, who carried out some of the things that they threatened. This person used about half a dozen different IP addresses to post here, from 4 different states; they also used an @burningman.org email address.

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