Commerce - questions, violations, and reporting them

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Commerce - questions, violations, and reporting them

Postby spectabillis » Mon May 30, 2005 3:09 am

This topic is for discussing what constitutes commerce, whats allowed on the eplaya and the event, and what could be considered a possible violation.

This is also the place to report and discuss potential commerce violation posts.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Tue May 31, 2005 7:27 pm

Blatant Commerce.

viewtopic.php?p=160263&sid=e618e752ef024c871f84661dd7921f4c#160263

This is one of several new accounts that have been setup lately that have very iffy webpage links associated with them.
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Postby Isotopia » Tue May 31, 2005 7:51 pm

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Postby spectabillis » Tue May 31, 2005 9:38 pm

Thanks, I just noticed one of those, the other was like "WTF?!"

Seems to be increasing lately... but so far its not the same person.


Edit: one of those will have to wait until Emily gets back from vacation.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Tue May 31, 2005 10:31 pm

Hi,

1. It's not "commerce" nobody is making a penny off this event and we will probably lose a bit of money on it. I hope not too much. But to portray this as profitable is ludicrous.

2. It's not a rave, its a psy party which is a big part of Burning Man itself, whether you accept that or not.

3. I am a Burning Man participant, and a member of the local Burning Man community.

yes we charge money, as many non-profit events do. It is the only way we could bring people in from overseas, and pay other artists' travel expenses, without being wealthy ourselves. I don't have the cash to bankroll this, none of us do.

I don't really care what you decide, but calling this a "commercial" event is ludicrous. If only it were true.

Jef
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Postby spectabillis » Tue May 31, 2005 10:46 pm

Are you sure you are not confusing 'commerce' for 'profit?'

I realize your desire to cover basic expenses, but its for the same reasons that the artists at the regionals are not allowed to showcase thier work. It's in the spirit to separate commercialism from the bman community.

Personally its a tough thing for me to say because the event charges for tickets, has the cafe and ice sales, and sponsors art installations.

and thank you for the feedback
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Postby emily sparkle » Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:21 am

it looks like both the links above have been removed. let me know if there is one you need taken down. i'm back from the woods and have re-acquainted myself with the computer.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:26 am

I go to local Chicago Burning Man events that are fundraisers for a local camp, and they charge admission at the door. Further each of the local Burns (Interfuse, Synchroni-city) charge some kind of membership fee for attendance. What exactly is the difference?

And, yes, under capitalism commerce=profit. You can run a capitalist enterprise for awhile at a loss, but eventually in a true commercial enterprise if you aren't "making money" you fold up the whole thing.

In a psychedelic trance event though, all the money either gets eaten up by the single party, or gets used to fund the next one. Same as the local Burning Man fundraisers, which are just making money so the local camp can repair its bus, or do something else.

Out here in the midwest none of our members can afford to lose thousands of dollars doing a music event or an art installation. It seems that by taking this position you say that the only things that can be done are supported financially by a few people, and everyone else who attends gets a free ride. Not very many big creative enterprises are going to take place under those conditions.

Are we sure this isn't just an anti-trance-camp position masquerading as opposition to commercialism?
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Postby Kinetic IV » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:34 am

Perhaps it's time to rethink this...

I just read the latest JRS and the underlying theme behind at least 50% of it was fundraising. All for noble causes no less but still...the Mermen need funds, CT needs funds, Rev. Billy needs this and that....

So lets take that same mindset and apply it to this case. Even though it wasn't made very clear at first, further explanations reveal that Jef is essentially trying to do the same thing.... raise funds to support a BM linked group or theme camp. Why shouldn't groups that are trying to build camps in BRC be allowed to post about their events in one special section? If the JRS permits it, why not allow it here?

As for violating any CG's or TOS....when created they were not supposed to be engraved in stone like the 10 commandments. They were supposed to be flexible and reflect a vibrant, changing community. If the rules are no longer being flexible and are being used to strangle communication and creativity...perhaps it's time to consider updating them and releasing the stranglehold...

And my last point for allowing these kinds of posts....My concern is that these groups need all the support they can get. Who actually puts up much of the cool stuff that makes BRC the special place that it is? The LLC does a lot and I acknowledge that, but it's the theme camps that make or break the city IMHO. If we deny them the chance to support their endeavors then we're essentially shooting ourselves in the foot. I say if the post clearly mentions it benefits a BM related theme camp or BM related art project...then it should be treated differently than the get rich quick / viagra ads and given a space to run. An admin can put a sticky up at the top of the regionals thread and create a space for this sort of thing and voila! end of issue. They would have a place to post and solicit legitimate support and if it's good the community will support it, if it's bad the community can give them feedback so the backers can revamp their approach.

Thanks for reading and considering my view on this....
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Postby spectabillis » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:06 am

jeffreybenner wrote:Are we sure this isn't just an anti-trance-camp position masquerading as opposition to commercialism?

No. If it was I would not have sent the invite to post your concerns in this topic.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:34 am

spectabillis wrote:
jeffreybenner wrote:Are we sure this isn't just an anti-trance-camp position masquerading as opposition to commercialism?

No. If it was I would not have sent the invite to post your concerns in this topic.


I'm mostly responding in that vein to the "rave shit" comment made by another poster, and I am sure that some feel the original post was inappropriate primarily because it is not their brand of alternative culture, not just due to the "commerce" angle. Or maybe they thought I was some random individual spamming eplaya.

Again I repeat that I got into the effort of organizing psy trance because I was inspired by Burning Man, and wanted to create alternative culture closer to home. I feel I should not have to drive to Nevada every year to experience edge society and meet gifted and creative people. Psy has a way of bonding people that is easily portable across the continent.

I just want to point out that, Burning Man is built out of dreams and vision but also out of money, like everything else in our society. Just because within its boundaries flourishes a gift economy does not mean there is not massive capitalist style fund raising, wheeling and dealing, behind the scenes. And there is nothing "gift" about the requirement that you buy tickets to go to Burning Man. Just as I could not just show up at Interfuse or Burning Flipside and camp out. There are required cash transfers in all these cases.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:54 am

A few years ago in L.A. (this was before any "official" decompression parties) I went to a "Burning Man Decompression Party", there were several artists performing who were also performed at Burning Man on the bill and it the event advertised itself as a way for people to come together and share their art and experiences.

I arrived with a bunch of BM stickers that I had designed and hadn't given all out at the event that year. Security stopped me and wouldn't let me in with them. I explained that I would be gifting them out and that I wouldn't be sticking them on any walls and that anyone who took one would most likely be taking it for their own enjoyment and would also not just stick one on the wall, and that doing so would violate the LNT philosophy of the people supposedly attending this event. Needless to say I wasn't let in with the stickers, and almost wasn't let in with my backpack, and had to leave my water bottle outside.

In other words, it was a rave that used Burning Man in the title to make money for themselves. The DJ's and performers were getting paid just like at any other rave, the promoters were going to get paid (or lose money) just like at any other rave. The security was going to keep out things that they felt posed a threat to selling water or getting their deposit back on the venue, just like at any other rave.

(In a side note, I was pretty shocked to see that when L.A. finally did get an "Official Burning Man Decompression Party" they had a food vendor selling food.)

I really don't want to get into an debate on what constitutes a "Burning Man" event. By your logic, if I was inspired by nudity at Burning Man, I could advertise a weekend nudist camp out at my private ranch and charge people $ and as long as I probably wasn't going to make any money off of it or put the money back into the next party.

I recognized a lot of Burners at the Howeird Street Fair, should they be able to adverstise on the eplaya? (legitimate question, not sarcasm).

I think that we need to more clearly define what is and what is not ok. I think that by the definition of the TOS as it stands now, any fundraiser would also be in violation (as a fundrasier is also "commerce").

Are fundraisers ok?
What percentage of money must be given to a cause?
How will that money be monitored?
How about things like rent parties? or parties to benefit burners who are ill or need help?
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Postby jeffreybenner » Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:21 am

More to the point:

is ePlaya only for "official" "approved" Burning Man events?

Are other forms of alternative culture allowed, encouraged, nourished? If not, what exactly is the point of Burning Man? I thought freedom of expression meant the ability to form all new forms of community, not just those that bear a "Burn" label.

Is the ePlaya only for events that feed into Burning man itself, or can it be for events that may be of keen interest to Burners, or side projects organized by Burners and attended by Burners?

Note that we never portrayed GeoLogic as a Burning Man event or as a Burn or a decompression or use any other Burn catch phrases in our advertising. There are many BM participants who play a part organizing and participating, there will be much fire play, but we don't claim to be a Burn. So if it's not a Burn it's not allowed? How stultifying if true.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Wed Jun 01, 2005 10:34 am

is ePlaya only for "official" "approved" Burning Man events?

Are other forms of alternative culture allowed, encouraged, nourished? If not, what exactly is the point of Burning Man? I thought freedom of expression meant the ability to form all new forms of community, not just those that bear a "Burn" label.


Finally, someone asked the question that needed to be asked. Perhaps there's an eplaya cabal? Oops, scratch that. It does make one wonder how some groups get attention in the JRS and such yet others get smacked down.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Jun 01, 2005 11:27 am

It seems to me that the line in the sand is about the word "commerce" and what exactly does that mean wrt to the eplaya and posting events here.

A for-profit event by "burners" for "burners" would seem to violate the TOS IMHO, regardless of how you marketed it, and regardless of how much or how little profit was expected to be realized.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Wed Jun 01, 2005 11:31 am

Here's another case study / example for everyone:

viewtopic.php?p=160367#160367

This one specifically mentions BM and bringing art to the playa. IMHO this is legit and the posting should be allowed. I'm sure others will see it differently.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Wed Jun 01, 2005 11:39 am

Chai Guy wrote:A for-profit event by "burners" for "burners" would seem to violate the TOS IMHO, regardless of how you marketed it, and regardless of how much or how little profit was expected to be realized.


My event operates at a loss/zero gain, not even a "little profit". To me that is the definition of gift economy. I don't have to lose thousands of dollars for that to be a gift to the community. As long as I am not making money, it is not about profit, and not about commerce.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:54 pm

As long as I am not making money, it is not about profit, and not about commerce.



More often than not, amazon.com operates at a loss, should they be allowed to advertise here?
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Postby Kinetic IV » Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:20 pm

Hmmmm....I see...the official attitude is we want you to build magnificent theme camps to help support BRC, but if you try and solicit funds to do it from other burners, you can't do it with our support? Or bring your stuff but don't even think of advertising here, or getting even a crumb from us unless we give you a grant?

Borg 2 looks more and more inviting by the second.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:22 pm

Chai Guy wrote:More often than not, amazon.com operates at a loss, should they be allowed to advertise here?


:shock: What an idiotic analogy. IMHO.

Along those lines, the BMORG LLC shouldn't be allowed to operate at Burning Man, because it is a corporation like amazon.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:38 pm

But it's not my criteria, it's your's.

So this is what I'm asking, what should the criteria be?

Not making a profit?
(if so then any company that posts a negative earning should be qualified to post here).

Or not making a profit + something else?


What if I bought a bunch of EL Wire at a huge discount and want to sell the rest here at or below my cost, would that be ok?

I'm not trying to antagonize anyone, I'm just trying to start a dialogue on what the consensus of the board here is regards to what is posted.

Please post what you think should and should not be posted, and why.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:51 pm

Chai Guy wrote:So this is what I'm asking, what should the criteria be?


how about, none of the above.

The criterion imho should be that eplaya fosters alternative creative community regardless of cash flow. That by defining yourself in terms of profit you allow the mainstream to define YOU instead of you directing your own destiny, which for all of us I think is in a direction lateral to dollars and cents.

Money is not the core issue.
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Postby Badger » Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:02 pm

To me that is the definition of gift economy.


Feels more like your interpretation of it.
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Postby spectabillis » Wed Jun 01, 2005 6:05 pm

jeffreybenner wrote:I'm mostly responding in that vein to the "rave shit" comment made by another poster, and I am sure that some feel the original post was inappropriate primarily because it is not their brand of alternative culture, not just due to the "commerce" angle. Or maybe they thought I was some random individual spamming eplaya.

I completely understand that. There has been some past history of problems ssociated with rave camps and campers that flack still flies around. I dont think this has much to do with it, but you may see the occasional sniping comment directed that way.

Again I repeat that I got into the effort of organizing psy trance because I was inspired by Burning Man, and wanted to create alternative culture closer to home. I feel I should not have to drive to Nevada every year to experience edge society and meet gifted and creative people. Psy has a way of bonding people that is easily portable across the continent.

Thats what was part of the intention of the regionals, but also my previous comment that those are strictly non-commercial as well. I requested someone from the org to post thier comments on the policy, we will just have to see if that happens.

I just want to point out that, Burning Man is built out of dreams and vision but also out of money, like everything else in our society. Just because within its boundaries flourishes a gift economy does not mean there is not massive capitalist style fund raising, wheeling and dealing, behind the scenes.

I kinda agree. But since the aim is to limit commercialism, personally I have to be careful that I am not allowing that as an excuse to expand it - if anything, I choose to take that as a danger sign to keep commercialism out.



I also want to add that being a moderator, no way makes my comments or opinions any more influential than anyone else on matters of policy. Thats why I will probably not comment much more, I dont want to see that influence and everyone else to get a hand in what is policy and what is not. (main reason I started this topic)
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Postby Ranger Genius » Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:31 am

It seems that to come to a comprehensive standard must needs be the result of something more akin to hair-splitting than sand-line-drawing. Since the original posts now seem to have disappeared, could someone please give those of us who missed the bandwagon a brief rundown of their contents?
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Jun 02, 2005 12:45 pm

For exact contents jeffreybenner could probably provide a link, but it was the pic of the rave flyer and details of the event... like dj linup and such.
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Postby actiongrl » Fri Jun 03, 2005 5:46 pm

Sorry Guys...I have barely been receiving email lately and haven't had time to check in here like I'd like (some vacation - I sat home trying to fix my freakin' email.)

Point is, I'll be answering soon! My short answer is that I DO look at events differently than I do product listings here, but there's a longer answer than that. Back soon.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:47 pm

Thanks spectabillis, this was the original posting:

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www.psymbolic.com
www.touchsamadhi.com
www.audiognomes.com
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Jun 09, 2005 1:02 pm

FYI: I asked jeffreybenner to re-post it here.

Thanks


(Edit) I always think discussing the TOS is a good idea.
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Postby jeffreybenner » Thu Jun 09, 2005 1:11 pm

And to rehash some personal history:

The reason I got into trance organizing (I don't characterize these as raves, they are psy parties, and an outgrowth of the Goa phenomenon) was a trip to Burning Man. I went several years ago, but could not go back because my children start their first week of school the week of Burning Man.

So I have experimented locally with various forms of alternative local community - creating events with the energy of Burning Man but local, and at a time I could actually attend.

What I have found is that people who come to our events characterize them as magical, even life-transforming - qualities you might recognize in Burning Man. Many people come to our events that, like me, cannot make it to Burning Man.

So I think it is important for you to see that these psy trance parties are children of Burning Man, and to recognize that not all that comes out of the Man has a form immediately recognizable to you.
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