Monday, October 8, 2012

The BMOrg Ring Homepage

Is Blogger loading slowly today, or are you just unhappy with the idea of having the ring homepage located on a blog? Either way, if you prefer, you can go over to one of the other copies of the ring homepage (1|2). The copies all interlink, so switching copies will keep you from finding your way back to your ring, to which there is always a clear path - or back to any other page on this site and its companions. All of these pages function as components of a single, easily navigable site that just happens to spill over onto a few different servers.

In these days of uncertain financing for homepage providers (and other businesses) and slowly responding search engines, one could reasonably argue that such an approach to assembling a site is the only sensible one that remains. Certainly, looking at the lavish use of social networking sites that one sees, one can conclude that it has certainly become a popular approach.

You will find links to pages with the needed code fragments, should you wish to join one ring or both, toward the bottom of the screen. This ring, itself, belongs to a number of rings, which you can find the navbars for, at the bottom of this page.

WARNING: A number of links in the page below will take you offsite to sites not under our control. We don't monitor them for content, and they aren't subject to my provider's TOS, and so may well contain profanity and other content that some may find offensive. If you find that sort of thing objectionable, please do not click on any offsite links. Those who ignore this warning give up the right to complain to my provider and be taken seriously, because their choices will have been informed ones.
Some will ask, "Isn't this just a matter of a business' right to run itself as it sees fit?". The answer is "no", because, first of all, BMORG (the Burning Man Organization) has effectively been claiming proprietary rights over an entire branch of interactive art, and that was our initial point of objection. "Burning" is a lot bigger than Burning Man; it is an entire category of interactive art festivals at which temporary communities are created as acts of collective performance art, one might say. Our dispute with BMORG arose when we decided that we didn't want the help of a very bizarre individual who BMORG had decided should be in charge of the creation and running of all such events in the Chicago area, and BMORG, 2000 miles away in San Francisco decided that it wasn't going to tolerate such rampant independence, and started the mudslinging. Any hostilities that followed were purely their doing and purely their choice, and utterly without justification, legally or ethically. No copyright, trademark or patent would ever be granted that was as broad as the one that they seem to feel entitled to, judging from their position. We've asked this many times before, but it bears repeating: if a group of people in Chicago want to hold a large, collective community building party of a particular sort, on what basis does this group of people 2000 miles away claim the right to administrative authority over such an event, and what kind of anarchists are these, that would even want such authority?

Secondly, BMORG, according to its own position on the matter, isn't exactly a business. Businesses do not ask their customers to perform volunteer work. BMORG does, and often gets that volunteer work out of them. While some have maintained that BMORG is, in fact, turning a very healthy profit, and have made reasonably convincing cases for this position, only made the more convincing by the fact that BMORG (the Burning Man Limited Liability Corporation) is not, in fact, registered as a not-for-profit, and Larry Harvey himself has acknowledged that BMORG declined to apply for this status because to do so would have required BMORG to open its books to outside auditing, the fact remains that BMORG has chosen to be the recipient of charity, and defended this by portraying itself as being "just a bunch of burners", acting as a kind of government on behalf of this allegedly anarchist subculture, working on behalf of burners in general. This, then, is nothing like a standard business; given the fact that the art that people come to see and the camps they come to visit are, for the most part, assembled by volunteers in no way compensated by BMORG, we're left with the reality that this "business" doesn't even manufacture its own product! It simply collects toll on people enroute to an event which it acknowledges arose as a result of a spontaneous groundswell that took place before it convinced the Bureau of Land Management to allow it to start selling tickets to this gathering taking place on public land.

Thirdly, even if BMORG were a business in the sense that General Electric is a business, which is to say that it payed its own way and didn't pretend to represent its customers, we would still be left with one simple question: "since when is a business entitled to decide who may or may not criticize it". Incredibly enough, we've heard from people who felt that BMORG was entitled to exactly that; as some would call them, "burning moonies". And many of BMORG's business practices are, if we view BMORG as being simply a business, arguably more than a little shady. If we view BMORG as being a kind of community council, they're absolutely intolerable.

"But aren't you just a few malcontents in a sea of happy faces?", is another comeback we've heard from the true believers, but let's get serious. One of the original organizers of Burning Man, John Law, has already washed his hands of the event, and many of the artists and participants who've made burning man what it is have walked away from it, a number of them expressing their anger and disappointment in libel happy places like ePlaya. What makes us relatively unique is not that we're unhappy with some of the things that we've seen BMORG do, but that being unhappy about them, we're making an effort to make things better from within Burnerdom, as a community, by offering alternatives. There is something real and important that takes place at these gatherings that matters far more than the ambitions of a few otherwise obscure people who see their managerial roles as being the key to their 15 minutes of fame, or the lusts of a few drugged out young men who couldn't care less about freedom of expression as long as they get to scope out a few naked grrls and score some free pot. What is happening is genuine spontaneity, something that makes personal freedom something more than the polite fiction that it's been turning into, in far too much of the United States. Which is one reason why we will not recognize BMORG's exaggerated proprietary claims: would you reduce freedom to being a franchise operation, something to be bought and sold? We won't do this in whole, or even in part, and we have to wonder about the people who would.

What is this webring about? Believe it or not, it's not about attacking BMORG. Not exactly. What it is about, is opposition to the attitude that has been seen out of BMORG all too often when, while paying lip service to the notion that Burning Man is a community (sometimes), and pretending that the LLC has only been set up for administrative convenience, it still ends up acting like its a for-profit corporation, right down to an irritating eagerness to take over where its "help" really isn't needed, or wanted.

Who is this webring for? It is for those who disagree with the direction that Burning Man has taken and would like to suggest a better one. It is for those who were so dissatisfied with their experience that they will never return, should they wish to tell their stories. It is for anybody who, in the society of the imaginary Black Rock City, wishes to voice real dissent that doesn't fit within the constricting bounds that BMORG and its fan club would like.

"Sure, we love dissent. Here's a list of 187 approved causes, and we even have a few pre-made placards made up for your convenience. Would you prefer 'Larry, How Dare You Be So Darned Nice!' or 'Bath Water Bad, Bong Water Good!'?"

Deuce of clubs had its doubts about the event back in 1999. (See the photographic travelogue "Why we will not be returning to Burning Man", the Deuce's entry into "Black Rock City" beginning here). When one sees the "Mein Camp" parody on this page, one can't help but wonder if the artist had any idea of how prophetic that joke would turn out to be.

Some of us definitely will not be returning to "Black Rock City". When, as we see on the Shrine's Burning Man page (site 3 in the ring), an offer to help promote this festival ends up being rewarded with a call for the would-be volunteer's murder, we have a problem. Some who have frequented the Burning Man forums in the last few years are less than forthcoming about their identities for a reason. "And yet you deny being anti-bmorg?", some will ask. Yes, because I believe in disliking individuals, not nebulous groups, though one can legitimately say that a group is showing some disturbing signs, ones which one wishes would go away. What is disturbing is not that dysfunctional individuals like this can be found, but that they and their dysfunctionality are embraced. This can remain disturbing even when the stakes are a lot lower than those posed by a class X felony.
This ring was first conceived back in 2001, a year before we first tried to set it up. There was a list here, bm-chicago, whose primary focus was on local events. Whoever ran that list would be in a position of control over much of the local Burner community. Imagine our shock and dismay, then, when we found that BMORG, located in San Francisco, 2000 miles away, had selected a new moderator for that list, without talking to anybody in Chicago first, or showing any sign at all that they cared about the opinions of people here. You know, the people who would actually be stuck with the results, if they turned out to be bad ones? This seemed very colonial, especially since neither their appointee, nor BMORG actually owned the list.

As was pointed out elsewhere, their appointee turned out to be a real problem. Some just tuned out. Others, no great prizes themselves, just went along to get along. We had a different approach, as did somebody else, in at least one case. We decided to set up an alternative list, strictly for local events. We don't dispute BMOrg's right to choose its own local representatives. Local events are another matter.

If we, here in Chicago, 2000 miles away from the BMORG management in San Francisco, want to set up local gatherings, then, excuse me, but how does that become BMOrg's business? Why should we have to clear any of that with them, or with one of their representatives? Why would BMOrg even care? But, they did care, and we found ourselves and our reputations being attacked by a Mr.Graham, their media representative, and other members of BMOrg, in retribution for the unforgivable crime of having argued positions they disagreed with on ePlaya, and, more seriously from the sound of it, for having wanted to do our own thing our own way, in our own backyard.

This isn't the behavior of a community, this is the behavior of a corporation trying to carry out an acquisition. This is the behavior of a group of corporate execs who want to be in control, and aren't about to stand for any competition, or any backtalk. To hear them talk, they were literally proud of the perception that they had been ruthless. As Graham put it, he smeared us, and tried to keep people away from our list, "because that's the kind of guy I am".

Some of us, after that, just said "no more of this", and cut out. "Do these people even know that they're running a recreational event" was a common question. Sometimes, it's hard not to wonder if maybe they had the right idea.
What's this Ring about? It's about telling BMOrg that it can't have it both ways. When it asks people to volunteer their efforts without pay, because we're all a community, and then tries to justify capriciously throwing people off the Playa on the basis that Burning Man is a "private event", that's exactly what it is trying to do. When BMOrg tries to tell us that we shouldn't be seeing things in terms of "us vs. them" (as Actiongrl said when she urged us to not set up the chi-burning list) and yet justifies censoring people who disagree with them on ePlaya on the basis that it is a "private" forum, we should ask "so what are you, a corporation making a sale, or a group of community members here to serve the rest of us, because you know what, you don't get to be both". Those who assert that they need not answer to the community, that they have the right to use their power any way they want, have no business pretending that they are here to serve anybody but themselves.

This ring is for people who mind when they are told what they can say or think, how they can express themselves, with whom they will associate and under whose direction. It is for Burners who have the sense to realize that we don't go into the desert only to bring with us the corporate and governmental paternalism and the conformity of too much contemporary urban life. That's what we go out to get away from. This is a ring for people who, when they're handed a pile of ... fertilizer ... aren't afraid to say, "no, I'm sorry Mr. Stahl, but I darned well am not going to frost my cake with this". Does that sound like you? If so, then why not join?
Why should you want to join our crummy little webring, with only a handful of sites in it? Consider the fact that when you search under the term "BMORG" in most of the major search engines, this ring comes up in a high position. Even if the number of hits isn't that great (yet), you will be gaining major visibility for your Burning Man site, especially if it is one critical of BMORG in some way. Some, like Dr. Cliff, already have that visibility. Others, like ourselves, have found it shoved on them to their utter amazement for reasons they wouldn't even begin to try to fathom. But most are going to find it very difficult with the "don't worry, be happy or we'll get you" mood running through much of Burnerdom, to get links. Sign up here and you'll get a few more. Fair enough?


How to join

Please keep in mind that this is a closed webring, so you'll need an invitation to get in. Also, you will have to arrange to have us temporarily open the ring for you so that you can fill out the application form. All of this is easy: just sign up for this list and post a message explaining what you want. If the provider should start offering javascript, we suppose you can use that. SSNB code and the like seems to have become more reliable over the years, and hardly anybody uses a non-Javascript capable browser, so while we'd still prefer that you use the HTML code for the Webring version of this ring, that isn't as important as it used to be. A lot of things aren't important, actually.

As you travel this ring, you'll notice that a number of the navbars for it have been customized. Some ringmasters lose their minds when members do that, and we think that's being more than a little anal retentive. What we want from you is for you to ask us before using a new navbar design. We reserve the right to say "no" "for any reason or for no reason at all" (ie. we're not open to having some hyper-argumentative person play lawyer with us on this one), but mainly what we want to see is easy recognizability, so that visitors to your site can easily find their way back to this ring. Standardization for its own sake is just not something that has ever appealed to us as a concept. If, for any reason, you'd like to use one of the older forms of the navbar, which we include below, go right ahead. Obviously, we think that the more recent forms which the system will automatically provide you with look nicer (otherwise, why would we have bothered to make the change), but we don't want to force that choice on you as a condition for membership.

Making this as simple as possible : first, ONCE WE HAVE OPENED THE RING FOR YOU, go to this page to sign up for the ring at the World of Webring (, or to this one to sign up at Gunnar's Ringlink (no membership required). Either link will take you to a form to fill out. Do so, and hit your left arrow to get back to here. I'd recommend that you join both webrings, because that way even if one system or the other is down, you'll still be getting hits. But you don't have to, if you don't want to.

If you're joining the version of this ring, should that system at some point start offering something akin to the SSNB Webring uses (javascript), that will be, as we've said, perfectly acceptable. Cut it, paste it and you're done. We'd prefer you use HTML, because there still are people out there with non-javascript capable browsers, and using HTML means that they can find the next page. For you, the member, HTML means that your site won't get accidentally suspended or deleted because the javascript has started acting up, and yes, that has happened to us on other rings. That's much less common of a problem than it used to be, but make your own choice.

The great unknown is how a system we don't even know will come into existence will work, should it become a reality, but the guess we're going to offer is that it will probably work about the same way ssnb does, so we'll pass along a little practical advice that worked on that system and hope for the best. Let's say that you decide to go with HTML (smart choice). If your page also belongs to a ring that requires the use of SSNB and you don't want the navbar for this ring appearing twice, just register this page on our ring for another url that resolves to the same page. For example, on the copy of the ring homepage over on the Dancing Donkey, instead of entering

We could have entered

which takes you to the same place, there being no "waffles" anchor tag on this page. Or, if we had used the main page

as the homepage for this ring, one equivalent url would have been

Either way, such a navbar system might hypothetically set up a new navbar stack, getting us away from having two navbars for the same ring appear, because the ssnb would be assigned by url, not by page. It might also be assigned by webring membership, as on Webring, so another possibility would then be that if you were collaborating with somebody else on the page you submitted, to use one membership for the rings you used HTML code for, and another for the ones you use SSNB on. Either way, you'd avoid navbar duplication. But, to be honest, this is all guesswork based on how another system did things, so really, I think the simplest and best approach is to avoid the use of javascript if you can. Not that we know that this will ever even become an option, as we said.

Once you've filled out the application(s), download your ring code fragment(s). To make this as easy as possible for everybody, I'll give you three different ways in which you can do this.

1. Cut and paste the HTML version of the navbar you find over at World of Webring (, and/or Gunnar's Ringlink. That's good enough, probably easy to do, and we're happy with that. If, for whatever reason, you don't care for that option, though, we do offer you alternatives.

We'd recommend against this option, though, because we can offer no guarantee that imageshack won't delete this image at some point in the future, leaving you with one of those ugly missing image markers on your site. What you get, if all goes well, will look something like this. Not exactly like it, because I had to resize the navbar to fit it into this column, but it's close enough to the real thing that you shouldn't be startled by what you get.

BMORG doesn't speak for us : A ring for dissent in the Burner subculture
..BMORG doesn't speak for us
..A ring for dissent in the Burner Subculture
..[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]

1b. A more prudent option would be to download the graphic, and then cut and paste this code, uploading the graphic to the same directory as the page that you put on the ring. (Otherwise, the graphic won't appear).

<br><br> <center> <table border="5" width="400" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" bordercolor="#3333cc"> <tr><td><table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="0" bgcolor="#000000" width="100%"> <tr><td width="1%"><img src="tent1.gif" height="100" width="100" alt="BMORG doesn't speak for us : A ring for dissent in the Burner subculture" border="0"></td><td><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="4" width="100%" align="center"><tr><td nowrap><font face="arial" color="#ffffcc"><b><font color="#000000">..</font>BMORG doesn't speak for us<br><font color="#000000">..</font>A ring for dissent in the Burner Subculture</b></font></td></tr><tr><td nowrap colspan="2" align="center"><font face="arial" size="-1" color="#ffffcc"> <font color="#000000">..</font>[ <a href=";siteid=joining" target="_top"><font color="#33ff33">Join Now</font></a> | <a href=";siteid=(your id)" target="_top"><font color="#33ff33">Ring Hub</font></a> | <a href=";siteid=(your id)" target=_top><font color="#33ff33">Random</font></a> | <b><a href=";siteid=(your id)" target=_top><font color="#33ff33"><< Prev</font></a> | <a href=";siteid=(your id)" target=_top><font color="#33ff33">Next >></font></a></b> ] </font></td></tr></table></td> </tr></table></td></tr></table></center><br><br>

2. You COULD use the older "native style" code that prevailed before the introduction of navbars. I'm not sure if I would recommend that for pages that don't use the once nearly ubiquitous white backgrounds, but if that's what you want to do, we can set you up.

Print the code below directly onto a file in your diskspace at your
ISP. This will probably be easier for you, if you are using an older browser like Lynx. All that you do in Lynx, for example, is click on the relevant link, go to the relevant page, hit "p" for print, hit enter when the "print" page comes up, and cut and paste the resulting file, whose name you will see here.
Which ring are you joining?

the one at Gunnar's Ringlink: bmorg2.html
the one at bmorg3.html
both of them: bmorg4.html
That last choice will give you a combined fragment that should be good for both webrings. If you feel unconfortable with the fact that what you are using is not standard Ringsurf code - the Gunnar's Ringlink version of the ring being the replacement for the Ringsurf version, and this matters to you for some obscure reason - no problem. You can get standard code here : ringsurf1.txt

If you want to join both rings using old style code, but have a nonwhite page background, we'd recommend use of the modified code.

3. Here's your third option. Let's say you have a slightly more advanced browser, and you don't want to be bothered with downloading the fragments to your ISP webspace. Again, no problem. Click on the appropriate link, and you'll find yourself on a file which you can then directly download. As before, if your text appears against something other than a white background, you probably want to use the modified code for reasons of symmetry which should soon become clear. Yes, marred symmetry.

Which ring are you joining?

the one at bmorg2b.htm
the one at bmorg3b.htm
both of them: bmorg4b.htm

standard Gunnar's ringlink code: ringsurf2.htm


Graphics options, if you're joining the ring:

1. Download the current webring graphic on this page.
2. Download the less bulky graphic on the old webring hub.
(Courtesy of the same place we found the first one; the Animation Factory, we believe. If you use this graphic, be sure to remember to go the place in the webring code where you see

<img src="tent1.gif alt="BMORG doesn't speak for us

and replace "tent1.gif" with "siegheil.gif", otherwise the graphic won't show up).
3. Use your own.
4. Or, if you prefer, use no graphic at all.

Don't sweat the little stuff. We're not going to go all anal retentive on you. Considering the amazingly bad performance some FTP servers put in when one tries to upload pictures, we've sometimes felt that graphics are far more trouble than they're worth, and if your provider doesn't support file uploading we do understand the problem.

If you'd like to remove the mail link to cut down on SPAM, no problem. I did, and I'd recommend that you do so as well. Consider dropping by Bravenet and signing up for an account there, if only to get access to a mailform you can put on your site. It will save you many headaches. (If you take this advice, replace "mailto:(your address) with the url of your response page; if not, your call and many make the same one, but don't say that you weren't warned. And here's the the new Ringsurf webring graphic. Download away.

The ringcode fragments below should give you some idea of how yours will look, after you install it. But first, because of the usual complainers who will harass my provider otherwise, I now have to waste your time with an absolutely pointless ...

WARNING: If you travel the rings below, understand that these, by their nature, are intended for a mature audience. There might be nudity, there will probably be profanity. Burning Man is, after all, an adult event. If this sort of material offends you, then please do not click on the links below or travel these rings, because you have a good chance of being greatly offended. By ignoring this warning, you waive all right to complain to our provider and be taken seriously, because you decision to continue will have been an informed one. Are we clear on this ?

Now, here are those code fragments.

The combined code for both the and rings:

ringBMORG ring

The blame for this "BMORG doesn't speak for us" site goes to some Chicago burners

World of Webring : Previous | Random | List Sites | Next | Join This Ring
Gunnar's Ringlink: Previous | Random | List Sites | Next | Join This Ring
Our combined ring is a happy member of both the and Gunnar's Ringlink families.

The modified combined code:

BMORG ring

The blame for this "BMORG doesn't speak for us" site goes to some Chicago burners

World of Webring: Previous | Random | List Sites | Next | Join This Ring
Gunnar's Ringlink: Previous | Random | List Sites | Next | Join This Ring
Our combined ring is a happy member of both the and families.

The code:

BMORG ring

The blame for this "BMORG doesn't speak for us" site goes to your friends over at the Chicago Burners

Previous | Random Site | List Sites | Next | Join This Ring
"BMORG doesn't speak for us" is a happy member of the family.

The revised, nicer looking code:

BMORG ring

This Gunnar's Ringlink "BMORG doesn't speak for us" site belongs to the Chicago Burners

Previous Site | List Sites | Random Site | Next Site | Join This Ring

The standard code, redone as code, now that the ring has moved:

[ Previous 5 Sites | Return to Ring | Previous | Next ]

This Gunnar's Ringlink "BMORG doesn't speak for us" site is
owned by the Chicago Burners.

[ Return to Ring | Next 5 Sites | Random Site | List Sites ]

Obvious question: "I looked at these ring fragments, and none of them really grabbed me. Would you mind if I customized my ring code and gave it a look to my own liking? Obvious if you've been skimming, and missed some of our remarks above.
Answer: Sure, why not? Here's what's important:

1. Don't be mysterious. The visitor has to know that he's looking at the ring code for the "BMORG doesn't speak for us" ring.

2. If you're using something akin to old style code, like the older pre-navbar code you just saw, say who your page belongs to. A nickname, or even "like me, dude" is fine. Just don't leave the name out because people are so used to seeing it that its absence is going to be disconcerting for some.

3. We want to see the following links present and working:

a. list sites
b. previous site
c. next site
d. link to ring sign up page
e. link to the ring homepage
4. If you are going to create your own ring graphics, keep them in good taste. This is not an adult ring.

When you're done with all of that, you might want to subscribe by e-mail to the blog for the ring, if you'd like to hear about new sites that are entering the ring or are in the queue. Updates probably won't be frequent, so the e-mail subscription service might save you a lot of time, if you're interested. I hope this answers all of your questions, for now. Click on one of these two links to get to the list page for this ring over at or Gunnar's Ringlink.