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erdgeist
16:17

Why I won't be at HAR2009

After quite a number of people asking me why I plan to spend some time in Ireland rather than participate at HAR, here's what guided my decission. I post it here because I'm fed up with telling everybody the same yadda yadda again.

I'll try to keep it short as I didn't intend my soup account to be filled with actual original written blog content.

First the thing that struck worried most when I read it. There will be private cabins for 1500 Eur. Contrary to the business-tickets at ccc-congresses or the camp (where "business ticket" just means that a business entity can show their appreciation by 'donating' some extra money with mostly immaterial or mostly no 'compensation') the business ticket at the HAR is the whole shebang of a first-class stay. or as they put it: "We understand that corporate people have corporate needs. We therefore present a unique package tailored to the enterprise-world".

WTF are "corporate people"? I seriously don't think the spirit of an event like an outdoor hackers camp profits from enterprise-worldsy participants. I understood these events as get togethers where individuals from different backgrounds can meet, intermingle and have fun together. What's achieved through the private cabins is a two-class society. I can easily imagine that there will be "customers" for this "product". Mainly people from the commercial security scene. People who like being an attraction. People who indulge themselves in private cabins and premium service. Agreed, I myself do travel first class most of the time due to the comfort. But a hacker event is imho the wrong place for a two-class society. It even is the contrary of what the internet and other communication networks provide to hackers. A space where everyone is not only equal but where no two equals are the same. A hacker camp should ideally convey this spirit.

My fear is that some people who chose to live out their ego will get themselves a cabin and be surrounded by "friends" who want to share the experience.

One of the HAR organizers stated when asked for a comment about these thoughts: "we got the cabins, why shouldn't we use them". Well - nobody wants to see such a valuable ressource wasted. Why not assign them to projects or workshops. There are quite a number of people who simply can't afford to come to europe with a large tent because their background doesn't allow such expenses. Are these people less worth as concerns participation? Do we really need to put a price tag on ressources like this? What's the next step? Assign the more central camping spaces to "dedicated volunteers" or "immortal volunteers".

There we are already at my next point of dissent. I don't want to pay money for an event and be called volunteer. In fact I don't want to be called anything. Maybe participant, whatever. But implying that everybody (except the cabin habitants btw.) is volunteer at the very page where one can buy tickets (via paypal btw. seriously... WTF?) clearly shows that the people who run this event have no idea of the spirit of such a venture. Of course everybody is responsible to help running this event and has the duty to care for everybody having a great time. This is implicit with participation. The only purpose for such a tagging is that one could approach participants reminding that they agreed on being not participants but volunteers. Mind that the word volunteer comes from "voluntary" - glad that I can voluntarily decide that i don't want to participate in such a venture.

Having a ranking system with names on lists - those of the "immortal volunteers" once again shows that apparently there is quite some interest in establishing a system of multiple guilt/appreciation levels, that there is a drive to separate rather than bond. Is somebody who can afford 1500 Eur for a private cabin not entitled to help? Is somebody who can't afford it automagically forced to be a volunteer?

One could think "well, screw them, I'm gonna have my fun there anyway, all my friends are there too" - which was what I thought when I joined the irc channel where organisational stuff about HAR was discussed to inuire the state of the network planning and to offer my helping hand. The answer struck me ice cold and made me decide not to come. I can't literally cite the exact words but the conversation went like this: "network, what network? who needs network. there is 3G!" (nota bene: there is no 3g at the place where HAR will be) - "you do realize that this would be not only impractical but horribly expensive?" - "why? contracts start at 20eur/month" - "how about roaming charges?" - "it's not my fault that you are not dutch!".

I wouldn't have cared if it was just some random guy. It's hard to insult me via irc. But this guy was - confirmedly by other sources - member of the team that organizes HAR. When I come across undoubtedly nationalistic lines like "would it be the same outside our little country?" (in the FAQ) I can not help but feel pure disgust about the attitude of the people organizing this event. This is rounded up by questions like "Will my favourite hero do a talk".

Sorry, have fun over there... i'll have fun somewhere else. I do not volunteer (even more so if forced to) for this event.

cheers,

nibbler

Reposted fromnibbler nibbler

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