Dave Winer has responded today to widespread criticism in the blogosphere that the cost for BloggerCon is nothing more that a Con by releasing 25 seats labelled scholarships, to the conference to bloggers in a randomly drawn competition.
Winers initiative, whilst in the right direction, has only come about as a result of the negative feedback the conference has been receiving in the Blogosphere.
However Winer will only attract further criticism with a snobbish attitude taken to bestowing “scholarships” to bloggers (a scholarship being something bestowed upon normally from a high, from those of authority, on those below) further ingraining the growing belief that Winer and his fellow group of self appointed blogging elite are nothing more that; a self appointed, self focused group of blogging carpetbaggers whose relevance may only be amongst their own small clique. His continued promotion of a hierarchical structure of a blogging elite through his actions and words will only continue to add fuel to the backlash he is already receiving.
For those who didn’t receive the email read the following:
BloggerCon Free for 25; Sunday Birds-Of-Feather meetings
A couple of bits of news from Berkman Center, the sponsors of BloggerCon 2003.
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who can’t afford $500 (or $250 for students and Harvard affiliates), but would like to participate anyway. Since BloggerCon is totally non-profit, and we’d like it to be open for as many people as possible, we’ve made a couple of changes that will allow many more people to participate.
1. Of the 150 seats we have available, about 50 will be used by speakers, staff and sponsors, leaving us with approximately 100 seats to sell. We’ve decided to reserve 25 of those seats to give to members of the weblog community, at absolutely no cost. If you’d like to participate please, enter your name and email address on the Scholarship form page. On September 1, we’ll run a script to choose 25 names, completely at random, from those submitted. We’ll let you know via email if you will get to go to BloggerCon for free.
2. We’ve reserved several large classrooms in Pound Hall on the Harvard Law School campus for October 5, the Sunday after BloggerCon, for Birds-Of-Feather sessions. Anyone from the weblog community can participate and it’s free for all. $0. We’re hoping to have sessions about weblogs in business and medicine, a few sessions for people who write weblog software and aggregators (without the usual pie-throwing that happens on the mail lists), a session for people running weblog programs at universities (Harvard and MIT are sure to participate, but there will probably be others), Outlining on the Web, Mobile Blogging.
Sunday is the idea-overflow space. If Saturday is as exciting as we expect it will be, there will be lots to talk about on Sunday.
From all of us at Berkman, we really hope to see you on October 4 and 5, at BloggerCon 2003!
Dave Winer, Host