Here’s a screen capture from the Half-Mind Events Calendar:
Normally I include links in calendar entries so that readers can go straight to the event’s own website if they’re interested and want to know more. In this case, however, the event’s own website turned out to be no good, so I linked to the organizer’s email address instead. I hate doing that, because the organizer, Stray Dog, is notorious for not answering email. I’m tempted to drop the event altogether.
What’s wrong with the event website? It doesn’t contain any useful information, and the event is only three months away. Stray Dog’s own calendar listing for the event links to a sub-page that can only frustrate anyone who might want to attend. Here’s a capture of part of that page:
As you can see, there’s a registration link, but when you click it there’s no rego form, not even a snail-mail address to send money to. There’s nothing under “What You Get” other than an outdated price (it says you can register for $69.95, but I hear elsewhere the price is now up to $125). There’s nothing under “Lodging.” Nothing under “Who’s Coming.” Under “Venue” it simply says “Orlando, Florida.” Under “Contact Us” it says “Larry ‘Stray Dog’ McDowell,” with no email link or phone number.
Don’t believe me? Go here, sign in (yes, you have to sign in in order to get no information … if you don’t sign in, you’ll get less than that, impossible as that may seem), and then click here … go on, I’ll wait.
There. Am I lyin’? You know I’m not, because you just saw it with your own eyes! The event is three months away and there’s no useful information on the event organizer’s own page. Is that how you’d advertise an event you’re putting on?
You will have noticed by now that I list the event as “Global Trash Hash 2012″ whereas Stray Dog grandiosely lists it as the “18th World Interhash in Orlando.” Why am I being an asshole and not calling the event by the name Stray Dog gave it? I’ll tell you why. Stray Dog has a long record of stealing the names of successful H3 ventures and events in order to make his own ventures and events seem more important than they really are. His website was originally called Global Trash, but after a few years he renamed it the World HHH Site, attempting to capitalize on the popularity of Magic’s World HHH Handbook & Directory. Once Hashspace became a hit, he renamed his site again, this time calling it World Hashspace. Now he’s trying to co-opt the name “Interhash” itself, knowing full well that most hashers refer to our biennial world gathering as “World Interhash.”
In fact, Stray Dog’s event is the 18th iteration of his annual Global Trash Hash, an event that typically draws less than 100 hashers. I refuse to participate in this sort of misdirection and false advertising, and I’m calling the event by its real name.
But as I said, I’m tempted to call it nothing at all and take it off my calendar altogether. The reason I haven’t done so is because that’s the sort of thing Stray Dog does. If he doesn’t like an event, another website, or a particular hash kennel (usually because they kicked him out), he removes all mention of it from his website (ask the members of the Birmingham Alabama H3 about the time Stray Dog delisted them from his hash directory … and that’s just one example). So I’ll keep it on the calendar, even though no one else lists it (there are two other world H3 event calendar sites, plus the event listings on Hashspace, and this event does not appear on any of them).
I haven’t even touched on the most uncomfortable aspect of this particular event, and that is how Orlando came to be selected as the host venue. Stray Dog lives in China, you see, and by all available evidence he simply stuck a pin in the map to come up with Orlando. He did not coordinate with any of the hash kennels in Orlando before naming them co-hosts, and officially at least he does not have their support. Here’s part of an email from an Orlando area hasher, a mismanagement member of one of the larger kennels there:
Finally I feel I must chime in with a personal story of Stray Dog contact.
It all started just about a month ago when our hash, Other Orlando H3, heard we were “hosting” the official world hash 2012. Needless to say we were all very surprised. Some of us are registered for Kenya 2012, and there are some other local events around the same time in conflict, so it just didn’t make sense that someone from our hash would agree to take on such an event. There was much banter between SD and our webmeister. SD explained the things he will need from us as official hosts, and how gracious we should be to receive all the glory.
The final outcome was he chose our city as a hash venue without ever consulting any of our hash groups. He says he did, but there are just too many holes in his story; we are now confident he did not.
So we called a mismanagement meeting of all 5 Orlando hashes (O2H3, WTFH3, MCH3, OTH3 and BPH3). We actually discussed whether SD’s plan is feasible, and whether we had enough interest and so on. We agreed unanimously that we are not interested. If some of our members want to help SD they certainly can. But none of the Orlando hashes will be an official cohost. We informed SD of our decision.
Then one of our members contacted SD independently and offered to help hare a trail in an unofficial capacity. Shortly thereafter SD announced again that we are the official cohorts. I just wanted to let everyone hear our side of the story.
Orlando will not be hosting SD’s interhash in any official capacity.
Simply put, this is not how host venues are chosen in the hash. Yeah, yeah, there are no rules, but if there’s one thing all hashers understand, it’s that everything we do is done voluntarily. We don’t “volunteer” cities and regions to host large hash events. The push to host and organize a large event has to come from hashers in those cities and regions. We may be disorganized, but we’re disorganized from the bottom up, not the top down.
What Stray Dog has done here (and he’s done it before, as he did when he “volunteered” the Huachuca H3 to host a USA Nash Hash in southern Arizona a few years ago) is shocking and contrary to hash tradition. The reaction of Orlando mismanagement, at least to my mind, is surprisingly mild. I would have told him to pound sand.
But I won’t. Instead, I’ll just ask Stray Dog two simple questions. One, if you’re going to play I’ve Got a Secret with hashers who might want to attend your event, how can you expect them to send you beer money? Two, if you can’t even keep your own event page up to date, why should hashers trust you with their beer money in the first place?
p.s. Stray Dog, in a comment to a previous post, accuses me of spreading doubt about his event’s existence. Au contraire, Stray Dog, I’m spreading doubt about your competence as an organizer and webmaster.
p.p.s. Ah, SD, you do bring out my inner asshole, you do.
© 2012, Flying Booger. All rights reserved.
About Flying Booger Hash House Harrier, man about town.