Brad’s Invitation was Lost in the Mail…or something like that.

Was reading the comments on Brad Warner’s blog post regarding the big meeting at the Garrison Institute which was the subject of my last blog post when I read this:

Dear Mr. Warner,
I am an event planner at the Garrison Institute and I want to let you know that we sent you an invitation Dec 11, 2010. I’m not sure what happened that you did not receive our invitation. And I regret this understanding. If you have any questions please email me at
Thank you,
Erin Koch


I’ll just post my comment from there here since I’m too busy right now to formulate something further:

Very interesting that the Garrison Institute event planner leaves a message in the comments here and on Suicide Girls rather than actually contacting Brad by email. Clearly doesn’t know much about the Internet to put an email address in any comments forum! Here.

WTF is up with that aside from a snarky move designed to provoke a sense of embarrassment?

That’s one way to get people to shut up and stop criticizing. One of the oldest socially coercive tactics around. The institutional representative (backed by the weight of that position) seeks to defer any criticism by pointing out something like this. Had the thing not been so secretive in the first place perhaps Brad and others could have queried their status vis-a-vis invitations.

And I think they meant misunderstanding rather than understanding.

Did this event planner also send the invitation via comments?

Not such great event planning when one doesn’t follow up on a non-response? Or wasn’t an RSVP expected?

7 comments on “Brad’s Invitation was Lost in the Mail…or something like that.

  1. Yeah, I read that…my working assumption was that it was just a troll joke rather than a genuine follow up. Poor form if not.

    • Sorry to say it but the trolls at Brad’s place are not generally that ambitious. The alleged author is an Events Assistant according to the staff link. I wonder if her boss asked her to do this or if she’s showing some initiative.

      If I were writing such a thing for the lulz I’d use the actual Events Manager’s name or that of some famous Zen master. Not really my thing to do but I can appreciate certain amounts of lulz humor. Like seeing both James Ford Roshi’s name and now the Garrison Institute’s name on Suicide Girls.

  2. A person posting under Anonymous on Brad’s blog wrote:

    Anonymous said…

    I posted that I sent an invitation to Brad publically because it is clear he did not receive my email invitation. One intern and myself were responsible for sending over 400 invitations to teachers whose names were given to us by the steering committee and teachers already invited. We made several attempts at following up but obviously, for reasons unknown, we didn’t get through to brad. Maybe we had a wrong email or maybe the invite went to his junk mail. I can let brad know the email we have if he wants. Clearly, i did not go to great lengths to find Brad. I regret this, but we did not have the resources. And at the time i assumed all non- responses were not interested. Also, i know the steering committee did its best to follow up with teachers. We discused this numerous times. I have no knowledge of Brad’s work, so there was no political agenda involved. I’m also happy to answer any questions about the invitation process because the process was transparent. Feel free to email me if you have questions about the buddhist teacher council.
    Erin Koch
    Event planner, gi

    I wrote on Twitter [slightly enlarged for clarity]:

    A spreadsheet is useful for event planning. After the name & date sent a column of yes/no/no response can be used to track invitees.

    A list of those who do not respond can be followed up by simply sorting that column and following up. It’s not fucking rocket science.

    And if 2 people can’t even manage that much when they literally have years to plan an event then perhaps they are in the wrong jobs.

    If this person is indeed from the Institute they are incredibly unprofessional putting all this in comments. I found Brad’s email address in 2 clicks from the blog. And he’s posted that one and another one often enough. Even a request for an email in comments, which would have solicited it in about 10 minutes would have been more appropriate.

    Additionally I’ve corresponded 3 times with Brad over the past 4 years and always gotten a response so it’s not like he’s slack with the email.

    Since this person sees fit to post all this in public, thereby inviting public response I’m going to take issue with the transparency part. A thing isn’t transparent if no one knows about it. Period.

    It’s hard to come to grips with the very small world some folks live in. Just because the old boys network is aware of something doesn’t make it transparent. There is so much more to say on that but I’ll save it for a post.

    • “A list of those who do not respond can be followed up by simply sorting that column and following up. It’s not fucking rocket science.

      And if 2 people can’t even manage that much when they literally have years to plan an event then perhaps they are in the wrong jobs.”

      So here’s the thing: you say stuff like this all the time about other people. but if anyone says you are off base, it’s an ancient patriarchal power conspiracy to shut you up and shut you out, because you are “a woman questioning power!” back off sucka’s!

      People make mistakes. Have you ever organized something like this? I haven’t. I have trouble getting my all my bills paid some months. Maybe if you are an organizational master, you can offer to help them out for the next one.

      I’m beginning to think you are just kind of rude. In the worst online blogger faceless kind of tradition. I have to wonder if its really helpful most of the time.

      • “all the time” That’s pretty general. My ratio of “rude” posts to non-rude posts is about 1 in 12. I actually counted on my last blog. That’s a pretty small margin.

        And yes I have been involved in organizing large Anthropology conferences,multi- institutional gatherings with hundreds of participants, open houses and quite a few similar events.

        If I’m off base or not, I’m happy to listen to the criticism, as I am doing here.

        You don’t like my tone. You disagree with what I’ve stated.

        What exactly do you want me to do about it? That’s not snark that’s a serious question.

  3. Pingback: The New Improved Buddhist Council [now with more enzymes, lather and added vitamins] written by MADHUSHALA // Another MUST READ for Western Practitioners | 1 of 84,000 Dharma Doors Blog

  4. We sent out 430 invites. We had room for 230. We were careful not to invite too many, and we didn’t follow up with most non responses. We gave at least 7 monastic scharships and we covered the cost for 60 participants.

    We were very cautious to not over book. I kept detailed records on an excel sheet as my coworkers know. I planned this retreat at the same time as one or more retreats every week. I heard about these blogs from participants at the retreat. I’m not trolling the Internet for quality control- that notion was ridiculous.

    I’m explaining this so you can understand that you can be wrong, and in being wrong, you can be publically mean. I am afraid to even write this for fear of being torn apart.

    As people who care deeply for dharma and the future, are we not on the same side? Can’t we accomplish so much more as allies than as enemies?


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