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$100 Finders fee: Can you name a full-time activist for Reason?

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In any event, I think it would be a classy thing for Burgess to pay up.

I wouldn't. He was offering the money for someone who can help him find what he's looking for, not for someone who wants to take advantage of the offer by giving an obvious answer that clearly doesn't help.

Everyone knows who Randi is, there's no need to offer money to find out about him. Randi is clearly not what he's looking for.

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Where was this acknowledgment? He obviously admires Randi, and said a video lecture was "informative and entertaining." But where does he say any of it helped his search? I read his article about Randi as further refinement and explanation of the kind of activist he is looking for, not as a standalone blogpost about Randi.

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Given that you accepted the money knowing that Burgess did not receive the help he was looking for in return, whose integrity is in question?

I don't understand the purpose of this.

If both parties agree that the terms have been satisfied, then what are you adding here exactly? Do you think that Burgess doesn't agree that he's gotten his money's worth, but he's allowed himself to have been badgered or tricked out of his money anyways? Or if Burgess agrees that what Robert provided was sufficient for a claim on the offer he made -- and offering payment seems to suggest that very thing, imo -- then why would you say it's not?

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We could speculate all day as to why Burgess decided to award the money anyway, but given that he dedicated an entire blogpost to explaining why Randi isn't what he was looking for, I think it's safe to conclude he didn't get in return what he wanted with the original advertised purpose of the $100.

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We could speculate all day as to why Burgess decided to award the money anyway, but given that he dedicated an entire blogpost to explaining why Randi isn't what he was looking for, I think it's safe to conclude he didn't get in return what he wanted with the original advertised purpose of the $100.

But you don't think that agreeing to award the money makes it safe to conclude that he thinks it should be awarded?

Is the assumption here that Burgess doesn't know what he's doing, so he needs us to tell him what he had in mind, and what is worth his $100?

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Is painting a porch the same thing as providing a name from memory and verifying it with some simple googling? Is the owner of the porch a long term customer or friend? Etc.

Stuff doesn't exist in a vacuum. This was an odd request by a member of an odd group, obviously with the long term goal of promoting reason. If you have the same or similar goals, why would you ever accept this money?

Edited by JASKN
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But you don't think that agreeing to award the money makes it safe to conclude that he thinks it should be awarded?

Is the assumption here that Burgess doesn't know what he's doing, so he needs us to tell him what he had in mind, and what is worth his $100?

This raises identical questions to your last post, and so my answer is also the same.
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Dream weaver - Perhaps true, but beyond the scope of the hypothetical. If we're going to speculate, the owner might not have realized he had a strong preference until seeing the color he disliked.

JASKN - It's not my responsibility to tell Burgess what the information is worth to him. He is best positioned to decide that for himself.

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This raises identical questions to your last post, and so my answer is also the same.

If you'd answered those questions before, I must have missed it.

Here's my answer: I think Burgess is capable of assessing whether or not Robert deserves the money he'd offered. I think offering the money is a demonstration that Burgess believes the award is warranted. I don't see any point in your second guessing Burgess' decision -- and I don't see any call for Robert to refuse the money.

If both parties here are satisfied, what's the point in calling one or both members' integrity into question? Just an injection of nastiness, so far as I can tell.

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The answer was: "It's just speculation except for the part where Burgess says he didn't get what he was after."

Here is some speculating as to why Burgess paid even though he didn't get what he wanted:

-Legal protection. Even if Burgess thought he shouldn't pay the money based on his original stipulations, maybe a court wouldn't agree, and he doesn't want legal troubles.

-Ambiguity. Burgess thinks he should have been clearer in his original stipulations. Instead of create a public dispute, he pays $100.

-Credibility. Burgess really does want what he was originally after, and if he pays $100 once publicly, it might motivate others which might ultimately get him a name which fits his needs.

-Etc.

In the existing scenario I would not have personally accepted the money unless Burgess insisted and gave a good reason. Maybe that's what happened.

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The answer was: "It's just speculation except for the part where Burgess says he didn't get what he was after."

But that's not all we know. We also know he offered to pay -- that's not speculative -- and I think that says that he believes he's received something that entitles Robert to the $100 he'd offered.

 

Here is some speculating as to why Burgess paid even though he didn't get what he wanted:

-Legal protection. Even if Burgess thought he shouldn't pay the money based on his original stipulations, maybe a court wouldn't agree, and he doesn't want legal troubles.

-Ambiguity. Burgess thinks he should have been clearer in his original stipulations. Instead of create a public dispute, he pays $100.

-Credibility. Burgess really does want what he was originally after, and if he pays $100 once publicly, it might motivate others which might ultimately get him a name which fits his needs.

-Etc.

Yes, I agree -- these are all speculations. To them, we could add what Robert originally reported:

 

He said it was because the suggestion was helpful, although he isn't yet sure Randi is the specific example he is looking for.

I don't know Burgess personally, but sN reported, based on his own interactions, that honesty is Burgess' "strong suit." So I guess I'm willing to take it like this: Burgess found Robert's suggestion helpful, and on that basis decided to award the $100.

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I don't know Burgess personally, but sN reported, based on his own interactions, that honesty is Burgess' "strong suit." So I guess I'm willing to take it like this: Burgess found Robert's suggestion helpful, and on that basis decided to award the $100.

There is also this, from the conversation between Burgess and Robert on Burgess' blog:

 

You have not established Randi as a specialized activist focused primarily for reason, but you have given me a useful example of someone who might be mistaken for being a specialist for reason, a simulacrum, so to speak. That will help me distinguish the meaning of "specialized activist."

When he says "you have given me a useful example" and "that will help me," he's providing his rationale for awarding the $100. I see no further call for "speculation" as to his motive -- I trust Burgess to be able to speak his own mind on the matter.

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I think we've covered all we can at this point. The reason I initially posted was because I don't think integrity was only Burgess' responsibility -- and I disagreed with taking the money, based on what I both knew and guessed.

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If someone offered you $100 to paint the porch of his house without specifying a color, would you consider your performance of the task voided if upon reviewing the work he decided he didn't like the color you chose?

Let's say this painter has a boss. When he discovers that his porch is a color he hates, the owner calls the boss and tells him what happened (he forgot to mention the color, so the painter went ahead and did the job without asking him). What do you think the boss would say to this painter: "job well done" or "if you do that again you're fired"?

I'm a freelancer (I'm not a painter, I'm a web developer, but it makes no difference what the exact profession is), and, as a freelancer, I have to act as my own boss. I have to evaluate myself honestly, and do everything in my power to make sure my clients get their money's worth from me.

My issue (and JASKN's, too, afaict) with your actions is that you, in this instance, have acted as a freelance service provider, but did not hold yourself to that standard. You held yourself to a standard that would get you fired from any job where someone evaluates your performance.

If I was Burgess, I would tell you that Randi is not what I need, and maybe give you a chance to ask for further clarifications and do the job properly (if you showed any signs that you can). And if you had a boss, your boss would agree with me, and tell you the same thing, because he would have the reputation of the company to protect.

P.S. My best guess as to why Burgess didn't go that route is that he doesn't have the business experience to recognize this situation for what it is. But I don't actually know this. It's also possible that $100 is just less important to him than keeping his blog free of arguments over getting paid. It's also possible that he is taking responsibility for doing a bad job explaining what he's looking for.

But I seriously doubt he's happy about how this turned out. And that's your fault. If you wanted that $100, you could've and should've done more, by asking for clarifications first.

Edited by Nicky
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There is a world of difference between a formal customer-service-oriented business relationship between two parties and a unilateral offer specifying terms of performance to any takers in the market. I have no prior relationship with this man, nor did I want to invest my own valuable time and risk the opportunity by attempting to flesh out his own terms for him. I think people here are doing him a disservice by doubting his intellectual capacity for conducting his own affairs. My organization just paid a large sum of money to a contractor for work that didn't ultimately help us - that's the nature of business uncertainty and it doesn't negate the contractor's fulfillment of the terms of the contract. If you want to do extra work to satisfy your clients, that may make sense for you as someone who relies on such recommendations, but there is no moral or legal obligation to go above and beyond in that manner.

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... nor did I want to invest my own valuable time and risk the opportunity by attempting to flesh out his own terms for him.

What about his offer made you think any fleshing out was possible? Are you saying the offer was ambiguous and that depending on interpretation a name like Randi may or may not have fit?
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I'm saying the opposite. The terms were clear enough to me where I felt I could meet them without requiring further clarification.

That makes no sense to me. I found the offer ambiguous and therefore not something that ought to be legally binding, neither something that one could reply to with a firm conviction that it would be what he was looking for. When he rejected your suggestion, the rational response would have been to clarify why you think Randi was the name he was looking for. Instead, you turned aggressive implying that he was trying to cheat you out of your earned dues.

After that type of response, a typical customer would have told you to go to hell. However, in my opinion, he realized that his offer had been ambiguous, and even though your suggestion was not what he was looking for, it did give him the opportunity to conceptualize what he was really looking for, and what he did not want. Obviously not worth the $100, but what the heck, it is just money, even though he's a long-time retired guy a $100 isn't much these days. Anyone who's been in the Objectivist movement as long as he has understands the filth and accusations that some people (not you, but folks who seek mileage from this type of episode) will throw around. In my personal evaluation: the easiest thing would be to give in to the blackmail and send you your $100.

So, enjoy your $100, but I doubt it was for value given. Therefore it is simply value taken. Not illegal... you basically played him for a sucker.

Edited by softwareNerd
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That makes no sense to me. I found the offer ambiguous and therefore not something that ought to be legally binding, neither something that one could reply to with a firm conviction that it would be what he was looking for. When he rejected your suggestion, the rational response would have been to clarify why you think Randi was the name he was looking for. Instead, you turned aggressive implying that he was trying to cheat you out of your earned dues.

 

An offer can be clear in its terms yet incomplete according to what the offeror had in mind. The offeree is not responsible for anything except the plain meaning of the offer. Having had no prior contact with this individual, and this being a first-to-arrive unilateral offer, I had no reason to invest my time making sure that there were no additional terms or preferences he wanted addressed. If I was going to help him craft and strengthen his offer, I would have charged a heck of a lot more than $100 for the legal services. But he didn't ask me to do so, nor did I have the obligation to inquire. I did, however, briefly explain why I felt Randi fit the criteria on his blog and then provided additional information in a follow up e-mail.

 

 

In my personal evaluation: the easiest thing would be to give in to the blackmail and send you your $100.

 

If you're going to throw around serious accusations like "blackmail," you should understand what they mean first. Blackmail involves use of force or a threat to reveal damaging information. I in no way used force or threatened to do anything to this individual, much less reveal any hidden information as everything occurred out in the open for all to see.

 

So, enjoy your $100, but I doubt it was for value given. Therefore it is simply value taken. Not illegal... you basically played him for a sucker.

 

As I stated earlier, I think you are doing this individual a disservice by insulting his capacity to conduct his own affairs.

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