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Argument By Selective Reading:

making it seem as if the weakest of an opponent’s arguments was the best he had. Suppose the opponent gave a strong argument X and also a weaker argument Y. Simply rebut Y and then say the opponent has made a weak case.

This is a relative of Argument By Selective Observation, in that the arguer overlooks arguments that he does not like. It is also related to Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension), in that the opponent’s argument is not being fairly represented.

Your argument conveniently omits the more relevant information:

American Red Cross
Top Person: Marsha Evans
Top Salary:* $651,957

Easter Seals
Top Person: James E. Williams Jr.
Top Salary:* $488,300

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Top Person: Thomas Priselac
Top Salary:* $1,503,080

On average these executives from other non-profits made:

Mattthew Brauer mentions in his post:

Even if we take the lowest figure in that list MB is still only making 4.9%

32 Responses to “Salary”

  • I’m not sure what this proves. If anything it shows that charities need proper checks and balances, because they get out of control easily. Casey and Friends are not paying themselves more because there isn’t more. Matthew and Jim started at half of their current pay, and they paid themselves more the moment there was more. Let’s continue this debate when they publish the 2007 finances, and more importantly: a 2008 budget projection.

  • Cyril stop trying to change the topic. And avoid the questions. And how can you compare and online org to well established orgs?

    Casey would rather spend on a rave than on some poor kid in thailand?
    Did they visit any orphanages?
    Did they help anyone except thenselves? Please check photos of drinking from bucket of alcohol.

    Also checking Cedars-Sinai is does not show it is a charity so where did it come into the comparison.
    What do specialist surgons have to do with vagabonds like jimstone?
    Funny it the incorrect comparison has gone from 10% to 4.9 ?
    you posted “but its mathematically impossible to even be 10% of what these people earn. So why aren’t all of you writing letters of protest to the Red Cross, or boycotting them?”

    Couchsurfing have never ever donated any money for any cause . So how did you come up with this incorrect comparison.

    Did you do it so people will stop asking questions?

  • wasting time

    Cyril, why bother here? OCS has their anti-LT soapbox and isn’t looking for a fair and balanced argument. Anyone else is just wasting time writing AND reading the drivel on these pages.

  • what a shitty post by “wasting time ” i love the f*cko family :)
    wasting time is the stupidest gangbanging poster who really does not want to really know the answers. But keeps coming back here for a poop here and there.
    Keep coming back yer gangbanger, burning man orgies :) . Thanks LT :)

  • Jim stone is such a coward !! sheesh

  • 24,000 $ of donated money used by one guy to fix his bike and blow the rest on partying and then riding all the way to alaska .

    You call that a charity . It is an insult to all charities.

    what does the red cross do ?
    Disaster Services
    Blood Services
    Military Members and Families
    Health and Safety Services
    International Services
    Volunteer Services
    Youth Services

    What does couchsurfing do?

  • Normally, I wouldn’t bother posting a new thread. However, I tried posting a response to the growing amb discontent thread to no avail. I tried several times, but my comment was deleted. Since I have an account on this WordPress, the only explanation for this I can think of is that it was deleted by a blacklist on Akismet? I’ve posted under a different email, and my easy enough my comment is here. are “” emails on the spam blacklist? Or is it something else?


    I will agree with you in that salaries at many non-profits need to be put into perspective, and see if they are overpaying themselves. Certainly making a million bucks is not proper for a public benefit org.

    You mention an increase in what they pay themselves… I guess you will need to keep an eye open and see if it ever grows to an astronomical sum. My guess is that if they give themselves a raise, it will not surpass the amount of a regular average salary in the US. I believe the average salary for in global for people in the states is somewhere around $50,000. So unless their salary grows beyond what is the average in the country for all people, I would see no reason for alarm.


    You came out on the previous thread with a high-browed logic approach, trying to portray my comment as an irate exaggeration. Seeing the caliber of your response to this thread, it becomes apparent you are playing both sides.

    “Cyril stop trying to change the topic. And avoid the questions. And how can you compare and online org to well established orgs?”

    Isn’t this an Open forum, where I am allowed to explore any topic of my liking? Why would try to curtail this freedom?

    My intention is not to apologize for anyone. I do not care what people do with their personal salaries. Certainly, I would be annoyed if someone tried to fiscalize my personal money.

    The comparison is of registered non-profits and the salary levels they pay. This is a numerical evaluation, and I leave the qualitative analysis of who is more worthy to someone else.

    If the above salary comparison does not work for you, then perhaps there will be another org on this list, where you can compare and see if the salary is fair or not:

    “Funny it the incorrect comparison has gone from 10% to 4.9 ?
    you posted “but its mathematically impossible to even be 10% of what these people earn. ”

    Err… is it just me, or do you not see that 4.9% is even a smaller amount than 10%… hence making the point twice as significant? If we compared it to Mrs. Evans’ salary the proportion goes down to 3.8%. You really need to improve your understanding of basic elementary math concepts.

  • Cyril I see you did not address the issue on the incorrect comparison .
    You write ”
    Isn’t this an Open forum, where I am allowed to explore any topic of my liking? Why would try to curtail this freedom?

    //* what are you trying to say??? **//

  • Are you saying couchsurfing (where people stay free ,a place where 4 people take the donated money and use it for rave parties , binge drinking and their friends and personal travel is the SAME as the work the RED CROSS does ?

  • you write “is it just me, or do you not see that 4.9% is even a smaller amount than 10%… hence making the point twice as significant?”

    I wanted to know why the change of number and percentages. What exactly is your point . The thread was about getting answers from LT and Casey about a lot of issues.

    Your incorrect comparions totally derails the thread.
    Now only you would know what your purpose was?

    here let me quote you
    “CYRILG from San Jose, Costa Rica writes in the ambassador group
    That is more money than CS has even made in its entire history.
    I have no clue what our management gets paid,
    but its mathematically impossible to even be 10% of what these people earn. So why aren’t all of you writing letters of protest to the Red Cross, or boycotting them?”
    you make and incorrect comparison and then ask the member why they are not writing letters of protest to the Red Cross, or boycotting them?

    So what are you telling the ambassadors to do ?

  • In this thread you say “It is also related to Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension), in that the opponent’s argument is not being fairly represented.”
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A straw man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it carries little or no real evidential weight, because the opponent’s actual argument has not been refuted.[2]

    it carries little or no real evidential weight,
    The comparison between the salaries between a red cross executive and casey fenton ” carries little or no real evidential weight,”.It is absurd to compare people who work for the red cross and people who are so aloof they refuse to even talk to a common member except through their presonal assistants (LT)>>(GLOBAL ambassadors)>>>(never reaches anyone)

    Again I ask you what is your actual argument?

  • I think that CS can be fairly characterized as a charity. It may not be saving lives, feeding the poor, curing disease or doing great work on the scale of the other large charities mentioned, but I think it provides a valuable and indeed charitable service…a conduit for grass-roots diplomacy. I don’t always agree with the leadership but I appreciate their efforts and the work they do on small salaries or none at all.
    thanks Cyril for your analysis and calm demeanor.

  • Margaret quote “but I think it provides a valuable and indeed charitable service…”

    And that service is ?

  • Maybe the service is when a member of couch surfing “feels” charitable and allows the poor out of money travelers to use their house to a day or 2 and also have a free meal. In return the poor traveler will write a nice reference and in most cases never be heard of again.

    The couch surfer is so happy to have such a positive statement on their profile. They will then give the bosses of couch surfing a donation. This money is used to run? the site ONLY .And everyone needs to thank these bosses (leaders) of couch surfing (who they never see ,not hear,unless you are part of their group). Everyone need to thank their efforts and the work they do on small salaries or none at all.

    Now these leaders are very very respected for their charity work that no one is supposed to questions their use of fund. Because these leaders are as respected as the red cross leaders. So if you cannot boycott the red cross . You have not right to boycott or even ask for answers from these leader. Respect your leaders. Thank you thank you .

  • The service is hooking up travelers with open guest quarters and friendly hosts, Dawg.

    That’s interesting Dingo that you also object to the misplaced gratitude of making a donation to CS. I posted the same objection on the brainstorm group a few weeks ago. I think feelings of gratitude should be passed along to the next person you host…to keep the happy vibe going.

  • The point here is can we compare having a webserver and some code and calling that a service to the red cross?
    Becuase that is exactly the arguement cyril is trying to make . He states Marsha J. Evans of the red cross makes xxx$ and casey and the rest make much less. And asks the ambassadors of couchsurfing who are not members of the red cross (quote So “why aren’t all of you writing letters of protest to the Red Cross, or boycotting them?”

    As cyril has not described the profile of Marsha J. Evans let me do it

    Marsha J. Evans
    Marsha J. Evans served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The American Red Cross from August 2002 until December 2005. Ms. Evans previously served as the National Executive Director of Girl Scouts of the USA from 1998 until July 2002. She served with the United States Navy for 29 years, where she was commissioned ensign in 1968 and attained the rank of rear admiral before retiring in 1998
    Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005 5:06 p.m. EST
    Marsha Evans Resigns as Red Cross President
    American Red Cross President Marsha Evans announced her resignation Tuesday because of friction with the board of governors, shortly before witnesses at a congressional hearing assailed the charity’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
    The red cross made a lot of money from her appearance . How much did couchsurfing make with caseys appearances?

    Cyril can you still compare Marsha Evans with casey or Mattthew ?

  • Thomas Priselac, chief executive for .the past nine years at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center the largest private hospital in the west with 750 beds and a $1 billion annual budget. [}

    Priselac lectures extensively at professional meetings and universities on varied aspects of health care delivery and leadership, and is an adjunct professor at the UCLA School of Public Health. He holds a Master's of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh. []

    how can you compare the guy above with anyone running couchsurfing. Even the organisation is a mismatch(Cedars-Sinai Medical Center the largest private hospital).

  • C-y-r-i-l


    Fair enough, I do see your point. I simply picked random examples from that list to provide a numerical comparison of going salaries for non-profits. I didn’t do too much analysis or gave much thought on what these charities did.

    So, let’s compare apples to apples… I found a few that are better examples:

    Educational Broadcasting Corp (WNET)
    public TV station in NYC
    New York, NY
    Top Person: William F. Baker
    Top Salary:* $366,497

    Community Television of S California (KCET)
    public TV station in Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA
    Top Person: Albert D. Jerome
    Top Salary:* $335,043

    Institute of International Education
    educational exchange programs
    New York, NY
    Top Person: Allan E. Goodman
    Top Salary:* $315,375

    All of these are registered charities that promote education and better understanding. They all serve the public to improve culture and bring people together. CouchSurfing fulfills a similar mission to all of them.

    On average these people made: $338,972

    Casey and Mattthew make: ~$24,000

    This is a mere 7% of their salary.

    The point being made is that while all these accusations are flying around about their salaries, when you compare it to what others in similar positions make… it is peanuts.

    So what do you suggest? That full time employees who dedicate their time to an organization should do so for free? That would be unreasonable.

    And when they do take a salary, people complain and make a huge fuss about it, without noticing that this salary is petty change compared to what they could make elsewhere.

    Ok, let’s say that you think CS is complete B.S. and it should not be compared to any other non-profit, no matter what the mission it achieves. Casey’s trade is computer programming. If he went to any average company in the US he would still make at least $80,000 a year.

    Why is it so hard to fathom that these guys are not doing it for the money? If they were it would be silly, as working in a private enterprise could yield far more cash.

  • What’s the point of this numbers game? Are you trying to provoke a discussion about how much Casey & Friends are WORTH? You aren’t seriously suggesting that they stand a chance of being hired for those top jobs? Don’t you think qualification, experience, and track records come into it?

    Your previous comment that it seems OK as long as it doesn’t rise above $50,000 made much more sense. This is another case of doing more harm than good by being an apologist.

  • C-y-r-i-l

    Hi Pickwick,

    Well, the figure in my previous email is the Median Salary, based on statistics from programmers in all of the US. This is for plain vanilla programmers at the technical level, not at the “top” really.

    “Top” tech people (Chief Information Technology Officer) can make upwards $200,000:

  • C-y-r-i-l

    “Are you trying to provoke a discussion about how much Casey & Friends are WORTH?”

    I am only trying to provide some balance in the discussion. After all, what good does it do OCS if there is never anyone posting contrasting ideas? I think it is healthy for your campaign here to have some outside views now and then. No one person is owner of the truth, it usually is somewhere in between, yes?

  • Cyril: “I am only trying to provide some balance in the discussion.”

    You don’t achieve that by suggesting Casey & Friends are serious contenders for a top management job with >$300k salaries. You just make them look ridiculous, because it suggests they might think that about themselves too.

    I don’t remember anybody claiming that $2,000 was too much for the general manager of Couchsurfing per se, if the person was suitable and did the job well. I don’t remember claims that they are in it “just for the money”. It looks to me like putting an argument in your opponent’s mouth just because you find it easy to refute.

    I remember discussions whether the current employees are suitable, and whether it’s really necessary to pay people where volunteers are available. I remember questions about the hiring process, and what they actually do for the money. I remember questions about additional benefits like having rent and food provided for months on end, and the suspicion that the actual pay might not be all that meets the eye. I remember doubts whether they spend our money wisely and legitimately. And I remember serious concerns about Casey still being on the payroll, in violation of New Hampshire law.

    “some outside views”
    Aren’t you forgetting that everybody involved here also follows discussions on the CS web site, whereas that is not necessarily true the other way round? Which set of readers is more “balanced”, the ones that read both sites, or the ones that never come here?

  • humm the posts on the ambassador group fell from 722 to 716 so that means 6 posts were deleted humm.

  • hobomundas

    i haven’t the time to look up those examples you gave cyril but i’d be interested to know if the top people in those organizations were selected because they were suitable or merely appointed themselves.

    its not really how much they get paid that bothers most people, its their suitability for the job, and more importantly, whether or not they are dong it well. thanks to the lack of transparency, we cant even see what they are doing, let alone how well they are doing it, all the general population have to go on is occasional tit-bits from someone like matthew (who’s job as general manager surely requires active communication with the general volunteers & membership) and photo’s from the collective, the latter of which do not exactly comfort anybody interested in the destination of cs donations.

  • I’m going to make a little “argument by authority” here, so forgive me for the false rethorical technique, but I think some of the comparisons here are severely in need of some balance.

    1. Casey is not a good programmer and he wouldn’t make top dollar in the real world. First, he only knows PHP (which is a second rate language in the commercial world, regardless off its possible qualities). Second, he has no formal training, no certification, nothing. I have never seen him pick up a book on proper programming techniques and the collective simply didn’t have any. While I might not be representative in this, from my (past) years as a professional programmer, I do still have a Java certification and at least a dozen books. And I did make top dollar. As a result, his code – quite frankly – stinks to high heavens. He basically does every single bad practice in the book: no documentation, no standardization, no testing, no bug tracking, etc. CS is lucky to have had some serious programmers over the years to essentially cover Casey’s ass and force-feed him things like a bugtracker.

    2. The same goes for Casey’s (and Matthews) management training and outside experience: it doesn’t exist. Matthew had some kind of non-functional web enterprise going (design or somesuch), but it looked like an empty box to me.

    3. Their “professional behaviour” would have gotten them kicked out in 5 minutes flat in any company that I’ve worked for (or that I own). Sleeping with colleagues? Hiring friends? Dodging taxes and legal issues? Simply horrendous.

    Nope. Casey and his gang are lucky and just that. They saw a dishonest opportunity and took it. Sure, there is a place in the world for people like that, but hell will freeze over before any of them get even near a true management position in a true charity.

    And so no, they are not worth anything anywhere near what their colleagues in similar positions in IT or charities are making.

  • A few thoughts… sorry for length.

    1. ever since a scandal about how much $$ the head of the United Way made, many people keep an eye on the salaries of non-profit officers. I for one don’t donate to the Red Cross *because* their salaries are high for a nonprofit…. i check out things like that, so do many others, so in fact some of us have indeed complained about inflated non-profit salaries elsewhere. Please don’t make assumptions. Some of us check out anything we’re involved in ;)

    2. Personally i think a good case can be made for paying the leadership of CS a decent salary – why not!! However, along with publishing that fair salary, *all perks* should be included – travel, housing, food, servants, other fees, expense accounts, etc, so that what the real recompense is can be made clear.

    3. Being given a salaried position means that real work must be documented and noted and apparent to the membership that supports it. That goes double for hiring people, setting deadlines and goals, and in general, as Margaret keeps noting, *being professional*.

    4. But.. forget all that.. we know it’s all about transparency and communication! If the LT/Board won’t talk directly to its most important staffers/volunteers except when pushed repeatedly by a multitude of people, it’s simply unprofessional. A spokesperson is the usual approach for mega-large institutions, and someone should have been appointed one long ago. This person should then be accessible, approachable, and responsive, especially to all volunteers. Cmon, it’s simple! Why or how could this possibly take so long for them to ‘get’? It really does engender distrust, and that is truly sad in a trust network.

    5. Aside from that, whoever says that middle management is all that ever talks to members/users is off their rocker. I get weekly/monthly updates from .. the head of my university, the heads of political/activist/nonprofit boards, etc. And it really doesn’t matter whether there are 50,000 members or 500,000 – the scalability problems of servers are actually REVERSED with communication – it’s almost as easy to send a message to 5 million as to 50,000, so that argument doesn’t really hold water.

    The main point as usual: no responsive communications channel. It takes a personal friend of Casey’s (Patrick) to intervene and start private discussions with him about how many key volunteers are disenchanted, about how volunteers are dubious? People with long histories of support and time investment in CS like Birgit and Shai and Patrick are raising questions – how can such people not be taken seriously?

    There’s really no reason for all this confusion: just *respond to your membership*. And for those who say, well Matthew got blasted for responding so why should he continue to do so: 1. because it’s his responsibility, regardless of reaction; and 2. that blasting would stop happening soon after regular communication was established and trust begins to be re-established. The LT is simply reaping what it has sown – it’s created distrust through non-responsiveness, of course people will vent frustration until answers are clear. Being able to handle reactions the LT has induced is part of Matthew’s job, if he’s the ‘best one for it’, then he can simply deal in a professional way with what those responsibilities are.

    If the LT improves a few basic things, they’ll get the appreciation they both deserve and probably want.

  • C-y-r-i-l

    You present a fair argument Valeri. Let’s see how communication shapes up.

  • matrixpoint

    “Let’s see how communication shapes up.”

    That sentiment has been expressed repeatedly for the past two years. We have already seen what we waited to see: even worse communication. What real incentive is there to change? None, when there is no accountability.

    Casey and his cohorts secretly set up a structure which ensures that Casey will continue to be the most dominant person in CS, regardless of his performance. Even if he were to remedy the substantial deficiencies in his technical and managerial credentials, and learn how to communicate responsibly, and undo all the damage he has done to the Community and many of its members, and even if he eventually became a model executive for a charity, worthy of a respectable salary, it is still would be unacceptable to many of us that he has no accountability whatsoever, except legal accountability.

    This should not be tolerated, because it leads to corruption and perversion, almost certainly; and in the case of CS, the safety of members is consequently at greater risk.

  • hobomundas

    What may be a useful addition to this site is a history of OCS, time lining the events during/after the crash, the subsequent months, collectives, and specific attempts to open up communication and the like.

    I know many here will have the knowledge to contribute to such a time line but it would need to be backed up with specific fact ie from emails, group posts (could be a problem now its not archieved) etc.

    Basically a place to point people to when they say, lets just see what happens, given most of the time, as matrixpoint put it, it’s already happened.

  • Cyril:
    I know you’re trying to be fair. I think many people feel that they have tried to be fair far too often, and have exerted themselves in volunteering, writing code, being patient, and believing Casey, far too often. I totally respect that. For myself, i’m just observing what i consider the final test: will the LT ignore even its friends? Current major volunteers? Even Burning Man buddies? (FYI, I believe they will ignore everyone and keep doing what they want, meaning remaining unresponsive. But miracles do happen.)

    I would request that you acknowledge that ever since the Montreal Collective these exact issues of communication were raised- back then, *by a community that had an equal if not greater stake in CS* (since Casey literally walked away and had to be begged by Heather to return, while others pieced together the network).

    The only difference i see now (and what makes it interesting to me from a systems-observation point of view) is that first, we are now to ‘almost inner circle’ people demanding professionalism and communication. Second, frankly the OCS hard style is not present – so there is no ‘bad guy’ to blame for not communicating. Third, there’s some triangulation – multiple different sets of people, notably different major ambassadors, volunteers, and friends of Casey, are asking for a real change.

    This triangulation is the only thing that has any chance of making a dent, i think – but i still don’t believe it will. However, i AM really curious to see how the Thai Collective report will be justifying everything.

    I’ve personally erased all expectations of professional behavior from CS. Since you’re still a believer, Cyril, can you tell us if you’ve personally voiced your concerns about communication to Casey and ttt? (Or are you fine with everything as it is?) Brought up good points like 2 years is a long time to wait for good communications? Asked where the financials are from 2007? I admit, in the spirit of experimenting, I’m wondering what kind of response YOU would get if you actually *complain*. In the meantime, I’d request that you archive all the communications with CS you’re personally involved in.. i have a feeling CS is going to become one of the more interesting examples in the history of social networking, and while there’s no need to share them, please do hold onto them! Those future sociologists will want them :) .

  • if the couchsurfing management would subject themselves to professional procedures and good conduct and then achieve good results, then they would be entitled to a competetive wage.
    given that they are thugs who run their “scheme” highly dubious and inefficient at that, they shouldnt really get any reward for being bad at what tehy do.

  • Technology collective_alaska_roles.html
    Cyril, Costa Rica

    * Technology Team Developer
    * Arriving – 31 May
    * “I can’t wait to get to the Collective and meet and collaborate first hand with the awesome team of volunteers I have been working with remotely over this past year! I will be working on volunteer tools, fixing current bugs, and on the the website’s scalability. I have a great feeling about this Collective – with so many tech experts I think there will be big advances in the website technical quality.”

    this whole thread makes so much sense NOW! free tickets? ;)

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