In August I attended the Burning Man Project (an 8 day social experiment of 68,000 people in Nevada) and performed as a mobile repair-man (Mr. Fix It) on a custom bike workshop/studio. The take-home was the  fervor one may expect from such an event (it is unavoidable) but with it came an understanding that this kind of intentional community is unique. It works well because of it's short duration, yet it is completely incongruous with normalized social structure that is based on long-term buy-in and site commitment. Its sustainability depends on its fixed time and place.

Working as a mobile repair man allowed me to meet and interview all sorts of citizens of Black Rock City. They ranged from those seeking hedonistic pleasure to those with a commitment to alternative community structure. All, however, embraced the 10 principles of Burning Man:

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience

I found that BM participants did not consider these to be compulsory dicta, but instead they were seen as positive "best practices" that reflects burner community ethos and culture as it has evolved over the years since 1986.