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Review King
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Eternal Order
14446 Posts

Profile of Review King
Feb 18, 2005 7:10pm Steve Brooks said:
The Sweet or Sour? forum is currently under reconstruction. This forum has needed this for some time and will return soon. Thanks for your concern.

Steve, when is Sweet or Sour returning? Café members need this forum. We spend a huge amount of money on new products and need to know which internet dealers we should give our hard earned money to. It was one of the things that made the Café stand out and be special.

If Café advertisers forced this forum to be taken away, maybe you can have the forum return, but state that Café members are not allowed to mention that Café advertisers are to be posted about. While I think that smacks of an integrity problem, at least everyone would know about good dealers to buy from. What say???
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
Steve Brooks
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Founder / Manager
Northern California - United States
4763 Posts

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as stated earlier, the Sweet or Sour? forum is undergoing a major facelift. I realize that a lot of folks enjoyed the forum and I can certainly understand why. We all want to know the best places to spend our money, and indeed to some extent that forum can be very helpful.

Unfortunately, many of the people posting in the forum never bothered to actually READ the rules and guidelines pertaining to that particular forum and had therefore missed the whole concept and idea behind the Sweet or Sour? forum. What is the purpose of that forum? Here are the original guidelines of the Sweet or Sour? area:
Many of our members wish to voice their opinions about their experience with dealers from whom they have purchased products or services. Because this can provide invaluable information for our membership, I have decided to provide this forum. However, please understand that the following applies concerning posting opinions about dealers:

While I don't mind someone posting a negative opinion about a dealer experience (Slow service, etc), what I don't want to read is total hearsay and bashing.

That said, I have provided examples of what I feel is appropriate, and what will get your post deleted faster then you can say; "Shazam"


"I purchased an effect from Dealer A, it took (x time) to receive it, and I don't recommend purchasing from them!"

I see nothing wrong with that post, it's an opinion based on the poster's experience.

The following is what I Do Not want to see:

"I purchased an effect from Dealer A, it took forever! These guys are thieves and rip-off artists! They totally scammed me, don't ever buy from them!"

This above post goes beyond letting folks know the dealer was slow, and it implies criminal activity on the part of the dealer. While the statement may indeed be true, the Café is not the place to print accusations or what is or is not legal. That is best decided by the courts of law, and others who are more knowledgeable in such matters. If you have been ripped-off, seek legal advice - but keep it off the Café.

Please keep in mind that folks who may have a problem with a particular dealer need to contact that dealer to resolve any issues. Remember, most dealers want and need your business (support) and will bend over backwards to make things right with their customers. I do NOT want to see posts from people complaining about a transaction that has already been taken care of, or people complaining about a dealer when no effort has been made to resolve this situation with the dealer personally.

Further, this area is for information concerning your shopping experience, NOT a place to compare dealers or making lists of the best or worse dealers.

Postings that do not comply with this policy will be removed immediately, with no notice or reason given to the poster.

Now, having read the above, can you see where we were having trouble? If you frequented that forum on a regular basis you can easily see how folks were NOT following those guidelines at all. Name calling and negativity overshadowed any positive input - very sad.

The Magic Café is supposed to be about MAGICIANS HELPING MAGICIANS, right? For the most part, I think as an online community we have succeeded. The Internet can be a tough gig and it has not always been easy but we have survived thanks mostly to the good people who frequent this site.

Having said that, over the last several months I saw what started as a great idea turn into an area where groups of thugs basically gathered to bash whatever dealer they saw fit. Many of these people actually NEVER purchased from the dealers but had no problem picking up a stone and throwing it. If I were to believe the postings I was reading, 99% of ALL THE DEALERS were thiefs and con artists. Give me a break, we know better than that. Dealers who actually cheat folks do not remain in business very long, simple as that. How would you feel if the dealers had a forum where they posted their stories about the trouble they have with customers? You know, people who write bad checks, use phoney credit cards, constantly return items and are never happy, etc etc etc? What if the dealer were talking about YOU - by NAME? Hmmmm...

I saw MANY instances of folks who purchased a product, didn't like what they received (for whatever reason) and instead of trying to resolve this matter PRIVATELY with the dealer or manufacturer, they chose instead to complain on my website. What good does that serve? It helps nobody. The purchaser does not get the matter resolved and only makes himself appear foolish, and meanwhile folks are bashing the dealer who is actually an innocent party in the matter (hard to help a customer when you don't know there is a problem until you stumble upon a website where people are discussing it). So what we get is a MOB mentality. Somebody throws a rock and everyone else joins in whether they are part of the situation or not. That is simply pathetic and those folks should be ashamed of themselves (you know who you are).

Add to that, I know personally of several individuals who had a problem with different dealers. The dealers made good and the customers told the dealers they were happy. An hour later they were on the Café telling a totally different version of the facts. Now the dealer looks bad, when in fact the poster is actually the trouble maker. You, as the reader haven't a clue to the actual events and rely on what the poster is writing. Who suffers here? Well, the dealer is obviously a victim of a lie and suffers the loss of business. The reader will never realize he/she is buying into a fabricated story.

One could argue that the dealer should come here and defend himself. Fact is, the Sweet or Sour? forum was never meant as a place of debate. It was never designed so dealers and customers could spend days on end fighting and arguing, that is simply ridiculous. First, dealers have a hard enough time just trying to run their business and don't have time for that sort of nonsense. Readers should know better than to buy in to the sort of garbage that was being posted there on a daily basis. Second, real problems should be handled OFF the board - period.

Frankly, I was tired of reading posts that said; "I ordered from dealer A last week and haven't received anything yet, what should I do?" or "Dealer B charged my credit card but I haven't received anything and blah blah blah"
Again, this is garbage that does NOT belong on the board. Somebody charged your credit card and didn't ship your item? Call them. Call your bank. Do whatever it takes but do so OFF BOARD. How hard is that to understand? One might argue that by writing such complaints it will save others from similar experiences - perhaps, but I seriously doubt it. All I saw was pages of posts of people crying foul but nobody accomplishing anything positive. Again, very sad and definately not in the spirit of the forum or the Café.

Having said all that, you can certainly understand my frustration over the entire situation. A few folks claimed I removed the forum because our sponsors were complaining. That is simply not true (who starts these rumors anyway?). Believe it or not, the majority of complaints from people posting in the forum concerned dealers or manufactures that do not support the Café in any manner.

I do like the original concept and idea of the Sweet or Sour? forum and obviously others do as well. However, without the forum life still goes on, does it not? Have people stopped buying magic from dealers? Nope. When/if the forum returns there will need to be very clear restrictions in order for the area to have any real value come from it. Perhaps special moderators whose only job is to police that particular forum? Sad to think we have to do something like that to make folks behave in a civilized manner instead of acting like a group of cavemen.

In closing I will say this is the LAST I will be discussing this issue. I have answered everyone's questions to the best of my ability. If folks cannot or will not accept my explanations and logic, that is their personal problem - not mine. My concern is for the welfare of everyone involved. Remember, this is not an issue up for debate or to be voted on by members. Thanks for your continued support and participation here, it is most appreciated by all. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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