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Banester
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New headline today for those that like to see Wiki squirm:

Wikipedia Editor Out After False Credentials Revealed

New York — Wikipedia, the controversial online encyclopedia, is planning to ask its army of faceless Internet editors — known as Wikipedians — to verify their credentials after one of the most prolific of their number was exposed as a fraud.

The online reference work was dealt a serious blow last week as it emerged that EssJay, a Wikipedia editor understood by the site and its users to be a tenured professor of religion at a private university with expertise in canon law, was in fact a 24-year-old from Kentucky called Ryan Jordan with no higher educational qualifications to speak of.

What is more, Mr. Jordan's expertise and dedication to the site seemed so great that he was given a full-time job at another company run by Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder.

• Click here for FOXNews.com's Personal Technology Center.

After initially ignoring the problem, Mr. Wales has since asked Mr. Jordan to resign from Wikia, the Internet company he controls, and has removed him from the Wikipedia Web site.

Wikipedia has come under fire from all sides amid claims that much of its content is unreliable and prone to Internet vandals who deliberately print false information on the Web site.
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
ed rhodes
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I didn't realize we'd actually developed a "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!"

"For, although it contains much that is apocryphyl (sp), or at least wildly inaccurate..."
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
mark2004
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I know it will make me unpopular with some but I have to stand up here and say Wikipedia has much in its favour. Of course it has weaknesses but the Jordan case has been rather overplayed by the media. The stories are, in a sense, an example of the ad hominem fallacy. It is not ultimately the author or editor that counts but whether articles are rigorously sourced with detailed citations. It has to be recognised that Wikipedia has become a substantial and widely used resource and that its content is generally a good starting point for research on a subject.

As for the problem of exposure, well Wikipedia is only a reflection of the wider world. It is far from being the first website where people have openly published magic methods and it won't be the last. And the only thing that differentiates publishing on the web from publishing in other ways (paper, TV or whatever) is that the web potentially offers access to a larger audience. The issue at the heart of exposure is the question of what legal rights exist to magic methods. There is no point complaining to the rest of the world that exposure is wrong when the point of view of the law and of non-magicians in general tends to be that free speech should prevail unless there are specific legal reasons to prevent it. Take the argument to the law makers and the lawyers instead of taking cheap shots at Wikipedia.

As I have written elsewhere, I think the attempts by some people to erase or vandalise Wikipedia articles will achieve very little other than to get magicians a bad reputation. It is easy for editors to revert articles and in addition there are other ways of protecting against vandalism that have been developed for other controversial topics. It would surely be far better if magicians were to contribute positive edits. This would help magicians and their works to be recognised as comparable to other significant historical figures and their achievements.

In an effort to set a positive example I have recently signed up to Wikipedia and started a series of articles on magicians and illusions. I would welcome feedback and any suggestions for additional information.

These articles include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffery_Atkins_(illusionist)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Val_Walker
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium_Girl
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_Lady
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_Death

Please note that there is NO exposure in these.
The Drake
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Mark,

There is NO exposure for now but there WILL be and you won't have any control over it. I also created several wikipedia articles on magicians but NEVER specifically any illusions as it creates an article that brings the illusion to the attention of those that will expose it. There will soon be an exposure of these illusions where there was none before... simply because you posted them on Wikipedia.

Here is an example of an article someone posted to simply explain that DC performed a flying illusion and not it has become a " how he did it" article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Copperfield%27s_flying

Just try removing the exposure and see how many " minutes" you change holds before someone replaces it.

You asked for suggestions so please take the above seriously. Watch what happens to your articles before posting any others regards illusions.

Best,

Tim
Banester
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There is no reason for wiki to release magic secrets. There is no research value in something like that. If they were truely sincere in there efforts they would describe the trick, maybe who performed it and when, who designed the trick, who manufactered it and maybe a know seller of the item. I am sure David's flying is copyrighted, but look how other people posted videos of how to's! What do you think is going to happen to those articles you are putting up there?
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2007-03-08 10:27, Banester wrote:
There is no reason for wiki to release magic secrets. There is no research value in something like that. If they were truely sincere in there efforts they would describe the trick, maybe who performed it and when, who designed the trick, who manufactered it and maybe a know seller of the item. I am sure David's flying is copyrighted, but look how other people posted videos of how to's! What do you think is going to happen to those articles you are putting up there?


Banester,

I agree that Wikipedia would be better to simply discuss the effect and its history and not the secrets but I don't think they are going to change their minds anytime soon. Freedom of speech and all that?

The flying illusion is patented that is for sure and the patent is often listed in the Flying wikipedia article. Wikipedia goes out of their way to say they feel exposure is OK. This is why posting articles on illusions are simply asking for exposure. I post/edit articles about people... Norm Neilsen, Dick Zimmerman, Channing Pollock...etc. Yes..someone could expand on those to include exposure but its not nearly as likely. I feel its a risk I am willing to take to help document some of the past greats of magic that are being forgotten in todays... do a camera trick become a star era.

Best,

Tim
Banester
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Tim, I agree with you. I think posting about the person is the way to go, not the illusion/trick/performance. I think when people start posting about the illusion/trick/performance then that is when you will get the methods.

for instance, it would be nice to see the list of items that the said person has performed or thier more well known ones. The only problem is then you will have people posting the method for each one.
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
Banester
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Btw...I loved your floating ball routine on your website tim.
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2007-03-08 11:40, Banester wrote:
Tim, I agree with you. I think posting about the person is the way to go, not the illusion/trick/performance. I think when people start posting about the illusion/trick/performance then that is when you will get the methods.

for instance, it would be nice to see the list of items that the said person has performed or thier more well known ones. The only problem is then you will have people posting the method for each one.


Thanks Banester,

You make good points! The saddest thing about this is that WHO is considered a legit source? Anyone can post their version of how something is done and yet the only way we can prove it is false it to disclose the real effect and surely we can't do that.

When I first found the Flying article there was a method describing how he laid on an invisible plexiglass box and that he was pushed around the stage on it. I removed it and it was replaced a month or so later with the patent.

The only thing I can think of is to issue citation tags on methods so that they can eventually be removed if no proof is given as to how it is done. Davids flying is one example of where proof ( the online patent ) defeats this method.

If we as magicians really banded together we'd have more weight at wikipedia wearing down the exposures. If someone posted a " citation tag" when no proof is listed and all of us kept watch on it everytime someone tried to remove it the exposer would eventually give up.

I watch Criss Angels page and am astounded at the number of flames and attacts it recieves. However they are QUICKLY removed as there are even more people willing to delete the flames immediately and correct them. Eventually the " vandals" give up and move on. Sometimes Angels methods are exposed and the exposure is berated and beaten out of the discussion.. LOL

Best,

Tim
mark2004
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Quote:
On 2007-03-08 10:27, Banester wrote:
If they were truely sincere in there efforts they would describe the trick, maybe who performed it and when, who designed the trick, who manufactered it and maybe a know seller of the item.


Which is exactly what I have done.

As for your question about what is going to happen to the articles? So far no one has rushed to edit or add to them. My hope is that they will continue to follow the formula I've set out - and I don't think that is a vain hope. I think it is possible to discern a difference between articles that started out as mainly exposure efforts and those that started out as histories. The exposure-based ones are worse from the Wikipedia point of view as well as the magicians' point of view - most of the exposure articles are very poor in terms of references and writing. The history-based ones are generally written by people with some idea about how to do proper citations. So the exposure based articles should be more likely to get culled or altered by admins. Furthermore, when articles are reverted they will tend to go back towards their original structure. If exposure creeps into histories or biographies then the articles can be reverted back to reasonable articles, whereas it is difficult to revert an exposure-based article to anything other than an exposure-based article.

I've read the various hostile opinions here but they have not dissuaded me from at least making an attempt to address the Wikipedia issue through positive engagement rather than attempted sabotage.

Finally, I have a question. What is the difference between someone writing and marketing a book describing magic methods and someone writing a web article describing magic methods? I can see that a web article is probably more easily and widely accessible and tends to be free, whereas a book would tend to cost money. But what else?
Banester
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"Finally, I have a question. What is the difference between someone writing and marketing a book describing magic methods and someone writing a web article describing magic methods? I can see that a web article is probably more easily and widely accessible and tends to be free, whereas a book would tend to cost money. But what else? "

It wouldn't cost money if you went to the library. However, the library is not going to have a $200 book on illusions or have the secret to DC's Flying effect. A lot of tricks are considered public knowledge, which I would define as the tricks being in numerous books and other publications to the point it has been saturated. Most of these tricks are also easy to learn and perform.

Also, I have seen a lot of material on the web which contained information that was from someone elses work. I am pretty sure they did not get permission to use that material or references.

Here is a question for you...
If you take a Photo taken by a Professional Photographer to say Staples and want to have it copied. They will not, because it is copyrighted by the photographer(they leave thier mark on the back of the photo), but if you take a copyrighted book and ask them to photo copy a couple of pages they will gladly do it! So what is the difference between those two situations?
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2007-03-09 05:16, mark2004 wrote:
I've read the various hostile opinions here but they have not dissuaded me from at least making an attempt to address the Wikipedia issue through positive engagement rather than attempted sabotage.

Finally, I have a question. What is the difference between someone writing and marketing a book describing magic methods and someone writing a web article describing magic methods? I can see that a web article is probably more easily and widely accessible and tends to be free, whereas a book would tend to cost money. But what else?


Mark,

Sorry you took my predictions of doom as a " hostile" opinion.

Regards your question as to the difference between the methods in books and the methods on wikipedia... there is indeed a difference. Our local magic club does not advertise for membership. Those who have a real interest in magic seek it out and find it. Methods are discussed there freely even in front of a new member because it obvious " he's one of us". If some kid simply walked off the street looking for something to do we'd surely clam up.

If someone wants to go to the trouble of buying of looking up a book in a library then they also have an interest in magic and are welcome to learning more. However .... on the internet these days we live in the age of the viral video and email. Someone sees something they find interesting and pass it on to multiple friends even though they were not asked to. Method are exposed to many who really were not to interested in the first place.

I personally have recieved videos exposing Criss Angels self levitation and Copperfield fly from friends of mine that thought I'd be interested in "seeing how its done". I wasn't.....but it showed up in my mailbox anyway.

My concern is that this is also a possibility with wikepedia.

Best,

Tim
edh
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I think I have poste this before. but How did secrets get distributetd in the early 1700's or 1800's? Were they for sale then? were they for distribution for apprentices? And if so who decided that they were worthy of the secrets?

Just a thought
Magic is a vanishing art.
mark2004
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Quote:
On 2007-03-09 10:29, Banester wrote:
Here is a question for you...
If you take a Photo taken by a Professional Photographer to say Staples and want to have it copied. They will not, because it is copyrighted by the photographer(they leave thier mark on the back of the photo), but if you take a copyrighted book and ask them to photo copy a couple of pages they will gladly do it! So what is the difference between those two situations?


Actually the legal situation on copying of copyrighted books is complex. For a start it depends which country/jurisdiction you are in. I'm guessing you're in the USA. I'm in the UK and I'm not an expert on US law. In the UK it is permitted to make copies of parts of copyrighted works for certain purposes, such as academic research. It is also permitted to reproduce portions of copyrighted works for the purposes of reviews. If someone was seeking to copy part of a book for a permitted purpose then that is fine. If not then they are in the wrong. The same principles apply to photographic and other works, however the problem is that in copying a photo you are copying the entirety of a work - the law only permits copying of limited portions (eg. A single article from a journal is OK but a whole issue is not).

I guess the same principle applies to material describing magic methods. It would be fine to copy part of a book or article for review or academic purposes but not the whole thing.

The other key thing about copyright law (at least in British law) is that the wrong done and the amounts a court might order to be paid in the event of a successful suit for breach of copyright are related to what is done with copied material. If someone just keeps a copy for their own use then the damage is generally so small that the law is unlikely to take an interest (as with some aspects of music sharing - although RIAA and others are seeking to change that). However if someone copies even a portion of a copyrighted work and then markets it commercially without paying royalties to the copyright owner then substantial damages are probably in order.

I think things would be simialr in other countries who derived their legal systems from the English model. As far as I'm aware the situation is not too different in the USA, although the term "Fair use" has a slightly different meaning for US lawyers and there are other differences arising from the First Amendment rights on free speech and the press.
Banester
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Mark, thanks for the reply. I can see your point with the book copyrights. And yes it would not be cost prohibitive to go after the individual who does a couple of B-day parties. It would have to be someone who is making money off of it or selling it. However in the US (where we are sue happy!) you can sue someone for punitive damages. So if you expose something and it damages my reputation or my ability to get work (since the item is no longer a secret) then that person could be in for a lot of money. And it really doesn't matter if it was a 14yr old kid working from his parents computer, if you released material that was damaging then the parents would be liable for any damages.
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
The Drake
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Mark... I hate to say I told you so but ... " I told you so" One of your pages DID (as I predicted ) have an exposure added. Your attempts to defeat it ended up with you acknowledging it. I have removed it and we'll see how long it stays removed. I see that you did at least attempt to rid the page of the exposure and if you ever come up with a successful method then please let the rest of us here know and we'll be happy to assist. Until you do please don't post more articles about " illusions". I don't think Andre would be to happy that you created a page that only opened a door to one of his illusions being exposed.

If you really must submit to the urge to post illusion articles maybe it'd be best to post them on magicsanctum.com as at least they have moderators that will delete exposure posts.

Best,

Tim
adramindmagic
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What ever happened to the Magic Mafia who would show up at your door if you exposed too much?
I love magic!
edh
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Quote:
What ever happened to the Magic Mafia who would show up at your door if you exposed too much?


Talk to Vinny "the Godfather". I'm sure he'd be willing to take care of "family business." Smile
Magic is a vanishing art.
Banester
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Quote:
On 2007-03-09 22:57, edh wrote:
I think I have poste this before. but How did secrets get distributetd in the early 1700's or 1800's? Were they for sale then? were they for distribution for apprentices? And if so who decided that they were worthy of the secrets?

Just a thought


There were some books wrote on the subjects (tricks), but don't know how easily they were to come by back then. I have a couple of books from late 1700's and 1800's that show a lot of things that we are still doing today. Magicians guarded there secrets a lot more back then. Did you see "Prestige" the movie, that will give you a little feeling of how they tried to out do one another. Even Harry Houdini wanted all of his notes and tricks destroyed, but his brother kept them and now they are in various collections.
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2007-03-10 13:29, adramindmagic wrote:
What ever happened to the Magic Mafia who would show up at your door if you exposed too much?


Nah... they just start a rumor you are dead and then pretend to "honor" you by spreading your ideas around.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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