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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » MAGIC - The Magazine For Magicians » » How can our reviews be better? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Steven Steele
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Brad,

I just had a thought. Throw up a trial balloon and see how it works. Maybe if one or two producers buy into the program and see their products name in the magazine for a couple of months before the review...maybe they'll have a change of heart and work with you more.
BCaldwell
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I'm not going to lie to you, Brad. The FIRST thing I do whenI get my Magic Magazine is flip to the Review section. I thionk you are all doing a great job. I may not always agree with every review, but it is always informative and often the funniest part of the magazine. Keep up the good work!

Quick question that may have been asked and answered elsewhere but I'm too lazy to look...Do you go out of your way to get the cr*ppy products to review or does the person who determines who will review what just hate you? Smile
"...that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." Dennis Miller Smile

~Bob~
Tim Hannig
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I was talking to a friend the other day, and we both agreed that the Reviews are the first thing we flip to as well.

Even though we are both full time pro's who don't always buy a ton of new stuff, it's always fun to see what's new, or even be reminded of an overlooked classic.
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The great Gumbini
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Wow Brad you brought up a good point as well. A 1-10 scale sounds simple enough until you really try to rate the difficulty of an effect. Each person has their own comfort level. I don't know maybe we can try to come up with a scale of effects we know now and use this for future comparisons. For example an effect that uses "Basic" slights can have a rating of "3". Self-working effects a "1" or "2". Also you may just want to give it your own rating then as people get to know what your own scale is they will have an idea based on what we know of how you rate difficulty. I know its tricky but in time people will say things like "If Brad gives it a 7 I know I can work it."

I understand the difficulty in this. For me a "Scotch and Soda" is a "2" rating (if I were to rate it) whereas a "Coin Metrix" is a "5". Yet I believe some may see this to be not the case. But as I said in time people will understand your scale and it may be helpful.

On a personal note I think you try to do the best you can and I already appreciate your work my friend. And as long as you keep true to your Truthteller name, in the long run you will do lots of good for other magicians who take the time to read your reviews.


Good magic to all,


Eric
edh
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A more general approach to rating may be the ticket. Something along the lines of Beginner, Intermediate, Difficult/Knuckle Buster.
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Bill
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Brad, I don't mean to be off topic, but since your asking for feedback; have you or Stan considered publishing a book on just the reviews from the past five years. Michael Close did this a couple of years back and I thought it was a great asset.
Rizzo
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New reviewers?? Sorry couldn't resist. Of course kidding as its one of the 1st columns I read each month. Im a long time subscriber to Magic.Back to the Mike Close reviews, Mac King reviews etc.
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truthteller
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Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Have been reading on blackberry.

Good ideas all around. Personally, I am not comfortable with implementing a magazine wide rating system as it would have no validity. However, I think a system could hold up within one reviewers work. But I think the real point to be taken is that people would like more information as to the difficulty of the item, and that can definitely be worked into the reviews.

As to the book of reviews idea - I am not sure what Stan's intentions are, however we have discussed some kind of release along those lines. Not sure the format it will take.

Good to know there is demand for it.

Thanks again,

Brad
bsears
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Great thread Brad - I think its great that you are taking the time with this.

One thing I have always wanted to see was a type of rating system which is similar to how cigars are rated. For example, I can easily walk into a humidor and see a 93 rating on a cigar by Cigar Aficionado and know that it will be worth the money. I'd love to be able to talk to a magician and say something like - "Hey, did you see that Sankey's new trick got a 92 in Magic Magazine?"

Obviously the logistics of this would be time consuming and would probably involve averaging the ratings of several reviewers, but I think it would give a clarity to the overall strength or weakness of an effect or publication. I suppose a system of "stars" ie "3 and a half stars" would be another route.
Rizzo
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I think the issue with ratings like listed above with the cigar analogy really still depends on individuality. One can not assume I would like the cigar/trick because others did. It goes without saying that the worst reviewed movies usually are the best and the movies with great reviews are average at best. The reason?? Its in the eyes of who is watching the movie. One can be a cheerleader for a specific restaurant but it does not mean all will enjoy the food. Many good ideas and thoughts here so far but do keep in mind that over the years,there have been a few "panned" effects througout the pages of Magic Mag that were real gems for magicians both professionals and hobbyist.There has also been "wonderfull" reviews on some effects that most thought were a joke.
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andykean
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Joshua Jay already has a difficultly scale in the talk about tricks, section of Magic.
Maybe the same scale could be used for reviews.
kind regards
Andy
ThomasJ
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Thank you for taking the time to listen to feedback from readers.

I have one question about the review section: What is the purpose of continuing some reviews on a separate page?

Not that it's hard to find where it's continued, but it just seems illogical for a review to continue on another page rather than the next column if there is space for it.

Other than that minor point, I love the content and appreciate the honesty of the reviews. It's nice to hear honest opinions, especially when a prestigious magician releases a sub-par item.

TJ
truthteller
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TJ,

no freaking idea. Will ask Gabe.

Andy,

Josh is primarily offering closeup tricks. I deal with closeup, stage, mentalism, theory, history, etc. I don't know if a universal system can be created which remains accurate across these different genres. However, I will do what I can to make sure difficulty is addressed in the reviews - with words if not numbers or stars.

Brad
Paul Budd
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It might not be legit for me to call myself a "regular" reader of Magic.....I periodically (get it, "periodically"?) borrow issues from friends (several at a time).....so put simply: you ain't making much $$ from me!

all that notwithstanding.....I love your mag and wouldn't change a gosh darned thing about it.

Paul B.
His face isn't really this long in-person!
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Jeff Haas
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Hi Brad,

I like what you guys are doing with the reviews in MAGIC. There is so much stuff coming out these days that I don't even try to keep up; I just wait for the reviews. If a review says that it's good (and it's the type of book or trick I might use) then I'll look into it. I also like that Stan has allocated more space to the reviews, both per review and overall for the review section. I've gone through older issues of the magazine recently, and there is clearly more time and effort being put into the reviews and the review section now, and it's appreciated.

One of the earlier posts in this thread mentioned sarcastic reviews. Obviously, it's because a lot of the items reviewed are crap. However, the overall effect when you read the review section is that many reviews are sarcastic, and the impression can be different than you may intend.

Otherwise, thanks for "taking one for the team" every month.

Jeff
truthteller
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Thanks Jeff.

yes, we get a lot of awful stuff. But I know Lovick, England, and myself are all pretty bitter people - wait, no. I mean, we all have a charmingly sarcastic side to us.

But that really is the case - it's the nature of our personal senses of humor.

Having said that, nothing makes me happier than to offer praise to a good idea. I like doing so because positive reviews are the easiest to write!

The way I look at it is if I am going to have to be negative about the item, the least I can try to do is make you laugh along the way.

Brad
tabman
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Smile I noticed in the review of Tabman Magic in the October issue, the reviewer, while pointing out typos from me, misspelled Amazing Johnathan's name.

It would be a good idea to hire a professional editor on the next book. I'd appreciate hearing from some.

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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sleightly
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I find the reviews good, if varied. I enjoyed the consistency of a single perspective but recognize the difficulty of getting any one individual with the expertise (or interest) in reviewing all the material.

How about organizing concise information that would be of specific value for the differing perspectives (pro/am)?

A quick e.g.:

PRO: Getting in/out of a routine, venue, rate of consumption, flexibility of material for differing presentational concepts, practicality in performance (including such details as packing, prop organization, etc.)

AM: relative difficulty of technique, WOW factor, cost vs. goods received (is it a good toy), getting in/out of a routine (alright, some of these work for both)...

Also, it would be great to periodically to have a round-table by the reviewers addressing the task and specific reviews. You might consider a "brain trust" to produce gut-level reviews (one or two sentences) to append to the end of the official review.

How about a "related material" set of citations for people to research on their own (excellent for derivative material)?

I'd also like to see producers taken to task for appropriation of material/insufficient crediting. A number of producers appear to get a pass on this because of "who" they are in our community...

Just some quick thoughts...
Rizzo
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Tabman, good catch.
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tabman
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Quote:
On 2009-10-14 11:16, Rizzo wrote:
Tabman, good catch.


The review made some good points and I will try to do a better job on the next book but I wondered if he thought that I misspelled Johnathan's name and that was why he took issue with typos.

On top of that though, I do appreciate the time it took him to read the book and make the comments he did which were mostly very flattering and I appreciated it.

And thanks Rizzo.

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
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