The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » A Plea for Objectivity (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
ddyment
View Profile
Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2114 Posts

Profile of ddyment
It has become a (fairly common) activity here on the Café to do a lot of "pre-hyping" of effects/books/etc. that have not yet been published. As part of this hype, subjective claims are often made that cannot be evaluated in any useful sense. Perhaps it's the scientist/engineer in me, but I have always been annoyed by claims relating to something being "better", but offering no indication of how that measure is being made. Such pronouncements are effectively worthless to me (and, I suspect, to many others).

Now obviously, some things are subjective in nature. That's fine, and to be expected. But claims regarding subjective attributes should always be along the lines of "I prefer this", or "This works better for me". Statements that "This is better" or "This is a revolutionary new technique" have no validity if there is no way to objectively evaluate them.

Many things can be objectively determined. When one is speaking of a new sequential card stack, for example, it's pretty straightforward to work out exactly how much mental effort is required to execute technique A vs. technique B, and therefore make an objective claim about the superiority of one over the other in this particularity. When I designed my billet tear, I developed a set of reasonably objective criteria that could be used to measure it, allowing me to make claims about the tear that are backed up by verifiable data, not personal opinions. And I have freely published these criteria in an attempt to facilitate others in making objective claims about this topic at least.

There has been some pre-hype here recently for a couple of new billet tears that are purported to be revolutionary in nature, and better than anything out there. This may well be the case (I am honestly not familiar with either of them), but those attempting to make the argument would greatly further their causes by letting us know why we should believe them, especially in a situation where there already exists a credible way to support this determination without revealing any secrets.

Now science is not absolute: it builds upon previous discovery, and is forever subject to revision in the face of new evidence. Similarly, lists of evaluation criteria are not fixed, and are subject to revision and expansion as issues are more clearly understood. But I would rather read intelligent discussion of proposals for this than ever more unsubstantiated claims for unreleased products.

Don't tell me it's best; teach me why it's best.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Vanitas
View Profile
New user
62 Posts

Profile of Vanitas
Very interesting problem; I like scientific approach. I can only say it's ok to say "This is the best for me"; any generalization is unwelcome and can be dangerous. I mean: how much times I've seen words that speak " xxx is the best method ever!" and then "xxx" turned out to be very inappropriate for me. I don't want to say that this "xxx" is bad, but the subjectivity of methods is really matter. One man's ingenious method can be really useless for another man. Thanks for this topic, it's really important questions.
JanForster
View Profile
Inner circle
Germany ... when not traveling...
3691 Posts

Profile of JanForster
Thank you, Doug!!!! Jan
Jan Forster
www.janforster.de
siepielski
View Profile
Regular user
177 Posts

Profile of siepielski
What Doug said!!!!!!
ALEXANDRE
View Profile
Inner circle
2910 Posts

Profile of ALEXANDRE
Quote:
On 2012-11-28 14:13, ddyment wrote:
It has become a (fairly common) activity here on the Café to do a lot of "pre-hyping" of effects/books/etc. that have not yet been published. As part of this hype, subjective claims are often made that cannot be evaluated in any useful sense. Perhaps it's the scientist/engineer in me, but I have always been annoyed by claims relating to something being "better", but offering no indication of how that measure is being made. Such pronouncements are effectively worthless to me (and, I suspect, to many others).

Now obviously, some things are subjective in nature. That's fine, and to be expected. But claims regarding subjective attributes should always be along the lines of "I prefer this", or "This works better for me". Statements that "This is better" or "This is a revolutionary new technique" have no validity if there is no way to objectively evaluate them.

Many things can be objectively determined. When one is speaking of a new sequential card stack, for example, it's pretty straightforward to work out exactly how much mental effort is required to execute technique A vs. technique B, and therefore make an objective claim about the superiority of one over the other in this particularity. When I designed my billet tear, I developed a set of reasonably objective criteria that could be used to measure it, allowing me to make claims about the tear that are backed up by verifiable data, not personal opinions. And I have freely published these criteria in an attempt to facilitate others in making objective claims about this topic at least.

There has been some pre-hype here recently for a couple of new billet tears that are purported to be revolutionary in nature, and better than anything out there. This may well be the case (I am honestly not familiar with either of them), but those attempting to make the argument would greatly further their causes by letting us know why we should believe them, especially in a situation where there already exists a credible way to support this determination without revealing any secrets.

Now science is not absolute: it builds upon previous discovery, and is forever subject to revision in the face of new evidence. Similarly, lists of evaluation criteria are not fixed, and are subject to revision and expansion as issues are more clearly understood. But I would rather read intelligent discussion of proposals for this than ever more unsubstantiated claims for unreleased products.

Don't tell me it's best; teach me why it's best.


Hi Doug. It seems you may be partially commenting on my recent post about the Dr. Billet Tear by Bill Cushman on another thread.

Hey, I like it, it's clearly a subjective statement, I'm not a professional reviewer. No one has to believe me. My "cause" is my enthusiasm for a friend's new product. Period.

When anyone here on the Café says a new product is a "revolutionary new technique" I rarely have a problem seeing that statement as subjective, I don't care who they are. I find very few clearly objective reviews of products. Be it here, or in the popular magazines and websites.

If people followed what you're proposing here it would certainly save me time when researching a product I might want to buy (though I haven't bought much lately). I might read a real objective review and make my decision immediately, but like I wrote earlier, I rarely find a clearly objective review anywhere, so I have to go with what blows my hair back, do some research if necessary, take a leap of faith, swing with a new toy, support what I believe should be supported with my excitement and cash.


Anyway ... to everyone else reading this, just in case the contents of any future posts are not specific (including this one) please, whenever reading anything I write on the Café, understand that it is my opinion, my particular view, my angle, experience, or my wild kink, and it may not apply to you or yours in any way whatsoever. So when I say that Doug's COLD FRONT is how I learned to do palm readings and it's the only palm reading system I use (I'm serious) and it's awesome! A real breakthrough in learning palm reading! Don't take my word for it because there are probably better ones out there, better ones for YOU, not for ME, I like Cold Front and I mean it. Take it or leave it.
ddyment
View Profile
Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2114 Posts

Profile of ddyment
ALEXANDRE wrote (concerning a plug he posted for a friend's product):
Quote:
Hey, I like it, it's clearly a subjective statement, I'm not a professional reviewer. No one has to believe me. My "cause" is my enthusiasm for a friend's new product. Period.

I have no illusions that my plea for objectivity will result in any great transformation of what we observe on the Café. And there's nothing wrong with personal opinions, either. It would just be a more respectful use of everyone's time if the people who posted such opinions took a moment or two to let us know how they arrived at their conclusions.

Why is it better, even if only for you? This forum is supposed to be about us helping each other, not just marketing to each other. And there is little help to be obtained from statements of opinion unaccompanied by supporting logic.

Even if they're praising Deceptionary products! Smile
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Davit Sicseek
View Profile
Inner circle
1818 Posts

Profile of Davit Sicseek
Quote:
This forum is supposed to be about us helping each other, not just marketing to each other. And there is little help to be obtained from statements of opinion unaccompanied by supporting logic.


Couldn't agree more.

I felt the same after reading some of these posts about these two upcoming billet techniques. The "enthusiasm" kind of pales into insignificance when compared to that for the Scryer publications (Deceptionary products themselves) - but I wish people would be more objective across the board.
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
JohnWells
View Profile
Inner circle
The Southern Wild
1791 Posts

Profile of JohnWells
Ditto. And where can I find out about these new billet tears?
Pakar Ilusi
View Profile
Inner circle
5691 Posts

Profile of Pakar Ilusi
Quote:
On 2012-11-28 14:13, ddyment wrote:

Don't tell me it's best; teach me why it's best.



Within our profession, you'd have to give it a way a bit to tell "why" imho...
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
ALEXANDRE
View Profile
Inner circle
2910 Posts

Profile of ALEXANDRE
Quote:
On 2012-11-28 20:57, ddyment wrote:
ALEXANDRE wrote (concerning a plug he posted for a friend's product):
Quote:
Hey, I like it, it's clearly a subjective statement, I'm not a professional reviewer. No one has to believe me. My "cause" is my enthusiasm for a friend's new product. Period.

I have no illusions that my plea for objectivity will result in any great transformation of what we observe on the Café. And there's nothing wrong with personal opinions, either. It would just be a more respectful use of everyone's time if the people who posted such opinions took a moment or two to let us know how they arrived at their conclusions.

Why is it better, even if only for you? This forum is supposed to be about us helping each other, not just marketing to each other. And there is little help to be obtained from statements of opinion unaccompanied by supporting logic.

Even if they're praising Deceptionary products! Smile


You make my enthusiasm for a product sound so ugly, so dirty, so manipulative....


A performer letting fellow performers know he's using a new product and enjoying its effectiveness (however subjective) should be the least of the Café's worries when it comes to enforcing the "Magicians Helping Magicians" slogan.

So why do I like Bill's Dr. Billet Tear?

* He's my friend so I'm inclined to like his stuff, though I don't like all of his stuff (sorry Bill, naturally this is just my opinion) I just like the stuff I happen to use and appreciate, so I like this particular one, but it could be just me and I'm biased since I like Bill.

* Greater display area than what I currently get from the peeks/tears I currently use.

* The tear looks very natural TO ME which is something I PERSONALLY demand in a peek/tear.

* It's easy to learn and perform FOR ME (I like easy. What is considered easy for you may vary. Easy is not always good, sometimes it can just mean lazy or even bad).

* The information is written in a natural location on the card, no need to write up on top or in a corner, the subject writes anywhere around the middle as one would normally do when writing information on a card. Keep in mind that this is purely MY opinion and EXPERIENCE, your experience may vary, maybe everyone you know likes to write in corners, I don't know, so let me be clear that this is PERSONAL to ME and MY LIFE EXPERIENCE and not in any way a general RULE.

Not being a professional reviewer or scientist, this is as objective as I'm going to get. Probably not good enough, though your opinion or position on this issue may vary, this is not in any way an attempt to be disrespectful of anyone's time or, in my opinion, a malicious statement of opinion unaccompanied by supported logic.

Have a good one guys.
JohnWells
View Profile
Inner circle
The Southern Wild
1791 Posts

Profile of JohnWells
Where can you find this marvel?
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
18325 Posts

Profile of IAIN
I think for true objectivity, the 'rules' should be set by someone who hasn't released a tear/peek/whatever...or a set of rules agreed by a small group of people who are experts in that particular field...

(so for me, it would be bob c., elliott bressler and milllard as an example)...and yet despite even that, it'll still remain subjective...finger length, strength, dexterity and so on come into play too...as well as what may be a natural movement for one person, may be an alien one for another...
David Numen
View Profile
Inner circle
1769 Posts

Profile of David Numen
I don't think strict criteria are necessary - here's the best bet.

First of all read up. The more you read and learn the more you can come up with your own ideas. See an ad for something you like? Try and work out how YOU would do it.

Secondly, don't trust ANYONE'S opinion. Every single person - including myself - that has released anything has at least a couple of buddies on here that will vouch for their products. That's not to say that such opinions are not valid - they can often be very helpful however they can also be full of BS. So read some more of that person's comments and eventually you'll find common ground if YOU are grounded enough in our weird and wonderful art. You will come across a comment or a review by the same person on something you already own - and from that you can gauge how reliable you think their opinion is. And sometimes it's just as useful to see someone praise an item beyond all belief when you in fact think it's crud. Chances are high if you see this same person praising a new release...well you're probably not going to like it.
Davit Sicseek
View Profile
Inner circle
1818 Posts

Profile of Davit Sicseek
Quote:
And sometimes it's just as useful to see someone praise an item beyond all belief when you in fact think it's crud. Chances are high if you see this same person praising a new release...well you're probably not going to like it.


I call this the "Brown-Nosers Curse" when 'praise' from certain quarters actually detracts from a product's desirability.
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
David Numen
View Profile
Inner circle
1769 Posts

Profile of David Numen
Quote:
On 2012-11-29 08:28, Davit Sicseek wrote:
Quote:
And sometimes it's just as useful to see someone praise an item beyond all belief when you in fact think it's crud. Chances are high if you see this same person praising a new release...well you're probably not going to like it.


I call this the "Brown-Nosers Curse" when 'praise' from certain quarters actually detracts from a product's desirability.


Yes, that does happen. And actually it's also quite useful and helpful in terms of originality if you run in the other direction from what everyone has bought. We should all be pretty unique, not all doing the same stuff.

I must admit I am usually careful who I ask to do reviews - obviously once a product is out you have no control over customer comments but initially when releasing something I tend to choose people who I think will give an honest and helpful review but you have to have a bit of a mix - it's part of the hype!

It all boils down to knee-jerk purchases. People really do only have themselves to blame in poor purchase decisions - a symptom of the secret being the thing for many people.
duanebarry
View Profile
Special user
883 Posts

Profile of duanebarry
From the writer's perspective:

If folks want to influence others with what they write, posting...

"Product X is great!"

is less convincing than

"Product X is great because of these features: X,Y,Z."

If you simply support your opinion with details, you can convince more people. Easy!
Simon (Ted) Edwards
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1523 Posts

Profile of Simon (Ted) Edwards
I agree with the main thrust of this thread.

I would add that you can, with some care, explain the "why" without exposing the details. For example, imp pad A is much the same as imp pad B, but it's cheaper and cleaner to make. This information is helpful but does not leak any secrets.

There will obviously be exceptions - exposing that a particular routine requires an imp pad and a magic square, for example, would be going too far.

T.
Davit Sicseek
View Profile
Inner circle
1818 Posts

Profile of Davit Sicseek
Quote:
People really do only have themselves to blame in poor purchase decisions - a symptom of the secret being the thing for many people.

I think there is a lot in this - but I can't say they "only" have themselves to blame.

Often there simply isn't enough information to make an informed purchase decision. One is left in the position of either not buying a good proportion of the products available or taking a gamble based on vacuous sales pitches, vacuous 'reviews' and displays of enthusiasm or the reputation of the author. Sadly, because of the small, close-knit market; its hard for any established figure to ever really 'lose' their reputation - they always have enough friends to say "actually I really liked it".

Reputation, and what it counts for in making a purchase decision is thus a somewhat over-rated factor as far as mentalism sales go. There are several product releases that in any other industry were sufficiently bad or misleading that now makes me question any marketing claims put out be the same authors subsequently. There doesn't seem to be any lasting impact on these authors reputations though.

When someone described as effect as:
- This will teach you how to perform the closest thing to real mind-reading imaginable.
- Spectator thinks of X, then you reveal it in the cleanest way imaginable.
- Doesn't use X,Y or Z
- This is really good.

Obviously there is something else going on. What they are describing is the real deal - so there are steps left out. Procedure, conditions and so on that allow the trick to work. This is obvious, but if we are including those extra factors we all know 100s of ways we could do the above.

Most likely the effect looks like:
- This will teach you how to perform the closest thing to real mind-reading imaginable.
- Actually, its not quite the closest thing, DB reminiscence looks more like that, but honestly, what I'm selling is still quite good.
- Spectator thinks of X, then you reveal it in the cleanest way imaginable.
- They think of the item by selecting it from this extra item that I'm not going to mention. It requires a whole extra stage in the effect. It kinds of seems fair, but suspicious audience members may well think, why does the spectator need to pick something to think of using that prop when they could just think of something there and then. Luckily, I've included a half believable reason why the prop is of utmost importance.
- Doesn't use X,Y or Z
- It does use A B and C - and this unfortunatley makes the effect far less 'clean' than I'd like for purposes of sales and marketing... so I think its best we say no more about it.
- This is really good.
- Oh and before anyone asks, no I won't perform it for you... you might work out the method. But at the very least you'll see that its not the streamlined, clean effect that my marketing promised, you'll see that there is all this cumbersome procedure. But give me a break - you can't do mind--reading for real yo. Oh and there is no video. In fact, I don't even want purchasers to discuss how the effect looks to an audience.

Of course, people are reluctant to give such honest feedback when there is a discrepancy between the explicit and implied marketing statements and the actual product. It will ostracise them from that creator and the creator's friends; make them look an idiot for falling for it; and they'll not be able to offload the product on the secondary market to some other poor soul.

Doug personally is actually very good in this regard and although I hate the way that Scryer products are marketed, his own products that he sells through the Deceptionary seem to be at the pinnacle of marketing transparency. If you look at the posts that surrounded R2-D2; it was very objective as he described. There was of course enthusiasm - but it was accompanied by solid, objective information. He listed the advantages and features of his peek:

- Doesn't need a, b and c.
- Allows x y and z.
- Nearly invisible

One can look at that and think - do I have a peek that satisfies those conditions? If not this could be well worth it and I can base that decision on objective information. The only problem would be if there was something left out of the description that fundamentally altered the perception of the effect.

- Doesn't need a, b and c.
- Allows x y and z.
- Nearly invisible, all you have to do is open your briefcase to put the paper in for a moment to allow it to marinade with the spirits that lurk within. The audience will never suspect a thing... HONEST!

Then you people may well be unhappy. Thing is, although the above is a caricature; the exact same thing happens with so many products. Massive, whopping, only moderately well justified sections of the effect are routinely left out of descriptions - and most people don't seem the care. Bonkers.
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
Simon (Ted) Edwards
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1523 Posts

Profile of Simon (Ted) Edwards
Here's an advert with a traditional marketing-style review. Only those in the UK will probably get this joke...

Quote:
Want to predict the future? Tired of messy pads?

Introducing the new patent-pending Secret Writer(tm)!

Stick it on your thumb and become an instant seer. Only £7.45 (ex P&P)

"It's a boon" Mrs Miggins, Dinton


(Sorry...)
brehaut
View Profile
Inner circle
kentucky
2528 Posts

Profile of brehaut
Others have said this but I don't like to have restrictions on forums. Put it all out there. I have been on here long enough that I am pretty good determinig what is hype and what is more objective. I know some people may not have that experience but I would not want to restrict the freedom of speech just to protect a few not willing to do their homework. When looking at a post about a new product I look at 1) who made the post 2) their reputation 3) their connection to the product 4) what is said about the product 5) what is not said about the product and 6) who the creator is and past expereince with the creator 7) how many reviews 6) common sense-(if its too good to be true....). Yes, it is annoying to hear people discuss products that you know are irrationally hyped but that is the price of a "free press"
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » A Plea for Objectivity (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.29 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL