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Decker
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Im sure this will make its way to some other forum, buried away where no one will see it... but this IS a review of a TRICK. In fact, one of the biggest tricks fooling us all...

I started writing this in another category, but I decided to bring it out in the open as sort of a way to talk about a very major issue. Even if this post gets buried it will live long enough in a popular category that people will know it exists and be able to find it if needed.

Creator/Predator?
The technicality game in magic ads is exhausting isn't it? I mean, ads dance around the truth and sometimes outright lie because they are in the position to do so without penalty. The secrecy of what they are selling gives a ripe environment, and with just a couple endorsements their ad becomes the perfect illusion.

It's exhausting and frustrating. Its nothing new, but in forums like this one a new environment exists for people to vent their frustration and have it turned around on them. An environment with which that deception can be enhanced and defended. And when you feel ripped off, and you want to do something, anything to relieve dissappointment even if it is only to protect someone else from making the mistake, (at least on this forum) you are chastized.
Does any of this sound familiar?

It stinks that ALL benefit of doubt MUST be relinquished to the creator of an effect, and any reviewer must produce hefty performance credentials or suffer an onslaught of jabs from others(mostly backscratching creators) This is something that is only found online, in review sections of forums like this one which allows a creator to START the review topic about their new release. There is a psychological game being used here, whether intentionally or not, but the effects of it are more than obvious when you take an objective look at the many review topics on the forum.

To be fair, there are many bogus negative reviews out there, and I am not the only one to recognize this. But when a creator comes into a thread to defend his creation, or even to just make a presence there a psychological manipulation takes place. It has both the desired effect (to tame reviews) as well as creating distrust and more frustration. Even when this is not the 100% conscious intent of the creator, it is an observable effect nonetheless.

It makes sense that a creator would want to defend their creation, it is something they don't get to do with this effectiveness when say, Mike Close bombs it. And likewise, again, some people are idiots and bomb great stuff in these forums. My point though, is that we are smart enough to see that. A smart creator will let the review itself go into debate which happens on its own in a forum. Once they step in however, that review becomes worthless to me. Peoples attitudes change drastically. I have seen some 180s that made me laugh. one minute a product gets bombed. next minute the creator shows up and the guy backs down and tells him how great his stuff is. Its too close to home to name names, or point fingers but Im sure the people who do this aren't proud, Im sure they feel manipulated into backing down when they otherwise wouldn't.

So my question is, how valuable are review forums when there is so much pressure to keep your lips sealed?

Is this forum more Ad than forum?

And finally to all you who get angry with people who bomb stuff you like. Consider that, though they might be off base they might not be one of the idiots. They might just be jaded after from a closet full of dissappointment. can you really blame them. I mean, when you consider the abuse of trust, can you really blame them for being a bit too critical at times?
"He had alot to say... He had alot of nothing to say..." --MJK
Chance Wolf
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Decker,
Let me be the first to step in on your topic and, being a creator myself, it should help...or maybe not.
I will keep this simple.
This forum serves many purposes.
Reviews can be honest, swayed, flip-flopped, or "influenced...true.
So would you prefer to go back to the good ol' days of Hank Lee's one paragraph, a black n white line drawing plus a LOT of HOPE?
Bottom line. This is the FIRST opportunity for people to even interact with the Creators so easily in the entire history of magic. For God's sake the Creators should be the LAST people to shun. In most cases, the Creators are CALLED INTO THE FORUM and usually NOT defending..they are ANSWERING questions and trying their darndest not to give away the secret as they are squeezed endlessly by 1001 questions.
Trust everybodies common sense, and ability to sift through the dirt and come to a rational decision on their own. I have never seen more intense scrutiny in my life as happens here in the Café regarding reviews and questions. This was NEVER even possible just years ago. Feel happy that you have this chance to get at least some input/feedback.
I don't think some of these guys could have emotionally survived just 5 years ago given the minimum amount of info we had to go by when deciding to make a purchase.
I am not attacking you but just trying to get things into perspective. This is just a big free for all and in the end..it is a good thing.
Hope this helps a bit.
Take care,
Chance Wolf
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
Zach Allen
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I think that for the most part, you can look at a thread that has a lot of postings and tell whether the item is generally good or generally bad. As Chance said, everything that is released comes under intense scrutiny.

In addition, this forum allows for different opinions from different people in different stages of magic. The major magic magazines provide one point of view; here you usually get many, and can see in what situations the person is using an item, like whether they are a hobbyist or a professional. This provides you with even more information.

Sometimes a creator steps in to defend their product. Sometimes they are justified in doing this, and other times they just defend it to the point where you realize that, if they need to defend it that much, is it really all that good.

I had more things that I was going to say, but it's late and I'm tired, and Chance summed up what I was going to say, anyway. Smile

Zach
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jkvand
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I agree with you, Chance. We should all appreciate a forum like this that gives the opportunity to express our views. I know that I have benefitted many times by reading reviews of a product before making a decision to purchase it, and I have also contributed my opinion to this forum as well. I (and most others, I would think) try to be honest and objective when I review a product. If I like it, I say so, and if I don't, I say why not. It's a great avenue for getting real world opinions about tricks, and if people are worried about an 'inventor' or 'creator' seeing their negative post, then they can PM you privately with their opinion so no one else will see it. Appreciate the Café for their unparallelled contribution to the world of magic on the internet! I know I do!
Chance Wolf
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Zach and jkvand,
Good points. Heck, I WISH people would get a bit more negative when reviewing my items ( well, maybe not wish ) as I can LEARN from the input and create an even better product. After 20 years in the Commercial Art business a guy can get some thick skin.
However, I have been VERY fortunate to get so much positive response from my creations. The secret is QUALITY and GOOD R&D and a bit of luck Smile
Zach, you mentioned
"...and other times they just defend it to the point where you realize that, if they need to defend it that much, is it really all that good."
Great point. There be a lot of truth in them there words.
Take care guys,
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
Decker
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Quote:
On 2004-02-12 00:02, Chance Wolf wrote:
So would you prefer to go back to the good ol' days of Hank Lee's one paragraph, a black n white line drawing plus a LOT of HOPE?


Nope Smile But I also recognize that sometimes the reviews become just as useless.

Quote:
Bottom line. This is the FIRST opportunity for people to even interact with the Creators so easily in the entire history of magic. For God's sake the Creators should be the LAST people to shun.


No question. I love that too. Im not the best writer in the world maybe I came off wrong. I definately don't want to shun creaters, just marketers. Smile Its difficult sometimes to seperate one from the other though since they are often the same person, and they take feedback often a little too personally (and sometimes feedback IS too personal and inappropriate and we all know people who do that)

Quote:
In most cases, the Creators are NOT defending..they are ANSWERING questions and trying their darndest not to give away the secret as they are squeezed endlessly by 1001 questions.

I agree 100%. But I think its important to make this distinction and clarify that these are the "good guys" and we can all point out several reviews like this. What I am targeting is the oposite. Mostly characterized by what devolves into ad hominem attacks. I think it is important to acknowledge that when a "good guy" handles things in this fashion, we can observe that people talk nice, singing praises etc because the person is there. Sometimes it is ridiculous. And then, instead of having people who have concerns or dissappointments posting altogether with the people who liked is (instead of having a balanced review) it often goes to another post. The good review and the bad review and in the bad reviews the reviewer is getting reviewed more than the product. Again, not always, but enough times to comment.

Quote:
Trust everybodies common sense, and ability to sift through the dirt and come to a rational decision on their own.

I made this same argument. I asked why CREATORS don't trust everybodies common sense. And heres why I believe it is more appropriate to ask this of them rather than of us: when a creator steps in, there is a large tendancy for things to become personal. This, as we all know, makes a mess of a thread. When Joe Blow reviews something and is distasteful and rude about it, or doesn't give reasons for his critique it naturally doesn't hold water. He will probably have his review attacked by others anyway, but in a more natural manner of discourse.

Quote:
I have never seen more intense scrutiny in my life as happens here in the Café regarding reviews and questions. This was NEVER even possible just years ago.

Ahhh... not publicly. But you know people were still opening up packages and pouting at dinner because they just re-bought a "totally new" principle etc. This forum has given a voice to that frustration. My opinion, based on observation, is that sometimes even the best of intentions of creators can reverse the effectiveness of the review. Or at least, influence it...

Quote:
Feel happy that you have this chance to get at least some input/feedback.

I understand how you mean this, and I know you mean well too, but c'mon... how far are you willing to go with this sort of argument. KIM Chong-il says that about the starving children picking rice out of the mud. Be happy with muddy water? Be happy with tainted reviews?

Quote:
I don't think some of these guys could have emotionally survived just 5 years ago given the minimum amount of info we had to go by when deciding to make a purchase.

I read the reviews with very little care. They are the most entertaining posts sometimes because of this. But some people think of them as gospel. And those are the people I think we need to look after. The restraunt worker wants more specific info and the poor guy cant afford to make a bunch of mistakes...

Quote:
I am not attacking you but just trying to get things into perspective. This is just a big free for all and in the end..it is a good thing.

You are one of the Good guys Chance. And in the end we want the same thing. differing opinions are important in a discussion of things like this. And that is really the point of this post. Im glad we can discuss these things in a civil manner.
"He had alot to say... He had alot of nothing to say..." --MJK
Chance Wolf
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Decker,
GREAT REPLY!! Now if we can just get everybody to figure out that this is exactly how to play in this sandbox then things would be...well...heck...I kind of like to watch the ridiculous thtreads get out of control!!
Seriously, thanks for your viewpoints as I really appreciate it.
Take care,
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
nimrod
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The reviews forum lost his credibility long time ago. we all know it so lets not fake it.
Decker
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If by fake it you mean, silently watch as the problem continues... well... Ive done my part.
"He had alot to say... He had alot of nothing to say..." --MJK
Samuel Catoe
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Quote:
On 2004-02-11 22:29, Decker wrote:
It's exhausting and frustrating. Its nothing new, but in forums like this one a new environment exists for people to vent their frustration and have it turned around on them. An environment with which that deception can be enhanced and defended. And when you feel ripped off, and you want to do something, anything to relieve dissappointment even if it is only to protect someone else from making the mistake, (at least on this forum) you are chastized.
Does any of this sound familiar?



I have found (both through observation and personal experience) that as long as a post is not derisive or a full on attack of someone that it is allowed. If you disagree, look up Braco's Floating Ball.

Quote:
It stinks that ALL benefit of doubt MUST be relinquished to the creator of an effect, and any reviewer must produce hefty performance credentials or suffer an onslaught of jabs from others(mostly backscratching creators)



Usually a creator can speak about the justification of a seemingly high price for an effect. Other than that, they may see a use for the effect that the reviewer does not and are offering a different point of view.

Quote:
To be fair, there are many bogus negative reviews out there, and I am not the only one to recognize this. But when a creator comes into a thread to defend his creation, or even to just make a presence there a psychological manipulation takes place. It has both the desired effect (to tame reviews) as well as creating distrust and more frustration. Even when this is not the 100% conscious intent of the creator, it is an observable effect nonetheless.

It makes sense that a creator would want to defend their creation, it is something they don't get to do with this effectiveness when say, Mike Close bombs it. And likewise, again, some people are idiots and bomb great stuff in these forums. My point though, is that we are smart enough to see that. A smart creator will let the review itself go into debate which happens on its own in a forum. Once they step in however, that review becomes worthless to me. Peoples attitudes change drastically. I have seen some 180s that made me laugh. one minute a product gets bombed. next minute the creator shows up and the guy backs down and tells him how great his stuff is. Its too close to home to name names, or point fingers but Im sure the people who do this aren't proud, Im sure they feel manipulated into backing down when they otherwise wouldn't.



If I am going to slam an effect or product put out for general consumption, I will slam it in the face (real or virtual) of the creator. Not everyone will do this I understand. But just because a creator decides to enter a discussion about what they made/came up with/whatever does not invalidate the review, it just adds another element which must be considered.

Quote:
So my question is, how valuable are review forums when there is so much pressure to keep your lips sealed?

Is this forum more Ad than forum?


I don't feel like it is just one giant ad. I have gleaned a lot of useful information from this particular forum.

Quote:
And finally to all you who get angry with people who bomb stuff you like. Consider that, though they might be off base they might not be one of the idiots. They might just be jaded after from a closet full of dissappointment. can you really blame them. I mean, when you consider the abuse of trust, can you really blame them for being a bit too critical at times?



Well said. There are many unscrupulous creators and sellers out there in the real world. The virtual world just allows more room for this type of person to multiply. This causes the buyers (us) to become jaded, cautious, and paranoid. Add to that the seeming belief by the younger generation of "I want it NOW,deserve it RIGHT NOW, and better not have to WORK for it." that breeds people who want home delivered effects that are self-working for free. This leaves creators in quite a twist. This does not excuse selling a product by openly lying about what it will do. This is in violation of the "Truth in advertising" law in the US. If an add for a floating device states "No strings" and uses IT as the method, report it to the magazine you found it in. Tell it on the internet. You may even consider going to the proper authorities.
BUT, just because you don't like an effect, the method, or can't perform the sleight of hand necessary does not give you the right to slam the creator and call them name or involve their family in the discussion (I have seen this before). Your own integrity comes into doubt when you do this. Why paint yourself as the bad guy? If you feel you have been wronged, talk to the seller or the creator. They may help you out. If you feel the need to start slamming a creator personally, prepare to be slammed back. You also better have proof to back up any allegations because these creators have friends (some of them may even post on The Café) and they will come to their friend's defense.
In short, (sorry about the length) decry the product. That is what a review is for. The review is not the place to attack the creator's integrity. If you want to do that, perhaps you should rethink why you are writing that particular review. Just my thoughts.

Samuel
Author of Illusions of Influence, a treatise on Equivoque.
PM me for details and availability.
kihei kid
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Quote:
On 2004-02-11 22:29, Decker wrote:
So my question is, how valuable are review forums when there is so much pressure to keep your lips sealed?

Is this forum more Ad than forum?

The review forum is not a “fix all” for the magic community and I can attest to that personally.

A few times now I have read or received positive reviews about an effect and went ahead and purchased it only to find out it did not work for me for whatever reason.

Unfortunately this is the nature of magic unless you work at a magic store you can watch all the online demos or watch one personally read all the reviews in the world but there’s no way to know until you buy it.

I’m not sure there is pressure just because a creator started, or is in the middle of the mix, I have seen many a thread were the creator and the reviewers are going toe to toe.

I bought an effect a while back that I complained about and a magic company along with a Café regular responded back with some insight that I was unaware of (this was very helpful).

When a creator comes in to defend their product and in whatever fashion they choose to use to say that the reviews are incorrect I say… what did you expect?

Of course they are going to defend their product I would be more amazed then the first time I saw the striking vanish, then if they didn’t.

Is this forum more ad than forum you ask? No. But there is ad…
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
Tom Jorgenson
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What they said!

All in all, I'd rather have the forum than not. Decker, you are correct, buy then so are the others. You are analyzing minutia while the whole is still healthy, if that makes any sense.

But what is your solution? There is no solution but personal ethics and that varies from person to person. An effect, say 'The One and Only' gets great reviews from a kajillion folks who use it well, and for me it's useless Ebay fodder. Is my negative review valid? Not for all those who can use it successfully. They may not have my personal criteria for a card effect (if it's not better than Gemini Twins, It's not for me )But I may love a slow building trick that cannot be played by someone else...they blast it, I love it.

If my buddy comes out with a trick, and I like it, I will want to generate interest for him, if it's good. A trick can be a good trick but be unplayable by some, so is that good or bad?

Dealer Hype: They describe the benefits of the intrinsic trick, and assume you can handle the constrictions. A good example is the hype surrounding a recent eBook download of a minor tweak of a very good card move. Lotsa bells and whistles but no true explanation of HOW to do the EXACT thing that is needed to be done, how to do the tweak...for all the card folks, no problem, if you are not a card guy at the start, major hurdle and a useless ebook. BUT: is the ebook bood or bad? Worth the loot or not? Who is to say?

All in all, I think these forums save you money by steering you away from buying Braco's Floating P.O.C., and may well guide you towards nailing a goody once in a while. I read better reviews here and can distill the info (usually) to good advantage. If I could fax a beer to the boys in the front office, I would!
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
Decker
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Quote:
On 2004-02-13 10:29, Tom Jorgenson wrote:
A trick can be a good trick but be unplayable by some, so is that good or bad?



The problem is when creators, or friends of creators (and when I say friends I also mean others who make money from their own creations and are seen swapping endorsements with the same crowd) don't allow people to state their opinion without some kind of defense of the product. They really ARE saying that if you don't like it (wherever you perform) you aren't performing it right.

Some people are suggesting a trick at $20 is worth the price simply because $20 isn't that much money. But this is simply irrational thinking. But I've heard that said on the Café many times. $1 is too much for garbage.

A couple times I have seen creators get away with some pretty nasty statements about people just because they are targetting a group (the people who don't like it) and not an individual. Is that a good thing? Is that a productive thing?

In some cases the creator is so biased they can't imagine that someone who uses it wouldn't like it, completely ignoring that some people have style issues involved. I can think of a couple right off the top of my head that might be miracles for some, and other people would be using something out of place with the rest of their stuff... its not a matter of "making it play" but that doesn't matter... if you don't like it... you must be one of those nasty Blainabes.

This is what has to change. Above I was asked "What is your solution" Simply that creators sit it out. If things NEED defending, there are plenty of Café staff watching their backs.

Of course I would also ask people to be more civil in general. And if they need to ask the creator something specific, PM them. This will serve the secondary purpose of keeping the thread cleaner. If the same question keeps getting asked the creator could put a FAQ on their website.
"He had alot to say... He had alot of nothing to say..." --MJK
Tom Jorgenson
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I also think some creators get all 'frosty' and defensive when criticized, instead of realizing that some critiques are VERY valuable when attention is truly paid to them...
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
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