Wow Our Community Here Has Gotten Harsh...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by William Draven, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. Not really, but to the untrained eye it certainly can look that way. Consider this: New user makes a post about a subject that gets beating into the ground on a daily bases around here, or posts something that already has a strong running topic currently active and they get flamed for it. Or how about the young new comer all excited about his birthday money and wanting to spend it on something magical, asks for an opinion and gets a 4 page dissertation on why DVD magic sucks, and why he should learn from books. Stop me if you've seen this one before; A somewhat new guy makes a post with a video to them doing a pretty shoddy card performance with the webcam aimed at their crotch, Kesha blaring in the back ground, and a brand new deck of Jerry's being used for the trick all the while them claiming they invented some new card move that in actuality can be found somewhere between page 5 of Tarbell and the last few pages of Card College. What happens to him you ask? He gets pages of people telling him his video sucks, his music is poor, and his technique spits in the face of all that is amateur. Does this sound familiar yet?

    Folks I was starting to lose a bit of faith in the Theory11 community thinking that we've turned cynical. Other boards are more friendly, helpful, and outgoing to new magicians... or so it would outwardly seem. However that's when it occurred to me; We're not cynical we just seem to have a significantly less tolerance for BS than other communities. Most of our active members are guys who've done this magic thing more than twice, and for a larger audience than a web cam. I suppose you can only say the same thing so many times before it begins to feel like a broken record. There's still a good amount of desire in this community to help others, the only difference is the burden of proof: Proof that you want to learn and possess the ability to take constructive criticism well is set a lot higher than in other places. Sure if you want someone to coddle you, and hold your hand you may find that on other more gentle forums... but if you come here expect to grow and evolve beyond your current limitations. Expect to be challenged. Expect to better yourself. The advice you get may not always be kind, but it's usually honest and for that I tip my hat to you the community.
  2. #2 TeeDee, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2012
    I generally agree with you William, but just for the sake of debate, maybe I can put a slightly different perspective.

    There are two approaches to, and mentalities behind, offering negative criticism. Sometimes it's done to bring someone down, and by implication, pump up the ego of the critic. This is the motivation of the troll, someone who supports their own shaky hold on self-respect by asserting some minor form of superiority. Other times criticism is intended to encourage improvement. This is the motivation of the mentor, someone who is secure on their own path and in their own place in the world, and has a genuine desire to help others achieve that.

    While both the troll and the mentor may tell someone that they suck, there will usually be a qualitative difference in how they do that, and to whom they do it. A person just starting in their learning might have an arrogant attitude towards their own abilities, in which case it might be useful for them to be taken down a couple of pegs. They also might have a genuine desire to learn, but simply not know how to do that effectively. In that case, it's still useful to point out to their flaws and mistakes to them, but from the perspective of guiding them into better ways. Strict, no-nonsense teachers are very often the best teachers, but their apparently unforgiving attitude will have a thought-out purpose.

    I think that critics need to recognise their responsibility for nurturing the art of magic. A young magician should think hard about their music choices, their filming, their performance and effective practice before they broadcast their efforts to the YouTube-viewing public. In the same way, perhaps those who consider themselves qualified to criticise should think equally hard about their own choices in how they put themselves across, and the impact that they might be having on magic. Yes, destructive criticism can sometimes be as useful as the constructive kind, but people need to understand why they're using these techniques of instruction. We're not all cut out to be teachers or mentors, and the novice critic with no real understanding to back up their opinion is falling into the same trap as the novice magician displaying their lack of learning on their webcam.
  3. I do miss the thought provoking threads that used to populate these boards. It gets repetitive but we (self included) need to work to be more welcoming and less harsh. I agree with you Draven.

    When we have the choice to say "Your music sucks!" or "The routine looks good but the music detracts from it" we should choose the later. I'm going to try to be more polite and welcoming :)
  4. It disturbs me on any forum when someone who is obviously brand new to magic is put through the wood chipper. Yes, it would be nice if some members used the search option more frequently, but maybe this is their first time signing up to a forum and don't realize that function even exists.

    In that case it's best to give them the benefit of the doubt and kindly direct their attention to it and take the short amount of time it would take to post the link to the thread pertaining the subject they are wondering about. Maybe they are just so excited about having an answer questioned or finding out some advice they just jump right in and post something about a subject that has been posted a dozen happens, after all there are 32,800 unique forum threads here.

    We were all new to magic at one point in our lives and it's important to stop and reflect on that fact when we feel like scolding someone.

    We all got our start somewhere and it's kinda cool that some choose to start their journey into magic by coming to the T11 forum, a lot of us who have been doing magic before the entire Internet craze came along didn't have this type of venue available to us like people do today, and it's our responsibility to make it an atmosphere that people will want to come in to learn magic.

    If newcomers come around and get torched every other thread, they might not come back, might not support T11 and spread the word to their friends not to either.

    A website and forum dedicated to learning is useless and pointless without members who actively want to participate.

    - Steve
  5. Well said. We have to be really careful. Things are not black and white. One can be trolling at the same time they are trying to help. I could be (and have admittedly been before) trying to help someone, but secretly be holding an attitude that does not help anyone. Lot of the trolling I have seen has been mostly good hearted, but simply done in a mean way.

    Something that Draven posted on Facebook is really the key to this all. Be positive. Don't allow negativity to get into your words and actions here. When someone new joins and asks "What is the best deck of cards?" don't respond if you are annoyed. Step back and take a deep breath. Think about where that new person might be at in their magic career. If they are posting their very first post, how would they respond to "Hey, we have a search button for a reason!"? They might simply leave, trolled by someone who really just wanted to help but did it in a mean-spirited way.

    Make sure we stay positive. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but let us make sure we aren't lacing our conversations here with negativity.

    // L
  6. This may be off topic, but it is about our community. Is it just me or has this community became A LOT smaller than it used to be? I remember the days when there were so many more of us, posting a lot more frequently, but now, all those people are gone, and you can count the regular posters on your fingers. Has anyone else noticed that?
    p.s. Maybe the negative attitude of some of the members here is the reason for that...
  7. I remember a few years ago my first post on a forum was the cliche, something like "What is the best deck of cards?". The thing that kept me coming back was that people actually took the question seriously. Now I realize that this was a popular question. I think a helpful redirection would have been something like "Hey dude that's a great question, it actually comes up a lot here's a link to a past thread on it". If we can correct the behavior and replace it with one that is more acceptable I think it will help.
  8. Yeah it does seem smaller. That's too bad :(
  9. Well, as one of the grumpier old bears in the woods I admit that I'm jaded and more than sick and tired of seeing the same inaine posts month after month, that's actually why I put out those FREE pdfs last year as a way for we old farts to simply point. . . here's the link, read it before you ask any other questions and if you still want to learn more use the resourced list in the book

    You'd thunk that would have been simple enough and when I encouraged card guys and others from other specialty areas to do the same NO ONE DID! There may have been one or two eBooks pooped out but they weren't free in the least, everyone wants to profit from their two-cents worth now days rather than being a "prophet" when it comes to this art we all claim to love.

    I bring up those pdf's because having a sticky page with the links and a short description about each booklet, the type of magic they deal with or the skill-sets, etc. If we have this on any one or two key forums where the younger crowd tends to show up most (here, E, Penguin, etc.) then such chiding will certainly come to a lull with exception of those that do not read the "Welcome to the Club" page and forum rules where they would be directed to such resources. To my mind it's the best way to make a forum a place for learning and guidance simply because we have a handful of NO COST downloads that share the facts while outlining the basic course of action when it comes to which books first, the average length of study one can typically expect to put in before graduating to more advanced materials, etc. But said freebies should include essays on preparing for talent shows & show case type gigs as well as auditioning for clubs, the type of magic that is appropriate for performers of certain age-groups as well as what we present to differing age groups. . . there's a massive list of topics that such booklets need to be written about and the writing needs to be done by one or two people that specialize in those given topic areas . . . people that KNOW that area, who have worked it form more than a half-dozen years or so but who are likewise well studied when it comes to the various philosophies and alternative points of view. . . to give newbies an "OVERVIEW" means we need to paint a more complete portrait, even when it involves views and concepts we might not agree with ourselves.

    Come to think of it, there are several threads that exist here and on E that cover several key topics of this sort, which could be pulled down, edited and rounded out so as to create the exact product I'm speaking of -- it would be a Community Contribution compiled & edited by a handful of experienced pros vs. one person's "biased" views.

    I realize I've taken this line of thinking in a slightly different direction and yet, I'm addressing the issue at the same time, offering us an alternative way of dealing with these virginesque lads & lasses upon their arrival. Then again, I think this same sticky page should explain what Productive Criticism is and what to expect should they ask us to review their material.

    I'm one not so healthy guy and I've already produced 4 books for which I'm not being paid anything, on the three/four chief areas I'm most familiar with and known for. While I could certainly do the footwork and pen similar compositions that address other aspects of the magic world I see it as unfair to those that will consume said texts; there has to be other qualified teachers . . .

    "sigh" -- I've rambled a bit here but I do hope you can all understand what I'm saying and why I feel it would be so productive, lending to those forums that hosts the free materials superior standing when it comes to outreach and guiding the neophyte that comes here with eagerness and dreams as well as desire.
  10. Hmm, I was never contacted for this. It's never too late, maybe we can make something happen, even if it's just a handful of us...
  11. I used to post quite a lot on these forums, and others. Now I tend to lurk quite a bit on all of the forums, but I rarely post. What irks me about the magic community recently is the sense of arrogance from magicians who have been around for a while. I have started to notice that when a beginner posts a question that has been asked before, a more experienced magician will point this out - but it tends to have more of a polarization effect on the magician answering. They become more jaded and closed off because they've "seen it all". This is unbearably apparent over at the Magic Cafe.

    Too many magicians have forgotten that everyone has something to offer the art. Instead of actually considering a new viewpoint or question, they read the question, look at the person's "Joined in" date or post count, and respond accordingly. There's a million examples of this all over the different magic forums. It's hard to watch, and even more difficult to try and respond to - so I've almost stopped posting.

    If I could ask one thing of everyone on these forums, it would be to reevaluate where you are in magic. Stop, and realize that you know almost nothing of what's to be learned, and that every person you talk to and meet, can advance your knowledge and understanding. We're all here because we love the art, and we all have different things to bring to it. I've always seen magic as a brotherhood, and I hope you all still see it that way too
  12. I understand everyone's view points and actually agree with many of them. I myself can sound like a "know it all" and I need to try and become a bit more positive at times, but I'm usually going to call it like it is. I will not sugar coat a mediocre youtube performance and tell someone it is "Awesome" if some work still needs put in.

    This is what happens in our magic club all of the time. Nobody will give constructive criticism. Instead we hear, "Wow, Joe....that was really good. Can you show me how you do that?" When in reality the performer flashed two times and had no patter at all. I just can't stand to let that stuff slide by.

    I will try to be a bit more "open minded" and positive though. I'm still going to cringe though every time I see the "What's your favorite deck thread that pops up every other week."
  13. I'm not asking everyone to be completely tolerant of these - they make me want to punch puppies just as much as the next guy. What I'm suggesting is give people a fair shot at things, because we were all there once.

    What if we stickied a compilation of "best deck" threads or something?
  14. I know its not entirely what this thread is about but Eostresh does a ton of deck reviews and I know Lyle Borders has done a bunch of deck reviews too. So maybe instead of sticky-ing "best deck" threads what if you stickied the deck reviews we have here?
  15. Ironically, this is one of the reasons why I decided not to join a ring. I'd rather have somebody be honest with me and tell me what I did or am doing wrong, than have somebody constantly blowing warm air up my butt.
  16. I read the one on table tipping Craig! Good read :)
  17. I've said this before, joining a magic club is one of the best things I ever did. I have met well experienced magician's that will tell me how it is. We do have 15 or so guys that love show and tell and are as annoying as all get out. That being said there are 2 or 3 guys that are outstanding and have helped me out in ways that I couldn't have imagined. To see a bottom deal on youtube is one thing, to see it in real life is another thing all together.

    That being said I come to the forums often for unbiased opinions on my material or thoughts. I have come to appreciate at least some of the disagreement.
  18. There's been a couple of points brought out since my post yesterday and I'd like to address them briefly. . .

    Jerks @ the Cafe. . . personally I'd say RUN and get away from the cafe if you really want to learn about the craft. The cafe is a marketing spot more than anything but likewise a brown-noser's paradise in which the average joe gets to rub elbows with perceived giants. The cafe started out as a lie and haven for bootleggers and pirates and remains just such a front from what I can tell from the outside looking in. Those that share an honest opinion based on genuine EXPERIENCE and knowledge are typically booted out (especially Mentalists & Bizarrists). There is likewise a heavy "right wing" air of the place given the outrageous level of management and lack of check & balances. So just avoid the dump, you'll have better luck getting a straight and hones answer on forums like E, T-11 and numerous "smaller" sites than you will in a censorship zone rife with egos.

    Card Deck & Effect Reviews . . . really need their own forum/section so that those interested in a given topic can go there, look up the details by name perhaps? This makes it far easier to access answers for old & new alike, lessens clutter as well as repetition.

    Magic Clubs . . . have their good points and bad, this is common to anything involving more than two people or "egos" as it were; politics come into play alongside various levels of arrogance. Too, you will find that in a very large number of instances the club body isn't interested in improving on technique or showmanship, but rather learning how to do yet another card trick. . . vs. actually learning how to properly do the one's they've already been shown. Yet, every club has those one or two quiet members that really do know their stuff and who tend to watch; they are looking for that student that shows promise & determination vs. the eager-beavers that chase after the latest thing they saw on Tv or heard about in the forums.

    I do a heck of a lot of mentoring and while I'm exceptionally giving to most anyone & everyone, I am likewise picky when it comes to the ones I'm willing to actually invest time and energy into. I have one kid from E for an example, who impressed me with his knowledge of grand illusion. He didn't just want to get secrets he wanted to learn how to present pieces he'd already done research on; where to go when it comes to building or buying such items because of the subtleties that go into the design of these bloody expensive tools. This is the sort of student old farts like me relish -- they give us hope when it comes to the future of Magic. But like those positive members of any ring or group, we're looking at less than 10% of the over-all body that actually fulfill said requisite or niche, as it were.

    It's nice to have a club to go to for social reasons and to actually mix with that handful within the members that are your genuine peers/equals. Too, belonging to a ring gives you political advantages when it comes to climbing the career ladder, fleshing your resume out with awards and nominations or offices held, etc. and like it or not, show biz is an industry that thrives on pure B.S. of this nature. Certain institutions having the names on awards long before the ballots are sent out to members that vote on who should get this or that award. . . not due to skill or "public" opinion but as the result of politics and contacts -- a big side of "Networking" that makes all fraternal orders a "must" when it comes to generating professional success. . . this includes things like the Jaycee's, Moose, Toast Masters or just belonging to the right Country Club in your town. So don't shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to being a "member" just be wise when it comes to how you USE that affiliation.

    There are many ways we all can help the novice. One of my personal dreams has been to create an on-line University of Magic but as a friend of mine has pointed out, on-line security is a huge deterrent when it comes to such a thing; far too many hackers and thieves vs. honor and integrity these days. Yet, there are ways to at least start down such a path. I believe that was one of the visions shared by the original forum founders like Kevin James and the team at the Shadow Network or DragonSkull in the UK.

    Are we willing. . . ready, to begin such a venture?
  19. I'm really glad someone raised this!

    I used to post a lot on here and a few forums before I gave in the art for a few years. When I came back recently definitely noticed a difference hence my lurking and I think it kind of bread a community that I learnt less from and use the forums slightly less! Well a lot less in terms of what I post for being scared what I put may rock the boat!

    Equally I think it is important to have a community where you can get honest feedback - I love actually having a few close friends I can trust there word and will tell me if I need to work on things and it is the one way you can improve. I don't think that's the issue though like you said in your post, people are far to quick to jump on people for saying or doing something either wrong or that they don't agree with! The problem with this is once that person becomes learned they themselves do the same two years down line because they think that is the way to act. I think that it is almost and attitude that develops or years starting as a few people and others just learn form them.

    I'd also say that I have noticed an increase on other forums too and wouldn't just pin it to this one!

    Slightly different note but on the same line - maybe something for another thread even! Now our art has branched in hundreds of various directions with sub genres or genres if you'd like, almost like the music scene I think people whould be more accepting of the other areas.

    For example I've not seen anything on here in particular but on the internet in general people slating Dynamo - I'm sorry if people don't like him or think he's good or whatever but he got where he has by getting out there and pushing for it and I think good on him. Rather than complain if people got out there they maybe in the same position themselves!

    Sorry if this sounds like a rant - certainly don't want it to come across that way, I'm glad someone has openly raised this point though and thought I'd take the opportunity to get it off my chest :p... I also certainly don't think it's just these boards, the magic community seems to just be *****ier these days!

    Here's to things changing for the better hopefully! :)

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