Whatever Became of the Genii Forum?

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby AJM » 05/16/10 02:54 PM

While Im here I wondered if anyone would care to take a stab at answering the above question.

Ive admittedly lost touch with the Forum lately, however Ive noticed a few differences from reviewing some of the latest threads.

- The general tone is altogether more unpleasant, with less of the 'friendly banter' I remember.
- Aside from RK, the moderators and the weekend sellers, one could probably count the number of regular contributors on the fingers of one hand and one of those speaks in tongues, with another being a Mark Lewis-lite type character. (I know, I know, I could always use the ignore user option, however this only works when one is logged on, which I never am.)
- Where (and why) did everyone else go? (I had my own reasons)
- Surprisingly, there is very little discussion here on the art of magic itself (although, admittedly, Im desperate to find out if the Forum runs on php or not.)

Anyways, thought Id ask the question.

Cheers

Andrew
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/16/10 05:23 PM

Andrew, most here have not read Gaiman's Books of Magic or even know that Alan Moore is working on a big book of/on magic. Most have not read Greg Egan's TAP or Peter Watt's Blindsight - much less understood how those ideas apply to our craft.

So, Andrew, what would you like to discuss?

On my side, I'm waiting as patiently as I can for the Hofzinser books in English and encouraging folks to explore how they present magic to audiences, even it if means putting some ideas out in the middle of a thread on a card index product which is advertised as "totally impromptu".

:) from NY,

Jon
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/16/10 06:01 PM

To Jonathans pointpresuming there is one ( :) )the Genii Forum is what the members make of it.

One thing I have observed over the years is that its always been cyclical in nature. The Forum has been in the doldrums as of late.

Frankly Im glad that this site suffers less from the inane whats your favorite [insert subject here]? threads than do others. When there is something worth while to discuss, the conversation is passionate and generally well thought out (the last one being the thread on the Roberto Giobbi column about acting and magic).

And we always have the Erdnase thread to fall back on.

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Postby El Mystico » 05/16/10 06:44 PM

So...what's your favorite Genii thread?
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Postby Steve Hook » 05/16/10 06:45 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
...even it if means putting some ideas out in the middle of a thread on a card index product which is advertised as "totally impromptu".



*Disclaimer: This is a comment about discussions in general, not the trick "Q", which already has a thread elsewhere. I'm only using "Q" as an example for a larger issue. I hope that further discussion in this thread will be about the big picture:

So, here's a guy (Andrew) earnestly asking what others are wondering behind the scenes about the decline of useful posts at the Genii Forum (a place of unlimited potential) and Jonathan instantly provides a perfect example of one of the problems:

Some of the guys at Genii would rather argue themselves into a frenzy over some virtually meaningless semantics..... rather than discuss what MOST people want to know.

Again, using "Q" only as an example, why did virtually all the early posters not simply drop the battle about the definition of "impromptu" and move on to the bigger picture?? The manufacturer explained himself......we all know what his intent was......WHAT ABOUT THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT?? Dang.

If most people figured out that it was an i***x, why is it the only discussion is about the word "impromptu"?? This is so freakin' frustratingly worthless.

As a consumer, I and others want to know "What are the qualities of this prop which might make it valuable to me as a performer?" and "What is it that makes, or doesn't make, this worth the money?"

It doesn't help anyone to basically go off-topic and discuss the dictionary instead of the prop.

If, as Richard claims, it's obvious that this is an i***x, then it's also obvious that "impromptu" is an arguably misguided use of the word. So what? It's not the end of the world!

What IS a lot closer to the end of the world, i.e., usefulness of discussions at Genii Forum, is the lack of open minds to explore other information about the trick/routine/prop/DVD/book, e.g., the quality and value of "Q"!

Again, this is a comment about the discussions, not the trick per se, which already has its own tainted thread.

If Genii is going to continue to be relevant, it has to gain back more writers who are willing to post something of value to the bulk of the readers here. Linguistic wranglings aren't the only reason the Forum is in a slump but it's one that's on the table right now, so have at it.

There is something controversial coming out this week regarding another trick. I suppose the blather about "side issues" will be off the charts on this one as well. Hey, go ahead, surprise me: Somebody actually discuss the trick once they have it. Ha!

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Postby mrgoat » 05/16/10 06:57 PM

Steve Hook wrote:Again, this is a comment about the discussions, not the trick per se, which already has its own tainted thread.


a) The Chief Genii dictated the tone of the thread you find so abhorrent. I would be careful about the toes on which you tread.

b) If you don't like it here you have two options. a) Leave. b) Make some decent contributions. All you seem to do of late is slag of the forum. Not awfully constructive, is it?
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Postby mrgoat » 05/16/10 06:59 PM

AJM wrote:While Im here I wondered if anyone would care to take a stab at answering the above question.

Ive admittedly lost touch with the Forum lately, however Ive noticed a few differences from reviewing some of the latest threads.

- The general tone is altogether more unpleasant, with less of the 'friendly banter' I remember.
- Aside from RK, the moderators and the weekend sellers, one could probably count the number of regular contributors on the fingers of one hand and one of those speaks in tongues, with another being a Mark Lewis-lite type character. (I know, I know, I could always use the ignore user option, however this only works when one is logged on, which I never am.)
- Where (and why) did everyone else go? (I had my own reasons)
- Surprisingly, there is very little discussion here on the art of magic itself (although, admittedly, Im desperate to find out if the Forum runs on php or not.)

Anyways, thought Id ask the question.

Cheers

Andrew


What meaningful threads have you started or contributed to? I've just search against your name and can find nothing really interesting or positive.

This happens on forums all the time in every niche. Some people that don't contribute anything get pissed off and post whining about the place.

You have the power to change it. So start posting something positive instead of whining.

It's down to you.

HTH

Damian

PS http://www.ubbcentral.com/ - PHP is a requisite for the software to work. Glad I could help solve what was ailing you.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/16/10 07:04 PM

Exactly Steve, the word is spelled "index" and the word "impromptu" involves not having to remember to load up a gimmick you carry on your person, totally. ;) This is a place of words. Lack of facility with words in this place seems - odd. No, that should be queer but I'm writing on a PC.

Till those who wish to read better at least learn to explore the words they wish to abuse in public... expect blowback from such misspelling. Or call it misdirected typing behavior if you prefer. ;)

My suggestion to use a blank card in Q and admiration for RK's suggestion about using half a pack stands.

And now back to waiting for David Blaine in a bottle or what to do when the speck suggests the five of hubcaps at five times the cube root of pi for "any card at any number". meh.

Yes Dustin, there are several points being argued - and when you read the cited sources your contributions to the discussion will have more merit. :(
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Postby mrgoat » 05/16/10 07:06 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Exactly Steve, the word is spelled "index" and the word "impromptu" involves not having to remember to load up a gimmick you carry on your person.


No No No JT. This is a MAGIC FORUM. One is not ALLOWED to say

"Isn't that just an over-priced card index"

or people get REALLY annoyed.

Have you learnt nothing in your time on this earth. Jebers.
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Postby castawaydave » 05/16/10 07:12 PM

"writers who are willing to post something of value"--ouch

In the old days the Dark Fascist Overlord used to call this a non-sequitor video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wfamPW3Eaw
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/16/10 07:12 PM

mrgoat wrote:...
Have you learnt nothing in your time on this earth. Jebers.


I learned to follow up on links when posted - and even to remind folks of the highlights when a positive review is given. In that case the craft and pocket-friendliness of the item.

I also learned that my wallet can hide effectively among the brown socks in my sock drawer but that's not likely useful in performing tricks... well ... nope, no inspiration for that yet.

I do wish folks would read that first few posts on Q again. But if they also read the Gaiman "The Books of Magic" item they might have a better focus on just what our craft is designed to offer folks.
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Postby mrgoat » 05/16/10 07:19 PM

I fear life would be much better spent starting some new threads saying this place is crap. And that a pocket index for 200 bucks is brilliant value. And maybe some saying I am annoying and am so annoying people won't ignore me just because, well, they like being annoyed by me. Or something.

You know nothing Townsend.

:)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/16/10 07:35 PM

mrgoat wrote:...

You know nothing Townsend.

:)


I know that not even one here has asked for more information about how to use that blank card in routine for the Q item. Then again I doubt so many can enjoy the tone of my first post on that thread or its purpose.
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Postby the Larry » 05/17/10 09:48 AM

I will attempt an answer to the original question: "What happened to the Genii Forum?"

Forums have a life cycle as so many other things we deal with. They start-up with enthusiasm, garner support and attract a lot of interesting folks, but then get stale, uninteresting and people leave to other places or leave entirely and find other communication channels.

I still remember the times when Magic Talk was the hot place to be in magic online. It has since completely vanished. Magic Talk 2.0 barely generates a ripple. Then there was the EG, an elite group a tough place to get in - everybody wanted to get in because it was by invitation or recommendation only - but today it hardly produces anything of interest. Then came the Genii forum with lots of wise and experienced posters and interesting discussions most of which are gone today. I hate the annoying flickering ads on the side. It makes it hard to read and concentrate at the same time. Perhaps one of many reasons why the more intelligent crowd left and is not coming back. I also find the relentless posts of somebody selling again a list of books or DVDs annoying particularly if they come from the usual suspects with barely anything new to offer. And even if it is new we all have heard about the products a dozen times through spam and newsletters and magazines. The noise to signal ratio has become so bad that I hardly find a thread worth reading and contributing. Right now I feel that the Magic Cafe is the most active place. Yes, it has its own problems with lunatics and flame wars and meaningless posts, but it is overall in my opinion the best place right now. For how long I don't know.

Another reason might be that there are today many more ways to connect with other magicians from Twitter to Facebook to Skype. Forums are only one option.

However, I think the most important reason is that most have grown up and grown out of forums. A few years back it was a thrill to simply 'go online' and find a group of like minded and like interested people. We didn't mind to wade through stupid posts because it was all so new and so thrilling. Hey and we could even make a post and get some response. How great is that? And we could even be anonymous and make a fool of ourselves without suffering any consequences. How cool is that? Well, all of that has worn off. A majority of magicians are online and have started to see through the good and the bad. And I guess many have decided that forums are for the most part a waste of time. A waste of time to argue for the sake of arguing. A waste of time to have to deal with the same lunatics every time.

I myself am still motivated enough to occasionally come in here and see if I find something of interest. But I have to say that it becomes more and more something I don't like to do. And it might not take me that long to give it up completely and find other ways to communicate with magicians.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/17/10 09:59 AM

Lumpy oatmeal syndrome? Why can't today be like my fond memories of what I liked about yesterday?

As suggested a few posts above, will you bemoan your baggage or carry a basket for others? It's okay to use a bag, a hat or even a dove pan instead of a basket. Maybe even a coin box.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/17/10 10:54 AM

the Larry is annoyed by the small ads on the side. I guess he feels these are more intrusive than the dozens and dozens and dozens of banners all over The Magic Cafe, where he now hangs out.

Perhaps he objects to the fact that we need to make a few bucks in order to pay for the upkeep of the Forum.

That makes a lot of sense.
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Postby the Larry » 05/17/10 11:16 AM

I wrote the 'flickering ads'. I do understand that you need to make a buck and supporting it with ads is one way of doing it. However many of the ads here on the forum annoy us with their ever looping, jumping or transforming nature. Why can't you simply say no to such ads and ask the advertiser to submit a simple image rather than some badly made animated GIF? On the Magic Cafe I have not encountered any such annoyances, and I hope it will stay that way.

I also think that the placement of ads on the side along with posts is further making ads on the Genii forum more intrusive. I don't want to see all this eye candy alongside the text I am trying to read. At the Magic Cafe there are no ads once you are inside a thread where you do all the reading. From that perspective the Magic Cafe is miles ahead of the Genii Forum. I have no commerical interest in any of these forums. I am simply a magician that tries to affect some change for the better of all. Mr. Kaufman can of course continue to ride on his high horse until he is left with ebay sellers, spammers and Mr. Townsend who requires a forum all by himself.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/17/10 11:20 AM

the Larry wrote:...I am simply a magician that tries to affect some change for the better of all. ...


Impressive goal. Abracadabra?

I found moving from IE to firefox with adblocker and scriptblock addins to greatly improve my view.
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Postby El Mystico » 05/17/10 01:16 PM

OK, I love the Genii forum.

But, yes, to be fair, it has lost something of late.

Although, when I ask a sensible question I tend to get sensible - and useful - replies.

My personal perception was that we lost a lot of lovely people during the [censored] reign.
As mrgoat has pointed out, it is easy enough to block the posts of individuals here, but I sense people are reluctant to do so.

Now Mark has gone (probably), it is hard to get that message out...

The ads on the side don't bother me personally; but it would be good to screen out "for sale" ads from the "today's active topics" list.

But despite these issues, Genii is still my "forum of choice".
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Postby Jim Riser » 05/17/10 01:17 PM

Please let us not turn this thread into an attack on Jonathan. If you do not want to read his posts, do not do so. If you do not know what he is saying, ask him to further explain.

I do not care one bit what type of horse Richard rides. The ads are the price of a free forum and can be interesting and educational. I do not mind them at all. Actually, it is nice to see Tabby advertising here. This forum (unlike some others) has integrity. Here I do not have to worry about competitors bribing RK or cyberbullies with product for protection or good reviews.

A forum is as interesting or useful as the visitors make it. I have found this forum to be the place for gathering correct info rather than wild guesses, speculation, or just plain incorrect info.

To help spur on a little positive discussion on this forum, I have just posted a mini contest in another thread. The winner will be selected from positive contributors. Perhaps this will give several contributors something new to think (or complain?) about.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 05/17/10 01:39 PM

I detect a soupcon of taking things much too seriously. The Forum is a daily stop for me and will continue to be so. You never know what will turn up in any given day. Case in point: the Slydini video thread. Were it not for the Forum, I may never have been able to view the two Cavett shows. How do you put a price on that?

I also happen to be mature enough so that ads don't bother or distract me. There's hardly a viable web site around that doesn't carry banners, etc. Sometimes they're rather useful in terms of investigating what's new, or what products are currently "hot."

A major part of my job in the real world is to deliver training programs on group process dynamics, including joint problem solving and collaboration. Brainstorming is a crtical element in the process. As someone else pointed out, the life span of a discussion group ebbs and flows. Brainstorming includes the ability to recognize peaks and valleys. When the group hits a valley, there is naturally a lull in activity. After an appropriate pause, one word or concept can trigger an upswing toward the peak once again.

I think the Forum works the same way. Although I know many prominent magic professionals for whom the Forum has become too insipid and mundane, I continue to regard this place as an important learning tool which one can visit as frequently or as seldom as is comfortable. Stay a while, or get in and out in seconds.

This place is still comfortable to me, and if it went away, there would be a significant void in my everyday magic activities/studies.

Without the patience and indulgence of RK, Dustin, and Maloney, I wouldn't have that valuable option. Oh, and to all of you who post regularly, intermittently, or simply troll, a heartfelt, "Thank you!"
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Postby the Larry » 05/17/10 02:18 PM

Of course the fastest way to failure is to ask those that are still here. Obviously they are still finding somethng here that keeps them coming back. All others already left. My suggestion is to look outside the forum and think how you can bring in new blood. But I guess it is easier to alient those that do not think like the in-crowd and the master of ceremonies. Good luck making Genii forum better.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/17/10 02:41 PM

All things are cyclical, as has been noted. It's easy to be a star when everyone is interested in you. How many magazines, magicians, magic publishers, and so on, have come and gone over the past 30 years?

Many. Most.

I have been publishing books since 1977 and have added various activities to my plate since then, including editing and publishing Genii, as well as doing my best to both create the Genii Forum and MagicPedia (both ideas of our webmaster, Brad Aldridge, who was 16 when he suggested I start the Forum), as well as keep them running and goose them whenever possible.

I agree that it appears a number of intelligent folks seem to have migrated away when I let [censored] post for a while. They don't seem to have come back. But I don't think they've gone to The Magic Cafe, either.

There are also a lot of other message boards on the internet right now. Most of them will eventually vanish. But like all other media, both electronic and printed, audiences move around from one to another, and the more that exist, the more splintered the audience becomes.

Posting regularly on the internet is something that sucks up a lot of your life, and which even those who enjoy it eventually come to resent if they have anything else going on. It's addictive. Some folks just quit cold, while others find an opportunity provided by, for example, the appearance of [censored], which creates the excuse they need to bail out.

The important part is that the Forum doesn't stop just because fewer people are posting--there are a group of us who are always here, and do our best to make it interesting or keep it going as time permits. We do all of this for free. It helps when others pitch in, as Jim Riser has kindly done, by running a contest, or making an interesting post that generates discussion.

The Genii Forum will continue through what is seemingly a fallow period--I hope you will make it more robust through contributing and asking your friends to post here as well.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 05/17/10 03:08 PM

The easiest thing in the world is to sit on the sidelines and take potshots. I am grateful to "the Larry" for pointing out that my opinion is the surest road to failure, and that I am a dupe of the groupthink propagated by the "in-crowd and the master of ceremonies."

Two questions for his Larriness:

1) Who's the in-crowd? Who are the "others that left."

2) Who are you behind the anonymity, and what are you doing beside suggesting what "we" have to do to make the Forum better?

Left unanswered, you have no standing, Mr. the Larry.

And strictly my opinion, but until you have something to bring to the table, please STFU.
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Postby the Larry » 05/17/10 04:21 PM

I have given a few suggestions in my prior posts in this thread as to how one could improve the forum. I am sorry I was naive to think it would actually achieve anything rather than create exactly those posts that make people leave. So I will take your wise suggestion and STFU.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 05/17/10 05:53 PM

When the Genii Forum first came online about ten years ago, I saw an explosion of information. There were many interesting and informative threads on just about everything. For a time there, it was almost impossible to keep up with all of the wonderful information that was appearing at a consistent rate on the Forum. It made me realize how little I knew after studying magic for over twenty years. The star had to start cooling off eventually.

I managed to copy a number of the threads back then that I thought valuable and filed them away. I still refer to them from time to time. There was a time when we didn't know if Jonathan Townsend was dead or alive. He was under the radar for quite a while, then one day he showed up and hasn't stopped posting. His literary output can be enigmatic at times, but I find it helps the metacognition: thinking about thinking.

Over the years, we've lost some great people who posted on the Forum every now and then like Geoff Latta and John Smetana. Others have disappeared for one reason or another. It's still very informative and a great place to buy and sell good used magic. I'm not complaining...Onward (With apologies to Racherbaumer).
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Postby mrgoat » 05/17/10 06:45 PM

Leonard Hevia wrote:When the Genii Forum first came online about ten years ago,


This is the earliest I could find...

Looks pretty sweet

http://web.archive.org/web/199801110042 ... azine.com/
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Postby magicam » 05/17/10 07:54 PM

AJM wrote:Whatever Became of the Genii Forum?


Andrew, your query has stimulated some good conversation, for that you should be pleased. Perhaps more later on this topic, but in the meantime, may I suggest that you not beat your head against the wall about it.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/17/10 11:24 PM

Goat--I've never even seen that site before. Must've been something Erika Larsen had someone put up well over a decade ago.
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Postby Seuss » 05/17/10 11:37 PM

Genii Lifetime Subscriber
Co-host Magic On the Side
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Postby Churchwell » 05/18/10 02:41 PM

The young are young and stick with the young doings. The old get older and tired of the same old thing
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Postby mrgoat » 05/18/10 03:00 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Goat--I've never even seen that site before. Must've been something Erika Larsen had someone put up well over a decade ago.


It's a WONDERFUL site. Look back through some of the classics like apple.com or microsoft.com

I can spend hours there :)
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Postby 000 » 05/19/10 08:34 AM

Pity Magicland's chief internet forum loiterer, [censored], who on the MC now calls himself Henrietta( revealing in itself I say) and sends PMs asking you to look at:

http://svengalipitchman.blogspot.com/20 and then click on
Ramblings of a magic genius.

I say pity 'cause the man does have some wit, I would admit.
Problem is, when he writes frequently, like a daily newspaper columnist, he starts writing crap.
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Postby flynn » 05/19/10 02:45 PM

I visit here pretty much everyday. I havent notice it decline. And certaintly not seen any decline since [censored] got booted. I'm glad RK took care of him. Yeah he had good advice and contributions but he's not the only one. I also like reading the older threads and not distracted by the ads either.
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Postby Roger M. » 05/20/10 11:03 AM

I don't have any issues whatsoever with the Genii Forum.
I enjoy the place, and visit at least once a day.
It doesn't always mean I agree with everything that takes place here......but I'm one user amongst hundreds.

Ultimately, the Genii Forum is a far more "honest" forum than the Magic Cafe could ever be.

People state what they think here, others agree or disagree, there are occasional issues with folks commenting about the personal traits of those posting rather than dealing with the actual subject matter being discussed.........but that happens in any forum.

Generally, the act of clicking on an internet link is a pro-active one........if you ultimately don't like where that link is taking you, don't click on it.
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Postby Brandon Hall » 05/20/10 01:57 PM

I visit daily and am honored (truly) to be in the company of such distinguished guests (and host)
"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"
P. Townshend
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Postby opie » 05/20/10 03:18 PM

I pop in here often, usually looking for some witty sayings by my buddy [censored]....Alas, I cannot always find him here, so I try to lessen my gloom by checking out humor/humour of folks who are currently on line....Here is a web of chuckles I obtained by Googling "Scotland humor"......
http://www.rampantscotland.com/humour/blhumourindex.htm -

Genii is not just a forum....The wiki is valuable, and almost every topic has some worthwhile information. It is fun, but like anything fun, it takes participation and maybe some comments that are constructive and/or humorous/humourous.....

I have been too afraid of what I might find should I Google [censored], but I am enjoying the Scotland web.....Oh, and where was Mark born and raised?

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Postby Jolly Roger » 05/20/10 10:09 PM

Is James Munton still a member of this forum? I always enjoyed his posts.......along with those of [censored]. I believe Mark was born in Pitlochry, and raised on the pier in Blackpool, but I could be wrong. I know his ancestors were Russian horse-thieves.

I enjoy the GF, but rarely post any more as I find so many posts dull and lacking in wit. JR
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/20/10 10:27 PM

I don't need the kind of "wit" provided by Mr. Lewis.
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Postby opie » 05/20/10 11:19 PM

Ten four.....opie
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