After reading the posts, I then went and read the artice. I agree with some, but disagree with some of it as well. I believe the problems with clubs lies elsewhere, than in the lurkers. Aren't the big problems the ones that cause people to be lurkers? Problems like the ones in this quote.
Why the lurkers don't perform is (a) laziness or indifference, (b) fear of criticism [from anyone], (c) fear that the presentation/patter/method will be stolen, (d) lack of confidence [they don't feel that they are "good enough"] or shyness, (e) lack of props ["Sorry, I haven't got anything on me"], (f) because they are terrible (and don't want anyone else to know), and/or (g) they are only interested in the method and can't actually perform any of it.
This I can see is true, however, shouldn't this be what the magic clubs should be working on? This is a lot more worthy of an article? Rather than point and say, "Look, a lurker" If you know these reasons, shouldn't you try to fix them?? I agree, with most of these reasons.
Reason C jumps out at me. I don't consider myself a lurker, but I don't perform at clubs very often, in fear of my routines being stolen. As many magicians don't perform there either. At least they don't perform their entire routine. There's nothing worse than performing at a club or a show and seeing magicians in the audience with a notepad. Why not attack and point out the people who do this theft. This hurts magicians far worse than lurkers.
All of these other reasons can be worked on. If the person is "terrible", than critique him in a positive manner. Keep in mind, however that one man's trash is another's treasure. I see some working pro's I think are horrible, yet they have a great following, so it works for them.
However, where does the collector and historian fit in? There are some that don't perform, yet it's wonderful to sit and pick their brain about magic. I know many that I love to run things by to get a better understanding on whether it's been done befor, who the credits belong to, and history of an effect, yet they can barely perform a double lift. I, for one, am thankful for these people.
One thing struck me as wrong, however. You mentioned that comedians don't get together and "tell jokes". This is not true, before I got into magic full-time, the comedy circuit was where I performed regularly doing stand-up and comedy magic. I will tell you with 100 percent certainty, we do. I still get together with many from the field and work on routines. Why? Because we brainstorm. We write down anything that strikes us as funny and try to work it into a bit. There are some things that we write, that we can't use, but others can. In turn, they may have a funny observation that they can't use, and give to us. It's a wonderful circle. This is not a club, just a group of close friends meeting and discussing their passion. Yet, I guess it would be nice to call that a club, after all, isn't that what a club should be?
I agree that the entire "magic club" system is flawed, but I think that there are many other things that need our attention without pointing out lurkers and trying to give them titles. There are ways to get people involved, making them feel more a part of the club, and pull them into the art. Why not write something on that? You mention the "virgin evenings" which I thought was a good idea, but only spent a paragraph on it? Write something on how to mentor. Don't just point out how bad things are, but show the clubs how to get better. If you don't think it could actually help, then why are you writing the article?
It's much better to be part of the solution, rather than just go around and point out problems.