Who is Lurking?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Geno Munari » 01/28/03 06:06 PM

Please don't take this as being a harsh topic or in anyway argumentive, but did you ever wonder who is really reading these posts and replying?

Some interesting handles come and go, that may pose out a problem or question. Maybe or maybe not for research or for themselves, or for another peridodical.

It is a true perfect theory to believe everyone is on the square.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 01/28/03 06:13 PM

Another reason, IMHO, not to love anonymous posts.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/28/03 06:37 PM

Originally posted by Geno Munari:
It is a true perfect theory to believe everyone is on the square.
re: who is Lurking? Gee, between all the multiple personalities, and spirits being chanelled and the dear departed who seem to insist on having something to say to the living this is a real tough question.

Yeah, I find the screen name thing being abused when several such 'names' are getting into direct argument. Such might have been clever way back when le bon mot and le mot juste were understood. As it happens the Battle of the books has been fought and won by TVGuide. This is what you get when one is conisdered a 'deep' reader because one knows the word 'facile'.

One vote for Real Names here. And on this all my personalities and chanelled visitors agree. :D
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/28/03 10:39 PM

Yah Geno... I vote for real names... credibility fades and responsibility vanishes with these silly handles... :D :p :D
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/28/03 10:58 PM

There was a thread on this subject some time ago (seems like yesterday).

The problem is that there is no effective way to ensure true identities on a FREE site such as this. (And I don't expect that Richard would even consider a pay/registration system that uses credit cards to verify identity--who's going to administer THAT?) You can make the fako-namo go away by requiring "real" names, but you cannot prevent false identities. So it's a mute point.

Impossible. Can't happen. No way, Jos.

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Postby David Alexander » 01/28/03 11:10 PM

I agree that real names should be used, so from now on I will use my real name - Dustin Biro. ;)
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/28/03 11:17 PM

My real name is Arshag Shishmama.

Actually there was a guy with that name. When I travelled with Francisco's Midnight Spook Show, Francisco ran into the guy and did use the name for something... but we settled on my stage name, which was "Count Zamora" -- Zamora was a name of a small town in Central California.

Them wuz the daze... :eek: :D :eek:

Oh how about Dustin D. Marks... wrote some blackjack books. Wonder what his real name is.

And, Alexander me bucko... I honestly believe YOU finally tracked down Erdnase (the guy you thought it was that lived near the train station? Or was it??? Refresh our memory glands, please??? :confused:
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Postby David Alexander » 01/29/03 12:30 AM

Pete or Arshag ("Shaggy"?) for those of us who are close....

Anyway, my candidate for Erdnase was a mining engineer from Montana...not a guy named Andrews who lived near a train station found by Dick Hatch. Erdnase was never a guy named Andrews.

My wife had a client whose name was Lester Detblefs and another client named D'Abo Shellypans.

We once worked with a guy who knew a woman whose child's name was pronounced "Shuh-Thaid," with the emphasis on the last syllable, but not spelled that way... Poor kid. I expect she'll grow up and kill her parents some day.
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Postby Geno Munari » 01/29/03 06:00 AM

Hey Pete:

Re: Dustin

This is really interesting. In the L & L ad they claim that he never was caught. I got news for you. Ryan, I mean Dustin was fired from the IP Hotel (abbreviated) by my friend and co-worker at the time) Bill Kirchner. Bill was senior man in casino operations, and a very ,very talented rounder.
Ryan was suposedly caught in a disguise as a female trying to play Blackjack. No kidding.

Sincerely,
Iranum Oneg
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/29/03 10:53 AM

Thanks for the info Geno... How's the Grippo stuff coming??? Inquiring Minds want to know! :confused:
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/29/03 11:18 AM

Just for the record it is possible to have a policy that everyone must register using their real name. (With allowance made for performers whose stage names are an established part of their identity in the world of magic.)

All Richard has to do is announce that everyone on the Genii Forum has to register using their real name.

It is also possible to enforce it. It may not be possible to enforce it perfectly, but what is? Just because you can't do something perfectly doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

Ware already a self-policing community to some extent. We even have a whistle-blower button.

All that has to happen is for Richard to establish real names as the policy, then instruct people to alert the powers that be when someone violates this rule.

This isn't so different from the current steps we take now for the Mark Lewises of the world.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 01:02 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Just for the record it is possible to have a policy that everyone must register using their real name.
Of course it's possible to have a policy. Anybody can make policy.

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Just because you can't do something perfectly doesn't mean it's not worth doing.
You are not factoring in the futility of such an endeavor. How do you guarantee that the name is real? You can't, that's the reality. The last thing the administrators of this site need to do is chase down every email and IP address to find out if it's *POSSIBLE* that someone is using a fake name whenever a whistleblower *THINKS* someone may be using a fake name. I'm sure it's tough enough for them to stay on top of the goofballs that emerge on a continuing basis. If someone wishes to remain anonymous, they are going to be able to whether we like it or not. There's not a lot of difference between “John Smith” and “P&Tfan.” One might be obvious, but they are both just as fake. I could have registered under either one as easily as I did Jim Tom Pinch.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/29/03 01:43 PM

Jim Tom Pinch:

I don't usually like to engage anonymous posters, but in your case I'll make an exception :-)

Did you read my post? I'm not sure if you did. I think I clearly stated that my suggestion would not guarantee anything. I also said that I don't think the impossibility of ensuring perfect compliance doesn't mean rules aren't worth making and enforcing.

None of the rules on the forum are perfectly enforceable. Would you eliminate them too?

We already police the forum against people who break the rules. Changing the rules will not change the amount of policing that needs to be done.

Mostly, though, I think you are severely misestimating the effect of Richard simply making a no-fake-names policy. I think most of the people here who post under fake names would stop doing so if it were against the rules. There are only a very few people who persist in breaking the rules of the forum. I can't see any reason why this rule would be any different.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 02:32 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
I don't usually like to engage anonymous posters, but in your case I'll make an exception :-)
Anonymous? What makes you think that? How can you be sure that I am not who I say I am? Just because I have what some think is a goofy name? You try living with it.

Yes, I read your post, and yes, I know you said it can't be guaranteed. My point is, why bother at all? Making such a policy will NOT stop fake names. Those few who "break" the rules will continue to do so. Those who wish to remain anonymous will continue to do so, that's all. They will not go away, they will only find another way. But actually, I really don't care one way or the other.

By the way, do you have any connection with McCabe's Guitar Shop?
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 01/29/03 02:40 PM

Don't you people remember when I suggested that posting on the Genii Forum should be a privilege of subscription to Genii Magazine, and that posting could only be done under the name on the mailing label? Do you remember how that idea was soundly booed? Well, I still think it's a great idea that makes all the sense in the world and would relieve almost all of the Forum's problems.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 02:56 PM

Now THERE is an interesting idea. But I do see a flaw or two. Not all readers of Genii subscribe. They buy it in a magic shop, like yours truly. You see, mail and I seldom catch up with each other, but I can usually find myself in a city with a shop where I can pick up the latest issues of Genii and Magic. So the new guy is out under Ms. Cousins idea. No loss, I'm sure. But aren't there other people that post GOOD stuff here that do not subscribe? What about them? Other then those two things, it IS a good, workable idea.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/29/03 03:13 PM

Jim,

Sorry for the joke. I had misread your previous post and thought you were saying that you had registered under a fake name to make a point.

My bad.

I think Lisa's idea has a lot of merit. Richard could easily offer complimentary membership in the board for non-subscribers whose presence will make it a better place.

But I still think that if there were a policy against anonymous postings, people would stop doing it. I don't see people repeatedly breaking the other rules of the forum.

Even if this stopped only half the anonymous postings, it would, in my opinion, make the forum a better place.

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Postby Dave Shepherd » 01/29/03 03:29 PM

I agree with Pete 100%.

Jim Tom Pinch (who apparently lives in "The Road") argues that we won't be able to stop everybody who might possibly use a fake name if there were a rule requiring real names. Therefore, according to Jim Tom Pinch, RK and the powers that be would be foolish to try.

This is not much of an argument.

What Pete is proposing is a set of rules for civil courtesy. The Genii Board already has quite a strict set of interpersonal mores in place, whether we all realize it or not. Just compare the discourse here with that in other forums and you'll see what I mean.

I second Pete's motion to reinforce peer pressure with an official "real names" policy.

Dave Shepherd, from Vienna, Virginia, USA
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Postby mrgoat » 01/29/03 03:31 PM

Obviously I am using a fakename, it's my 'online' name.

It is far from anonymous. I am a registered member of this forum (also, incidently, a IRL subscriber). My IP is logged when I post. If you look at my membership details you can see my real name and my website.

I use IRC, Usenet, this board and several others. I don't want every freak and stalker out there knowing my real name, so I don't use it in all but my professional activities online.

I can see people having an issue with hit and run trolls - Usenet is full of them - but I really don't see how using a fakename here is a problem given the above known about me by the administrators and public.

Lots of love

Damian Jennings (or is THAT fake too?)
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Postby Geno Munari » 01/29/03 05:43 PM

This forum is a forum and not a newspaper or periodical.. Over the years their editorials faced the same problems however very few posted letters from anonymous.
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Postby Jeff Eline » 01/29/03 06:44 PM

I think a good example of the problems of fake names occurred in another thread "cutting one card higher."

An anonymous poster (New Guy) chastised what I thought was an innocent enough question. When he was challenged on his response, he got, in my opinion , very belligerent, pompous and arrogant.

It turns out that Darwin Ortiz was hosting a Q&A on the Magic Cafe website and on his final day of questions, posted an essay on the merits of originality and it seems amazingly close to the responses of New Guy.

Now, Richard has checked the IP's of New Guy and Darwin and they don't match. But there are ways around that (two different accounts). I really don't know if it is him.

My point is, if it was Mr. Ortiz, wouldn't it have given the discussion more legitimacy? I'm sure New Guy would argue that it doesn't matter - facts are facts, no matter who presents them.

But I disagree. If I'm debating economics with my neighbor (who can't balance his checkbook), I'm not going to take what he says very seriously. However, if I'm speaking with Alan Greenspan and he says the exact same thing, I will take notice. Like it or not, that's life.

Secondly, if it was Mr. Ortiz and we all knew it, maybe the tone would have been different. Maybe not - but who knows
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 07:08 PM

Originally posted by Dave Shepherd:
I agree with Pete 100%.
Viva democracy!

Jim Tom Pinch (who apparently lives in "The Road")…
There is a TREMENDOUS difference between IN and ON. Not counting a PO Box (primarily for certain unavoidable government requirements) and a relative's home (for other necessities, such as my computer link to the world) my address is a license plate attached to 30 feet of diesel-powered vehicle I call home (currently in Palm Springs, CA).

…argues that we won't be able to stop everybody who might possibly use a fake name if there were a rule requiring real names. Therefore, according to Jim Tom Pinch, RK and the powers that be would be foolish to try.
Not foolish. It would be a complete waste of THEIR valuable time and would only provide you a FALSE sense of “security” (for lack of a better word) since it will NOT get rid of what you perceive as a problem.

This is not much of an argument.
So you are of the belief that creating rules (laws) will rid us of our problems. Have a look around. The ONLY people that obey laws are law-abiding people. People that want to get around the rules will always find a way to get around the rules. Short of making this a private site, there's nothing that can be done that will work. Pete thinks it may stop half the offenders. Pete is an optimist. Good for you, Pete! But what about the other half? You will just accept them? Figure that they are the ones that slipped through the cracks? Of course, you really have no way of knowing, do you? And then, of course, the others will slowly find their way back, coming up with real enough sounding names that they will go unnoticed too.

It's futile. That's all I'm saying. I know, it's not much of an argument. So I'm not going to argue anymore. Sorry to have bothered you all.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/29/03 07:39 PM

All I have to say is: My brain hurts just thinking about it all. I will go along with whatever Richard says we'll do, but if we get to vote, I vote that we not worry about it. Of course, this isn't a democracy (woo-hoo!): it's a benevolent dictatorship! Our dictator made his feelings known the last time this discussion came up. My brain hurts less when I think about that.

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Postby Geno Munari » 01/29/03 07:46 PM

I have to apologize to all the anonymous posters because what else can you do if there is not an area to place your name in the member profile.
Here is my profile and there is not a place to put your real nombre.

Member Status: Member
Member Number: 271
Registered: July 31, 2001
Posts: 147
Email Address: munari@msn.com
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Occupation: Self employed
Homepage: http://www.houdini.com
Interests: A to Z
Favorite type of Magic: Close up
Favorite Magician: Jimmy Grippo and Johnny Paul
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/29/03 08:14 PM

I guess you could put your name in where it asks, "Favorite Magician." ??? :p
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Postby Bill Duncan » 01/29/03 10:01 PM

Originally posted by Lisa Cousins:
...I suggested that posting on the Genii Forum should be a privilege of subscription to Genii Magazine...Well, I still think it's a great idea that makes all the sense in the world and would relieve almost all of the Forum's problems.
Well, it would take away the only recurring sale my local magic shop makes off of me and force me to purchase issues even if I'm not interested in the contents but if it will really solve all those problems then, heck, I'm all for it!

How do you suppose those who dislike Mr. Lewis would feel about his purchasing a subscription?
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/30/03 04:42 PM

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
How do you suppose those who dislike Mr. Lewis would feel about his purchasing a subscription?
Ah, the presumption being he is not already a subscriber. <g>

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Postby Bill Duncan » 01/30/03 08:41 PM

Originally posted by John W. LeBlanc:
John LeBlanc (would I make that up?)
Hell, I would! What a great name for a wizard:
John the White

It's a far sight better than Bill the Brown Warrior.
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Postby mark » 01/31/03 02:25 AM

Well, now you guys have me feeling guilty. I am not under an assumed name here by choice. My name is Mark Jensen, but it seems there is another Mark Jensen already registered. I tried the case sensitive route to push it through anyway, but that didn't seem to be working. Then I decided that it just wouldn't really have been all that good a thing if it had, for our identities would no doubt be mixed up on a regular basis. For the record, I am a level headed, lucid, moderately intelligent guy. That *other* Mark Jensen on the other hand.... JUST KIDDING MARK!!! There, I have made a clean break with all of you and my secret is out. I am Mark Jensen, a 45 year old disabled vet, medically retired from Coast Guard aviation with a bum back and a couple of messed up legs. I prefer close up magic, and my influences run the gamut from Robert-Houdin to Roth, from Bobo to Burger. I feel so absolutely honored to come at least this close to so many of you on the Forum that I consider brilliant magical thinkers. (You know who you are) Thanks for letting me get this off my chest - the burden was getting almost too much to bear. Please don't think I am making light of the topic, as I dislike troublemaking trolls as much as anyone. As for the subscription issue, it might work out for the better, Mr. Kaufman- I buy mine every month from my local magic shop, but if you were to boot me off of the Forum unless I were a subscriber, I would just have to subscribe. Thanks again,

Mark Jensen
The other one, in
Northern California
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/31/03 05:57 PM

I'm at the Columbus Magi-Fest in Ohio at the moment, trying to sell subscriptions to Genii!
My position on this issue has not changed. I don't think there are a lot of problems on the Forum at the moment. Threads where anonymous posters are a pain in the ass eventually get spotted and the moderators delete or modify the posts, or simply shut that thread down.
Even if we required a "real" name, that name could be made up: how could we check if that is the person's real name? We can't, and we don't have the time to even begin such a task if it were possible.
So, we will just have to muddle along: the more "Moderator Alerts" we receive when things are going off the rails the tidier we can keep things!
I will NOT penalize the thousands of Genii readers who purchase their copies at magic shops! It isn't fair and there's no reason they should be barred from participating on the forum.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 08:11 PM

Yay Richard!
Sincerely,
The Cloth Covered Wire Form Representing a Human Being (or Asrah, for short.) :D
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Postby Mark Jensen » 01/31/03 11:21 PM

Hello from the other Mark Jensen. Or are there really two of us, or 3 or ...could we be clones?
I'll never tell.

Hey Mark, What's your middle initial? Mines A. You have any relatives hanging out in Iowa? (I'm not sure, but it seems like I'm related to half the state).

Mark A Jensen (Wish it was Rockerfeller, but I can't seem to get anyone to believe the baby switch at the hospital theory).
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Postby Guest » 02/09/03 07:14 PM

The message is more important than who the messanger is.
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Postby Guest » 02/09/03 09:52 PM

Sez who? ;)
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Postby John LeBlanc » 02/10/03 12:57 AM

Originally posted by Whit Haydn:
Sez who? ;)
Precisely the point, isn't it?

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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/10/03 08:07 AM

Originally posted by mr.e:
The message is more important than who the messanger is.
Unfortunately, that's not true. While it would be nice if we could just evaluate what's been said and not who said it, that's not how the real world works.

If I made a statement about magic theory that was a bit unconventional, why should you believe me? I'm just a hobbyist, a serious student of the art, but a hobbyist all the same.

However, if Whit Haydn made a similar statement, well then, you better take notice. As a seasoned professional, he has more credibility than most on this board.

So, I believe it does matter who is posting and I believe its another reason against fake names (although I know that will never change).
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/10/03 12:24 PM

There is no such thing as just a message. There is always a message and a messenger. Even in the case of the most straightforward recitation of the facts, the facts themselves do not stand along. The source must always be considered.

For example, I have read at least 25 times in the past three months, in newspapers, magazines, and online, that the U.N. weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq last time around.

I've read it so much that it's getting hard for me to remember that it isn't true. The U.N. weapons inspectors left entirely of their own accord.

Full disclosure: They claimed that Saddam was not fully cooperating with them, which is true; he wasn't, because he believed the U.S. was using the inspections to plant surveillance devices, which is also true, as the U.S. has since admitted.

But don't take my word for it. I'm just the messenger.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/03 12:37 PM

Originally posted by Jeff Eline:
Originally posted by mr.e:
[b]The message is more important than who the messanger is.
Unfortunately, that's not true.

How can you prove that?

"While it would be nice if we could just evaluate what's been said and not who said it, that's not how the real world works."

I'm sorry you can't evaluate something on its substance and are only influenced by who said it.

"If I made a statement about magic theory that was a bit unconventional, why should you believe me?"

I would believe you if the thought had merit and showed some truth.

"However, if Whit Haydn made a similar statement, well then, you better take notice. As a seasoned professional, he has more credibility than most on this board."

Just because Whit Hayden or Eugene Burger says something doesn't make it true, right or valid. Copperfield has writers that form his scripts, do you expect him to credit his writers during performance ? would that give him more credibitilty? Here's another example, a seven year old child was ask who they wanted to be when they grew up, they responded, "me, I've tried being other people and it just didn't work out." I just don't feel or think that if one only responds to something because they are famous is a prudent path to take, in fact I feel it's quite superficial. There is wisdom out there, and it comes from famous and non-famous people.

"So, I believe it does matter who is posting..."

On what grounds? You've given your opinion just as everyone does.

I once read some anonymous graffiti once which said, "We are all the same, we are all individuals." And I've never forgotten that statement which says a lot in a few words, it's very profound, does it matter who said it ? no.
[/b]
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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/10/03 01:12 PM

Originally posted by mr.e:

Just because Whit Hayden or Eugene Burger says something doesn't make it true, right or valid.
I never said that. I simply pointed out that because of their performance experience and published record, I believe what they say has more weight than an anonymous poster.

Let me ask a hypothetical question... and I know no sane person would do this, but for the sake of argument... If you were posting a health question about a serious illness in your family, who would you trust: a noted physician or an anonymous poster?
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Postby John LeBlanc » 02/10/03 02:16 PM

Originally posted by Jeff Eline:
Originally posted by mr.e:
[b]
Just because Whit Hayden or Eugene Burger says something doesn't make it true, right or valid.
I never said that. I simply pointed out that because of their performance experience and published record, I believe what they say has more weight than an anonymous poster.
[/b]
Let's go further than that.

As a consequence of their acknowledged experience, the opinions of Whit and Eugene carry more weight than the identical opinion propounded by an anonymous poster.

This is a concept difficult, if not impossible to embrace by many of our anonymous brethren.


Let me ask a hypothetical question... and I know no sane person would do this, but for the sake of argument... If you were posting a health question about a serious illness in your family, who would you trust: a noted physician or an anonymous poster?
Neither, of course. Isn't the right answer to consult a Yahoo! discussion group? <g>

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