Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

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Mahdi Gilbert
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Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 15th, 2019, 2:48 pm

http://beforemagic.com/themagicway/2019 ... amp-exposs

Youtube Algorithm Linking Performances & Exposés

Part of a series on what I’m calling The War On Magic.

This all started with a click.

Someone sent me a link to a Youtube video. I clicked it and watched a television interview that included the performance of a magic trick. I watched the entire video and as it is ending Youtube gives you a preview of what the next video on auto-play is with a countdown:

5…
I see playing cards in the thumbnail…
4…
Must be another magic video…
3…
No, wait, it’s a magic exposé video…
2…
It’s the same trick that I just watched performed…
1…
How is this happening? I must know…
I immediately started looking into the video itself.

The title was innocent enough. No mention of specific magic tricks or trick creators.

The description was innocent enough. Just a little description about the performer and that he performs magic.

The keywords were innocent enough. I right clicked the page and clicked “View Page Source” which shows you all the hidden coding on the page including keywords and metadata on the actual page itself. It mentioned some famous magicians who had nothing to do with the video (David Blaine, David Copperfield, etc), no doubt a method to try and increase traffic but still no mention of the piece of magic’s name or the creator of the magic effect.

The comments were innocent enough. No magic exposure in the comments or mention of techniques or names of effects.

The linking of the performance videos to their exposé videos was happening inside of Youtube.
I took all my knowledge of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning and began investigating Youtube’s constantly evolving internal systems to try to understand how all of this was happening.

These are my findings.

THE AGENDA

Marketing companies spend money to run advertisements on Youtube.

Youtube makes money from both views of the ads & clicks of the ads.

The more videos a person watches the more advertisements they are exposed to.

Youtube calls the time a person spends on their platform a “session”.

The longer a user’s session is, the more money Youtube makes from the marketing companies.

Youtube develops a constantly evolving algorithm that is designed to prolong your session.

THE GOAL IS TO KEEP YOU ON YOUTUBE

This algorithm is making decisions, based on many factors, to suggest videos that you, as a user might be interested in.

These videos will appear on the sidebar as a suggested video as well as the homepage.

These suggestions are based on what the system has recognized as having potential for you to click on.

Youtube is able to make these determinations based on metadata, internal data that is being collected by the platform as well as data collected by Google through it’s other projects (Google Mail, Chrome, Maps, etc).

THE METADATA

Youtube used to only get metadata from title of a video, the uploader, the written description of the video, and the comments.

Times have changed though and the technology is evolving.

AUDIO METADATA

Youtube now automatically runs voice recognition software to create a transcript from the video. The system is able to recognize speech and the transcript is openly used in their subtitles/closed captioning system.

You can see the whole transcript by clicking on ••• at the bottom right of a video and then clicking on “Open Transcript”.

Internally, the system is able to create more metadata based on sounds outside of speech such as recognizing the sound of rain or a car honking.

This information is also used to find content that the machine predicts you will interact with.

For example, let’s take my performance of Oil & Water on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us. The transcript contains about 1300 words. The words are ranked internally based on how common they are and their order. Certain words like “interlace”, “cards”, “red”, “black”, “sleight of hand” stand out because they are less common than “hello”, “welcome”, “take a seat”, and “thank you”. Also they become important to the machine in terms of how they group together as those groupings or similar groupings appear in other videos.

Youtube will recognize certain keywords and language patterns used in my speech in other videos. These other videos are often people performing the same effect or exposing the effect. There are people sitting at home in front of their cameras exposing real magic techniques using similar language that I am using in my performance.

The algorithms understand these patterns and suggest videos revealing secrets to the magic trick you are watching in a performance video.

This metadata is also translated into every language and interfacing internally with every other piece of metadata in the system.

Which means you could have someone performing magic in Spanish and the algorithm could connect it with an explanation or exposé in English.

VIDEO METADATA

Google’s use of Inception also is the tip of the spear in terms of image-recognition neural networks. The technology can identify the contents of an image and is improving exponentially. Youtube is able to not only decipher the metadata in a video’s thumbnail, it is able to process every single frame of a video as an image and cross-examine it in their internal systems. This technology has allowed them to keep their platform friendly to advertisers by automatically detecting nudity, extreme violence, and other types of content that is prohibited by their Terms of Service.

As the technology advances the machine will not only be able to recognize that a person in a video is performing a piece of card magic. It will look at the layout of the cards, such as the classic T formation used in many Ace Assemblies, to further identify the content of the video.

This information will be used to suggest videos which expose the secrets of the magic presented in the performance video.

USER PATTERNS

One of the most common questions magicians hear is,

“How did you do that?”
The audience doesn’t really want to know. This is just an instinctual reaction to witnessing something unknown.

With Youtube people ask the machine the same question in a different way. They may not know the name of the magic effect but they can describe it in the “Search”.

Someone could see me on Penn & Teller and then type in “Card magic trick three red three black revealed tutorial” and many videos will pop up of people exposing various methods of the classic Oil & Water plot.

Let’s say 1000 people watch my performance video. Then 50 of them search for the secret of the magic. They click on what they think is an explanation of the magic effect. Youtube sees this as a pattern of behavior which prolongs the users sessions. It will start linking those two videos together.

With this technology someone could potentially have a completely silent act, with no audio metadata, and have their performance videos linked to explanation videos because of the pattern of behavior the users exhibit on the platform.

This machine learning would take place even though there is no relevant metadata. Let’s say you ran an experiment.

You have 1000 people view a specific 5 minute video of a tree. You then have them immediately search for and watch a specific 2 minute video of the moon. Those are totally unrelated videos with unrelated metadata but despite that the algorithm would understand that somehow they are related and extend a user’s Youtube session so it would internally link those two videos together.

With magic, even though only a small percentage will search for the secret of a magic trick on Youtube after watching a performance it will effect the viewing experience of all users as exposés will be suggested to them.

This means that any video of magic on Youtube has the potential to be linked to an exposé by an intelligence that is unknowingly destroying magic in an invisible war.

No one heard or saw the first shots in The War On Magic.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jack Shalom » March 15th, 2019, 3:36 pm

Thanks, Mahdi.
From your description, part of it is like Amazon's "people who read this book also enjoyed/ordered..."
But the transcript analysis was new to me. Holy Batscript--I never noticed the transcript button before.
And the frame by frame visual analysis--a few years ago I would have said that no one has the computing capacity to do that on the billions of videos uploaded to YouTube. Now, I'm not so sure about the limits of Google's capacity.
The worst for me is the use of our other personal data like email to inform their algorithms. I have one story about that that creeped me out no end. I had a friend named Dani who passed away. I never mentioned it online, only to others on my email. The next day, Amazon regaled me with requests to purchase a whole series of books with Dani in the title.
I guess I'm saying that it's bad for magic, but that's just a drop in the bucket of what it means to the rest of our lives.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 15th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Mahdi, and your point is?
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 15th, 2019, 4:04 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Mahdi, and your point is?


You are right. Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Nothing to see.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 15th, 2019, 4:27 pm

There are a few things you can do. But first, try looking at that same performance video on someone else's YouTube session/PC.

Among other things you can do is upload "unboxing" videos with specious explanations - think bogons... (<-- yes that's a callback).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEnHeER6Sww
https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-the-yout ... thm-works/
Rule 34 (Athena?)

The war is ...(you know the speech from Videodrome)... over what used to be called "headspace" and now often called narrative.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Bill Mullins » March 15th, 2019, 4:29 pm

I took Mahdi's point(s) to be,
- Your magic hobby is no longer your own -- it is your brand, and how you are marketed to by Google.
- The videos you post are no longer a one-way transmission of information from you to the viewer. They are the start of a conversation between advertisers and viewers. But you don't get to hear it.

By the time my son is my age, privacy will be a quaint old-fashioned notion, like "dialing" a phone, or putting aluminum foil on rabbit-ear antennnas to make the reception better.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 15th, 2019, 4:37 pm

You can be watching a magic video anonymously (meaning from a public/borrowed device not associated to you or your magic interest) with the same results.

Every single video of a magic performance is being linked to videos exposing that very same magic effect.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Peter Ross » March 15th, 2019, 8:40 pm

I Googled "Mahdi Gilbert Fool Us" and although I didn't see any reveal videos on the sidebar while I was watching it, I did notice on the search results page that a reveal video of your trick was the fourth result.

I think I understand how having your nationally televised appearance forever be in close proximity to an amateur's reveal of the trick would make you ticked off. However, I don't think we can characterize the current algorithmic design of YouTube, et al, as a "war on magic." If anything, videos of performing magic online might be viewed as collateral damage on a much larger war on individual privacy and agency.

When you say, "Every single video of a magic performance is being linked to videos exposing that very same magic effect," I have to consider the actual effect the exposure videos have on the performances they're linked with as well as magic in general. I'm assuming that ninety-nine percent of people who watch your YouTube Fool Us magic performance for the first time are fooled and are entertained. Mission accomplished. Now, in older times, people would have no choice but to be left with the mystery after a performance, most likely forever, which magicians generally assume to be a good thing. But now, in the situation you describe, people may be left with the mystery for only a few seconds before they can click on a reveal video (If that video autoplays, then they don't even have a choice - a situation that I don't agree with). But if it is left to a choice, no matter how tackily and obtrusive it is presented, then I don't believe any harm is done. Most people will not click on the reveal video, and the ones that do may actually come to appreciate your performance even more. Is mystery in perpetuity always necessary?

If you want to call online video exposure a War on Magic, then I would suggest leaving the battlefield. Those who use online videos to promote, sell and express their magic have to reap what they've sown in the form of these tacky exposure videos. In contrast, live performances will always be untouchable, and better than magic on video anyway.

Mahdi, I have seen you perform live and it was exhilarating and mysterious. That is precious, so who cares if a few people Google something from your act afterward? It means you left an impression on them. Live is where it's at. Don't sweat the video stuff.

respectfully,

PR

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Chris Aguilar » March 15th, 2019, 9:13 pm

Image

It's the death of magic!

Again. ;)

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 15th, 2019, 10:53 pm

My point is, Mahdi, that there is nothing we can do about it.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 15th, 2019, 10:59 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:My point is, Mahdi, that there is nothing we can do about it.


That's not true.

They adapt based on the pressure that is applied to them.

For example, gun videos used to be very popular on Youtube but then they had a lot of pressure to remove firearm videos from the platform.

Now they have special guidelines for videos on Firearms: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/7667605?hl=en

Youtube could sit down with magicians to discuss on how to handle the algorithm pairing magic performances with explanations. It could be as simple as having a special tag (magic) which lets the algorithm know not to link it with any other videos with the same tag.
Sort of like how tags and metadata link together right now there could be a set of tags that repel certain tags or metadata in the algorithm.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 15th, 2019, 11:12 pm

I genuinely don't believe that YouTube is going to sit down with magicians, a tiny group of people. Guns are a huge issue, with millions of people on both sides of the issue. Hundreds of millions. Facebook doesn't give a crap about a group of 10,000 people.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Daniel Z » March 16th, 2019, 7:44 am

While I'm sure he didn't delve into the mechanisms involved (algortihms, etc) weren't similar concerns and the idea of trying to get Youtube onboard raised on this forum some time back by the inimitable Mark Lewis. I believe he was suggesting an appeal to the CEO or some other power at Youtube. I should add that I think Peter Ross raises a very interesting point about the possibly changing nature of magical entertainment. In any case personally I'm convinced by Richard's assessment of the situation.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Al Schneider » March 16th, 2019, 9:27 am

I invented Matrix.

How many times has Matrix been performed, exposed, and taught?

Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?

Some punk puts out a card trick and calls it Matrix. I posted a comment about the right to use that name. His response was, “Who the hell are you?”

One day a pic of someone doing Matrix on the Youtube main page appeared. Some teenager is teaching Matrix on his bed with his crotch as the background. I questioned why he reveals MY trick. Then I get bombarded with punks dissing me for criticizing the kid’s performance. I look into it and find that if I continue challenging this kid’s right to teach my trick, I could be libel for harassment.

Then, how many magicians from our own ranks are putting up tricks and exposing them.

Some say it is the sign of technology and new times.

I don’t think so.

How many of those from our own ranks have used Matrix to line their own pockets? I got tired of making a list long ago.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 16th, 2019, 10:39 am

Magic faces an existential threat with Youtube's emerging artificial intelligence.

It is not only linking videos of magic performances with explanation videos, it is PAIRING them!

It's like a puzzle/riddle (the magic) + with the solution (explanation).

Youtube is packaging them together.

All short videos (one effect, 2-10 minutes long) will be paired with it's relevant explanation video.

All long videos (TV specials: multiple effects, 20+ minutes long) will be paired with long form videos explaining all the effects in that TV program before they chopped up and reuploaded as shorter clips to match with their relevant explanation videos.

If you want a vision of the future in the next 10-20 years picture this:

All magic on Youtube is matched with relevant video explanations as well as literature references (the data is interfacing with Google Books, basically all magic literature is and will be scanned, OCRed, and then that data will interface with Youtube to show you ads or suggested content).

The image recognition combined with the language recognition is going to reach a point where the machine can identify what magic trick you are performing in real-time.

Meaning in the next 10-20 years you can be doing walkaround magic and someone can pull out their phone and do a livestream on Youtube of your performance and the machine will know what you are performing in realtime (even predict what effects you will perform) and suggest explanations to the audiences phones and to their audiences (the people watching their video).

I realize that this seems like science fiction to some people but I would highly suggest you research the technology that exists (and where it's going) and how it will effectively kill magic.

Youtube (Google) can KILL magic in the next 20 years as the technology progresses.

I would rather magicians pay attention now and start thinking about how to deal with this unstoppable technology before it kills magic.

Also, the implication that Google doesn't care isn't true. No one has had an intelligent dialogue with them. They have methods of dealing with sensitive information (firearms, explosives, nuclear, military data, etc) that I would believe that magic falls into a sensitive information category.

I don't think Google wants to unintentionally destroy an art form.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Al Schneider » March 16th, 2019, 12:01 pm

About 15 years ago I lived in Hopkins, a suburb of Minneapolis. There was a coffee shop on Main Street where I did magic Friday night. I had a small table in the back and invited people back there to watch a bit of magic. One evening a boy of about ten years old was sitting at the table. I did some tricks and he seemed to enjoy them. Then I did Matrix. After the first move this kid pointed at cards and described with precision what I was going to do as the trick progressed. He enjoyed telling the other five people at the table how it all worked.

Mahdi Gilbert, you are right. When do we start?
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 16th, 2019, 12:18 pm

There is no "start." That boat sailed long ago.
The internet is the wild west, and that's not going to change anytime soon, if at all.
Mahdi's analysis may be correct, but it's irrelevant to the reality of the situation.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Joe Mckay » March 16th, 2019, 12:36 pm

Andy over at The Jerx has some interesting thoughts on this discussion.

I linked to them as part of a post I wrote on this topic.

https://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=50842&start=40#p346132

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Al Schneider » March 16th, 2019, 12:47 pm

Well, for me it already started.
I came up with Matrix when I was 17.
Many people ripped it out of my hands.
Some time ago, Richard put it in Genii and allowed me to write up its true history.
Thanks to that, I think my name is associated with Matrix.
I am indebted to him for that.
Sorry, I am getting emotional about this.
Al
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Dave Le Fevre » March 16th, 2019, 1:11 pm

Al Schneider wrote:After the first move this kid pointed at cards and described with precision what I was going to do as the trick progressed

I'm sure that were I in that situation many years ago, I'd have continued performing. (And in fact, come to think of it, I was once in a vaguely similar situation. And yes, I continued.)

However, I think that the only response is to smile, say "Well, in that case there's no point in me performing it for you", and put my coins and cards back in my pocket.

Al Schneider wrote:He enjoyed telling the other five people at the table how it all worked

That shows just how shallow he was.

Dave

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 16th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Mahdi Gilbert wrote:...
Youtube (Google) can KILL magic in the next 20 years as the technology progresses.
...I don't think Google wants to unintentionally destroy an art form.


Yeah it would be annoying for someone to take a short performance clip and have google return some clips of folks who are doing the trick better.

Our literature (such as it is) is often written by lawyers who've made it a point to demonstrate that what's in the documents are not in any way protected from use outside of base copying of the fixed form. Those notions, habits and the texts themselves are truly public domain. That's the sand upon which our castles are built on the beach. Anyone can walk into a toy store and get the latest marvel from Tenyo.

As to why someone would want to post a technical discussion of tricks you are publicly performing ... different matter. I was hoping YouTube handled private/password protection on videos. That seems a matter of courtesy.

Right to be ignored? Something new apart from trademark, copyright, and trade secret? That was touched upon in Gibson's Zero History story - a glyph which makes the search engines ignore an item. A more scary side of search engines was described in Cory Doctorow's story "Scroogled" available free for reading on his site.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Al Schneider » March 16th, 2019, 4:48 pm

My point is that this problem with magic has been going on before I was born. The technology is making it more pervasive or perhaps bringing it more attention.

And it hasn’t really changed magic that much.

There are clubs that will go into the street and bring in people to join THE CLUB.

I am a computer expert. I am not worried what machines will eventually do to us. I am worried how some people will program machines to do something to us.

Also, if machines are programmed to think, would they realize that moral treatment of others is the correct path? Hmmmm.

Then, if we were to start, what would we start? Well, I have a suggestion.

It has been said that the magic community is a self monitoring system.

With every trick sold and in every magic magazine, there could be a note about what the magician’s code is. Or, maybe someone should make a movie titled The Magician’s Code. In it there is a beautiful woman that loves real magicians and when a magician reveals a secret, he turns green and his arms fall off.

In this vain, I offer what I think the magician’s code is.

MAGICIAN’S CODE

If you perform one magic trick for another person, you are a magician.

Master any effect you are performing.

Never reveal how a magic effect is done to a non-magician.

Never ask another magician how a trick is done.

Never perform at another performer’s gig.

Never steal another performer’s gig.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 19th, 2019, 11:32 am

To keep this on topic I would like to suggest a course of action.

I believe it is possible to work together with Youtube for magic's benefit.

I propose:

I. A meeting of magicians + people who understand the technology. The goal would be to develop a strategy based on technological solutions that Youtube can integrate into their system.

I will try to organize this in the next few weeks.

II. Once people have convened and we have a suitable course of action I believe it would be appropriate to put forward the concerns and possible solutions (strategy) into a petition. This petition would be passed through the community, the shops, the clubs, the writers, the influencers, the publishers, the companies, the creators and the working magicians (both famous & non-famous).

III. This petition and strategy would then be brought to the attention of Youtube and Google and hopefully we can work with them to pave out a brighter path for magic on the internet.

Let me know what you think.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Joe Lyons » March 19th, 2019, 11:50 am

I don’t think it will work. Like Richard, I believe that boat sailed years ago.

I also don’t believe I will ever train my dogs to “go” outside 100% of the time, but I keep trying.

I’ll sign it Madhi.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 19th, 2019, 1:13 pm

We tried having this discussion with the wikipedia folks a while ago - putting method discussion next to effect description. (see ambitious card) Since content gets indexed anyway - just flagging a high value dataset.

By contrast: comedians and jokes. Usually folks don't interrupt to tell a story/joke punchline. So what's missing in our craft?
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Ray J » March 19th, 2019, 3:13 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:We tried having this discussion with the wikipedia folks a while ago - putting method discussion next to effect description. (see ambitious card) Since content gets indexed anyway - just flagging a high value dataset.

By contrast: comedians and jokes. Usually folks don't interrupt to tell a story/joke punchline. So what's missing in our craft?


Not to sidetrack the original intent of the thread but your question regarding what is missing in our craft struck a chord with me.
I think audiences have changed over the years. Wasn't too long ago that spoiled produce was hurled onto the stage. There always have been and will continue to be those who utter "I know how they did that?" True hecklers are probably few and far between nowadays and maybe the performer is partly to blame at times. Is the magician engaging in a back-and-forth with a spectator and intentionally or unintentionally creating tension? A good perfomer makes you happy to be fooled, to experience a sense of wonder and mystery. Does the magician just suck and the obvious methods get called out? Most people likely just sit and smile when they clearly see how something was done while others cannot help but blurt out. Setting matters too. Behavior that might be okay in a barroom doesn't go over in an elegant theater.

Back to the subject at hand. Even if youtube only allowed performance videos, they would still be harmful. The viewer can sit and replay over and over and eventually get on to some of the methods. Add slo-mo and it gets worse. Not as bad as explanation videos, but still harmful. I'm old enough to remember when some magicians got upset about certain books being available in public libraries or local book stores. Magic didn't die then either. I think anyone who really cares to know how things are done ends up doing one of two things. 1. They get bored really fast and go do something else. 2. They get interested, decide to pursue it as a hobby or vocation and then defend it.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Al Schneider » March 19th, 2019, 4:42 pm

Maybe this is a good thing.
Maybe a new class of magician will emerge.
Maybe they will call themselves wizards.
Only a wizard knows how a specific effect is done.
And, maybe watching it over and over again will not reveal the workings.
Maybe this all is the dawn of a new wizard age.
Can you accept that kind of a challenge?
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Dave Le Fevre » March 20th, 2019, 6:23 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:By contrast: comedians and jokes. Usually folks don't interrupt to tell a story/joke punchline. So what's missing in our craft?
That always intrigues me. Nobody grabs a ball from a juggler. Nobody knocks over a musician's music stand.

Why are we treated differently (by some spectators)? Because we're perceived not as entertainers, but as people showing I-can-do-this-and-you-don't-know-how-it's-done. We have to get past that. One way is to present effects as someone-else-did-this-and-I've-no-idea-how, and I use that approach in two effects. Gerald Deutsch's Perverse Magic is another good approach. But each to their own.


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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 22nd, 2019, 11:06 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_NaturallySpeaking
Hey Siri/Okay Google/Alexa - show me a card trick.
3D barcodes, QR Codes, Google image search

Twonky

https://www.tor.com/2018/05/22/the-guile-ian-mcdonald/

How do you imagine discussing the matter without the transcription becoming part of the problem?
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Peter Ross » March 23rd, 2019, 12:11 am

I touched upon these questions before but I think it is important to take a closer look at them, as I am uncomfortable forging ahead to fight the #waronmagic without considering what it really means to be a spectator of magic now and in the future:

Is it assumed that the mysteries magicians leave our audiences with are supposed to last forever?

Is there a sliding scale that says the longer a spectator is fooled, the better it is for them?

Is it a hard and fast rule that the spectator who discovers the secret to a trick is automatically less...fulfilled...then the spectator who never finds out?

Now, of course, I know the line of thinking about how once a spectator finds out the secret (and how simple and unsatisfying it usually is), they are less respectful of the trick (and maybe also the performer). They say, "That's it? Big deal." This can especially be the case if the reveal is shown by an amateur (usually a kid) who may not even be doing the trick properly, or is leaving out all the touches and subtleties of the original professional performance.

That said, are we really sure that’s the whole story? We do know, for example, that there is also a percentage of spectators (admittedly small) who upon discovering a secret will appreciate the magic even more. And some (smaller percentage) of spectators who will cross the line and begin to learn magic. But let’s say that those two groups are insignificant in comparison to the first larger group who see the exposure, shrug their shoulders, and move on. What to make of them? Is it truly black and white that since they watched the exposure (and were not impressed with the secret), that their experience was spoiled, and further, that they may be less interested in subsequent magic performances? Are we sure of that?

Do we believe that the spectator who discovers a secret becomes a less...quality...spectator the next time they see a trick? After watching an exposure (or more than one), do they then become like magicians who when watching other magic lament that they’ve lost their innocence of not knowing, wishing they could be fooled again? Is that the future we definitely expect for spectators of magic who have immediate access to exposure material whenever they experience a magic performance?

If the #waronmagic continues unabated, will there really be a world like in the Jamy Ian Swiss story "The Last Layman"?

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 23rd, 2019, 12:42 pm

Nonsense.
There is rarely a good reason for revealing the secret of a trick to any lay person.
Name a few truly good reasons and then we can dissect those.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Peter Ross » March 23rd, 2019, 5:36 pm

I am not advocating for magic trick secrets to be revealed to laypersons. As you say, RK, that's "nonsense."

What I am saying is that we don't really know the effects of secrets being known, however they become available. We assume it's bad; the mystery is spoiled and the spectator is left disappointed and more cynical if and when the next time they experience some magic.
And we assume it is black and white - either you know or you don't, and if you don't you're better off.

If we operate from this most certain position of placing the most importance on keeping the secret away from the spectator at all costs (and for all time), we lose the opportunity to explore and evolve as magicians. Our audiences are more nuanced, curious, appreciative and thoughtful than just simple "lay people” of whom we need to protect from knowing the secrets, not just during the performance, but forever after.

Are we really going to quake in our boots at the prospect of spectators having instant access to magic secrets? Will it truly dilute or destroy the art of creating and performing magic? Will it really make our audiences less appreciative, entertained or amazed?

We must fool our audiences during our performances. But after that? We must respect their choices, as we continue to evolve and grow as artists in anticipation for the next time we perform for them.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 23rd, 2019, 8:16 pm

But we do know the effect: lay folks do not really process the information and usually don't understand it (they often misunderstand it).
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 24th, 2019, 1:09 am

You ever see on a magician's forum where someone will post something like ...

"Yes Bosco24, that is indeed a very good method, but I myself prefer to vanish a silk using a Vernet XL th--b t-p".

Well, I hear that Google is working on an algorithm that will fill in the blanks.

Now we're really screwed.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Al Schneider » March 24th, 2019, 4:07 am

During the last many years I think every kid has gotten a magic kit teaching the classics of magic including the linking rings.
I still open my act with it.
Al
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Zig Zagger » March 24th, 2019, 8:14 am

Concerning our sometimes obsessive concerns about secrets, exposure, and curious laymen (yes!), I can only quote Jim Steinmeyer:

"Magicians are guarding an empty safe."

A magic method is neither entertainment nor art. Presentation can be both.

By the way, I do watch the occasional magic video on YouBurp, but I still have to come across an immediate exposure video afterwards.
(Just tested this twice, with the Penn and Teller cups and balls and with Richard Ross linking rings videos. In both cases, the next 30 or 40 videos that are recommended to me show other presentations, with not a single exposure video in sight. Good!)
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 25th, 2019, 10:38 am

Zig Zagger wrote:Concerning our sometimes obsessive concerns about secrets, exposure, and curious laymen (yes!), I can only quote Jim Steinmeyer:

"Magicians are guarding an empty safe."...

Of course you also understand that's not an accurate statement. Look how long it's taken to get the Deland tricks into workable condition. Look at the backstory of the Harbin book. Or the fuss over reconstructing Hofzinser's magic from reports and what he sold he students.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 25th, 2019, 10:43 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Mahdi's analysis may be correct, but it's irrelevant to the reality of the situation.
Mahadi's suggesting we discuss how to approach posting videos and how to manage link/no-link as we post videos.
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Re: Youtube LINKING Performances & Exposés

Postby Mahdi Gilbert » March 25th, 2019, 12:42 pm

My name is Mahdi. Not Mahadi.

Also, it seems from the discussion that no one understands or is interested in what I wrote about.

Almost every single response is completely irrelevant to what's happening with the Youtube algorithm.

It is just a good reminder for me to give up on trying to have intelligent discussions on anything of importance.


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