Wikipedia:Proposed guideline for magic methods

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  • Marked as historical until TStone sees fit as to draw up the actual proposal, instead of a proposal for the proposal. >Radiant< 15:21, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Note: A proper proposal will be posted here very soon. See talk page --TStone 19:08, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Note2: Is it possible to rename this page, and change "policy" to "guideline"? --TStone 19:08, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Yes. >Radiant< 15:21, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Note3: As quite a lot of people here seem to have the opinion: User TStone: Nobody cares about "history" or "origins" for tricks, really. We want to know the details., I think I have to start over from scratch, and take those opinions into account. No point having a guideline that are likely to be ignored anyway...tricky. --TStone 09:41, 31 January 2006 (UTC)


The intellectual rights to magic methods are still not defined by the copyright laws. That doesn't mean that there are no such rights, just that they are on an ethical level instead of a legal level. The respected publishers of magic technical litterature around the world has formed an industry standard and praxis in how to deal with the ethical questions regarding the publication of magic methods. I suggest that Wikipedia adapt the same standards.


Whenever the method behind a magic effect is described here, it seems cause a lot of heated discussions, with a wide array of opinions from new amateur magicians, professional magicians, the "information wants to be free"-crowd etc. And it is a wild mix of relevant and non-relevant arguments, and it seldom becomes resolved in a good way

The subject is a bit tricky, because there are intellectual rights to magic methods - it's just that those rights are not yet defined by law (just as it once was within a number of other fields).

Sometimes, the method posted is the result of clever reasoning and deduction by the person that posted the article, which means that it falls under the rule of No original research, it also means that it can be plain wrong - or even a new innovation (meaning that the author has invented an alternative method that actually works, but differs from what he is attempting to explain).

Sometimes, and this is a huge transgression against the ethics within the field, the method described is separated from its innovator. Example: David Copperfield performed an illusion where the Statue of Liberty disappeared. The method was created by Jim Steinmeyer - so, in the context of describing the method, it must be clear that the method belongs to Steinmeyer, and not Copperfield. Also, since Mr. Steinmeyer has not yet published his method anywhere, it is necessary to obtain his permission before posting the method. This is not as difficult as it sounds.

Less important, but still a factor: The humanistic perspective. The wikipedia should not cause unnecessary grief. In the example of the Vanishing Statue of Liberty, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Steinmeyer would be sad if he visited Copperfield's page here, and found no mention at all of his name in connection to his creation, even though it took him several years to find a way to accomplish the vision. That would certainly not encourage him to be a participant here - which would a pity, since he also is one of the most noted historians within the field.

To be clear, I'm not opposed to the publishing of magic methods here - but there's a right way of doing it, and there's a wrong way... and the examples I've seen so far are very wrong.

When it comes to publishing of magic methods, I suggest that Wikipedia adapt and comply to the standards that are used by the respected publishers of magic technical litterature around the world. Those are the people who on a regular basis has to decide what is ethical to publish, and have evolved a set of rules that are quite clear and simple to follow.

I'm an author of magic litterature myself, and I can contact Hermetic Press, "L & L Publishing", "Kaufman and Company" and then put together a guideline for the Wikipedia that are in agreement with the industry standard. If this is interesting, I can post it here within a few days. --TStone 16:39, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

This sounds like it could be very valuable. Please do so. Kleg 17:56, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

See the discussion on this page for an example of what I propose. --TStone 23:45, 21 January 2006 (UTC)