Blog posts written by Magicians and Mentalists of The Magic Network Community.
I've been getting some questions (both openly and privately) about "Groups" on The Magic Network lately, so I wanted to publicly clarify some things about groups, and set some ground rules for them as well, in hopes to put everyone at ease.
I'll start by saying, TMN has always had groups, both public and private, including the "Silver" and "Gold" groups as well. It seems not many people noticed them before, so never really cared - but now that they are displayed more prominently on the front page of TMN, they have garnered some attention (both positive and negative).
Why did I choose to make "Groups" on TMN?
The Magic Network is conducive to groups, in my opinion, for several reasons:
1. There are some things that magicians want to be able to discuss in private, given the profession is largely based on "secrets" and the keeping of secrets.
2. As TMN grows, although we will always be "one big community," naturally, the community will group up into smaller mini-communities of like-minded community members... the mentalists will chat more with the mentalists, the kid's performers will chat more with the kid's performers, and so on. It is only natural and happens in every community. The groups offer an area where the little mini-communities have the option to connect and share amongst their mini-community, if they are more comfortable with that.
3. Groups can help give members a sense of identity and belonging within the greater community.
That being said, some might argue that groups divide us and set up a class system, and will cause members to only congregate amongst themselves.
To this I say, to some extent, yes, groups may cause some members to only converse within their group, but overall my view is that the likelihood and impact of this happening is small.
For one, as I mentioned, Groups have always existed here, and they generally never got much traffic or attention. Most members choose to, or prefer to, discuss topics in the main, open, forum, and generally group discussions rarely have occurred to date.
And second, if someone really only wants to converse with a certain group, he or she is going to do that, regardless of whether there are "groups" on TMN or not. There will always be members who don't have anything to add to mentalism discussions, because they don't do mentalism, and so they don't participate in those forums. Likewise for a mentalist participating in a kid's magic discussion. People just tend to gravitate towards what they are familiar with and what they know about. This will happen whether there are groups on here or not.
Now what about a "class system" on TMN?
I really do not want the presence of "Gold," "Silver" and "Bronze" memberships to be misconstrued as a class system. It absolutely is not! It also DOES NOT reflect anyone's abilities as a magician or mentalist.
So please, please, please, do not turn my member recognition program into a class system. Nobody is better than anyone else just because they are gold, silver, bronze, or purple for that matter. It simply means that person has made significant contributions to the community. Please read that paragraph again.
It is merely a recognition of one's contributions to The Magic Network community. If you don't care about getting recognized for your contributions, then ignore it. The fact is, a lot of people do care about the recognition, and I do to. To me, it is my way of saying "Thank-you" to our members for contributing.
Having said that, I do understand that some members are worried that "Gold" and "Silver" and "Pro" groups will be used by the members to have private conversations and therefore those members will become elitist and will not help the other members here or will not congregate with the other members here.
I understand this concern, and although I think it will not happen, because it hasn't happened to date in the past two years that we have had groups (the past Silver and Gold groups had about one post each).... I still want to instate the following rule for these groups:
Private groups are only to be used for discussions that have a "need to be private" - meaning, if the discussion could be held in the open and could be beneficial to the whole community, then it should be held in the open forum.
For example, if you want to discuss your script for a certain performance, and you don't want your script published in the open, for copyright issues or what have you, then that is a good enough justification to hold the discussion in a private group.
Another example: if you are discussing a particular sleight that you are having difficulty with, or you are working on a refinement to the sleight, and you do not want the specifics of the sleight to be discussed in the open, because of exposure reasons, then you can hold that discussion in a private group.
I hope that makes it clear, and I will keep an eye out and ask the other moderators here to keep an eye out as well. If a discussion that is happening in a private group doesn't have a good reason for being kept private, and it is something that everyone can benefit from, then we will move the discussion to the open forum.
I will also update the group descriptions to make sure this is clear to everyone.
Finally, I will say, take a look at the picture I included in this post. Even though we may form groups, whether naturally through our affinities and interests, or through using groups on TMN, we still each hold pieces of the whole puzzle that makes up the TMN community as a whole.
So please do not see groups as divisions. They are rather just as pieces of the puzzle that makes up this great community!
Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and concerns here. I welcome your feedback, will listen to it, and will respond to it.