Should this really be on topic? There is a beta site for "Magic":


The question that has broughtvup this meta discussion is on Puzzling right now, and can be easily viewed:

A five card trick - How does it work?

Magic tricks seem to revolve around a seperate site; not Puzzling. Magic trick questions are also mass-producible.

They can also get fairly broad, many tricks have multiple ways to execute them, and people could have completely different views on what is the correct trick

However if it is on topic, perhaps a tag would be nice? A tag could show that we encourage questions about magic trick solving; and explain how to ask them.


I personally think the differentiation between "in scope" and "out of scope" here lies a lot in:

  • What is the purpose of the question?

    • Does the OP ask for some general magic-trick explanation he's just wondering about? Then another site might be better
    • or is the OP asking for a very specific trick which is known to be a "logical" thing, but he just can't figure out how the puzzle-logic works. Then it's a very legitimate question
  • What is the presentation of the question?

    • Is it simply "I've seen XY, can you explain?" - Then it might not be suitable at all.
    • Or is it presented as a puzzle/challenge (with known answer!) ? Then the source of the puzzle, doesn't really matter, and it is on-topic.

I think it is too early to generally approve or condemn "magic ticks" postings. As so often, it will depend on the question/posting at hand.

I think the criteria to be on-topic might be:

It is

  • either a trick posted as a puzzle/challenge with known, unique answer.
  • or a genuine please help me understand this trick question, as long as it fits into the puzzle categories and provides enough information to be answerable.

Postings which fail to be either, should simply be down-voted and eventually flagged for closure.

Of course, that's just my opinion and feel free to differ!

  • $\begingroup$ If it has a known answer than there's no use to post here There's a closure reason for little research on OPs part. No need to rehash. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Jan 1 '15 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ @warspyking Oh, you can still post a challenge based on a magic trick. (Therefore you should know the solution!) This is what the example post of yours did, I think. (But lacking the citation of the source, which is a different topic.) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Jan 1 '15 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ That's still a rehash... $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Jan 1 '15 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @warspyking But that's nothing to do with whether or not it is a magic posting. The same argument is true for some of the posted puzzles as well. So, if anything, it is a different discussion on originality of challenge-questions... $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Jan 1 '15 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I understand. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Jan 1 '15 at 23:07

It's a puzzle. The magic trick shtick is just there for flavor. It could be easily rewritten to be a "construct a method" puzzle. This isn't a sleight of hand that needs to be viewed but a cute algorithmic problem.

  • $\begingroup$ True, but it's still worth the discussion for future readers. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Jan 1 '15 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ People might assume these puzzles are allowed. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Jan 1 '15 at 12:13
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @warspyking Are there any other questions on the site this pertains to? I agree with the sentiment, but think it's premature to make a policy if there's no actual examples. $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Jan 1 '15 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ I prefer calling it proactive. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Jan 1 '15 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ Even recognizing slight of hand could be a solution to a puzzle, couldn't it? The only practical problem would be that one can not insert video into SE right now. $\endgroup$ Jul 16 '15 at 10:23

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