> Interestingly, if you go back and look through the Wikipedia page's history, you can see what appears to be exactly that process happening.
> Before the Wired article, the Wiki article implies that the site was an operating Magic card exchange, but the citation is a link to the Internet Archive's copy of the stub page, with absolutely nothing there to substantiate the idea that it was actually an online exchange. The Wired article appeared later and is unsourced, but could plausibly have taken the Wiki article's unsupported statement at face value. Then just the other day (February 9) the Wiki page was edited by a user named Agyle to use the Wired article instead of the Wayback Machine reference.
1. The MtG app was hosted on a subdomain (CNAME record, no A record) that sometimes had an accompanying apex-record lead-gen website to "sell" it, but usually didn't. (When you're an engineer making a webapp, writing the lead-gen copy is usually the last thing on your mind.)
2. The app subdomain served a robots.txt that prevented the Internet Archive from indexing it--as is usual practice with app subdomains.
3. McCaleb doesn't generally want to talk about how his site used to host an MtG exchange, because that'd make people less willing to take BitCoin seriously. He doesn't deny it, though, nor use the misapprehension as a source of humor in interviews. He just clams up.
I'm not saying gwern is wrong, but he hasn't inviolably proven his hypothesis yet, either. I look forward to a comment from McCaleb, if there ever is one. (My own hypothesis would support McCaleb never responding to gwern's query.)
There's no links to, references about, or any other evidence to suggest that this happened. I too did roughly the same searches of Magic the Gathering forums and websites for any reference of mtgox and found absolutely nothing, not even people mentioning a beta site or that they'd heard about it.
> The app subdomain served a robots.txt that prevented the Internet Archive from indexing it--as is usual practice with app subdomains.
That's not possible. If you deny the IA bot with a robots.txt, it removes all prior records as well. The "coming soon" would not have been indexed and visible if this occurred.
> McCaleb doesn't generally want to talk about how his site used to host an MtG exchange, because that'd make people less willing to take BitCoin seriously. He doesn't deny it, though, nor use the misapprehension as a source of humor in interviews. He just clams up.
He hasn't denied being a flying spaghetti monster either.
Occam's razor. The site never sold Magic the Gathering cards.
That is, "Online" was part of the name of the game, not a descriptor of where the exchange was.
I don't know enough about MTGO to know if a third party exchange was even possible, but it would be worth looking into if someone was trying to establish if the site ever actually did anything.
 Here's the IRC log of the original source: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7015.0
> That's not possible. If you deny the IA bot with a robots.txt, it removes all prior records as well. The "coming soon" would not have been indexed and visible if this occurred.
It would have removed the records of the app subdomain, not the apex domain. Which the evidence supports--we see no record left of an app subdomain.
Simply not denying some claim is not evidence that the claim is true, regardless of whether the claim has been presented to you face to face.
No, in general it is evidence to that effect, though depending on the circumstances it may be weak or very weak evidence.
He has, incidentally. (Unfortunately I think he misunderstood the question and I'm still waiting on a reply to my clarification, so I haven't edited the page again.)
Speaking as someone who's heavily involved in (as a hobby) running professional and semiprofessional Magic events, I'd like to point out that professional Magic players seem, on average, much more likely to end up working in finance and doing quite well there.
So maybe the implied sneers at the game's lack of seriousness or lack of financial seriousness (that's way off as well, for the record) are... more telling of the average Bitcoin aficionado's mis-grasp of economics and reality than anything else.
(You were making such a nice point about superficial, unfair generalizations of Magic players... which was then undone by a superficial, unfair generalization about Bitcoin-aficionados.)
More importantly, McCaleb replied to my email. In response to my question "Did anyone ever actually trade card for card or money for card on Mtgox.com?", he replied "yeah they did".
Translation: Although there is no evidence for X, let's assume X because it is repeated often.
This is so stupid that it bothers me that someone who edits Wikipedia (which, yes, could be anyone) said it.
Shaking my head.
(I'm one of those people. I guess this is a lesson in not repeating something just because you saw a bunch of comments discussing it.)
Nice, Wikipedians actually believe that citogenesis creates real information.
This is difference between "citation" and "scholarship".
When a wikipedia article cites a non-primary source, if that source doesn't care its own sources, it is not a valid source for its claim, it is just hearsay.
The question has come up before in historical articles where someones secondary source is directly contradicted by some editor with direct access to the archive files.
When better sources are available, they're preferred. For example, an article on WW2 should not cite random newspapers, but should substantiate any significant claims with a citation to a respectable history book or journal article, because there are enough of them available that there's no excuse for citing less-reliable sources. If a claim about WW2 can only be found in Wired, it probably shouldn't be in Wikipedia.
There are some people who'd prefer applying that more broadly: if a claim can only be found in Wired (or any other newspaper/magazine) Wikipedia should not include it. This, however, would cause a whole different kind of controversy: when material is removed or articles are deleted due to lack of good-enough sources, some people get very angry and start attacking "deletionism". So there's a bit of an in-flux balance between only covering a relatively narrow range of impeccably-sourced topics, versus covering anything at all cited to any source at all.
* 2007: A landing page saying it's coming soon
* 2009: A blog (about Magic?), with nothing about trading
* 2011: Bitcoins
Seems to be the domain was bought with the intention of trading Magic cards, but an actual exchange never launched. Now, it's possible they had started developing it and just repurposed code, but I see no evidence that it was ever launched as a Magic trading site.
Most likely, though -- they just had an unused domain laying around, and "Mt. Gox" sounded cool. I've repurposed domains before; I have a ton.
Funny how self-referential (no pun intended) Wikipedia has become. Instead of just changing "was a site for trading MtG cards" to "was a planned site for trading MtG cards", or the more ambigous and certainly true "the original idea was a MtG trading site", they spawn endless threads on the discussion page.