Thursday, 15 September 2011

PAS Forum Back Online, but not Available to the People who Pay for it

Once upon a time, the Portable Antiquities Scheme had a Forum which allowed members of the public to interact with the service provided to do archaeological outreach to the public. Most notable about it was that it quickly became a metal detectorists' forum (with all that entails), despite the fact that the mission of the PAS was not just to this minority group, and the PAS staff (with literally a handful of exceptions) steadfastly refused to take an active role in any of the discussions. Very probably a factor involved in this was the nastiness that developed as metal detectorists tried to get any discussion of the wider, archaeological, implications of the work of the Scheme suppresed and the various tactics they adopted to get non-metal detectorists expelled from the forum.

I now see from the link from which somebody in the English Midlands has been reading one of my posts that there is again a PAS forum and that - evidently - there is there from time to time there some kind of (desultory and dismissive no doubt) mention of some of the issues raised in the outside world, like on this blog. So how long are the PAS going to shut themselves away from the debate going on outside? Why not reopen the forum so it can serve as a tool whereby all members of the public can see what is going on in the Scheme, where their money is going? Where they can interact and address questions directly to the Scheme and its members of staff? Or would the PAS and its staff prefer people did not address them directly so they can continue not giving any answers and pretending they've not heard the question?
15 Sep13:16:51 link to:
Indeed, having a private forum, like metal detectorists do, is a wholly inadequate response to the need to have some of these issues discussed out in the open. More transparency is needed on these issues.

Footnote: from which tab on the PAS website is the forum accessed? I cannot see one. Is there any reason why it does not have one? There used to be a sidebar with a site map - that seems to have gone too. Curiouser and curiouser.

Vignette: Piranesi veduta of a forum, The engravings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) made Roman antiquities available for contemplation and discussion by a wider public unable to travel there themselves - like a virtual museum, so a forerunner of the PAS in a way. The openness to discussion however appears not to have survived from the period of Enlightenment that these engravings represent.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.