The once-promising "Diary of a Detectorist" blog has rapidly deteriorated within a few days, the moment a few serious issues could not be dismissed, from a reputation-salving "I am an ethical detectorists and I want to discuss the issues" resource to (at the moment) a dedicated "I hate Paul Barford" blog like so many others. As another metal detectorist (i - Go Detecting) observes:
Seven Days... that's all it took... Not very progressive or a good demonstration as to what could have been achieved. Top this off with people who obviously aren't listening to what is being said or suggested (probably too much time in "the bar") and it all makes for a very sad week for metal detecting. I am a detectorist... I act responsibly and I totally support the PAS (even though others that I might communicate with don't)... I'm big enough to hold an adult conversation....so why cant other detectorists do the same? Does that paint a clear enough picture for you... or shall I get my crayons out and draw you a diagram...???All this started when a detectorist decided that (although he did not take the trouble first to see what it represents), the Heritage Action Artefact Erosion Counter was "tosh", and I said it was not. The metal detectorist claimed that what I wrote was in some way "insulting" (please check the veracity of that claim for yourself) and then launched a series of posts about me on his blog, which he then accompanied by publishing an inordinate number of nasty and highly personal ad hominem comments (one potentially libellous) by several anonymous fellow detectorists.
This is a repeating pattern. I think the key to this sort of response is that UK metal detectorists tend to be very much focussed on "me-me" (and "us-us-versus-them") and rarely take a step back to see the wider picture, or how others see them. In this way they miss a lot of the nuances of their position. We may observe that, alongside their 'Band of Brothers' perception of the hobby, there is a tendency in the milieu to take any comment (no matter how general) as a personal insult. The typical reaction of individuals to such remarks is that they (personally) do not break the law, or sell finds (or whatever) and to point out that others do is merely "tarring us all with the same brush (I, for one, don't do that)" rather than representing a problem for the hobby to deal with.This rather warped approach to debate of heritage issues is one reason why such a debate simply does not exist in these circles, and can only take place outside ("about collectors, not with them"). By this behaviour, metal detectorists are alienating themselves from the heritage debate. The rapid petulant and public meltdown of "Diary of a Detectorist" is a fitting symbol of the state of that debate.
Vignette: "Get the crayons out and draw a diagram"