Sunday, 7 November 2010

Lies, Lies and More Lies: Irresponsible UK Tekkie Deceit

The person from England's south coast who claims not to be a metal detectorist and says he is a woman called Candice has created a blog which sets out - he says - to correct the "lies" that this blog contains about metal detecting and artefact collecting in general. Despite repeated challenges to do so, he has resisted actually doing this. Now he claims to have discovered a jolly little game of irresponsible behaviour from UK metal detectorists, making up stories to mislead the present author:
I hear there is an interesting game some people play called "Bait Barford". Apparently to play all you need to do is to make a controversial statement in some obscure (the more obscure the better) forum on the Internet (something like you are party to details on how and where the Crosby Garrett helmet was found or that you have found an incredible hoard), tell nobody about your post and then wait and see how long it is before Mr Barford reports it in his blog. I am told he usually reports on such posts within 24 hours - well, Mr Barford can't be everywhere on the Internet, so this suggests that his blog is rather more than the rantings of one man, more likely it is an organisation with correspondents and information-suppliers constantly feeding him tidbits. A variant of this game is called "Fool the old b*****". For this you need to make sure your post reports entirely made-up happenings or finds. Lo and behold, true to form, Mr Barford will soon be reporting your fiction as absolute fact!
Oh what jolly larks, what a jolly jape to play on the old man. Ho ho hee hee.

I wish this were true. It could so easily misfire. I happen to know that there are a number of somewhat influential bodies that from time to time quietly monitor those forums, noting everything - saying nothing. I hope they are seeing these imaginary worst case scenarios and not realising they are intended to mislead people into thinking its worse than it is and drawing unfavourable conclusions. I imagine the PAS would be very much discomfited by them too.

Candice seems to think any readers this blog may have are naive people with the intellect of a nine-year old who the moment some person impersonating a secretary says "Barford is repeating lies" will believe "her". I doubt however that all my readers are the sheep she seems to think they are.

Firstly, wherever I can I give a link to my source, so readers of this blog can check the original source of the material I use, the onus is on them to decide whether they are being misled by what they read or see. I really do not expect anyone just to take my word for anything, I really do want people to register on metal detecting forums, collectors' discussion lists and see for themselves what goes on there. Neither do I claim to have a monopoly on the truth, I want people to start thinking about at least some of the issues I raise, question them. I certainly expect though that if somebody says I am wrong, either in facts or interpretation, they can show us all where. I will gladly correct any factual errors pointed out, and we can discuss interpretations.

Secondly, many of the sources I quote on UK artefact hunting are public things like newspaper reports, You Tube videos etc. If, as Candice claims, the ones I use have been expressly created to mislead a few people (myself and anyone reading this blog), then it is an unfortunate side effect of all the work these people have put into the deceit that they will also mislead every single member of the public that sees them also. Public opinion about the hobby is very important. I think both (all) "sides" see that.

Thirdly since I think artefact hunters are by nature a secretive and often deceitful bunch (for they cannot honestly believe all the things they say about their hobby), I do try to verify the material I use here to the best of my ability. That is obviously not always possible and like anyone can be mistaken. On the other hand, after over thirty years experience with the milieu, I am no longer as naive about their claims as I used to be.

In fact the truth is, isn't it "Candy", that you made the whole thing up. I have been a hidden or open member of a number of metal detecting forums over in the UK for a number of years and know very well what is said about me and my blog over there, and there is nothing in any of the threads I have seen about a game called "Bait Barford" nor one called "Fool the old b*****". There is a lot of name calling, aggressive talk and general dissatisfaction that their hobby figures on the page of a piece of the internet they cannot control, but no organized game of misdeception. In any case, if you want people to believe your cock-and-bull story, you will not mind giving the true facts behind the five most egregious examples you claim to know about will you? With full links to the story here and the original source which allegedly "misled" me, and then some way of verifying that it is not true. Go on,Candy, prove this is not another tekkie slime attack, prove that what you assert has indeed been going on and that I really have repeatedly fallen for the deliberate misinformation.

Meanwhile, while she's trying to think of a way out of the corner she painted herself into, let it go on record though that Candice Jarman accuses UK metal detectorists of deliberate deceit. I'll go along with that. We should all, PAS included, treat absolutely everything they say with a pinch of salt until it can be verified.

Vignette: Candice on metal detectorists' games, true or false?

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