Saturday 11 December 2010

Note to Comment Posters [Updated]


I welcome your comments but you do so as my guest. Please note that I will exercise my property rights to make sure that Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues remains a safe, informative and attractive place for everyone. I expect comments to be matter-of-fact (substantive), on-topic and free of sarcasm, innuendo and ad personam arguments. 

Despite what collectors are suggesting, very few sent comments are rejected. Main reasons for rejections are:

1) you seem to be a spambot advertising something, or
2) you are a dealer offering your own artefacts for sale (100% rejection rate), or
3) your comment is totally unrelated to the post it is supposedly commenting on and deflects discussion away from the topic, or in general makes no substantive point, this is not a chatlist;
4) While robust debate is acceptable, use of an overly aggressive tone and foul language intended to offend is not;
5) You are simply writing how much you hate me and my blog, and that I am an arrogant, evil extremist - and what you'd do if you met me in the street. This adds nothing to any discussion;
6) You are convinced you have good advice for me how to win hearts and minds, by being nice to artefact hunters and collectors (this blog is about them, not for them).
7) You are hiding your identity or are clearly a sock puppet (anonymous profile, hidden details for example) or impersonating somebody else, simply out to make trouble and waste time;
8) You are using the blog as a means to contact me with information or with questions, or asking me to remove something, and specifically ask me NOT to publish the comment (which I always honour);
9) Your comment deliberately or unintentionally gives away information that I suspect, or know from other sources, is sensitive (e.g., relates to something under investigation for potential criminal activity).
10) Although my own replies to comments may on occasion seem to be somewhat brusque or rough, I'd like to ask other commentators not to use the comments section of my blog to attack another guest here. I will not post what I see as personal attacks by third parties on other commentators. I have developed quite firm views on that due to my own experiences as a commentator on other people's blogs. Disagree with what was said by a commentator by all means, but ad hominem remarks addressed to a third party (or me) will most likely get your post rejected, take them elsewhere. Racist, sexist and otherwise discriminatory comments will be deleted.

Anonymity (and therefore lack of personal accountability) is the curse of the Internet. Tell us who is writing. I prefer to know who I am talking to, if you have something to say that you think fit and proper to air in public, why not give your real name at the bottom? I write under my real name and frankly I do not see any reason, if they don't fall in the categories above, why others cannot do myself and my readers the same courtesy. If its worth saying, and you have nothing to hide, you can sign it with your real name. I will usually refrain from posting anonymous or apparently pseudonymous comments 

[update: I'm getting a lot of comments from people whose comments were rejected that it's "not their fault" that they can't work out how a Google account works, and they keep coming out this end as a default  "Unknown". Personally, I do not see a problem with naming an account, but maybe I am missing something. So, please, even if you think you are writing from an account that gives your name, just in case it comes over here as yet another "Unknown", why not just put your name and surname at the bottom anyway, as if you were writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper? It's only polite, so we can all see the context of what you write

Please also note the following:
11) When comments come to me the return address is "no reply", so I cannot contact posters to tell them that I'd post their remarks if they'd consider changing the bit, for example, where there is something that infringes the above conditions, or some other detail from an otherwise acceptable contribution to the discussion. All I can do in situations like this is reject the whole comment. I am prevented by the Blogger software from myself editing even a single word in a comment sent here, neither by somebody else, nor - annoyingly when there's a spelling mistake right in the middle - myself. The order in which comments appear under the post is the order when they are initially sent and not the order in which they were approved by the blog owner.

12) I tend to write very long posts, and some commentators reciprocate with equally long reactions. There is however apparently a word-limit to the comments, but I have never bothered to find out what it is. So long comments are best written in a separate document (Word for example) and copied and pasted into the comments box. That way if the system rejects it, you have a copy of the hard work writing a polite coherent argument and can try to repost it, split into several smaller chunks. But try posting it all in one go first.

13)  If I am home and the notification system is working, comments usually go up within an hour or so of sending. [update June 2018, there seem to be problems with the latter at present and I only find out that a comment was sent when I visit a separate administrator's section of the blog, which I do not do regularly, I hope blogger fix this] If however I feel the urge to write an answer (and, be warned, I often do), the comment does not get posted ('accepted') until the answer is ready. This is because if another reader comments on your comment while I am still writing, because of the way Blogger organizes them, their reply would then separate the original from my response to it and it gets complicated.

14) [This seems not still to be the case, but I'll leave it here in case the problem recurs: There does at the moment seem to be a gremlin in the system which when you press "send" fills the window with a message that the "URL is too long" and your message has not been sent or saved. I'm not clear what the first part means, but the second is not always true. If you try to post a comment and get this message, right-click and use the "back" ("undo") and you will probably find that the comment has in fact been sent (you'll get a message that it has been sent and will be approved). If in any doubt, try sending it a second time, but please then add a bit at the top to say this is what you are doing, so I know whether I am to allow both posts or just the first (or second) attempt to post the same text].

15) Finally I should say that this blog is all about freedom of expression, I have my opinions on a number of things dealt with here and since I live in a country where free speech is allowed, I therefore say what I think. Sometimes I make generalisations, sometimes I use specific cases to illustrate a point. In the latter situation it is only fair that the person or group mentioned ALWAYS have the right to answer and contest what I said - though I'd prefer them to do it in accordance with the 'house rules' set out above, and please could they make sure their name is in the text, so that I can see who it is that is answering, and then I guarantee it will go up.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I look forward to hearing from you.



Alfredo De La Fe said...

Not true Paul, I stopped commenting on your dribble after you either "edited" or rejected my comments outright.

Paul Barford said...

I think you will find that the word you are looking for is "drivel".

I rejected comments from you that fell into category 3, getting right off the topic of the post, and so no longer a comment on it. The place for that is a discussion forum, this is not a discussion forum.

Alfredo De La Fe said...

No, dribble as in drool. But drivel works as well. Also, your selective editing of my comments had nothing to do with them being off topic. In either case, this is your sand box and you can decide who is invited to "play" or not.

Paul Barford said...

Well, I will leave it up to the reader to decide whether a US coin dealer who regards excessive salivation as a form of communication is the best judge of what I should regard as on-topic and off-topic on my own blog.

I assume Mr De La Fe is referring to his attempts to get his story right in the case of a report of domestic violence which he had earlier brought into the coiney debate:

It was already off topic and I used it to illustrate the kind of junk logic these people use to defend their opposition to restricting the import of illegally exported artefacts . In the context of what I wrote, whether or not what happened in that case was closer to the first or second version of events which De La Fe "reported" really is no concern of any of us.

Mr De La Fe has his own coiney blog and he can write there about the ins and outs of alleged domestic violence cases in which his colleagues are or are not involved if he thinks it on-topic on a coiney blog.

Robert Matthews said...

Hello Paul,

Good to be able to access your blog again. I have been feeling deprived not beening able to get a daily dose. Although I do not always agree with you blunt debate with out spilling over into name calling is to be welcome.

Robert Matthews

Paul Barford said...

Not agreeing with me is what the "comments" sections are for. I welcome debate as long as it does not spill over into pointless name calling too. After all, putting all this stuff down on 'paper' is to help me get the ideas sorted out in my head, any constructive help with that would be gratefully accepted.

Paul Barford said...

Vanda jakabova, I am afraid I do not have a copy of ths text here in Poland, I think however if you write to the Institute of Archaeology (UC London), they were publishing copies of the dissertations on PDFs, I assume they still do. Good luck, and please let me know how you get on -if you post me your email address I'd like to hear what you are doing, I am intrigued.

Harry Brown said...

Hi Paul - do you have an email address so I can send you something? Cheers Harry

Paul Barford said...

Hmm, "Harry", well, yes I do. See point 8 above?

Paul Barford said...

Thanks, Harry, I got the message but I did not publish it because (a) I'm not sure what relevance it has, (b) it was not clear that this person was still active [the online trail went cold a few years ago], and (c), publishing the information would be doxxing and unfair. Information noted. Thanks.

Harry Brown said...

Ok Paul, I understand it may be a bit of a legal minefield. The trail on this person went cold because he changed his name so he could continue to work in the profession. He's still the person that metal detectorists hold up as being a bad thieving archaeologist and as such he shouldn't still be working as it tars us all! All the best anyways and keep up the good work!

Paul Barford said...

The event to which you refer happened in 2008. It was reported and honestly discussed here when it was current news. I am not sure what really happened, I suspect it was a more ambiguous situation on the ground than what was reported. The person involved however was convicted and fairly sentenced. I really do not see any reason to conduct a witch-chase and keep returning to this matter twelve years on - on the grounds that "it tars us all" and that dullard metal detectorists and artefact collectors attempt a "Two Wrongs" argument to deflect attention from serial destructive, unethical and illegal behaviour in their hobbies.

Yes, there are bent archaeologists. Of course there are, just as there are bent churchmen, politicians, policemen, doctors, lawyers and teachers. An Oxford Professor is currently under scrutiny, a Basque archaeologist for what is being made to look like dishonest behaviour, and if they are tried and convicted, this blog will be one of the first places to report it. But a number of archaeologists cheat on their wives, have alcohol-related problems, have abusive relations with members of the opposite sex and employees/students and so on and so on... Is this blog (or a metal detecting one), the place for dragging this personal dirty laundry out into open view?

I believe the information you wanted to draw my attention to is the personal matter of the individual concerned, who as far as I can see has done nothing in the period to which you refer that is illegal, immoral, unethical or whatever. If however they do, I may well decide to write about it, but I really do not intend hounding anyone about a matter that I consider was closed in 2013. He made a mistake, but I do not see a reason to make it more difficult for him to move forward.

What you choose to do is up to you and your conscience, but after thinking about it, I do not think the aspect you consider to be so important is in fact a matter for this particular blog.

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