Sunday 10 March 2013

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: "National Action Day 10th March 2013"

Over on some metal detecting forums near you, plans are being hatched to get this blog closed down. The Portable Antiquities Society are behind this. On their forum, one "Countrywide" is urging members to join him (Re: Fight fight Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:05 pm) in organizing a "National Barford day 10th March". The way this was intended to work was that a group of metal detectorists were to bombard Google (this blog's host) with a series of nuisance claims, falsely alleging that this or that post on this blog in some way "infringed their copyright":
 if Google received multiple complaints on the same day they would have to act and close his blog down, and in a more severe case delete his Google account completely.[...] I believe this is his Achilles heel, if everyone on the 10th March 2013 files a complaint to Google about copyright infringements, for any work he is hosting which belongs to you. Having so many hits on the same day will close him down. Check his blog for any past infringements a make a note where it can be found, then send your complaint to Google. Anything from stolen images to written word. He will try to claim 'fair use' for criticism but with so many complaint Google will have to act. This can only happen if we all pull together, we have had over 6000 hits on this blog, so Paul has many fans. Read his blog and act now, every little counts! [...] NATIONAL BARFORD DAY 10TH MARCH[,] Steve the Barford slayer.

This malicious troll knows very well that any material used on this blog to make or illustrate an argument (for I use real material, not invented arguments) is covered by the usual rules of 'fair use', but is counting on Google not recognizing that when faced with a barrage of "6000 complaints"  from aggrieved  metal detectorists. The organizer of this action indeed wants to include others:
If you see any pictures he has hosted on his blog even if it doesn't belong to you, it belongs to someone [...] send a message to the owner of the image telling him his image is being used without his permission. That should do it, and tell them to complain on the 10th March
That is of course if the person informed sympathises with the position of the looters rather than the preservationist discussing their activity.

Since that announcement was made, apparently on several forums, including some connected with the Portable Antiquities Society (like the pseudo-Barford blog here), there has been a certain amount of malicious activity revealed by this blog's tracking software. These have been logged and their sources identified.  As yet I have received no communication from Google that they have received any false complaints from these people, when I do, it will be clear who was behind it. 

Once again, we see a repetition of the same pattern of activity. There are serious issues concerning the longterm conservation implications of current policies on artefact hunting and collecting in the United Kingdom. Many people however have an interest in them being swept under the carpet, not explored and ignored. this not only includes artefact hunters and collectors themselves, but 'jobsworth' archaeologists who cannot face the prospect of confronting these problems. I am not one of those persons. I believe the only responsible approach is to attempt an open and honest discussion of these issues. It becomes clear that there are few that agree with me, either in the artefact hunting and collecting fraternities ("responsible" or not) or even among my archaeological colleagues.  But instead of articulating why they disagree, why they see no problem in sweeping complex issues under the carpet instead of facing them, time and time again we see them scuttling away under the carpet themselves, trying to ignore the fact that the issues are being raised in a far-off corner of the Internet, or simply being dismissive of the whole notion that there are problems. Trying to close down a blog which expresses them is another reaction.

If metal detectorists like "Countrywide" wish the scrutiny of their hobby to ease, then they will have to change their tactics. Even if they succeed in deleting this, the result of four years of my work, through their malicious activity - the issues raised will not simply go away. If they succeed in achieving the aim which they intend, then in one fell swoop they will have confirmed the fact that they are simply unable to come up with any arguments to explain away the facts presented here about the long-term effects of current UK policies. Perhaps the rest of us might like to take a look at what is going on and draw the inescapable conclusion that there is something very, very wrong here when a whole group of metal detectorists conspire together to quash any form of free speech about the erosive hobby of a minority.


domino said...

Don't count you chickens before they hatch, work is going on behind the scenes.
You will be gone soon enough, you may have gone through 4 years of blogs deleting anything which we will have you on. But you make far too many errors Paul, when you let your guard down, We will have you!

Paul Barford said...

That will be Cheltenham metal detectorist Steve Taylor (aka Countrywide, Chainmail, Digging for Gold and a myriad of other pseudo identities).

Steve I have nothing to hide. it seems however that the persistence with which metal detectorists want to silence such comments as I make strongly indicates to anyone observing from the outside that metal detectorists have. There really need be no other comment.

You "have" nothing on me, because I have done nothing wrong in examining the metal detecting myth with a critical eye, but as this blog indicates, artefact hunters do indeed have a lot of issues to answer for.

Paul Barford said...

And when this blog is offline, what then Mr Taylor? Where does that get anyone? What will you or anyone have gained?

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