Wednesday 20 March 2013

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: What this CENSORSHIP Means

Just now we were handed a very clear example of blatant censorship by the moderators of a UK metal detecting forum. A post giving a link to this blog (not even a post about metal detecting) was summarily removed from the forum, lest metal detectorists see it and discover that there is a blog over here discussing matters that should concern them. As a result, tekkies like "DelTrotter" can only find out about it by doing some independent searching, and stumbling across it. But there are people reading this blog who quite evidently (from the topics they read) are metal detectorists (172 from the UK today). So are these the moderators who are preventing their fellows from seeing? Do they consider themselves to be some kind of elite, above the hoi polloi, that can read my stuff without becoming "contaminated" with non-local ideas? Are they deliberately keeping their fellows in the dark, so they can feed them only the information they want them to know (like "he's a fruitloop")? Why, according to forum moderators, can they not look themselves and judge for themselves?  Quite obviously an attempt is being made to channel knowledge through the moderators themselves.

Now I am told that metal detectorists are "passionately interested in the past", and this blog is all about things from the past, how we look after them (or not). Is this of no concern to artefact hunters and collectors? (Of course it is, or should be). The odd thing about all this is that this blog is not even about metal detecting. It has posts about the issues of course, but has much else besides. It has posts on Egyptian looting, antiquity sales in the US, Cambodian statues, pot digging in Arizona, smuggling in Greece, Turkey or Bulgaria, shipwreck salvage in tropical seas, mummy parts in showrooms, international conventions and national laws and much else besides. Sometimes there is even breaking news about some story of interest. All of this is something an artefact collector or history buff in the UK might want to read about, if they do not want to read my views on metal detecting, it is clear from the titles which ones they are, and they can be omitted.

Yet the moderators of this forum are saying that the tekkie hoi polloi are not worthy enough to be trusted to look at such stuff. As "Bainsey" says, they'll remove links to prevent that. But they themselves can look. 

I am writing this from Poland, where today we have free speech. It was not always like that, there were people trying to cut down access to information for the general populace. They went to extraordinary lengths to do so. Just like the moderators of the tekkie forum, what kind of regime, what kind of obedience do they want to enforce, and why (like Poland's former leaders) can they not tolerate free speech?  Because the reasons why the former leaders of Poland could not tolerate people questioning their policies became clear in 1989 when the whole thing collapsed with a whimper not even a bang in the middle of one night. Perhaps the same is true of the elaborate sham about UK metal detecting? How strong are the tekkie/partnership arguments? How strong are they really? Why can they not be closely scrutinised? Why instead are detectorists so keen to shut down blogs that raise questions, ignore them, attack their authors, try to keep blogs like this out of the public eye? Where is the dialogue?

Is not the whole current "Portable Antiquities Partnership" a misleading facade, Britain's Portable Antiquities Scam?

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