Thursday 13 February 2014

"Diary of a Detectorist", Letting the Side Down

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 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"


Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced Steve Broom is right that it has been a sad week for metal detecting. Admittedly I was pleased when it seemed two "reforming" blogs had appeared but the fact one has turned out to be so in word only doesn't really matter, one is enough to provide an exemplar of a better way.

Indeed, the one that has made itself irrelevant to progress is useful as an illustration of "the problem" - fine words but no understanding of the issues or willingness to tackle them. The insincerity of a Howland and the nous of a Stout, all in one place. Fine, at least there can be no confusion, something PAS has failed to avoid.

Steve Broom on the other hand deserves great credit. It's terribly non-political but it's a matter of intelligence I think. The REAL reformers are smart enough to think strategically and on a national scale rather than retreat spitting and snarling into Fort Metal Detecting, shouting "we're nearly all well behaved" while anyone with the ability to read the stats privately laughs at them.

I could mention a few in the group that Steve has joined but it does them no favours as they get attacked for consorting with the Devil and being conned. Indeed, that particular accusation has now been directed at Steve. As if! He doesn't strike me as someone who is going to be conned. Truth is, he has some strong views and I've tried my hardest to persuade him to change some of them but he has resisted. It's been an interesting experience, a detectorist who has argued with me on the basis of his own logic rather than on false premises and platitudes, all of which imply there's no problem with the hobby. He's a grown-up, and a refreshing change. Maybe there are many like him but they don't have blogs or talk on forums.

Despite us having to declare a draw on some issues I think there is much in his vision of how metal detecting should be conducted that he and I can agree on and I wish him well.

{Cue a desperate plea from the cheap seats for him not to fall for it! We've been here before, many years ago, bright detectorists suggesting better behaviour and others unthinkingly shouting them down in the name of "hobby unity". Maybe this time?

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for that constructive comment. Over on the blog under discussion of course there is already an alarmist post aimed at Mr Broom ("Dont get sucked into their trap Steve!" Thursday, 13 February 2014) in which Mr Baines reveals his conspiracy theory: "Paul Barford and Nigel Swift, as much as they pretend that they dont want metal detecting banned, they actually do" (!).

I am sure Mr Baines will present his "evidence" for such a statement - like the libellous comment he posted on his blog yesterday about me - in due course.

Paul Barford said...

and of course pandering to the oiks in the cheap seats is the well-known ("Stout Standards", John Winter) formula for boosting readership numbers in detecting circkles. Here's Mr Baines' hope, expressed in the middle of his anti-Barford ad hominems:

"I hope everyone who has contributed today will stay tuned and follow the blog still".

I am sure they will, but whether that does anything to promote ethical detecting, or improves the image of the hobby, I very much doubt.

Anonymous said...

"as much as they pretend that they dont want metal detecting banned, they actually do"

Mind reader is he? Not just him, it's a widespread claim, based on no evidence at all. All those millions of words by us and not one of them saying we want it banned.

Personally, the ONLY thing I want is for it to be regulated so that the public's benefit is maximised. How wicked! That's why I'm a "w*nker" as a metal detectorist told me on our Comments last night.

I do ask myself WHY anyone should object to my aim or represent it as other than what it is. And myself answers me: because a lot of people are selfish oiks with underdeveloped social consciences who don't want the public's benefit maximised.

As always, I await an alternative explanation with no confidence whatsoever - and a burning sense of injustice that the taxpayer is spending oodles on a voluntary system that gives such people the freedom to carry on as they do.

P2Pinvested said...

You really can carry on with your jibes and whatever else you want. You will not disrupt the plans and goals I have set myself.

Paul Barford said...

Per ardua ad astram...

Paul Barford said...

No 'jibes', just a commentary on some totally unreasonable behaviour on your part.

I see you have deleted the post where you say I was "insulting", suggesting that you realise that it was nothing of the kind and your overreaction was wholly uncalled for.

I see also that you have still NOT deleted libellous comment by one of your anonymous contributors.

You do realise that by English law YOU are responsible for the publication of that statement, not him or her? And you ARE sure that the content of that comment is factual, aren't you? Perhaps you'd like to check? Good idea or bad idea?

I think after so many years of this sort of thing I have the right to be fed up with this sort of reaction to any attempt to discuss the issues.

Anonymous said...

Jolly good. Although I see you have just told new detectorists that following the uber-dodgy NCMD Code is an essential part of being an ethical detectorist and you haven't even mentioned the official code, let alone any better ones. PAS will be pleased.

Seems to me your advice on ethical detecting is not unadjacent to the advice of a blind man in a cellar with no conscience. But good luck. It's been illuminating.

P2Pinvested said...

If you want to point out the libellous comment I will endeavour to do my best to remove it. Things would not have got how they did if you
stuck to discussing the topic instead of taking to your blog to call detectorists thick and idiots again. I removed that blog post due to not wanting it to stain the fabric of my campaign.

Paul Barford said...

I would say that if you cannot recognize what is and what is not libellous, you really are taking a risk putting material up on your blog that you are not able to vouch for.

"Things would not have got..." what? What the devil are you talking about man? I said the HA AEC is not "tosh". That is PERFECTLY "on topic".

If a detectorist behaves like an idiot I will say they are. You behaved like an idiot yesterday. Fact.

Your one-man "campaign" is not going to get anywhere if you take umbrage and imagine insults whenever someone does not agree with you.

Paul Barford said...

NCMD code??

P2Pinvested said...

Ok. Well my one man campaign may not work but I will still try. Im young and have plenty of time to work towards my goals. Plus an endless amount of enthusiasm for a hobby I really enjoy. If you feel you still want to contribute to any debates on my blog you can if you dont want to thats fine also

Paul Barford said...

I think a blog and a discussion list/forum are two different things. Yours was supposed to be a "diary of a detectorist" then it turned into a "let's all slag off Paul Barford anonymously" blog, then it became an unfocussed debating forum. I think you really need to think out what it is you are trying to achieve and with what.

I am not really sure what one can say in a "debate" which seems currently about getting 100,0000 of the 8000 detectorists to sign a petition to take away their rights to keep what they find by applying Scottish law nationally. This just does not seem at all realistic. What is the point?

P2Pinvested said...

I dont have any true direction I want to go with the blog. I would be filling it with stories of my detecting but I have not had time to get out for a long while. So its just going to be filled with whatever is on my mind at the time that is detector related.

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