Tuesday 4 February 2014

Normal People and Intelligent Discussion

Look at any metal detecting forum or blog. Then look at an online discussion of a subject by normal people and the differences become obvious. Take for example the two ongoing discussions at the moment, what people think of the idea of instituting a PAS in the USA on a typical metal detectorists  blog here and here. This may be compared with the discussion (including non-academics) of the Sappho papyrus here and here.   What are the differences? Which one has:
Substantive discussion?
Successive posters developing a theme instead of jumping to another?
No four-letter words?
No Abba (sic!) video-clips intended as an insult?
No calls to "get the bum out of here!"?
No grocers' apostrophes?
No "lol"s and "ROTFLMAO"s? 
No name-calling?
No reference to a "win-win situation"?
No references to masturbation?
No references to alleged sexual proclivities/ activities of another discutant?
No spitting?
No suggestion that other contributors need "counselling"?
No accusations of "trolling"?
No anti-Polish slurs?
No groundless accusations against archaeologists?
Participants that do not take every criticism as a personal slur?
Participants willing to admit they phrased something badly or were wrong? 
Take a look at some more metal-detecting blogs and forums, and compare them with some other blogs and forums on other topics (tropical fish, bonsai, housekeeping and culinary tips, watercolour painting, mineralogy). You'll probably see the same patterns. When you've examined the difference between the two discussion modes, judge for yourselves what these metal detectorists represent. Do they display the manner of interaction you'd expect from normal people or rather the empty braying of intellectually immature social inadequates? Then multiply that by several dozen forums and blogs surveyed over a decade, all exhibiting the same empty-headed superficiality and posturing...

Not all metal detectorists write like that, Steve Broom for example is in a different class from the majority detecting hoi polloi, and has no time either for vacant oiks like these: 
If detectorists cannot engage in any form of sensible discussions about the issues that we are all being branded with, then do us all a favour and keep your opinions to yourself as some of us are trying to improve on the legacy that has been left for us by the less responsible detectorists.[...] As for old..."I’ll see y’all in the bar!"... Sorry, but if that is my company for the night, I would prefer to drink alone...!
Metal detecting needs more normal people speaking for it and engaging in intelligent discussion.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of  archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  


P2Pinvested said...

Im not sure which forum you have dragged that from Paul, not one that im a member of im pretty certain of that as the one im on is a family oriented one

Paul Barford said...

Well, follow the link which I gave to a blog that is more "ego-oriented" than anything else and just creates a very bad impression of the hobby to anyone who looks in from the world of normal people.

But they are doing it deliberately, posting provocative material just to attract attention to themselves and how "badass" they are. It's like that facebook page set up two or three years ago by "nighthawks" who enjoyed themselves making outrageous remarks as a "joke".

P2Pinvested said...

Well to be honest I don't think its fair an I dont think anyone does label us because of the ramblings of a silly old man on a hardly read blog that you linked to. But yes you're right he is hardly an ambassador for the hobby

Unknown said...

If the decent and responsible detecting community cannot see that this type of dialogue is unacceptable then there is not a lot of hope for our hobby. The forum which is often referred to on this blog "avoids" subjects of this matter so as not to attract the type of vile comments that I have been reading through on other blogs, this is to keep it the family friendly place that Andy Baines referred to and the administrators should be commended for operating the forum in this way.

Detectorist's...You might not like what Paul Barford says because it makes you feel uncomfortable about the way in which you carry out your detecting activities... However, if you actually read some of the information that he puts out, you might actually identify a few areas where you can make a change and improve you do things to make this hobby a more positive contributor to the country's historical record.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to British detectorists, that blog owner and his British sidekick tried to build sympathy for their approach on a British forum and from what I could see got short shrift and cleared off. Utter aggression and horrible language just didn't appeal.

In addition, so far as I can see the blog owner and his contributors don't appear to have the foggiest notion about detecting practice, policy or law in the UK. It's a different world over there. They don't have any notion of scheduled sites. If it's on private land you can wreck it and they think that's just fine whereas having state protected sites on private land like we have is "socialist". So there's no meeting point whatsoever so far as I can see.

Best ignored (except I keep an eye out in case I need to contact the police about them yet again - which they know).

P2Pinvested said...

Is it not possible to report this blog to the blog host? Surely if enough complaints are received they would have to take action and remove the blog account.

Paul Barford said...

Well, you tell me. Is it doing more damage to irresponsible detecting by being up for everyone to see, or down so this kind of oikery is hidden?

I imagine the blog host will say "free speech" and all that. In any case I am not a fan of censorship.

Paul Barford said...

PS I see, Mr Baines, that Mr Stout has mistaken you for "One of Mr. Barford’s adoring fans" and is now writing scathingly of you on his blog. Tell him what your detector is (please, let it be a Garrett).

P2Pinvested said...

Im not reading his tripe so I wouldn't know. If he wants a word with me he can come say it to my face I have no problem with that. I use a teknectics by the way

Paul Barford said...

Mr Baines that's a number five (again).

To reiterate, this blog is about artefact hunting and collecting, it is not a blog for artefact hunters and collectors.

Others are paid to conduct a "conversation" with metal detectors, that they can be demonstrated not to be doing so in any useful form is a problem that needs discussing.

Paul Barford said...

Mr Baines is being a little inconsistent here. Above, he makes a judgement on a fellow artefact hunter and refers to him (and his mates as it was the comments I was drawing attention to) as "silly old men".

Obviuously he is doing this on the basis of what these people write. His judgement is based on the content and form of what they are writing in the public domain. This IS the way people judge just who it is we are dealing with. It is no more and no less than the way I form my own conclusions and opinions about the majority of people I SEE hanging around metal detecting forums on the internet. We can all see them. I really want to encourage (normal) people to take a good look at what we see there and draw their own conclusions.

Here is the question, is what we see on the other metal detecting forums closer to the style of Stout Standards, or is it closer to the other internet discussions about the past (the Sappho blogs) to which I linked? Compare any metal detecting forum with the Sappho blogs and see where they differ. Basically they differ in much the same way as I pointed out.

I suggest that many people outside the hobby will get the same impression as myself about what these forums reveal about tekkie mentality.

There is quite a lot of material out there to give a picture of tekkiedom which differs from the "good ol' boys" version the sixteeen million quid PAS foists on the public through its media releases.

There is Steve Taylor (and his Portable Antiquities Society, has Andy been on their forum?), there was Candice Jarman, remember "her"? There's Sheddy and Jeb, is Clive Hallam still around? And Kevmar? And all the rest of them? John Winter over on his blog is - as we have seen - not above some empty-headed nastiness, and yesterday Detecting Diva sent me a link to her latest poisonous post which differs in no way at all from Mr Stout's stuff (and do take a look at the standard of comments).

And what happens when metal detectorists comment on Heritage Action's blog? What kind of impression do they create of the hobby? (On a conservation-oriented site).

It is everywhere. Plain to be seen. Only the long-suffering PAS is in (public) denial about it.

I am not denying that there are detectorists who represent a higher standard of intellect and personal culture than what sticks out most on tekkie forums. I have had some decent conversations with some, but they stick out in my mind because they ARE the minority of the detectorists visible out there.

The question is how many people are visible in detecting of the calibre of those few, and how many are the braying jackasses of the myriad of other blogs? Why are there so few speaking out about the jackassery on the forums?

Mr Baines, I am not "unfair". I am telling it as I see it. But you will note I am constantly asking people to make up their own minds, to go and register with some tekkie forums and see for themselves what goes on there.

P2Pinvested said...

Personally I dont think it was a point five. I wasnt having a go at anyone I was pointing out that there are flaws from both parties.

Also just because I share the same hobby as the man on that blog doesn't mean I share the same thoughts and have the same mentality.

Dont take this as a dig because its not intended as one but if you want to see changes to current practices you need to talk to us not just try put us down.

And please call me Andy, mr baines makes me feel old and after spotting my first grey hair the other day I just dont need to feel any older haha

Paul Barford said...

Andy, it is not my place or intention to talk nicely any more TO artefact hunters. Been there, done that, got cheesed off with the futility of it. Several of my colleagues have been down the same path. PAS is still following it. Listen to them.

Basically, from close observation over more than a decade, I have come to the conclusion that liaison has gone as far as it ever will, there are STILL huge issues simply not touched by this ineffective "outreach" - issues which the PAS do not dare even think about addressing. One of the reasons is what this blog post says, its a clash between two different worlds - one which is not faced because the PAS kids ityself that there is "one" interest in the past which forms a "common ground". I say that's certainly a view that can be and needs to be challenged.

So if the PAS is not going to deal with these issues, it's time to indicate that they are not, and never will, and why that is and what we (not they, not you) can do about it to stop the damaging status quo.

P2Pinvested said...

I would have though now was a good time to have another crack at reaching out to detectorists and offering guidance on how to manage this hobby with the minimal damage. Now especially with the recent surge of new detectorists like myself.

I openly admit pas and flo can be pretty useless last year I found a bronze ring with an intriguing pattern and very crude solder joint. It came off the beach where there had been huge chunks of cliff falling into the sea. This area had also produced roman brooches and a celtic stater. In my mind the ring I found Could have been from either of thse periods or between. I emailed numerous high definition photos and detailed description to various flo around the area. The results were astounding, not one response. It does seem to me that if the item doesn't glitter with gold or will not spark the publics imagination its not worth it in their mind.......

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