Sunday, November 28, 2010

Numbers.... Black is White and Mine is Bigger than Yours

This seems the sort of silly yes-it-is-no-it-isn't argument which belongs on my metal detecting nonsense ghetto blog.

I like to keep an eye on who is reading what on my main blog and have noted that over the past few months it seems to have generated an expanding readership, which I find interesting and encouraging to compare with the blogs that give out the damaging propaganda for no-questions-asked collecting of dug up antiquities.

Peter Tompa started his blog before me, and not long ago was boasting he'd had 50 000 hits, which prompted me to look at my own counter and was interested to note that a few days after that, the number of hits to my own rants, comments and observations passed 150 000. Not long ago it passed 200 000 while Tompa's has still not reached 70 000. So the word is getting around, despite my own blog being a rather niche interest thing.

Dorothy King (Blogs and Cultural Property Propaganda ) disputes these figures:
What's that quote ...? "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" Just out of curiosity I looked at Paul Barford's blog figures, since he made such a point of gloating over his blog being more read than those of "coiney" types, and promoted Gill's table as proof to support his theory. Gill gives him 75 to 80 readers, Google Reader 1.
Aha, one reader? So on the days recently when there have been as many as 700 people looking at the blog, Ms King would have us believe that it is the same person, and the ninety or so "returning visitors" a day shown by the tracking software is the same bloke running for some reason from one computer to the next on at least two separate continents? Day after day.

King gloats that a blog she calls "Barford's nemesis, the butt of so many of his posts, Peter Tompa's Cultural Property Observer" has 58 subscribers.
Tompa has 58 times the subscribers of Barford, which does not tally with Gill's table ...
that is assuming that the PACHI blog does indeed have one subscriber. She notes Candice Jarman's recent efforts to contribute to the discussion:
I think starting a blog devoted to Paul Barford was wrong, but ... it has four times the subscribers of Barford's main blog [...]. And I admit that I do find that rather amusing.
So do I, since the actual identity of the author's followers on the home page is shown as six. Ms King claims about herself: "I can be a bit OCD - my footnotes are always accurate, and I like to be thorough with my research. So, I thought I'd check. And the results were surprising". Indeed, a bit of checking would be in order before she calls somebody a liar, because of course this lays one open to having claims like this checked too.

I do not know what figures Dorothy King is using for the readership of my PACHI blog, she says they are from Google Reader. When I looked just now, instead of "1" it says on my screen quite clearly "Liczba subskrybentów: 78". (Number of Subscribers 78). [But in fact what I was talking about was not subscribers but the number of people that have found or revisited my blog and looked at some of what I'd written.] I suspect that, in her efforts to come to the rescue of the honour of writers like Peter Tompa, the poor lady has in her haste mistaken the PACHI blog with this one (which last time I looked did indeed have - for reasons which are unfathomable since it deals exclusively with nonsense like this - one subscriber). *

But this cannot be the whole explanation. Something else is clearly going on here. She says:
Gill's (sic) Blogging Pompeii has well over a hundred subscribers. According to Google Reader it has 22.
On my screen, "Blogging Pompeii" has Liczba subskrybentów: 117 so more or less what Gill stated and not the reduced number PhDiva gives.

Looting matters, Ms King suggests has 68 while on my screen it says: Liczba subskrybentów: 290 so again the number Gill gives rather than the 'revised' figures Ms King would prefer her readers to believe.

So from where does Ms King get the 'revised' figures on the basis of which she makes her claims that the Swansea academic's comments (and my own) on online readership on cultural property matters are false? All very odd.

*UPDATE: For reasons which are even more unfathomable, it seems now to have four. I'll have to be more careful of what I say here now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Get on with it...

"Here’s a pic of Mr Barford enjoying a well-earned beer" saith Candice, but no, wait ("This is Mr Barford - Part 1")...
"a correspondent tells me that the man in the picture to the left with his back to us is Mr Barford. Well, it looks possible and, of course, we know Mr Barford is the master of misinformation".
And Candice is obviously master of nowt. It beats me how he can see that the person shown in a photo with his back to the camera behind another person is "enjoying a well-earned beer" like the good-looking guy relaxing in the centre of the shot. Or that anyone can recognise the back of somebody's head (or is it the butt which was recognised?). What does he mean by "it looks possible"?

Perhaps the person being portrayed by the photographer is the other one facing the camera, but on the right of the guy in the centre of the photo? Stocky come-and-fight me stance and archie sweater, is that not the blogger in question? He looks like the sort of person who'd be rude about collectors doesn't he? Though why would Candice say that this person is "enjoying a well-earned beer" when he is not?Pathetic. Maybe we could cut the crap and instead of simply suggesting "of course, we know Mr Barford is the master of misinformation", Candice could get on with discussing the alleged distortions in what I say about portable antiquity collecting. Can he do that? I think we are all beginning to have our doubts about that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do arms traders maim and kill?

Do antiquities maim and kill? asks "Candice". Probably reads the Daily Mail. In any case as any gun-carrying American will tell him, "guns don't kill people, people do". Somehow I think he misses the point about US attitudes to international crime and the antiquities trade. In what I presume the "secretary" intends as a question Candice writes:
Do antiquities maim or kill! Most reasonable people would regarding smuggling a few artifacts as a relatively minor offence compared to arms smuggling. But not the radical archaeologists it seems - it appears they regard the preservation of a few antiquities of greater importance than the preservation of people! I detect a rather anti-American tone in Mr Barford's posting - perhaps his does n't agree with the freedoms enjoyed by those in the Land of the Free.
Why would a UK resident who consistently writes "artifacts" be worried about an allegedly "anti-American tone" I wonder? Presumably Candice has sufficient sympathies with the hawks across the sea that he does not see the irony in the comment about the "freedoms" desired by those in the Land of the Free to arrest and deport non-US citizens in countries outside the USA's sphere of direct influence on allegations of crimes not committed in the USA. Perhaps he'll be equally happy to see this individual carted him off to some CIA establishment in Poland or somewhere for "questioning" involving lots of nakedness, water and electric drills. I think US collectors' and dealers' attitudes to antiquities smuggling appalling, I find US attitudes to a whole lot of other things appalling. What is wrong with that?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Support for the Anti-Preservationists from UK Museums?

The hate-blogging metal detectorist calling himself for some reason Candice Jarman claims he has the support of members of staff of UK museums:
I have also received an email from someone who works in a UK public museum (quite a big one) who tells me that they are so short staffed that they just don't have time to chase up all the loans of objects made to researchers - and some items are never returned by the academics who borrow them! What happens to these I wonder?
"Loans" of objects for researchers? I thought the whole point of the argument for having private collections was that those who want to research objects like coins cannot spend all day in the students' rooms of museums doing so, they must have the objects on their kitchen table. But here we learn that there is a policy of lending objects out for that very purpose. I wonder how many of the missing objects are COINS? What a shame Candice does not - in the public interest - reveal the name of this under-resourced museum.

He does however have a go a Peter Tompa's compatriots, dragging out a 2005 article propagating the shocking findings of "Heritage Preservation", a Washington-based conservation group. According to this article, their 2005 (so before the current financial crisis) report asserts that in the United States many public collections are threatened by poor environmental controls, improper storage, inadequate staffing and financing and poor planning for emergencies like floods.

"Fighting the Curtailing of Freedoms"

Candice Jarman says:
There are others who say that Mr Barford is entitled to his opinions. Indeed he is! But what he is not entitled to do is to try to manipulate policy-maker opinion, through a campaign of deliberate misinformation and distortion, to the detriment of the law-abiding majority and curtail established freedoms!
Well, he'd better jolly well get on and throw some light on that "deliberate misinformation" hadn't he? And policy makers "never" try to manipulate OUR opinions, is he sure about that? And of course UK metal detectorists, coin dealers' lobbyists, ancient coin collectors, no-questions-asked antiquity dealers, and the PAS never try to bring policy makers round to their point of view do they? Anyway, if he would just get on with defending those "freedoms" by his policy of name-calling and sniping at one man and his blog, and we'll see where that gets UK metal detectorists with Whitehall policy makers in the long run.

Crosby Garrett or name-calling?

"My next post" promised the metal detectorist calling himself Candice Jarman "will move away from discussing this silly little blogger (for a bit) and look at some of the issues surrounding the finding and sale of the Crosby Garrett helmet".

That was 6th November. The collecting world who follow this blogger's nonsense waited with slack-jawed anticipation. They'll have to wait a little longer it seems. What they got was more name-calling: Militant, evangelical, fundamentalist and intolerant. So nothing new then.

Once again, running away from producing any real arguments. I wonder how many seeking answers to the issues from Candice will be any more "tolerant" of this sort of "debate" than I am?

What kind of "tolerance" does this person think they deserve?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

UK metal detectorist joins Unidroit-L

Now Californian coin dealer Dave Welsh is encouraging "Candice's" vendetta:
Everything you wanted to know about Mr Barford and his blogs. Please support my blog if you like it, and if you have any information on the 'radical archaeologists' and their friends that might be good to publicise in future posts then please let me know.
"Good" in what way? What kind of "information" does this person think Unidroiters can supply? We will see.

Readers might recall that it was the Unidroit-L list that was a while ago disingenuously calling for a moderated discussion with moderates on cultural property issues, but I pointed out that the atmosphere on that forum was hardly conducive for such a debate, but its owner assured us that he would be keeping an eye on what people were posting. Here is a prime example of the direction he thinks the US-against-the-rest-of-the-world cultural property debate could most "usefully" go. What is there to "discuss" with such people?

Detecting Around Scheduled Sites

There is a nice bit of unwitting irony here about a metal detectorist in the UK telephoning the police about alleged so-called "nighthawking" occurring in a field next to Woodhenge. While this is praiseworthy in itself, the contributors got diverted into moaning about the location by these gentlemen (Nice one! but as has been said, Detecting a henge!"), forgetting that "next to a scheduled site" is "detecting eye candy" for them all. This is an almost obligatory element of the adverts of an upcoming commercial artefact hunting rally. Two thousand detectorists attended King Alfred's Rally next to a hillfort and the Water Newton Rally was next to the scheduled Roman town site (and even closer to fields emergency scheduled to keep them away from it). I wonder if these alleged "nighthawks" were detecting as close to Woodhenge as the detectorists in the rally attended by a metal detectorist supporting archaeological colleague at Thornborough Henges?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tim3rexes supports UK metal Detectorist "Candice"

Over on the "Candice-Jarman" blog there is a new supporter, a guy calling himself "tim3rexes". I discussed him in a post on my main blog.

UK artefact hunters claim they (most of them/the majority/ some) have a responsible approach to collecting and "are not nighthawks' which they consider is enough to dispel any criticism of portable artefact collecting. I do not agree and in my blog treat UK "metal detecting" as part of the wider phenomenon. This obviously is not to the taste of all UK "metal detectorists" who want the public to see what they do as something separate from all the other types of collecting. So they want to criticise anyone who says otherwise - hence the "Jarman" blog.

But look what happens, within hours of it opening who should come along and take an interest? Why Wayne Sayles (Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors' Guild) and his sidekick Peter Tompa, lawyer to the trade in ancient dugups, both of them are discussed on my main blog. Frankly if the Jarman blog wants to promote a picture of being a responsible collector in Britain, having these two Americans declaring themselves on the same side in opposing archaeological preservation really is rather a hindrance. Then along comes dealer tim3rexes, probably via Tim Haines' "Yahoo" discussion group. Who else recognises the affinities between this blog's purpose and the furthering of their own aims, who else is on Candy's side?

vignette: no-questions-asked

Candy on my "Tekkie Nonsense Ghetto Blog"

Any attempt to engage UK metal detectorists in serious discussion about anything remotely connected with ethical collecting will inevitably lead to them trying to deflect the discussion onto all sorts of inflammatory side issues. They cannot focus on the topic in question for more than eight minutes. This is the case on archaeological forums whenever the topic strays beyond patting detectorists on the head and calling them "partner", and forum members are heartily sick of it and tend to avoid talking to or about artefact hunters over there. That was one of the reasons I decided to start up a separate blog of my own devoted to artefact hunting and collecting. But then as was only inevitable, the tekkie nonsense started there too, so I decided to open a parallel one to deal with it in a separate venue to avoid the main blog getting clogged up with minutiae.

Candice Jarman does not like this, she calls this "Metal Detecting" side issues blog one "specifically dedicated to rubbishing metal detector users". She fails to note that this is by and large merely the place where I answer those who are themselves trying to use diversionary tactics to "rubbish" my main blog, the one people read. So yes, here her own nonsense is discussed, very little of it has merited discussion on the main blog since she does not deal with any substantive "portable antiquity collecting and heritage issues", merely snipes from the sidelines.

She observes:
If you take a look at his earlier posts on this blog, you will see how he rants and raves to the pitch of total silliness.
Quite, the detectorist nonsense to which I am replying there is totally silly (Buffy, Sheddy and all the rest), which is why it is discussed over here in the same terms and with the ridicule it deserves and not on the main blog.

One point to note is that this blog has adverts
and then goes on the speculate by the huge income I must be getting from them on a blog nobody reads. Hmm. "Mr Barford’s income" is zero, because the adverts come with a widget (National Geographic, Treasures and Artifacts) which I installed for fun which flashes pictures of "antiquities" which seemed in theme with the blog. I think Mr Google gets the revenue for the adverts, I get pretty pictures to liven up a boring blog about tekkie buffoonery. Seems a fair deal to me.

Illustrating the words

Candice 'Gotcha' Jarman (who is probably a bloke) is disturbed by the fact that I try to make the pages of my texts about portable antiquites issues more palatable by putting pictures on them. Candice reckons there is something wrong with that:
Mr Barford regards the picking up of a Roman coin from a field as theft ...
wait, stop right there, I bet she cannot show anyone where I said that this is what I think:
...and yet he is happy to freely appropriate other people's artwork to illustrate his blog. If he see's an image on the internet, then he regards it as free for his taking - never mind the rights of struggling artists and designers. Does Mr Barford pay royalties to the owners of the images he is so happy to steal? Perhaps he would like to tell us.
No I do not. In the same way as she herself does not for those which she has posted up on her own blog, those for example that purport to show me (the copyright of which belongs to three different people) or the one she took from my Facebook profile. The artwork she uses with the mice has been stolen from the now-defunct "Barfordisation" (sic) blog by somebody calling himself "Bufet the Phantom Pie Slayer" who I presume drew them himself. In none of these cases does Candice indicate the source from which she took these pictures. I am assuming the reason why "she" does not feel the need to do this with Buffy's artwork is that she's really giving out the message that "Buffy is Back!".

If she would check the captions of each of the illustrations I use (unless I have forgotten which can of course happen) the source is given on the first use. I do not always give the source on the second use of the same vignette. In a number of cases where it seemed important to do so, I have contacted the owners of an image and obtained their permission to use them. In none was permission refused and I have had some nice correspondence with people about the issues raised by the posts in which I have used their illustrations. In many cases it seems the illustrations come from blogs where the blogger does no indicate where they got them from, so I link to them.

Also at the very beginning of my blog is a statement about the use of photos which I believe comes under 'Fair use'. I do however explicitly state that if anyone has an issue with my use of material to which they have the copyright to contact me and I will take it down.

In fact I have only been asked to do this twice. Once was when "Sheddy" Lincoln a Canvey Island garden shed retailer (with a penchant for sending Polish policemen dog excreta in a box through the post) made a fuss about a photo I reproduced showing the PAS table at a rally. He initially wanted me to pay him royalties for using it, but then did not. At the same time however the PAS lady which it showed (whom he'd photographed without her permission) also requested me to take it down. Her reasoning was that it did not show the PAS in the best light and the public clearly has not the right to know what a PAS lady in the middle of a field doing her liaison looks like. I took it down and started this blog (look what its really called) and put a white fluffy bunny picture on my blog.

Obviously UK metal detectorists are more concerned about the pictures I put on my blog than the words that surround them, here's another one.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

False Identities

Portable Antiquity collectors love secrets. They love searching for hidden things. They love creating secrets and hiding things. They often hide on their forums and websites behind ridiculous pseudonyms (see for the example the member list of UKDFD). They do not want people finding out who they really are - as though they have something to hide. The PAS goes along with this 'don't ask don't tell' approach.

An effect of this is that one never knows to whom one is really talking in tekkiedom. "Candice Jarman" is a prime example. It turns out that the people commenting on "her" blog are not quite what they seem either. I have suggested earlier that the manner in which the comments of this individual echo the blog author's words could suggest that the latter may even be writing the "Legs" comments himself. It is also notable that the profile of another of this blog's commentators, "lmpoar" is actually the same address as that of "Legs". So "Legs" is pretending to be Candy's imaginary friend Impoar to make it look as if more people are supporting the anti-Barford blog. In one of the early posts this "Impoar" says:
"This looks like an excellent blog you've started here, Candice. Speaking as a metal detectorist in the Gwent Detecting Club, Paul Barford is well known to us along with his radical views and questionable credentials. I sincerely hope this blog will help serve to reveal the truth about this person and his agenda. I look forward to reading the next installments. (Leighton) "
Leighton (aka "Sexy Legs" - for a possible origin of the pseudonym see here and here) is well known on Welsh detecting forums. It is an interesting coincidence that when the guy hiding under the name "Buffy the Ham Pie Slayer" started a few years back the "Barfordisation" hate-blog which has very similar composition and content to that of "Candice", that author's profile originally said that he ("Bufet") lived in Monmouth (Gwent), which was then changed, and its author started dropping geographical "clues" which placed him further east (in fact pretty near where "Candy" now claims to be based) to mislead the reader.

But this phenomenon is more widespread in tekkiedom. Over on Heritage Journal there is a thread on the "depth advantage" which some new detectors provide. At the time of writing it has received 21 comments, but it turns out that:
on this thread alone, we have “Harrismatrix man” implying he’s an archaeologist but giving three different versions of his name and having the same email address as both “Jennifer Grey” and “Geoff”, and the same IP address as both “Bozwaldo” and “Maximus”.
So one metal detectorist impersonating five different people contributing to the same thread. What is the matter with these people?

My name is Paul Barford and I write what I think. I don't need to impersonate another four people to say "I agree with him" to make myself feel more secure - why would anyone? Why actually do people want to express their views but not as themselves? What are they hiding from whom?