A few points to consider when posting finds & experiences on forums – ANY FORUMS!

Posted originally at www.findmall.com by Andy Sabisch

Andy Sabisch is an avid detectorist, writer and reviewer who has contributed to the hobby for years.  I ran across this post over at Findmall.com, one of the largest detecting hobby sites on the web.  I was so impressed I asked Andy for permission to post it here…he graciously consented.

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT intended to discourage posting…on the contrary, post all ya want!  Andy’s point is to be careful WHAT you post… don’t give away your sites, be careful about posting historically important finds, etc.

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Over the years I have seen many posts that leave me scratching my head wondering what the person was thinking or should I say not thinking when they hit the final ENTER key. With some of the controversy that has come up on this forum and others lately, I wanted to pass on some points to consider when you are thinking of posting something . . . . do with it what you may:

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1) Do you think only your fellow detectorists read these forums? Having done several articles for magazines that cater to the National Park Service and professional archeologists, I can tell you with absolute certainty that archeologists, park service personnel and law makers do in fact read the posts on a regular basis. If you want to ensure more and more sites are closed to future hunting, then by all means post historically significant finds, details on where they were found and be sure to omit the statement that they were found on private property with permission of the landowner. In discussions with Park Superintendents going back more then 15 years, I have heard time and time again of finds made by detectorists from sites that are in fact protected. And these finds shown on printed pages from the forums were pulled from files and shown to me by those in the position of making the laws we are facing. The recent issue of state waters in Wisconsin being closed to detecting was greatly influenced by people postings photos of prehistoric copper artifacts that were being recovered from state owned lands and had been for years. When no one knew about them or publicized where they came from things were fine but when the posts showed the artifacts and then said they came from site X or site Y which was state owned, what reaction did we expect? Exactly what happened!

Think about the photos you post and if you do feel the need to post photos, add that they were found on private property with permission of the owner . . . . take a look at the photos relic hunting legend Ed Fedory publishes . . . since day one he always adds that to his posts. articles or books and does it for a reason.

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2) Do you think all detectorists have strong morals when it comes to hunting someone elses sites? If you find a killer site, you have to be a simpleton or extremely naive to post the specifics of the site where someone else can identify where you were. It would be great to say everyone would respect someone else’s spots that they found but that is like asking a fisherman not to fish your “honey hole” . . . . . there will be 100 guys fishing the spot within 24 hours and detecting is no different. There are very few people I am willing to take to sites I have researched and are producing for that very reason . . . . . I have made that mistake too often in the past and in each case, one person takes two more who in turn take 4 more and so on . . . and the next thing I know the site is cleaned out. “Legal in USA” clearly messed up posting specific details of the golf course and describing why it was a great site to hunt . . . . . if there is a hunter within driving distance that is not at least thinking of hunting it, they must have a dozen other killer sites to hunt. But in fact he is not alone . . . . I will not hunt someone’s site – does not matter of they took me there or they made the mistake of mentioning it in passing . . . . just do not do it. Unfortuately that is a psoition most do not hold . . . heck, the local club is always listening for site leads from “newer” members and have gone in cleaning out several very productive sites . . . . think who you are talking to – they are looking for sites and most will clean yours out given the chance.

Bottom line . . . . unless you are willing to open the door to every hunter with a computer (or a friend with a computer) within 100 miles, DO NOT POST DETAILS OF YOUR SITE! This includes photos that can be identified or or information that someone can deduce where you where.

In my latest book I have a photo of a George Washington button found by John Manger in Maryland. Well, he made the mistake of posting a photo of the find as well as the house he found it at where he had permission. Well, it took less than 24 hours for someone to identify it and John had to ask for the post to be pulled . . . several people went and hunted it without permission and John took the heat for their actions.

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3) Think about particularly rare finds before you post them: If your find has historical significance think twice before you post the photos and details of the find . . . you may be proud of your find and want to share it but as #1 above discusses, the audience is far larger than your fellow detectorists . . . . and they can easily figure out where it comes from.

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Until we have a system like the UK does where finds are cataloged by the local coroner or as we call then historians which encourages hunters to being in what they find along with specifics of where and how it was found to build a database used by historians, there will always be a group trying to shut us all down as we are perceived as “grave robbers” looting historical treasures. We can work to change that perception but many of the posts that appear on forums simply give the other side the ammunition that they are looking for to pass laws and close areas.

Just some points to consider . . . . . . . hope they are taken in the spirit in which they were intended.

Andy Sabisch

  • July 4, 2009

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