ONLINE SAFETY FOR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS A CAUTIONARY TALE.

The lovely weather were having for our lovely hobby gave me the opportunity to individually meet up with several association members recently.On one particular buddy up  during  a break in searching we got around to chatting about the various online forums devoted to our lovely recreational hobby.I was told a tale of a very negative experience online  which led me to do quite a bit of research into the various online forums and discussion groups.What I found out was very disturbing.

Anyway coming back to my colleague .It all began on a very prominent forum in a  discussion over the merits of an upcoming television series in the UK .Our  fellow colleague expressed an opinion about  the excellent quality of two old television programmes in comparison to current and proposed future television content about our excellent  hobby.The reaction to his opinion was shocking and illustrated a failure of the site moderators to police the site properly, and it has made him very reluctant to post opinions on topics or engage in general discussions in future again.

When I had a chance I was able to get onto the site and view the actual discussion and verify that our colleague was right and that indeed there was a failure to moderate by the forum administrators .A little bit more research opened up a Pandora’s box about what goes on behind the scenes and in open view on many of these online forums and discussion groups. Common practices of blocking controversial topics,shouting down of members who’s ideas and opinions were not popular,third party monitoring  and accessing information  from the private  messaging services are some of the things which occur on many of these online forums and discussion groups.

When I passed the fruits of my research onto the association members ,people responded with some positive suggestions.The association recommends that its members follow these good practices when on online metal detecting forums and discussion groups.

Members should stay away from general discussion and opinion topics and concentrate on research and technical topics relevant to our lovely hobby.

Members should not use online forum/discussion groups private messaging services to communicate between each other.

Members should be very cautious when responding to buddy requests from non association members.Of course it is nice to be nice but do try to meet them on their search locations first and please remember not to use the forum or private messaging service for arranging times ,dates locations etc.

Members should not get involved in discussions about our association online.The place for any discussion of this nature is amongst ourselves .

Members should inform Jack Phillips if they see any discussion or forum topic regarding our association.He will monitor what is being said by who ,and the association will decide the best course of action to take.

Members should take note that the only person who can represent the association online and in the media is the association spokesperson.

Members  should be aware that the association  will never engage in online forum topics or discussion groups

By following these good practices  we will all avoid these potential negative experiences .If everyone  started doing this it would greatly  enhance the image and reputation of our lovely hobby online amongst hobbyists and the general public

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