In Praise of Detecting Forums

3rd November 2017 — 33 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I have failed to gel with Facebook. Something that happened on a detecting forum recently reminded me why this might be. On FB there is little sense of belonging to a community or family, and that’s what I miss.

Being a member of a forum, interacting with the same people and forming lasting friendships are important to me. Good things are taking place on detecting forums all over the world. I wish to celebrate one in particular; a small forum in the North East of England.

Les Johnson

Something happened on that site recently that is worthy of comment. Les Johnson, a moderator on the Northern Relic Hunters forum, was recuperating from an illness and had a brainwave to help him in his convalescence during his recovery. He set about the mammoth task of redesigning the forum logo and arranging a good sponsorship deal with a manufacturer to place the image on such merchandise as fleeces, baseball caps, beanies et cetera.

Les’ efforts involved many members of the forum, but he was the catalyst and his unstinting efforts were appreciated. Rob Adair put the finishing touches to the logo which is now be seen as representative of the NRH ‘brand’.

Neil and Sam Owen model the new headwear

I think you’ll agree that forum member Neil Owen and his son Sam proved to be excellent models for the new merchandise. Sales are not intended to be profitable and any small amounts raised will benefit the forum in some way.

Sam Owen reminds me of one of the youngest members of the forum … Roman Bingham, son of moderator Mark. Roman (wonder where that name came from?) is 12 years old, very interested in history and is his Dad’s designated finds’ cleaner. But that’s not all. When on digs the the young Roman often wields a camera and is fast becoming known for his excellent photography. Here he is with one of his latest creations.

Roman and his picture of the NRH logo on a marshal’s high-viz jacket



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33 responses to In Praise of Detecting Forums

  1. I agree John. whilst I do belong to a number of Facebook groups I do prefer the forums. They are a valuable source of information that can be categorised and available to revisit. Not quite the same with Facebook.

    • Not everybody will. This was a comment on a forum by swissrolly and worthy of repeating here:


      But there is also the issue of critical mass and ‘useful’ lifecycle of forums. Take this forum (MLO) for instance. I have been a member for over seven and a half years and probably for the last four years has been on the downward ‘community’ (not quality) spiral. Post an item these days and you might receive 30 views and 1 comment if you are very lucky. In the good old days 200+ views was not uncommon and your inbox constantly busy. For a new member why join if that critical mass is not present?

      This it not a criticism of MLO. (There is more competition, tastes and web demographics change over time) but more to demonstrate the point that forums do run out of natural community runway at some point.

  2. Face book can be face ache to many of us.

    Trouble is that its so popular,especially with the newcomers to the hobby who are testing the waters without giving a commitment to a forum.

    Happy Hunting,


  3. John, first of all I would like to thank you for the friendship that you have given to me, I appreciate our little chats on the phone where we are able to bounce idea’s off each other.

    Northern Relic Hunters is a unique forum in that everybody on it has a feeling of belonging to a family. It gives me a great sense of belonging and I always feel that my time spent reading and posting on the forum is time well spent and I enjoy every minute of it.

    Wanting to keep myself occupied whilst I was ill, I decided to do something for members and for the forum. I knew that members had been enquiring about merchandise with the forum logo on it, so I thought that I would take on the task of getting the design right, sourcing a supplier and taking orders.

    I greatly appreciate the help that I received from Brian Ridley AKA (oldschooldetectorist), Rob Adair and others. This task has greatly helped me stay sane whilst in so much pain and it has been a labour of love and a huge success with the members, and the orders are still coming in and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that supported me.


  4. Not a facebook person myself it’s just not for me when I put something in a place I can remember I like it to be still there when I get back.
    Forums are hard work enough without the constant pestering from facebook with stats you don’t much care about.
    I am big into community spirit on forums although I like my space and time out when I can get it.
    The community together can get things done where as on our own nothing changes.
    Participation in forums are the life and blood of the community without that you don’t have one.

  5. Yes John, we had some good times on the forums .
    I also miss them

  6. I am a member of an excellent Canadian forum which is where I first heard about your blog John and also where I have received unlimited help with various questions/problems I have had being new in the hobby.
    In my employment we were not allowed to install Facebook on our work computers for security reasons and non other. Because of this I have resisted becoming a member of Facebook on my own machine until quite recently when I wanted to join the detectorist group closest to me and found that in order to communicate with them I needed Facebook.
    The ‘private’ group has 74 members of whom 36 read postings and approximately 7 actually post. Subsequently I joined other Facebook detectorist groups where I have found the same kind of thing with sometimes weeks passing by between postings which usually are people bragging about their finds. Rarely if ever does the Facebook community answer questions and the most feedback likely to be given is clicking on a ‘like’ button.
    All in all I find myself baffled by the overwhelming popularity of Facebook but I suppose if I was seeking a Russian ‘ladyfriend’ or somewhere to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, it might have some point.

  7. I do not belong to, nor will I ever, Facebook John.. I have seen what it does to people; my sister is a good example. She posts the most inane things there and it takes up much of her day; There must be better ways to connect than FB.. maybe phone s person and talk directly?

  8. Well I wholeheartedly agree with all of the comments expressed here on JW blog and as most here know I am a member of the Northern Relic Hunters forum and been there since it first came about and I am proud to say that it was myself who brought JW ( The Scribbler ) and northern marra on board.
    On the NRH forum I make every effort to help the new and upcoming members with their help request especially on their finds identification request posts.
    Overall the NRH forum is a breath of fresh air and represents a big happy family atmosphere, and with the likes of Les and Bri and many others the forum is running on wheels.
    As for facebook it is OK if you want a few thousand friends or a Russian lover but I prefer the forums every time.

    • Bragging again, Randolph? What would we do with a Russian lover? The nearest I get is a pretty Russian blonde who visits me every eight weeks …

      to cut my toe nails!

      Thanks for the comment … marra! 🙂

      • The one and only once which I responded to a Russian trollop to be her friend I landed up importing a computer virus which took over my computer and costing me a fortune to fumigate my computer.
        You know me John I don’t need to brag I am too old for that stuff.

      • Bragging ?????????? ??????????

  9. Bruce D Campbell 3rd November 2017 at 7:19 PM

    Facebook has its place John. It will however never compete with the forums for ease of reference to old information and true friendships that build up over time.
    One thing that Facebook does have in spades over the forums is the possibility to instantly connect with anyone from around the world who owns a smartphone. All smartphones these days come with Facebook already enabled and the messaging system Facebook employs is by far superior to the forum private messaging system.

  10. Great blog John. I’ve been a member of NRH now for nearly 2 years and find it a very friendly and inviting forum with lots of great members who are always willing to lend a hand/knowledge etc when requested. I’m also a member of Facebook and a couple of detecting sites on Facebook, I’ve yet to post in them and don’t feel the need to when I’m lucky enough to have a resource such as NRH forum to rely on.

  11. Bruce, I hate being interrupted in the middle of a dig by a facebook message on my phone, unless it’s from a trollop of course 🙂 One has to have some standards.

  12. Yes i agree that the detecting Forums are good for interacting with fellow detectorists. However the fact that they are moderated makes them much better than the Facebook groups and chatrooms that have sprung up.
    Too much information is given away without thought for any downsides to discussing topics, finds or just bragging/story telling in a very public place for anyone to see. Private chat should stay that way and not be shared with all and sundry.

  13. Most of the face book detecting sites are either specific to a particular brand ,or there just away to advertise there pay as you go detecting days,which could be week ends or midweek sessions it’s now a competing industry ,many are sponsored,not a good situation …IMO

  14. Forums are great for the things that have been mentioned here. The rules and laws of metal detecting are more established in the U.K. than here in the U.S. I don’t last long on forums because I get into the hotter issues in regards to laws and permissions. I can detect on most public property without needing permission and I have plenty of private property to detect on.

    When someone shows up on a forum complaining that they were banned from a park it is hard to not press them to see what caused them to get banned from the area. This gets into heated discussions that no one wants to moderate to keep them on track.

    Which detector is best is also a hot topic although one I don’t get involved in. No one wants to moderate those threads either.

    If metal detecting forums discourage people from discussing the hot topic issues and ban people like me that push the issues I find it hard to praise them. If people are not interested in the hot topic issues they will fit into the forums here in the U.S.

    It is my opinion that the forums here in the U.S. are more interested in making a dollar than letting people discuss what is best for the hobby. They are businesses and that is what businesses do.

  15. Well what Can I say?

    Thank you very much for the kind words. I feel very humbled when I read an article like this.

    I started the Northern Relic hunters along with a couple of friends as we were sick of the money makers who were exploiting the hobby for capital gain.

    I had never made a forum before, so it was a challenge for me. We have had our problems and our down days but we all stick together and have kept the community spirit going.

    I thank you John, along with all of the moderators and members. Whether they be regular posters or lurkers.

    Cheers everyone


  16. Cast out money lenders ,,who said that ,, we’ve all sorts now, and there all competing ,,and some doing it in the name of good causes ,wow betide those who are being dishonest ,because they will be caught out by there own greed.
    Theres turf wars in some areas, and all that goes with it,if you put up a recognisable photo of land on any of these FB forums of land you detect, or inadvertently mention an area the chances are all the farms in that area will be canvased, on the premise that some one in that area is sympathetic to metal detecting ,and will take thousand pounds ,for an impromptu metal detecting event..yeh its a free country…
    On one of the forums a couple of weeks ago it mentioned that at one of there impromtu events ,an honest Joe handed in a gold soveriegn,the farmer took it and kept it, the organisers were talking about instigating legal proceedings against the farmer ..

  17. The more you put in… the more you get out.
    I spent years working on MLO with a lot of love care and attention.
    Its just like being married… if you dont take care of the wife she’ll leave in the end.

  18. peter walsh …aka…G.clooney 6th November 2017 at 7:11 PM

    There was only one forum ,and that was Detectorist run by shane and Emma ,i alway enjoyed reading your posts john ,we had some banter on there mate ,happy days ,wot ya drinking .

    • Happy days indeed!

      Just a coffee, but it’s rather a special one called TURBO … special label brew from the Saab Museum celebrating 40 years with turbo.

      How boring is that! 🙂

  19. I read someone on above comments mentioned that FB is time eater, s/he is correct but not 100%, in fact the whole internet thing is time eater 🙂 all it depend on a person how he/she use it, productive people like me 🙂 use it with very much of control, i met so many virtual friends and same hobby person on FB and forums but i set up a time say 10-20 minutes daily , once i hit my max setup time, i live it , no matter how important task i am doing on it.

    that way i can save my time while meeting great people such as John and like on social sites on a regular basis.

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