Privacy, Qualifications and Blogging Ethics
Relatively recently, the Internet has provided a new venue for becoming a public figure: the web log, or "blog."
Blogs began as personal logs and repositories of information found on the Internet, interspersed with commentary regarding the blogger's interpretations of logged items, personal interests and concerns. The great majority of blogs are still personally oriented, and are frequently kept private - only being shared with a few friends and associates.
Blogs which are open to the public (such as this one) are in reality a form of publication. Very often such blogs address a particular interest of the blogger -- in the case of this blog, collecting and dealing in ancient coins. The majority of problems and concerns in these interest areas now center upon cultural property law, and the one-sided conflict between archaeology and collecting. Archaeologists are on the attack, while advocates of collecting do their best to present the merits of this avocation and to highlight inconsistencies and inequities in the demands of archaeology's extremists.
One such extremist has recently restated a longstanding, oft-repeated view that "his personal life" has nothing to do with what he posts in his blog. Certainly, he needs no one's permission to say there whatever he likes. However, some aspects of what he considers to be "his personal life" are indeed relevant, as to how those who read his blog react to it. These aspects include his qualifications as an archaeologist, and as an observer of (and commentator upon) events relating to antiquities collecting and metal detecting.
This archaeologist has not published a resume or curriculum vitae, nor has he disclosed relevant information that would enable readers to make an informed, thoughtful judgement regarding his education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives. All these are essential background necessary to decide how much weight to give to his remarks and opinions.
He clearly has developed a "public," which includes those who unreservedly applaud his crusades for "responsible collecting" and against "irresponsible metal detecting." It also includes many who see some merit in his concerns, but dislike his confrontational manner of presentation. It further includes many who see little merit in his views and concerns, instead regarding him as an offensive pest and perhaps even a public nuisance.
Whether this archaeologist likes it or not, he has deliberately and intentionally made himself a public figure through his blogging activities, and must accept the consequences. These include public interest in learning more about his education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives, and a tendency to wonder why he is reluctant to make this information public.
In this observer's opinion, it is at best disingenuous to publish a blog that is intended to have a wide readership, and at the same time insist upon keeping one's own background and qualifications (as an expert observer upon the blog's subject) secret. That certainly isn't my conception of "best practice" where blogging ethics are concerned, and is especially inappropriate when a blogger frequently criticizes (and even castigates) others for not following "best practice" in their activities.
Those whom this blogger criticizes have not maintained such a reserve regarding their own backgrounds, and have considered it proper to publicly disclose their qualifications.
Here it is clearly appropriate to once again present my own qualifications as a numismatist and numismatic blogger, in a convenient Internet-accessible public disclosure of my background.
My numismatic background and interests are outlined here:
My focus upon education as a primary objective of my numismatic website begins here:
My focus on numismatic research and information-sharing is apparent in these pages:
My technical background is the focus of the ATM consultancy website:
That background is additionally discussed here:
The most recent  version of my technical resume is available here:
Readers who play chess might be interested in the best-known game of my brief career as a competitive chess player: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1586750
While this has nothing to do with numismatic blogging qualifications, it gives insight into the diversity of my interests. This game received the Brilliancy Prize at the 1968 U. S. Open and was published in that year's Chess Informant. After I stopped playing competitively, I concentrated on furthering the development of computer chess.