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Old 18th September 2019, 06:23 PM   #1
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,782
Default Notes on queries

One of the key elements of these forums is not only the open discussion of various arms forms and examples, but the reliance on examples which are posted for identification, input and review. For myself, once an avid collector, but no longer active much in that aspect, I highly value the items shared here by long standing members as well as new ones, in that it gives me the opportunity to learn from the items often newly acquired as well as those long held in members collections.

I am constantly amazed at the knowledge base and specialization here which is ever growing through our discussions and remarkable examples and use of resources shared among us.

One of the possibly most discouraging elements of discussions, especially items brought often brought in by new members, is the sometimes (in my opinion) too direct comments which although perhaps quite true, might be a bit harsh.

Obviously, we would like to properly advise the poster of the true character and nature of the item he is presenting for comment, but occasionally the responses might be blunt to the point of unkindness. I have always disdained the use of the term 'fake' (though obviously they exist) and I know I try to present the truth in as tender a manner as possible. I know the reaction will be 'why sugar coat'? but a choice of wording is not really that difficult.

For me, the 'eternal optimist' (as I have often been chided), I honestly try to find alternative solutions or possibilities before conceding to the dreary 'reproduction' assessment. It is much the same with items that are arbitrarily labeled 'tourist junk' when in many cultural spheres, these are traditional weapon forms often still produced and worn in degree by native people.

As an arms historian (or supposed as one) of course I look for authentic old items which can be investigated and their context of use determined as much as possible. Clearly reproduction items etc. offer little in that category, but I still try to find any integrity in composite items or marriages of genuinely antique elements.

One quote from some time ago which has become a kind of personal credo, is from a 1999 paper by Sid Blair and Michael Lacy, "Arms and Armor Study in Edwardian Britain";
"I was once told that it was said of Laking (Sir Guy Laking, British arms
historian and collector), that he would always find something kind to
say about a fellow collectors object".

The reason I have brought this up is not specifically aligned toward a specific incidence or toward anyone in particular, but something that has often been on my mind through the years in reading dialogue in many posted queries.

I wanted to share my own perspective, and as always, appreciate the thoughts and perspectives of others. I well understand that everyone wants to be a 'straight shooter' and present accurate insight to those requesting comments, and that is exactly what I would hope for and expect.
However my objective here is simply to suggest that in responding, we carefully consider presenting observations in a way that will reflect the knowledge and awareness of our members in as delicate manner as possible.
I do not claim to be a saint (by a long shot), but I do know I work at trying to parse my words as carefully as possible.

I think this kind of demeanor offers encouragement for better discussion (rather than disturbed rebuttal) as well as courteous interaction throughout.
I know that such discussions which remain focused on topic here have benefitted me immensely, and helped me learn for many years.
For that I am ever thankful.
Just sayin', I want to keep our pages friendly and helpful, as the intent has been since the Genesis here (over two decades now!).

Thank you guys!
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