Don't Use Terms You Don't Understand (a Slight Rant)

Well you guys and gals know me. Hardcore, doesn't suffer fools at all, and opinionated to the umpteenth degree when it comes to all things gold mining. Throw in nitpicker and that pretty well sums it up. Well, the nitpicking thing may be questionable. After all, I didn't catch on to the bogus aspect of Alfred Jackson's diary until it was pointed out to me! Anyhoo, this post is about something that bugs me...even though it probably doesn't mean a hill of beans in the greatest sense. So bear with me yet again.

Serving No Real Purpose

We talked a bit ago about the value of YouTube prospecting and mining videos and I guess it all breaks down to what you find interesting and informative. Some vids are really good, some are mediocre, and some are downright sad. Just a microcosm of this world we live in. And, as is said, "To each his or her own." At least I give all these folks a tip of the hat for getting out there and sharing their stories and methods with the rest of us.

Recently I've watched a number of vids made by a pretty damn good small-scale miner who has a knack for getting the gold. Overall, he knows his stuff. Overall. But this gentleman also has a penchant for using terms he doesn't really understand. Not out of an attempt to sound important or bombastic or to be a pain-in-the-ass "know it all" like some. Nope none of those. So good on him in that regard. But here's my thing. You shouldn't throw around terms, terminology, or fifty cent words you really don't understand. For example, various layers of sand, clay, gravel, and rocks in a bench are NOT "contact zones." They are...well...simply layers. Contact zones are typically where two separate types of geologies (or country rock) come together. Nor is a fairly recent change (geologically speaking, that is) in the course of a stream due to significant flooding mean that the part of the stream left high and dry is now an "ancient river." On the other hand, the Tertiary Channels of California's Northern Motherlode Region are classic examples of "ancient rivers." I could go on and on in this vein (no pun intended) but it serves no real purpose just as this post probably doesn't.

(Layers, not "contact zones.")
(Contact zone between gneiss and granite.)
A Level of Error

Am I nitpicking? Perhaps. Should I just cut this dude some slack and let it go? Probably. But like a bulldog with a bone in its mouth I'm not so inclined. It may sound trite, but each time this miner passes along erroneous terminology to his viewers he's programming the same level of error into the impressionable minds of those would-be small-scale miners just starting their mining and prospecting careers. You know, the "newbs" and the greenhorns. They have a hard enough curve to climb as it is without someone throwing erroneous terminology at them that they will parrot later on and then some other old timer like me will shake his grey head and mutter to himself, "This dude's full of shit."

It's All About Reputation and Credibility

So what eventually happens is that your credibility will suffer some. And I'll tell you this much...your credibility in the small-scale mining and prospecting community is not something to take lightly. Or at least it wasn't back in the day (who knows nowadays?). Anyhoo, I've always taken care to develop a good reputation, reliability, honesty, integrity, and credibility in our community. That always meant more to me than impressing a shithead boss at work or some "Johnny-come-lately" who is now the latest and greatest on YouTube or anywhere else for that matter. And here's another angle. The miners out there in the know will shake their heads when they hear some dude slinging terms he really doesn't know much (if anything) about. I sure as hell will...and did! And no matter how good you are as an actual miner (as this dude is) you fall a notch or two in the estimation of the hard cores and miner's miners out there. Again, maybe that doesn't mean much of anything anymore since we get "blitzed" on a daily basis by so much information and the expert machinations of the "spin doctors" out there.

Ass-Kicked by the Best

Am I perfect? The "wannabe" god of all things gold mining? Not by a long shot. But I tend to know my shit and the info I pass on to the rest of you is as solid as a gold-bearing rock 99.9% of the time. Sure I make mistakes and sometimes step on my own you-know-what here in Bedrock Dreams. But if I do I correct the course. Always. You see, I was trained and ass-kicked by some of the best on my way up this mining staircase. I ate a hell of a lot of humble pie too...something that was never easy for me since my perception of self was always way ahead of reality. All I'm saying here is that you should always know what you're talking about before you put yourself on the tube and start jacking your jaws and stepping on your own you-know-what. Am I going to name this guy on YouTube? Nope. There's no real need for that. He's good at what he does so the only room for improvement is some education on his part. Who knows? Maybe he'll end up reading this and come to Jesus on his own.

Like we used to say in Vietnam when the shit came down the pike..."Don't mean nuthin.'"

Have a good one.

(c) Jim Rocha 2018

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Meaningless nitpicking? Yes and no. In some ways it doesn't matter, but in other ways it does. Like you said, if they are teaching something, anything, try to get it right!
    If a story or an idea is miss told enough it becomes fact, even if it is wrong.
    This current 2nd amendment mess is a good example. "Shall not be infringed" means just that, yet over time we have allowed the word "except". Now we "accept " that we need more and more "control" and permits....."infringed" doesn't mean what it was meant to anymore.
    To "accept" someone giving wrong information and allowing it to be repeated enough, will cause problems latter. It only matters if we care....and we should.

  2. JR, I agree with you. Also disagree with you! ??? WT**? The real problem is that many people "learning" do so by themselves, with inputs from sources ranging from What! to no way! And, they don't know which is what. There is no "terminology" thesaurus or dictionary. Well there s... somewhere I suppose. What I usually do is politely message them if possible and educated them (as a "hey. can we talk" type of thing) or a comment in the same vein, but respectful so they know you are not just being a butt-head. They have to learn somewhere, right? Some will accept your inputs with thanks (and hopefully with a grain of sale until they verify them!) and some will try and start a peeonyou contest. The first, well you have helped them and our passion! The other, now you REALLY know who and what they are!
    Hang in their Jim, it still being jus plain hanging!

    1. Your comments show wisdom and understanding Paul. I'll definitely consider them for the future. Thanks!


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