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Re: Xenophobia (was Marc Weiss)

Adam Novitt worries that we might be xenophobic:

"My problem was that everyone was harshing on Amano and it seemed to me a
little xenophobic, like it was because Amano was Asian or something so he
didn't get out culture. To me he and Weiss are substantively using the same
sales methodology good products or not."

Nowhere in anyone's posts on this topic was there _any_ indication of
xenophobia. When discussing the problems of translation of product spec
sheets, labels, and product literature, the issue of faithfulness to the
original intent of the initial, foreign language varsion is real and does
not mean that we are "down" on the original language or culture. Certain
concepts might not translate in a "literal translation" and if the
translator attempts to paraphrase he can only do so successfully if he is an
expert both with language and the subject at hand.

Amano's reputation came through our discussion unscathed - but some of us
still have very real and legitimate concerns over how those products are
supposed to do what is claimed for them. I suppose the same could be said of
the AZOO product I mentioned last week or, for that matter Dupla and/or
Dennerle products which didn't really enter into our discussions but which
have their origin outside of North America. These are concerns with
marketing and advertising claims and are common to all economically active

English speaking aquarists have a great deal to learn from those whose
native tongues are foreign to us. I don't think that any culture holds
information "hostage" - I think that we all still have a way to go with
understanding the sometimes subtle differences which exist between cultures
and languages and practices common in one area but unheard of elsewhere.
There is a great deal of information which is ONLY available in German, but
I don't think that the Germans are trying to prevent the release of the
information. I think it might have more to do with the cost of having
accurate translations done, and maybe with a perception that North Americans
are more prone to look for free advice rather than pay money for quality
books and magazines (how's that for xenophobia?).

"If this holding hostage of information makes in some part for the failure
novice aquarisits  dropping out of the plated tank part of the hobby and
more fish wind up captive in little barren tanks then we and our charges are
the worse for it."

The knowledge is out there and readily available. If a "newbie" would rather
turn to USENET for "advice" when a resource like the KRIB is just as easily
available, or the many excellent and informative web sites maintained by any
number of people on this mailing list, or buy and read any of a number of
excellent books aimed at beginners, well...... it IS a free country.... -
'ya pays yer money, and 'ya takes yer chances....

A lot of the "problems" newbies to planted tanks make are directly related
to the very real differences between a "fish tank" and a "plant tank" and
the types of products and maintenance practices designed for both. How many
times do we read of people using phosphate based buffers in a plant tank? If
you recall the recent "bacteria" thread, you could probably see that my own
thinking on bio-filtration was quite obviously developed by years of keeping
"fish tanks" and I still have a way to go to let some of the assumptions
formed there go. Why else would I have an Eheim 2260 for a 130 gallon tank?

I think that most of us do what we can to encourage newcomers with the
inevitable problems we know that they are going to have (we've all made most
of them ourselves), but there is nobody who knows everything about growing
plants in aquariums. That's why this list is so valuable.

Who wants the soap box next????

James Purchase