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Carmen's reply

>Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 21:32:00 -0500
>From: "James Purchase" <jpurch at interlog_com>
>Subject: Re: Carmen's comments on anecdotes
>Carmen wrote:
>"Unless we're making a move to a peer-reviewed journal, can we drop all of
>the anecdotal vs. scientific talk?  I only have one tank.  I therefore
>cannot do any controlled study on PO4 limitation, H2O2 algae inhibition,
>PMDD vs. Dupla products, blah, blah, blah.  I doubt anyone here is
>contemplating doing anything approaching a scientific study when trying
>something new on their tanks.  Yet I still LOVE to read about their
>This isn't MY list, and it isn't a peer review journal, but it DOES have
>some REAL experts subscribed to it. Everyone is welcome, both as a lurker
>and as a poster. We can ALL learn from the posts to the APD.
>I am not (re-read my posts) trying to inhibit anecdotal reports.... I am
>trying to increase sound scientific thinking and experimentation. You only
>have one tank - I have over a dozen. I'm not raining on your involvement in
>the hobby - don't rain on mine.
>But if you want me (or any number of other experienced aquarists) to stop
>advocating a scientific approach to aquarium keeping, then you might want to
>just skip any future posts I might make. If you want wild speculation,
>unsubstantiated claims, anecdotal comments up to your eyebrows, try the
>USENET newsgroups. The APD tends to be a bit more serious.
>I don't have a slew of initials after my name (none that are appropriate in
>this forum anyway) but I have been at this a long time. And I have learned
>the value of properly posed questions and reasoned responses. I also know
>the value of practical research conducted by amateurs and if you would care
>to dig thru the archives, you will find that a number of people here
>regularly conduct and report upon interesting experiements that they
>conduct. All of which help us all to become better aquarists.
>If any of this is either too intense or too indepth for your interest in the
>hobby, just skip over those posts. But please don't tell us to increase the
>"fluff factor" just because you find it hard to follow or it doesn't match
>your interest level.
>James Purchase

Mr. James Purchase,

I found your reply to be personally attacking and off base.  I will respond
to clarify my posting, if not defend myself.

I did not address my original message to you, neither did I use your name.
I did use your quote, but because my comments were not specifically to you,
I kept it anonymous.  I did not imply that you were against anecdotal

My intent was to share my view that most reports, certainly the vast
majority of what I've read (religiously) on the APD in the past two months,
are anecdotal.  I feel that the minority of scientific studies should make
statements that they are reporting controlled observations.  The burden
should not fall on others to state that their reports are "anecdotal".  I
would appreciate controlled studies certainly as much as you, but I was
acknowledging that it is not possible for most folks to contribute such
studies unless they are going to set up a control tank.  BTW, get enough
anecdotal observations together and you can discern some cause and effect

I do not think that my posting equated to "raining on your involvement in
the hobby".  Although you sure have rained on mine.  I was only qualifying
my perception of the APD and its value to my aquatic tank experience as a
newbie.  I have spent two months gathering info on the web and elsewhere to
begin a directed approach to a planted tank.  In fact, your name appears at
the bottom of several postings that I've printed out from the APD to keep
in a three-ring binder for future reference.  This means that I respect
your views in this forum.  I found your postings neither "too intense or
too in depth", thank you.  Your suggestion that I might "skip over" them is

In fact, it is the "serious" content of the APD that drew me in.  I did not
express any desire that the "fluff factor" should be increased.  However, I
imagine that our three exchanges would satisfy.

As for the initials, I'm sorry that I do not always remember to remove my
graduate school signature from my responses.  They were not intended to be
a taunting tool.  They only mean that I probably make alot less money than
you do. But gee, they should indicate that I understand the value of a
scientific approach.

In the future, please be more judicious in your postings.  I do not
appreciate being screwed with.


PS: Because Diane Walstad received formal academic training in a relevant
field,  she is decidedly unique as an "amateur" in this hobby.

Carmen C. Robinett      Berkeley, CA   (510) 642-5971