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one more kick at the can....

In a message directed to Roger Miller, Robert Paul H. wrote (concerning my
comments in an earlier thread)

> Well personally I found his comments to be very harsh and unnecessary.

Well, sorry - they were not meant to be offensive to anybody but I have no
control over what people read into what I write.

> ...I think we
> are lucky that they participate, but many people, lurkers or not, have
> varying degrees of knowledge and experience, and interest. Many of these
> people even though you dont know their name, I am sure feel a part of this
> group and want to be treated as equals.

My initial interjection was due to the fact that I know that there are
people reading the APD with a wide range of experience levels - quite a few
of them don't know enough yet to be able to know when advice is good, bad or
indifferent. A lot of people might not be aware that while a little of some
substance might be helpful, a lot of the same substance can do great damage.
As an experienced aquarist I am aware of the large percentage of new
recruits to our hobby who drop out after running into their first bit of
difficulty and follow (or mis-follow) advice given to them. We each have a
responsibility to make sure that the beginners among us are nutured and
helped appropriately with their abilities to understand. This isn't me
putting myself on any pedestal or looking down on someone with less
knowledge or experience - it's me wanting to help someone just starting out
from making some of the same mistakes I did when I first started in this
hobby, over 30 years ago.

None of us can assume that just because the APD is a specialized forum
devoted to aquatic plants that everyone here knows the basics - there isn't
any test required to join.

> I think they may even be surprised
> that you would call them "newbies coming out of the woodwork" Nobody likes
> to be looked down upon or made to feel inadequate no matter how sutle or
> unintentional it is.

Neither Roger nor me are looking down on anybody. Sometimes it gets tiresome
to read the same questions day after day, month after month, year after
year. The archives of this list are available and should be consulted by
people first, before they ask basic questions. That's not haughty, that's
reality - the archives have a wealth of information on practically every
possible question which commonly comes up. Neither is is an attempt to
discourage new people (either to the hobby or to the list) from posting
questions and making comments. Everyone is welcome here and their input is

> Why were James comments needed in the first place?
> Cant a discussion simply run its course without putting demands on how
> someone should offer comments or advice?

Hopefully, I have answered the question regarding why my comments were
necessary in the first place. If you think that it is wrong to preface
potentially experimental advice with a caution, fine - that's your choice,
but I and a lot of others feel differently and are not afraid to say so
publicly. When I first started in this hobby, over 30 years ago, I was given
loads of free advice by an experienced aquarist who ansered my endless
questions in a manner and detail level appropriate with my ability to
understand at the time. He wasn't talking down to me - he was sharing his
love of nature and its creatures with someone who wanted to learn. My
presence here is in some small way my attempt to repay that debt and
encourage tomorrow's "experts". If anyone thinks that makes me aloof or
upity, you are free to do so - but I don't like being told to soak my head
in one of my dozen aquariums by someone who hasn't provided any constructive
input here since they joined the list. And I'm glad that Roger shares that

Now, for God's sake, can we please get back to plants...........

James Purchase