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Ben Z's Article on White Flowers

I must first start by saying that I am on digest mode and have not yet
received Ben's most recent message which, I presume from Andrew's message was
sent today to one of the groups.  Therefore, I am responding primarily to
what I have been able to discern from Andrew's message without benefit of
having read Ben's most recent piece.

It is true that Ben submitted an article that, if in perfect form, could have
been published 3 issues ago.  However, every article Ben has submitted has
taken substantial time, 3 to 4 iterations to get the grammar correct and I
will say, unequivocally more time than any other author's submissions.  This
has not stopped us from putting in many hours of review and editing to
publish that which has been published thus far.  In the past Warren Pollock,
Bob Olson, CH Falstad, Kevin Vaughn, Lois Girton and Rich Grazzini have spent
3 times more on any of Ben's articles in editing simple grammar so that the
average American person could understand them.

As was noted three Journals ago, due to concern expressed by several members
over the "level and quality" of the science in the Journal we placed more
emphasis on initial review by the Science editor and peer review by others
chosen by the science editor.  Rick Grazzini, until yesterday our science
editor, expressed concern over the substance of Ben's most recent article
immediately upon its submission.  During this same period Rick has had to
have surgery and shortly following that his lab director became severely ill
requiring Rick to take over double duties in his everyday work.  In fact,
Rick just yesterday submitted his resignation as science editor due to his
having taken over the responsibilities of running his lab operations.

In short, this is a volunteer operation, no one on the Journal staff is paid
for the numerous hours we spend to make the Journal what it is.  We (Bob
Solberg in his role as V.P. for the genus hosta, myself as editor of the
Journal, et.al.) are looking for a new science editor.  Once she or he is
found we will have them review Ben's article on an expedited basis.  This
does not mean it will be published but that we will have restarted the
process of getting questions to Ben so that he can resolve any problems that
there may be.

Regarding some of the other items in Andrew's e-mail.  If I read them
correctly, Andrew did a better job of discussing the never ending, losing
proposition of trying to guess what balance of articles the group wants.  But
I can tell you that if the number of Journal pages given to "pure science"
exceeds, or nears, 25 percent my phone has burned with complaints.

This is a bit self-serving, (maybe better yet "sour grapes") but I will say
it anyway:  Very few people (and clearly far, far fewer than have complained)
have ever called saying thank you for the Journal, or good job, we really
liked the last issue.  Working in Washington where the environment is geared
to "what did you do for me last"  I expected this when I took the job.  What
I didn't expect was that no matter what you do people never hesitate to B_T_H
at the editor when it doesn't come out their way.

I am sad that Ben has had to complain to the group but so be it.  He has been
told several times that his article was not rejected but was under review.  
Rick couldn't help his situation with his health and work.  But that doesn't
mean we should simply ignore concerns and publish something with which our
science editor has had reservations.

Maybe I am glad that this is my next to last issue as editor!

Kevin P. Walek

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