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  • Seahorse - could use some reformatting, what to do with this seahorse list for instance, my knowledge on seahorses is limited. --Solitude 15:03, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I recall seeing a documentary on seahorses. It told us that the males get pregnant! That is amazing! They are like chameleons both in that they change colour and that their eyes move independently. (See also [1].)The fact that male sea horses "look" like they are going through pregnancy is. However, does the male really get pregnant? Or is it more like a marsupial pouch as that page describes it? -- Smjg 17:45, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Male pregnancy, only known in seahorses?[edit]

CMale pregnancy only have seahorses in its list of known male pregnancies.

Pipefishes and seahorses are the only known species to which the term "male pregnancy" has been applied, according to this article. =Axlq 05:41, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

i think that you need to teel about thee common name ,class,size,lifespan,gestation,young per birth,diet,biome,and a interesting fact —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

This has got to be, without a doubt, the biggest projection of male insecurity on the animal kingdom that I have ever seen in my entire life. Guys? You are perfectly OK and useful and valuable whether or not you act manly, whether or not you bring home the bacon and whether or not you can support life in your bodies. OK? Are we on the same page now? I was reading the article, about how mystified they were that male seahorses don't expend a lot of energy in seahorse reproduction. This is no great secret. I'll tell you exactly what's going on. They're seriously misusing a biological term with a precise biological definition, to wit: in order for a pregnancy to be taking place (1) the animal must be a FEMALE MAMMAL, and (2) there must be a placental attachment between parent and offspring. So a kangaroo, although she is a mammal, is not pregnant while the joey is in her pouch. And a snake, although she hatches eggs inside her body, is not in fact pregnant with baby snakes. And a male seahorse with eggs in a pouch IS NOT PREGNANT with seahorse eggs. Or the babies, when they hatch. I don't care how many scientists say otherwise, you can bet your bottom dollar it was a guy who came up with that foolishness and the rest of them were so pleased at the prospect of *one* animal getting something over on them uppity women that the term stuck. Too bad it's wrong. Can we work towards dropping it now please? Thanks in advance. --Danaseilhan (talk) 05:08, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't think you need to resort to weird conspiracy theories over this, Dana. Pregnancy is what you'd expect a layman to call this kind of thing. Thank you for addressing the error (I hope you fixed it in the main article), but the rant was quite unnecessary. :P Abyssal (talk) 12:20, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, don't fret, love. You'll make a lovely wife for someone, I'm sure. --OhNoPeedyPeebles (talk) 15:14, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there seem to be a mechanism similar to placenta which provides small seahorse offsprings with nutrients inside of male pouch.

"Quality" of seahorses[edit]

AV: Seahorses are becoming very valuable. The best quality seahorses in traditional Chinese medicine -- the smooth pale, large seahorses -- now sell in Hong Kong for up to $550 U.S. per pound. Even the seahorses that are not quite such good quality are selling for a couple of hundred dollars per pound. There are about 39 countries around the world now involved in the seahorse trade, most of them trading dried seahorses for traditional Chinese medicine. So this is becoming quite big business, which is part of the problem.


how the heck do they swim? the tail? it doesnt look like it would make them very fast or even be able to keep them up... does it go back and forth or side to side thuglasT|C 00:25, 1 March 2007 (UTC) hi i tom —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:10, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

No, the seahorse uses its dorsal fin. The dorsal fin helps it navigate and beat 30-70 times per second! So it helps the seahorse swim fast and the dierection the seahorse wants to go. Hope I helped!

In answer to the question 'how do they swim?, seahorses swim (poorly)with their dorsal fin, beating it from 30-70 times per second using their pectoral fins at either side of the head to steer them and stabilize them. The tail is used to cling to things in the habitat eg. eelgrass and not to propel it along. Despite the similarity to Sea dragons, Seahorses swim upright and sea dragons don't. Most resources found on the net, and even most peer reviewed scientific journals are by Amanda Vincent and the Seahorse Project, there is a considerable lack of other peer reviewed articles available. Seahorses are endangered and many species are on the 'red list'. There is actually no accurate account of species numbers, only an estimate.

For more info on behaviour, male pregnancy and particularly the 2 seahorse species found around the British Isles is a good resource and is a charitable organisation with a great pool of knowledge on the subject of seahorses for anyone interested. I am new to this and do not have the confidence to edit the pages yet.

--Whitbywitchuk 06:03, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


Of the 40 some odd pages on my watchlist, this one pops up the most, and the edit summaries are always "reverted vandalism". Perhaps we should consider requesting protection for this page. Seahorse is not exactly a common topic, and one vandalism a day is a little excessive for such an off-the-beaten-path article, doncha' think?! L'Aquatique talktome 04:44, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Philippine luminous seahorse sanctuary[edit]

I added this section since the Philippines made a sanctuary for LUMINOUS seahorses which are so rare for tourists.

--Florentino floro (talk) 09:43, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Area? Distance?[edit]

"These fish form territories, with males staying in about one square meter of their habitat" This doesn't make any sense. Does it stay within 1 meter of its habitat, or maybe within a cubic meter, at the center of which is its habitat? Someone find out and fix it. (talk) 23:50, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

> —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:44, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

This is a little confusing. It should read "These fishes have restricted home ranges, with males having home ranges as small as :one square meter while females may have home ranges up to one hundred square meters." although it would be good to reference :this fact PSbiologist_Stefan_W (talk) 22:31, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Length of Pregnancy[edit]

In the Courtship section it says that pregnancy typically lasts about 2-3 weeks, and in the birth section it says 40-50 days depending on species. Those time periods don't overlap. Does anyone have a good source or know the true mean or variance of pregnancy length?

-Joshy —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:45, 24 May 2008 (UTC)


I don't know if this applies to all seahorses. Isn't there just one species of seahorses that are monogam which leads to the question? Courtship should probably refer to seahorses courtship in general or state that the given facts only apply to one or some species. Since it doesn't I find it kind of hard to take anything on the article serious.

Some, but not all, seahorses are monogamous but this does not mean that they do not all court before mating. Even those species that are not monogamous still go through courtship before mating. An example would be H. abdominalis, which is socially promiscuous but still goes through courtship. PSbiologist_Stefan_W (talk) 21:59, 27 September 2012 (UTC)


Note should be made of the threat humans are posing to seahorses.--Archeopteryx (talk) 22:42, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Equine Likeness[edit]

I assume that it is merely coincidence that they look like a horse? Is there any information as to why they took on this appearance? Thisnamestaken (talk) 17:49, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

There are theories as to why they swim upright (better camouflage in seagrass beds) and as to why they have long thin tube-like :snouts (better for quickly and efficiently sucking prey out of the water column) but that this resulted in an equine likeness is :probably coincidental PSbiologist_Stefan_W (talk) 22:28, 27 September 2012 (UTC):


One thing I find most missing from this most interesting article is an adequate set of definitions. It would perhaps be useful if the authors could explain what the mean by 'male' and 'female' in the seahorse context and how they determine that one group is one and the other group is, well, the other?

Also bearing in mind the complex nature of the seahorse relationship the article makes no attempt to define what is meant by a seahorse 'egg' or 'sperm'. How are they differentiated for the seahorse?

In trying to descibe the interesting nature of the sexuality of seahorse to teenagers, almost the first question that arises is; "Isn't a female defined as female by virtue of the fact that it is the feamale which become pregnant?"

What is it that makes it the other way round for the seahorse? After all at that size you could be forgiven for confusing an ovipositor with a penis!


Drg40 (talk) 11:21, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Female seahorses are the ones that produce the eggs (with their ovaries), while the male seahorses are the ones that fertilize the eggs with sperm (made within their testes), and hold the eggs within their pouches.--Mr Fink (talk) 13:58, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Thankyou for that, and forgive me if I ask the obvious, but what defines an ovary and what defines testes? Is it that an ovary contains all the eggs for a lifetime at the moment of the organisms birth and testes make sperm continuously? In wikipaedia 'female' is defined as merely that organism which produces the larger of the sperm/egg pair and sperm are normally motile. Sorry, I still don't feel I've bottomed the question out. (talk) 12:00, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

ovary versus testis--Mr Fink (talk) 13:34, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Pygmy seahorse[edit]

Previously there was only one species of pygmy seahorse - the one in this article. More recently others have been discovered. I'm not sure whether to create a separate article on them (I've started one here: User:smartse/pygmy), create a section in Hippocampus (genus) or make a disambiguation page. I've been in contact with a researcher in the field (Rudie Kuiter) and I have a source which suggests that they may belong in a separate genus - the embryos appear to develop in the trunk region of the female and not in a pouch of the male and there is no evidence that eggs are transferred from female to male in any of the species. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Smartse (talk) 16:17, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

If the females, and not the males brood the eggs, I'd be tempted to say that this would merit their placement in a different family, and not just a different genus, something like what they did with the ghost pipefish.--Mr Fink (talk) 17:27, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Ok, sorry about the sluggish response - I should have watchlisted the page! That will probably be the case in the future but what should we do for the moment? Also more pressingly what should we do with pygmy seahorse which currently goes to one species? Thanks for your help. Smartse (talk) 21:28, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I am in agreement, the pygmy seahorse page should be about the multitude of species now considered pygmy seahorses.--Aquagrrl (talk) 08:37, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 15:55, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Hippocampus (genus)Seahorse — Requested move to common name, currently a redirect here. The term "seahorse," in its primary definition, is exactly synonymous with the genus name Hippocampus and quite unambiguous, and so should be used as per WP:COMMONNAME. See Seahorse (disambiguation) for the other, undoubtedly marginal, meanings of the term "seahorse". —innotata (TalkContribs) 19:34, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Support. Article was named Seahorse for years until moved in May 2009, without any reason given for going against Wikipedia:Naming conventions (fauna). Hqb (talk) 20:42, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Innotata seems right: this is an unambiguous and commonly used vernacular name. It should be used. Ucucha 09:05, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Hippo-whut? WP:COMMONNAME. Someoneanother 18:53, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, especially as parentheses are discouraged unless they are absolutely needed. — CIS (talk | stalk) 23:19, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Seems obvious and intuitive. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:07, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment There is nothing wrong with scientific names: they should be used wherever a common name would be confusing, and in several other contexts, as well. However, this is certainly not the case here. —innotata (TalkContribs) 02:17, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Common name. Skinsmoke (talk) 13:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Courtship, Monogamy[edit]

These sections are contradictory and not encyclopedic. The courtship section claims that females lay eggs in the males pouch, and that they lay them in the water column. The monogamy section claims that seahorses are monogamous, and then (over-)documents a study showing otherwise. Need an expert to straighten this out. Lfstevens (talk) 21:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)


The use of the term "medicine" to describe the use of seahorses in Chinese culture is deeply misleading, euphemistic, and inappropriately takes the wrong side of a matter that is relatively factually clear. The Chinese believe eating seahorses gives them sexual stamina. This is not a medical problem; this is a personal insecurity. Even leaving aside the fact that there is no evidence that consumption of seahorses effectively provides any quantifiable health benefit, for the intended use or any other, the treatment of this "condition" should not be considered medicinal at all. The end result of this idiocy will be the extinction of the entire Hippocampus genus. Wikipedia should not engage this issue on these terms.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The only problems with this are a) Impotency is indeed a recognized medical condition, no matter what vulgar sitcoms say, b) sea horses have been used as medicine in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years, c) Wikipedia is WP:NOTCENSORED simply because you find some topics to be offensive, and d) Wikpedia is not the place for activism: it is an encyclopedia, not a propaganda splatpage for Greenpeace.--Mr Fink (talk) 18:24, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but we also treat medical information with extra care, so unless there are sources that confirm seahorses can treat impotence we shouldn't call it a medicine. I think 12.130's edits improved the article. SmartSE (talk) 18:28, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
If "improved" you mean "introduce non-neutral point of view"--Mr Fink (talk) 18:50, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Comment Labelling 1.351 billion Chinese people as 'personally insecure' seems rather a broad generalisation to me. Arguing that the purported remedy is ineffective need not entail arguing that an entire race of people are psychologically substandard. (talk) 11:04, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

To be clear, the "condition" is not impotency. It's duration of sexual intercourse, and more precisely, the false perception of inadequacy in the matter of duration of sexual intercourse. There's no evidence that the people who self-medicate with seahorse are anything other than perfectly normal vis-a-vis their duration of sexual intercourse. This isn't about activism. This is about elevating superstition and grade-school sexual scuttlebutt/braggadocio to the same level as setting a broken bone or treating a lung infection with antibiotics. There is zero justification for Wikipedia to present eating seahorses to treat the perception of sexual inadequacy (at best, a placebo treatment) as in any way comparable to medicine. It's more comparable to someone getting a tribal armband tattoo in order to appear tougher. I agree that there's more than one way to characterize this practice, but "medicine" isn't any of them. Words have meaning and medicine is simply not a term that covers this practice. This is tradition, not medicine. The Wiki page on Creationism clearly and consistently labels the belief system a pseudoscience, and rightfully so. Why should medicine not receive the same respect?

Furthermore, the point of Wikipedia, it seems to me, is to inform. If you want to offer the reader the real story, try this on for size.

Ancient Chinese observed that when seahorses mate, they stay intertwined for extended periods of time, up to 24 hours in some cases. Naturally, this proves that the male seahorse must have incredible sexual stamina. Therefore, by the well-documented transitive property of eating stuff, if a male human were to eat a male seahorse, the seahorse's incredible sexual stamina obviously would transfer to the male human (though not other traits such development of subcutaneous bony plates or a desire to swim in kelp). And, as we all know, human females lust for day-long acts of sexual intercourse and it corresponds to a rise in reproductive success, so the desire to provide that to the women in a man's life is completely understandable and to be a man unable to provide this level of performance is clearly a medical problem in need of remedy. In the last few decades, however, it was discovered (notably, by modern Western scientists, not Chinese "doctors") that in many seahorse species, the male has a specially adapted pouch that incubates the eggs. Well, guess how the Chinese have, for millennia, picked out the males? You know, the ones whose bodies carry such a high concentration of the sexual stamina secret sauce? By selecting the ones that don't have babies popping out of their bellies. So, even by the preposterous "logic" of this superstition, the Chinese have been eating the wrong ones. It's a 4,000-year-long experiment in the placebo effect. But that actual scientific discovery has not deterred the practice in the slightest, and the result is that the entire genus is likely to be extinct in the wild or nearly so before the end of the century. Now, that's the truth about the Chinese "medicine" of seahorses.

I personally feel strongly that visitors to this page would be edified and well-served to learn all of this. If, for reasons of uniformly-held standards, the above is not fit to run on the page, which I could understand and accept, that's not the same as a justification to sweep the issue under the rug by calling it "medicine". Cultural usage or traditional usage are perfectly good ways of accurately and objectively characterizing it. Also, unless you can provide evidence that it works, superstition is another objectively accurate characterization. If the Chinese decide to call a tail a leg, it doesn't mean dogs have five legs and it puts Wikipedia under no obligation to acknowledge or use their twisted, self-serving definition on pages for dogs, legs, or tails. Keep in mind what this really is. This is snake oil salesmen, Chinese-style. These people are not doctors in any sense of the word. They have no demonstrable medical training, they do not diagnose illness, they have no information about method of action, and they have no interest in actual efficacy beyond the financial transaction at purchase. They are a well-entrenched class of merchants selling endangered animal parts to an uninformed and manipulated populace. What they are experts in, what they have figured out, is that telling the same lie often enough can make it truth and it's appalling to see a Wikipedia editor advocating to promote this lie here. Referring to it as medicine is basically parroting back a marketing slogan on the seahorse Wikipedia page, like its an Idiocracy cabinet meeting or an ad for HeadOn! I understand that the people who make their living selling this stuff claim it mutilates thirst, has electrolytes, and has what plants crave, but is that the standard for Wikipedia?

My point is that the article, as previously written, was/is already non-neutral. Characterizing the practice as superstition is no less a judgment than calling it medicine. Except that characterizing it as medicine is an incorrect judgment, an unsupported judgment, and an irresponsible judgment. The changes I made were fair and accurate and, frankly, reserved. I'm changing it back and if anyone with more experience editing Wikipedia pages thinks they can squeeze what I wrote above into an appropriate and defensible format for publication on the front page, more power to you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:32, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

So, how does censoring the use of the term "medicine" and demonizing the use of seahorses in Chinese medicine as "superstition" improve the neutrality of the article?--Mr Fink (talk) 18:26, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Or at least provide a couple of reputable, reliable sources that confirm your story and your claims that the Chinese use the seahorse not as medicine but as a "4000 year old placebo" because you claimed some 4,000 year old Chinese people saw a seahorse mate and get pregnant?--Mr Fink (talk) 18:38, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

As I wrote, I understand that what I provided may not meet the standards for front-page publication. I do not frequently edit Wikipedia pages and am not familiar with the specific SOPs. If you'd like to provide a service to the community and improve this page with your likely more extensive experience in this area, as I wrote, more power to you.

With regard to "censoring" medicine, it's not censorship. It is simply more accurate to say the use is traditional or cultural. These are undeniably true. Medicinal is only arguably true, and poorly argued at that. It's not "demonization" to call it superstitious. If you object to the term, simply specify exactly what medical issue it treats and provide some evidence that it works. If you can neither provide a specific claim as a medical treatment and a specific study that demonstrates that it is effective in that usage, then I suppose you've stumbled upon the heart of my point. If you could do that, it would be medicine. If you can't, it's tradition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:16, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

And yet, you ignored that I did in fact provide sources that state that seahorses are used as "medicine" in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat specific medical issues. So, where are the sources that support your claim that the Chinese use of seahorses is a superstition born of a 4,000 year old placebo?
Your saying it tain't so does not change the bald-faced fact that what you are doing is censorship by striking out all mention of "medical" or "medicine," as well as your insistence on dismissing the practice as being a "superstition," with your only justification being a really dubious ad hoc story of it being a "4,000 year old placebo."--Mr Fink (talk) 19:52, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

The claim that it is medicinal is not enough to make it medicinal. You need to provide both a specific medical problem that it claims to treat AND something that shows that it actually effectively treats the condition. Without both the claim and the evidence, literally anything could be claimed as medicine, which, by this standard, makes it actually medicine, and the word would lose all significance. The combination of claim and evidence is what distinguishes medicine from marketing.

I still don't understand why it's problematic to just call it traditional. Is there any dispute that traditional is accurate? And claims that are made without evidence are properly referred to as superstitions. What you are perceiving as demonization, the objective world recognizes as correct and appropriate.

And yet you continue to ignoring the fact that I provided a reference supporting the fact that seahorses are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Why? Are you being dense, or are you trying to deceive via word-lawyering and Moving the Goalposts? Why can't you provide a reference to support your claim that the use of seahorses in Chinese Traditional Medicine is both not medicinal and a superstition born of a 4,000 year placebo effect started when someone saw seahorses mating 4,000 years ago?--Mr Fink (talk) 20:48, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm not ignoring it. I'm identifying it as "not medicine". It's repeating advertising claims from merchants. The fact that there exists documentation that vague claims were made of a possibly medicinal nature is not the issue. You have answered a call for demonstration of medicinal purpose with an infomercial. It does not address the concern. It's only half the evidence you need to support the position you're taking. If you cannot demonstrate efficacy, then it's not medicinal, it's superstitious.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH TRADITIONAL? I have explained the problem with medicinal ad naseaum. If you cannot provide a clear answer for why the words I have used are not up to the job, I will stop replying and just keep changing the text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

And yet, you are in fact ignoring my citation, and you have yet to explain why "Traditional Chinese Medicine" is undeserving of the descriptor "medicine" beyond playing semantics games and magically invalidating my citation by lying that it's an informercial. In addition to refusing to provide any citations to support your claims that the use of seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine is "not medicine," or that it is allegedly a 4,000 year old placebo born of someone watching two seahorses mating.
Furthermore, threats of continuing to edit war will increase your chances of being blocked--Mr Fink (talk) 21:23, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

The bottom line is that you're being unresponsive. I made a perfectly legitimate change to the page, which you have undone for reasons that you refuse to explain. Are you saying that the usage is not traditional? No. Are you saying the usage is not cultural? No. "Medicine" is not a word that should have to be modified as "Medicines that actually work" as opposed to the "Medicines that don't do anything medical." What is the difference between an unfounded belief that seahorse has medicinal properties and a superstition? This is a textbook example of exactly what a superstition is. A claim of medicinal value is not the same as medicinal value. You have demonstrated, with your citation, that the claim has been made, but that's not sufficient justification to merit calling it a medicine. Mr Fink, a seahorse is a fish. If you think it should be called a medicine, please provide both a specific claim of the medical problem it treats AND evidence that it does, in fact, treat that medical problem. Otherwise, I would quote a man who I've heard has some pull around this place.

"If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals—that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately. What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse.' It isn't." - Jimmy Wales, Founder of — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:56, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

And yet, you falsely accuse me of being unresponsive when, you, yourself, wax loquaciously on nonsensical semantics games without explaining how Traditional Chinese Medicine is "not medicine," and dismiss my source simply because you dislike/disagree with it.--Mr Fink (talk) 22:07, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Again, please provide a reputable source that states that "Traditional Chinese Medicine" is "not medicine." Otherwise, please desist removing cited claims simply because you find them personally detestable. Unless you want to risk being blocked for edit-warring.--Mr Fink (talk) 22:12, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

I'll risk it. Does your citation demonstrate that seahorse actually cures something or does your citation demonstrate that seahorse has been claimed as a cure for something? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:21, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Your attempt at bravado, and your continued attempts to dodge responsibility for providing citations that support or justify your claims that use of seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine is "not medicine" are not at all persuasive.--Mr Fink (talk) 22:28, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Does your citation demonstrate that seahorse actually cures something or does your citation demonstrate that seahorse has been claimed as a cure for something? It's a simple question and, since your reference is offline, answering it in a simple fashion would seem to me a basic courtesy to move this conversation along. Your repeated failure to answer this simple question about the nature of your cited reference is precisely the unresponsiveness I cited earlier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

There is the problem of how you've already magically disqualified my citation for seahorses being used as medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine as "being an informercial," and then there is also the problem of your obsession of using semantics games in the form of bearly readable walls of text to justify your decisions. I mean, why should I go through the process of transcribing the page as a "courtesy" if you've already made it clear that you have no intention of either reading it or even acknowledging it in the first place?--Mr Fink (talk) 22:42, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Of course, you could try accessing the book here, via Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange/Resource Request--Mr Fink (talk) 22:51, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

I checked the publisher's preview. It's voodoo nonsense, of course. Nothing in there at all about efficacy in clinical trials and does not appear to contain any peer-reviewed information from respected scientific journals. It's a compendium of practices with an allergy to p-values. It appears that the publishers figured out that people that would buy seahorse to cure their perceived sexual deficiencies would also buy a book. The only place it appears to get the slightest bit serious is in the Toxicity sections, which seems primarily a way to avoid getting sued. As a modern reference guide to medicine, probably most useful as 1,001 Ways To Poison Your Spouse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Edit Conflict)

You are both getting so worked up over this issue that you are not communicating clearly anymore. You are talking past each other. 12.130, because of an attachment to the idea that the entire practice of Chinese medicine is not medicine at all, you want the word "medicine" stricken from this article. The fact is, many doctors and medical researchers schooled in Western medicine have in the last twenty-five years or so taken the time to immerse themselves in the practice of Chinese medicine and have realized that there are some aspects of it that may be of value when used in concert with Western medical treatment. Acupuncture is just one example. Forty years ago it was a novelty. Today, many Americans seek acupuncture treatment on a regular basis and some insurance policies cover that treatment. Just as Native Americans and Australian Aboriginals have learned through a process of trial and error over thousands of years which plants can relieve certain medical problems, so have the Chinese developed their knowledge of herbal medicine over thousands of years. Two hundred years ago, Western doctors used leeches and bloodletting in an attempt to cure illnesses. Both procedures were abandoned by the 20th century. Then, more recently, a modern use for leeches in stimulating blood flow in fingers after surgery has revived the practice. But in the interim, most Western doctors would have scoffed at using leeches as being outdated and old-fashioned. Also, in the last few years, Western medical researchers are discovering possible treatments in places they would never have considered thirty years ago, including some sea creatures such as horseshoe crabs and tiny octopus from the South Pacific Ocean (kind of bringing us full circle back to seahorses, no?). My point is that the idea of what is medicine and what is not changes over time and from place to place. (And who knows what the Chinese thought of our medical treatments in the 17th and 18th centuries?)

Now, regarding seahorses, it is true, Westerners believe they have no efficacy in treating any human problem. But, we cannot lightly dismiss the beliefs of a culture that has a very long history. The article should not simply state, "Seahorses are medicine". But the article can correctly say, "Seahorses are used as medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine (that is, the practice of medicine by the Chinese)", and it should say it because it is true. By saying this, the article is not encouraging readers to use seahorses as medicine and is not even saying that readers should see seahorses as medicine. It is simply saying that the Chinese consider seahorses medicine (and the term "medicine" here should be seen as including our two categories of medicine, over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicines)! To say that because some Westerners "know" it is not medicine we cannot say that the Chinese use seahorses as medicine (for whatever reason) is a kind of censorship. It is omitting a fact. And Wikipedia is about providing facts. There are many facts and practices in Wikipedia articles that we may not agree with or which we may even strongly disapprove of, but we cannot say, "Remove that, because I disapprove of it and I don't want anyone reading about it!" The phrase "Traditional Chinese Medicine" includes the adjective "traditional" to distinguish it from "Modern Chinese Medicine", "Western-Influenced Chinese Medicine", or "Western Medicine". I am sure that Chinese doctors and hospitals use many methods of treatment and medicines developed in the west. They probably combine aspects of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine in their treatments, although there are probably many Chinese who seek out traditional medicine for treatment. But by using that phrase in the article – Traditional Chinese Medicine – Westerners know exactly what it means (and if they want to read more about it, they can – in a Wikipedia article). So, 12.130, some of the changes you made need to go back. CorinneSD (talk) 23:07, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you, Corinne. Thank you.--Mr Fink (talk) 23:14, 2 April 2014 (UTC)


While I appreciate you taking the time to wade through all of this, nothing you said controverts the central point. There is no evidence that seahorse cures anything. Until such evidence becomes available, an encyclopedia ought to restrain itself from airing irresponsible claims of medicinal properties. The case of some other treatment proving to have medicinal properties, upon investigation using modern medical investigative techniques, has no bearing on this case. A superstition that is later shown to have hard scientific evidence in support is still superstition until then. It is not the job of an encyclopedia to play guessing games about the outcomes of future medical investigations. If, at some point, seahorse is found to have medicinal properties in published clinical trials, of course we can and should revise this article accordingly. But not before.

Couching the usage in terms of accurately describing some historical practice is not the issue here either. It makes the article more convoluted and for only the purpose of attempting to justify using the word "medicine"? As the section goes on to note, this is a current practice, amounting to an annual harvest of 20,000,000 seahorse. The medical benefits are a subject of speculation, but the 20 million dead seahorse annually are not. Insisting that the word "medicine" be laboriously squeezed into the article blurs this important distinction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:33, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Your personal distaste and your blatant semantics games do not change the fact that seahorses are used as medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and that your insistence to strike all mention and use of the words "medicine/medical" because you personally find the Chinese seahorse trade utterly abhorrent constitutes censorship no matter how you pontificate. I mean, among other things, "medicine" is not tantamount to "Western Medicine" or "Modern Medicine"--Mr Fink (talk) 23:44, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Please desist in continuing your crusade to censor the article. Simply because the edit warring case was declined is not an open invitation to continue edit warring.--Mr Fink (talk) 23:50, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Couldn't agree more. I do not subscribe to the idea that there is TCM, Western Medicine, Modern Medicine, or any other Modifier on medicine. Medicine is what works. Until you provide evidence that seahorse cures or treats something, using papers published in peer-reviewed respected medical journals, it's not medicine, it's superstition. Honestly, I can't say it any better than Jimmy Wales. Wikipedia is not a platform for cranks to be treated as equals. The historicity of seahorse consumption is not an issue. This article does not go into how/why ancient Africans or Europeans used seahorse, so why should Chinese usage get special attention? Because they're wiping seahorse off the face of the Earth. That's why. This isn't the page for a romp through the hilarious hijinks of street food quacks of ye olde China. This is about an extinction event happening before our very eyes. That the perpetrators of this extinction activity would prefer to couch their activities in terms of medicine rather than profit or fraud is neither surprising nor compelling. People who beat their wives would prefer to discuss discipline than savagery. I suggest you take your Traditional Chinese Medicine to your Traditional Chinese Internet and post about it using your Traditional Chinese Computer. This is Wikipedia, this is the 21st century, and the laughable health claims of ancestral and modern Chinese merchants as they attempt to sell bycatch like it's magic beans should not be afforded respect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:31, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

And yet, you are not the boss of me, you do not own Wikipedia, Wikipedia is under absolutely no obligation to use your own personal and deliberately too narrow definition of "medicine," and you do not achieve consensus by telling me to go away.--Mr Fink (talk) 00:43, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
So, until you demonstrate that your personal definition of the word "medicine" is the only definition of the word permitted in Wikipedia, please desist in trying to censor the article. Or at least explain why WP:Censor magically does not apply to you.--Mr Fink (talk) 00:49, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

So, let's say you have nocturnal inuresis. And let's say my neighbor doesn't like my dog. If my neighbor claims that shooting my dog will cure your nocturnal inuresis, does that make it medicine? Let's say that I decided to claim that pathological gullibility was a medical disorder, and that yours could be cured by painting my car blue, would that make my body shop a doctor's office? Is the mere act of documenting a claimed medical use sufficient to justify inclusion on a Wikipedia page? I'm just trying to get a feel for if there are limits to what you'd consider medicine and if so, what constitutes those limits. As I said before, if there are no such limits, then literally anything qualifies as medicine and the term loses all significance and meaning. You characterize my definition of "medicine" as too narrow. Obviously, I think yours is too broad. But at least I've clearly established an objective boundary for what is and is not. I don't think you have. Please proceed and keep in mind, this is an attempt to write an encyclopedia, not your personal diary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:54, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Making a really crude and insultingly inane attempt at argumetum reductio ad absurdum cum strawman does not convince anyone, and censoring an article because it offends your personal bigotries actually impairs the writing of an encyclopedia.--Mr Fink (talk) 00:58, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

I really don't think you've answered a straight question this entire conversation. Having an excuse is not the same as having an answer. You're not only refusing to justify your position, you're declining to elaborate what it even is. All you're doing is repeating, "I have a book on my bookshelf that says this is medicine." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:05, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

It only seems like I've never given you a straight answer because you've literally ignored or automatically dismissed every thing I've said because I didn't automatically agree with your attempts to censor the article. Whether or not seahorses are effective as medicine is a moot point; I oppose your attempts to censor the article because seahorses are used as a medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and trying to rewrite the article to say that it's a "superstition" or "tradition" in order to avoid saying "medicine" because you personally think the seahorse trade is abhorrent is lying through omission. Furthermore, if we have to use argumentum reductio ad absurdum, by your own overly narrow personal definition, most antibiotics and quinine-derived medicines can not be called "medicines" because they no longer work.--Mr Fink (talk) 01:12, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Right. So, "are used as" qualifies. It's the intent of the user that matters, completely independent from any discussion of efficacy. So, hypothetically, my neighbor who shoots my dog to cure your bed-wetting, that's medicine. If I can document that a person thinks this, and that a person has acted on that thought, then you'll update related Wikipedia pages to reflect that?

And I'd have no problem rescinding as medicine things that were formerly efficacious but no longer are. There. So much for your ad absurdum. My definition is something I'll stand by. Will you stand by yours? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Just as soon as you demonstrate that Wikipedia editors are obligated to obey your inane personal definitions and demonstrate that you have the cajones to follow through with your inane insult while simultaneously demonstrating that it is not original research. That, and your attempts to belittle me because I won't agree with your attempts to censorship are noted, too. --Mr Fink (talk) 01:23, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Non-responsive. The point is that I have a working and workable definition and you don't. Yes, I would like to win people over to my side on this issue, but at least I'll come out and say what my side is, instead of, what, holding a top-secret personal definition in my head and demanding Wikipedia Editors adhere to that?

It's been pointed out to you that your definition is too narrow to be workable, and I've been trying unsuccessfully to point out to you, at least, that to make your point work is tantamount to censorship. Among other things, you refuse to provide any citations to support your own claims, and you disqualify any citation thing that disagrees with you. That you would be willing to disqualify antibiotics and quinine as being "medicines" because they are no longer effective, AND your eagerness to insult me by making up a really inane strawman about shooting a dog to prove an alleged cure for enuriesis easily demonstrate that your definition neither works nor is plausible. Then there is the problem of how your personal definition "medicine" is original research. --Mr Fink (talk) 01:40, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
You would be able to gain consensus if you can demonstrate that your personal definition of "medicine" is not the product of original research, in other words, can be verified through independent, reputable sources, as well as provide reputable sources that support your claims of superstition/tradition/4,000 year old placebos that supersede the fact that seahorses are used as medicine, whether or not they're effective, in Traditional Chinese Medicine. That is what I am trying to tell you. Repeatedly.--Mr Fink (talk) 01:50, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

No, I'm sorry. You can't have it both ways. You served up your attempt at reducto ad absurdum and I ate it and went back for seconds. My definition is entirely workable. Before anything can be called medicine, clinical trials must demonstrate efficacy in a published peer-reviewed journal. There's nothing unworkable about it. It may not be a definition that suits your liking, but it's a perfect standard for an online encyclopedia, because it's objectively verifiable. That's what the references section is all about. Here's the real sleight-of-hand. You're trying to characterize what I've proposed as a personal definition, but in actuality, it's a clear, reasonable, and objective standard that is easy to follow, and while it may be conservative, that's the proper stance for an encyclopedia. I don't need to be there to judge each time something is put forward as "medicine?" Link to the paper in a journal and you're good. Wikipedia has existing standards that fit exactly this model and it was explicity endorsed, in the last few days, by the effing CEO of Wikipedia. In contrast, your definition is entirely subjective to the "intent" of the user. That's a very unwieldy bar, for exactly the reasons my hypotheticals highlight. You CAN'T explain why the hypothetical case of the dog-killing should be out, but eating a seahorse is in, so you feign offense at the proposition and refuse to answer. Using your definition, we have to get inside the head(s) of the user(s), determine their intent, and then provide documentation. Here's an interesting question. Did your reference contain 1st-hand testimony about this supposed user intent? I saw a bunch of proposed uses, but never any information that it's what any individual user or group of users actually thought. So, by your own standard, you've really failed to meet the documentary requirement. Can you provide some links to a Chinese health blogger who says, "Yeah, I got some seahorse for my bed-wetting and you won't believe what happened next..."? Your "used as" standard seems like a real albatross to identify and document, no?

In other housekeeping, I didn't post all the Talk page stuff on the Article page. I've gotten a bit of a lesson today on the inside game of Wikipedia, and a big part of that is focusing on the actual content, so feel free to let that stuff go. We're facing a relatively simple matter of how to qualify things as medicine or not medicine. I say efficacy demonstrated in published research, you say the intent of the users documented in a book on your bookshelf.

Also, I only used the bed-wetting example because it's what you tried to insert into the article and I'm trying to isolate variables so we can clearly define your position. If you'd like, I can sub in the duration of sexual intercourse as the go-to condition.

And your continued acting like an asshole while deliberately missing the point of what I'm trying to say is supposed to convince me or intimidate me? Or is your uncivil behavior trying to deflect from the fact that you can not provide any reputable sources or citations to support your claims, nor any desire to support your claims with any reputable sources or citations? --Mr Fink (talk) 03:23, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Seriously, why should anyone take you seriously, when you steadfast refuse to listen to anyone beyond twisting what's said into insults, in addition to refusing to explain to us what sort of authority you have to support your claims beyond saying that you're right and everyone else is wrong? And you think you can convince consensus to change in your favor by making up nonsense about killing dogs or threatening to fantasize my sex life?--Mr Fink (talk) 03:32, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Mr Fink, please stand back, breath deeply, and review from a calm place what has actually been said above. Then you might find it easier to objectively reassess where the incivility has been in this thread. --Epipelagic (talk) 23:48, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

The original research and censorship objections are strawmen. Neither is relevant to this issue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:52, 3 April 2014 (UTC)


I'll try another unquestionably legitimate question that you're too afraid to simply answer. Do you deny that, medicinal or no, Chinese have a cultural tradition of consumption of seahorse? The failure of consensus here is that you are failing to reach consensus on the matter that this usage should be described as medicinal. Since you are failing to reach consensus on that issue, it seems to me that the page should reflect the actual consensus opinion, which is that all parties agree that Chinese usage is a matter of a long-held and ongoing tradition. Plain and simple.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Among other things, a) thank you for taking the time to redact your racist comments, b) in Chinese culture, seahorse is traditionally consumed as a medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine, c) the onus of reaching consensus is actually on you and your sockpuppet to provide citations to the claims you have made, i.e., that we are forbidden the term "medicine" to describe the use of seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine because you say it's a superstitious tradition born of a 4,000 year old placebo, d) I can assure you that if you insist on refusing to provide any verifiability for your claims, you will not sway consensus in your favor, especially if you continue uncivil behaviors like engaging in sockpuppetry, trying to intimidate and belittle me with insulting strawmen about killing dogs, or threatening to fantasize about my sex life or peppering your rants with racist commentaries.--Mr Fink (talk) 14:51, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Stop pretending that me being a big meanie is the real problem here. I could give you a dozen chocolate-dipped strawberries and you'd still refuse to address the fundamental issues. In truth, you're grateful for the opportunity to hide behind feigned offense, because it's the only cover you've got for your refusal to address the valid questions that would quickly demonstrate how completely indefensible your position is. If you had a leg to stand on, you'd walk past the perceived slights and tackle me on the issues, but you don't have a leg to stand on, so you're welcome to continue to whine and whimper and play the aggrieved victim instead, since that apparently better suits your tastes.

1) A claim being made is not the same as the claim being true. Documentation that a claim has been made is totally different from documentation that a claim is true. Yet you'd have both circumstances included in the term "medicine" even though the Founder and CEO of Wikipedia has stated that it is his intention that Wikipedia aggressively NOT grant equal status to claims and scientifically-verified claims. Mr. Wales is quite right to take the position he has, and my proposal to separate these two classes of claims as medicine for those that are verified effective and as superstition for those that are not is in keeping with that position.

2) You cannot provide any scientific verification for the claim that seahorse has actual medicinal value. This is plain fact, but you can't bring yourself to simply state it. The word "medicine" is currently used five times in this article, but seahorse has no demonstrated medical purpose whatsoever. Removing that word from this article is entirely appropriate

3) Medicinal or no, Chinese have a cultural tradition of consumption of seahorse. That much, we agree upon, so I'll go ahead and update the page to reflect that consensus. The failure of consensus here is that you are failing to reach consensus on the additional matter that this usage should be described as medicinal. Since you are failing to reach consensus on that issue, the page should reflect the actual consensus opinion, which is that all parties agree that Chinese usage is a matter of a long-held and ongoing tradition — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:06, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

(Edit Conflict)

I can't believe you are still arguing about this. IP 12.130, I, too, am very concerned about the fate of animals in the world. You might like to read a discussion from last August under the section "Cuisine" on the Talk page of Dolphins. I had suggested removing a small section on how to prepare dolphin meat for consumption so as not to encourage people to eat dolphin meat, and the response is that that would be censorship. IP 12.130, you will not get anywhere -- you will not be successful as an editor on Wikipedia -- if you continue trying to persuade others to your point of view with extraneous arguments that have very little to do with the issue and with vitriol. You need to have a more open mind with regard to cultural differences. What to Westerners is a superstition may be a seriously-held conviction regarding the efficacy of a plant- or animal-derived substance to heal an ailment or promote physical strength. Think about how many dietary and nutritional supplements are sold and consumed in the West in the belief they promote health and physical strength, and not all, or perhaps not even most, of those have gone through rigorous scientific trials. Would you go to your local gym and tell all the people who are taking those supplements that they are merely superstitious? And part of the point I was making earlier is that sometimes, those plant- and animal-derived substances turn out to have real benefit. Just because before that they had not been through the scientific trials that are conducted in the west does not mean that they cannot be deemed medicine in the cultures where they are consumed. The point is that we are not advocating saying that seahorses are medicine in the western sense, only that they are considered medicine by many (probably not all) Chinese as part of the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Don't you see the difference? Removing the word "medicine" from the article is not going to protect seahorses. Leaving in the word "medicine" is not going to encourage westerners to purchase seahorses or powders made from seahorses, and it is not going to encourage more Chinese to purchase seahorses, either. If you want to include a statement (sourced, of course) that this practice of consuming seahorses is decimating the population of seahorses and putting them at risk of extinction, that would probably be all right. CorinneSD (talk) 15:32, 3 April 2014 (UTC)


That situation is totally different. You were not disputing that dolphin had nutritional and/or caloric value. I agree; it sounds like you were attempting to censor information that you didn't like. This is not like that, because the dispute is whether seahorse is, in fact, medicine. A man named Kevin Trudeau just got sent to American prison for a decade for making false claims of medical treatments. This is a broadly-held societal value, that you not refer to things as medicines that have no demonstrated medical value. And as I've pointed out, this is not just an American value, but specifically, within the last week, the founder and CEO of has publically stated that he shares that value system and that he intends that it be implemented on this website. (talk) 16:16, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

editing break[edit]


Issue #1 - Section Title. "Use in Chinese tradition" vs "Use in Chinese Medicine"

Analysis - All parties agree that use is a matter of tradition. Parties disagree about characterizing the tradition as medicine.

Consensus - Change to "Use in Chinese tradition".

Next move - If any users wish to build consensus for specifying "medicine" over the broader "tradition", they are welcome to attempt to build consensus around that matter, but consensus has not currently been achieved.

Issue #2 - Graf 1, 2nd sent. "The seahorse is used as a medicine in traditional Chinese herbology..." vs "The seahorse is sold in traditional Chinese herbology..."

Analysis - All parties agree that seahorse is sold in traditional Chinese herbology. Parties disagree about whether to characterize the purpose of such sales as "as a medicine".

Consensus - Change to "The seahorse is sold in traditional Chinese herbology..."

Next move - If any users wish to build consensus for specifying use "as a medicine", they are welcome to attempt to build consensus around that matter, but consensus has not currently been achieved.

Issue #3 - Graf 1, 2nd sent. "...herbology primarily for the treatment of impotence, wheezing, nocturnal enuresis, and pain, as well as to promote labor. Up..." vs "...herbology and up..."

Analysis - Parties disagree that the article should contain this clause. Default to not including controversial or disputed text in article.

Consensus - Change to "...herbology and up..."

Next move - If any users wish to build consensus for specifying "...primarily for the treatment of impotence, wheezing, nocturnal enuresis, and pain, as well as to promote labor. Up", they are welcome to attempt to build consensus around that matter, but consensus has not currently been achieved.

Issue #4 - Graf 1, 3rd sent. "...caught each year and sold for use in traditional Chinese medicine." vs. "...caught and sold each year."

Analysis - All parties agree that they are caught and sold. Parties disagree on purpose of sale.

Consensus - Change to "...caught and sold each year."

Next move - If any users wish to build consensus for specifying "for use in traditional Chinese medicine", they are welcome to attempt to build consensus around that matter, but consensus has not currently been achieved.

Issue #5 - Graf 1, 4th sent. "Despite a lack of scientific studies, their consumption for medicinal purposes is widespread." vs "Despite the fact that there are no studies that demonstrate actual medicinal value, their consumption is widespread and ongoing."

Analysis - All parties agree that there are no studies that demonstrate actual medicinal value. All parties agree that they are being consumed, however, parties disagree that consumption is "for medicinal purposes". All parties agree that consumption is ongoing.

Consensus - Change to "Despite the fact that there are no studies that demonstrate actual medicinal value, their consumption is widespread and ongoing."

Next move - If any users wish to build consensus for specifying "for medicinal purposes", they are welcome to attempt to build consensus around that matter, but consensus has not currently been achieved.

Issue #6 - Graf 1, 5th sent. "The preferred species of medicinal seahorses..." vs. "The preferred species of seahorses..."

Analysis - All parties agree that the listed species are preferred, but parties disagree about whether specified seahorse species should be considered "medicinal".

Consensus - Change to "The preferred species of seahorses..."

Next move - If any users wish to build consensus for specifying "medicinal", they are welcome to attempt to build consensus around that matter, but consensus has not currently been achieved.

Anyone is free to jump in and explain where I'm getting this wrong. (talk) 17:02, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

  • The term "medicinal" can be used to mean that something actually has medicinal value, or is used because people think it has medicinal value. The first use is a matter which is decided by scientific research, and the second use is a matter which is decided by custom. Seahorses are used medicinally (in the second sense) in China, even though it has not been established that they have medicinal value (in the first sense). You seem to want to confine the term to the first sense only. I don't see there is a problem with using the term in both senses, so long as the article makes it clear that there is no scientific evidence that seahorses have the claimed medicinal value. --Epipelagic (talk) 23:48, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree with your analysis of the two definitions of medicinal. However, the first and second definitions are very different, and importantly different. As you point out, it is important to keep them clearly distinguished. Fortunately, there's an easy solution, one simple trick to making it perfectly clear to all readers whether this is medicine as in medicine that works or whether this is medicine as in medicine that is only thought to work, but has no supporting evidence that it does. Use a synonym for one of the two meanings, to help make clear the distinction. I proposed using "superstition" to describe the unfounded belief that some particular practice can provide medical benefit. That makes it very clear. No confusion. No visitor has to guess or wonder or try to glean clues from context. It's not overly wordy and will not lead to overwritten syntax. Superstition is never applied to situations where there is actual proven medical benefit, but medicine sometimes is. Why choose a word that may cause confusion when you can choose one that doesn't? Why dance with the Devil when we can so elegantly avoid all such pitfalls? No one who breaks their thumb says they broke a finger. They say they broke their thumb. I don't understand why we'd use a word with any chance of causing confusion when there is a perfectly good replacement word, a synonym, that won't. Shouldn't an encyclopedia article strive to avoid causing unnecessary confusion? Is there ANY good reason to use medicine or medicinal in the second sense? If superstition fits the bill, the only possible outcome of using medicinal in the second sense is to intentionally invite confusion with medicinal in the first sense, which is something that you've acknowledged is important not to do. In my effort to achieve consensus, I felt it was best to propose, for the time being, eliminating statements describing the purpose of the use altogether, but I'd gladly consent to putting them back in, denoted as superstition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:36, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

editing break[edit]

But 'superstition' is too judgmental. It's misleading, and a poor use of language, to equate taking a substance that one regards as having medicinal properties with avoiding black cats on Friday 13th. Rothorpe (talk) 00:47, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm not so sure of that. Some would say that equating eating seahorse to improve your sex life is more similar to avoiding black cats on Friday the 13th than it is similar to the polio vaccine, antibiotics, etc. Certainly, if it's a matter of user intent, a person who thinks they're avoiding breaking their mother's back by not stepping on a crack intends to produce some medical benefit by their practice too, and it's objectively difficult to distinguish the two. Which is where the published research is supposed to step in, which brings us back to the crux of the issue. As I said, I am happy to compromise by dropping the matter out of the article altogether, if it proves too controversial to develop consensus. Or if someone would like to suggest a different word to serve the purpose here? While I do think that the matter of user intent is of some importance, whether it's of importance to the Wikipedia page on Seahorse is another matter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:13, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Look, I'd also like to just get this out there, for context. There's a simple solution for anyone who feels that superstition is too judgmental. Cite a published paper. That's how you tell. That's how you distinguish it from superstition. Is it medicine or is it superstition? How can we objectively determine whether seahorse is more like medicine or more like superstition? Well, is there a cited paper? No? Okay, it's a superstition then. That's how we tell. Don't like it? Cite a paper. This is an encyclopedia. We're not here to hurt or help anyone. We're here to convey what is objectively demonstrable. Passing judgment is okay, so long as there's a clear and objective reason for doing so. In this case, there is. No paper. Anything that chafes at being included with superstitions, with Friday the 13th or astrology, do what literally thousands of other products do each month and get published in a respected journal. What would we do if someone came in and said, "Hey, how dare you throw in this superstitious crap about eating seahorses as medicine with my cherished belief in the unluckiness of Friday the 13th? I have an entire book about all the terrible things that have happened on Friday the 13ths throughout history. Citation. Done."? This isn't about who feels what. We go by what we can prove and it's up to each and every superstition to graduate itself out of that group and into whatever branch of actual human knowledge it aspires to be in with. That's not our job. Apokryltaros, if you don't like eating seahorse being included with superstition, cite a paper. Until then, tough.

It's important to really understand this. The claim that seahorse improves sexual performance is not an obscure one. It's not selling for $600/kg in Hong Kong because it's thought to cure bedwetting. Everyone even passingly familiar with pharmacology has heard of this supposed property. Does anyone here understand that stumbling on a chemical that demonstrably improves sexual performance is literally the Holy Grail of the pharmaceutical industry? Does anyone here understand how many billions of dollars this class of substances is worth? Proving this claim is like winning the lottery 100 times over. It's not obscure, it's not like there's no market. Pfizer is the world's second largest pharmaceutical maker. Why? Can anyone name their second biggest selling drug? I sure as hell can't, but I know what #1 is. Billions and billions of dollars. If this was even remotely promising, Pfizer, GSK, Roche, those companies would have boats trawling the seas for seahorse. They could built million-square-foot labs and devote them 24 hours a day to isolating and testing every molecule in the body of a seahorse and not ever bat an eye. Elixir of Eternal Youth, boner pills, baldness, in that order. Every other project they've got in R&D is a rounding error on boner pill money. Please, please, please understand. Every spring, when PhDs in biochemistry are notified that they passed their thesis defenses, and they go out for beers with their buddies from the lab, do you know what they drunkenly joke about? Publishing a paper that demonstrates efficacy of something relating to sexual health. There is no chance, no chance at all, that the rumor about seahorses has gone uninvestigated by modern science. If there were anything to it at all, anything to distinguish it in the slightest way from black cats or broken mirrors, it would be on shelves to-day. Yet, no paper. Publish a paper. That's all it would take. But there's no paper. There's no need to wring our hands about this. There is every incentive in line here, and still nothing. Seahorse is a fish. It is not medicine. (talk) 02:06, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Then how come you and your sockpuppet can not be bothered to provide any citations to support your claim that the use of seahorse as a medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine is superstition? If you really want me to shut up and agree with you, then provide some claims that support your claim that the use of seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine is a superstition that can not have the descriptor "medicine." The onus is on you to provide citations to support your claim. No one is impressed by your trying to evade this by belittling and insulting me and blaming me for your own asshole behavior while shifting the burden onto me by setting up deliberately impossible standards that you make clear that you have no intention of acknowledging.--Mr Fink (talk) 02:37, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
The basic facts are simply that (a) seahorses are part of traditional Chinese medicine, and (b) there is no scientific evidence for the claimed benefits. Unnecessarily complicating the issue by introducing the term "superstition" is not clarifying anything. There is no support here for the IP views, and it is time to move on from what has become an unproductive use of time. --Epipelagic (talk) 05:46, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Wow. I have to say that this has been an absolutely amazing learning experience. The willingness, nay aggressiveness, of the editors to allow blatant distortion of fact to spare the feelings of demonstrably delusional people is not at all what I had guessed comprised this community. I guess the next stop for me will be the page on rain dances. Right now, those are referred to as "traditions", but clearly, that should be changed to "weather modification techniques". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:29, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

C'mon now... that's silly. --Epipelagic (talk) 07:39, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
It's not silly. I wanted to use tradition here. But that's not good enough for the charlatans. They insist on being medicine, and the editors are too spineless to do their job and keep unsubstantiated lies off the Article page. (talk) 08:27, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

The real fact is this. Apokryltaros cannot objectively demonstrate to any rational being that eating seahorse to treat bed-wetting is not superstition. Contrary to what he posted above, it is not setting an impossible standard. It would be as easy as citing one paper, but he cannot. Regardless, his position will be the position read by visitors to Wikipedia, because the editors are too afraid of passing judgment to acknowledge that 0 ≠ 1. Everyone here sees there is zero evidence of efficacy, but instead of calling a zero a zero, this zero gets to be 1*, but we think visitors will understand that 1* quietly is 0, even though 1* looks a lot more like 1 than 0 (identical, in this case), and is definitely not treated like 0. That is spectacular. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:52, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

The task Wikipedia sets itself is to try and present the facts that can be verified with reliable sources. We are not here to right great wrongs or venture fearlessly into uncharted regions. Our aims are more modest, though still challenging enough and not "spineless". They are to present the facts in the most reliable way they can be currently presented. It is up to the reader, and not the job of Wikipedia, to make moral judgements. --Epipelagic (talk) 08:52, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
What a complete farce. This is like a bad joke. How many editors does it take to fix a homonym? The answer is, well, we can't. You're letting a practice that has no verifiable medicinal value call itself medicine five times on your article page. This is the polar opposite of facts verifiable via reliable sources. You should not let something as stupid as a simple homonym trick you into allowing this. If you can't beat this homonym, as the experienced editors of an encyclopedia, why in the world would you throw this problem onto the laps of the unwitting visitors to your page, who surely imagine, as I once did, that there was a band of editors here who were rather militant about not letting crap float around on the main Article pages. All I've been suggesting is that, instead of paying lip service to the value of documented facts, that someone here actually do that, instead of trolling me as hard as I can possibly imagine.
I feel like we're debating whether a race car bed is closer to being a bed or a race car. Yes, there are some people (children, mostly) who think their race car bed is a race car. And certainly, let the record reflect that the box says "race car" right on it, which is documentary evidence, so I guess the matter is settled. On account of the claims made by the purveyors, and the beliefs of the users (after all, who would be so cruel as to make a child cry by insulting their spiffy race car bed by denying its documented, right-there-on-the-box status as a race car), it meets the requirements set out by this community. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:34, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Request for restatement of the problem There is too much text here for a person to understand. Is the problem that seahorses are called "medicine"? Why not use Wikipedia's own term for this and say that seahorses are "traditional Chinese medicine" when they are used as such? Is there someone here who wants to say they are medicinal outside of the context of "traditional Chinese medicine"? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:47, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes. The problem is that there's a homonym (medicine) in use on the page. This homonym's two meanings are easy to confuse in context, but importantly different from each other. Medicine(1) is medicine demonstrated effective by modern investigative techniques, as determined by the publication of a research paper in a respected medical journal and cited here. Medicine(2) is anything thought by some people to be (1) but without the published research to back it up. Apparently, because (2) is defined in this manner, it gets to end-run the usual Wikipedia practice of demanding that there be a citable reliable source. The obvious solution is to establish a practice of using a synonym for (2) in all places where (2) would be used, but apparently because (2), when taken away from its unfair association with (1), feels pejorative, instead, (2) gets to slip past the usual demand for a citable published paper demonstrating efficacy and it becomes the reader's problem to sort through what the editors here can't. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:03, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Here's what I've learned. Editors at Wikipedia enjoy discussing things like the importance of citing reliable sources. However, it turns out on deeper investigation, that there are two gaping holes in this purported Cherished Standard.

Exception #1 - Grandfathering. While typically, you can't just call something medicine on an article page here, if you were calling it medicine in a pre-scientific era, then it still gets to be medicine here and does not need a citable reliable source. Simply cite a source that demonstrates that it was used as medicine in the pre-scientific era, and you're golden. Old beliefs >> Factual accuracy.

Exception #2 - Voice-vote the dictionary. While direct voice-votes are trumped by the rule on reliable sources, the dictionary is a reliable source. Dictionaries, being descriptive rather than prescriptive, can be and are susceptible to voice-vote. So, if the rule about reliable sources is standing in the way of voice-voting your wishes into Wikipedia, change your target to the dictionary and you can bank-shot into Wikipedia that way. Launder that voice-vote that would be unacceptable here through the dictionary and it comes out acceptable to Wikipedia. Popular beliefs >> Factual accuracy.

Are there more? I'm not sure. But it's a good start on the Guide To Avoiding Wiki Rules and Duping Wiki Editors. These two cases cover A LOT of instances where pseudo-medicines would like to be treated as real medicines. I think I'll start the page to solicit more tricks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Your arguments seem very confused. There is nothing wrong with Wikipedia reporting that certain beliefs are traditional or popular if that is what they are. It does not follow, as you claim, that such beliefs must therefore be true. The article has clearly stated that seahorses are used in Chinese medicine "despite a lack of scientific studies or clinical trial". It has not been established, as you seem to be claiming, that there are no medical benefits to seahorses, say in relieving asthma. Perhaps you are concerned about endangering seahorse species. If so there are other useful avenues you could pursue, such as pushing for the restoration of seahorse habitats, encouraging seahorse aquaculture and discouraging international trade. But trying to bend Wikipedia to your agenda is not the way to go. It is not our job as editors to patronise readers as though they have little discrimination or understanding. --Epipelagic (talk) 23:09, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

SQ section is probably okay – As an editor who dropped in from the RfC, it seems to me like the current state of the section is quite neutral and informative of the uses of seahorses in Chinese "medicine". Nowhere does it claim that it is a treatment supported by scientific analysis. The words "traditional Chinese medicine" seem to be clear in indicating this distinction. While capturing and using seahorses for questionably effective treatments may be problematic, it's not Wikipedia's place to hide the fact that seahorses are used for this purpose. – FenixFeather (talk)(Contribs) 00:20, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Use of 'medicine' okay in context Also dropped in from the RFC. The article does not currently suggest that the medicinal use of seahorses is based on clinical trials or the like, or that it's an effective medicine, but it does provide ample evidence that seahorses are used in traditional Chinese medicine. So use that term, and, if anyone thinks it's a synonym for evidence-based medicine, so long as we don't say that ourselves, they can follow the link and be corrected. We have to assume some degree of contextual understanding. Anaxial (talk) 06:32, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment Only here for the RFC. I sympathise with the concern for the conservation and am bitterly opposed to all forms of pseudo-medical abuse of either the patient or the source of the material the quacks peddle, but I don't have time to deal with the sheer volume of controversy in this issue as it requires. As a generalisation, the best I can offer is that no matter what the facts of the matter or the appropriate reactions might be, the WP requirements are fairly clear. It makes no difference how disgusting or harmful the situation is; if either party has a point of view to put, what is needed is to:
  • marshall the facts
  • find citable sources -- ignore evaluation and reflection, no matter how poignant, unless you can supply suitable citations
  • document the material in acceptable terms and form
  • edit accordingly.
If that leads to an edit war, then is the time to write to the talk page and invoke arbitration etc. Most of the foregoing material has been a waste of bandwidth. JonRichfield (talk) 06:19, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Here for the RfC: the article as it stands does not seem to be a problem. The practices we are discussing are usually called "traditional Chinese medicine" - we're just using the WP:COMMONNAME - and the lack of scientific evidence is acknowledged: "Despite a lack of scientific studies or clinical trial". Many people will know that TCM is not by and large based on scientific evidence, those who do not can read Traditional Chinese medicine or Chinese herbology each of whose validity is questioned in the respective lead section.
Short version: I don't see the issue. BethNaught (talk) 07:18, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support status quo (just here for the Rfc). I understand and support 12.130's views that conservation of seahorses is a good thing, and that in the absence of evidence supporting the idea that seahorse has a positive effect on sexual performance, we should not say that it does. However, I don't believe the article as it stands does give the impression that seahorse has a positive effect on sexual performance. (talk) 12:38, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Here for the same reasons as the editors above me. Now I dislike pseudoscience as much as anyone and would happily put TCM under that banner. But it is called Traditional Chinese medicine here and as long as it is explained as being unscientific in the body it is probably worth mentioning as such. Herbology (the current heading) doesn't work as seahorses are not herbs. AIRcorn (talk) 10:57, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
That is confusing, indeed. The lead section of Chinese herbology states that it does in fact include animal products, and the body mentions seahorses. However the confusion arises due to a translation issue. I am not opposed to leaving this article as herbology, but neither am I opposed to changing that. BethNaught (talk) 11:10, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
  • No change required - Here because I was invited by the RFC bot. I see no need to revise the article. The requesting unregistered editor has not made a persuasive case in spite of walls of text. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:16, 22 April 2014 (UTC)


This is a poorly formed RFC. It is hard to tell what we (including editors who were invited to this RFC by the bot) are being asked to !vote on, and the closer may have difficulty determining whether there is a consensus. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:16, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

I concur with the comment above. The party filing the RfC simply states their opinion and then a wall of text and other discussion ensues. Not a proper RfC and I think you will find the response is weak. I comment regularly at RfC's but I skip ones like these that are muddled and have little chance of resolution. I suggest you read WP:RfC and learn how to properly form an RfC and then start over.-- KeithbobTalk 23:33, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

China versus Japan[edit]

Picture taken in China, evidence from the photographer's own page. See here, down on the page, it say China. (Warning - lots off unpleasant pictures, just scroll down fast to last picture, if you don't want the rest) Hafspajen (talk) 10:49, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 February 2015[edit]

The list of pygmy seahorses in section Pygmy Seahorses should also include the Hippocampus waleananus which was described in 2009. Rolf Dart (talk) 07:38, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done, thanks. —Nizolan (talk) 14:03, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 10 September 2015[edit]

Seahorses, together with the pipefishess or pipe-fishes and seadragons, form the family Syngnathidae. (talk) 12:50, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 13:16, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Overall Usefulness[edit]

I must say this particular page reads more like an article in a scientific publication than a page intended for the general public. There seem to be few areas geared toward the average person. It's not nearly as useful or understandable as most other pages I've used here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RattyMom (talkcontribs) 21:52, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Can you be more specific?--Mr Fink (talk) 22:09, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Generalizing about fishes[edit]

The article says, "Like almost all other fish species, seahorses do not nurture their young after birth." Has someone done a census? This leaves out the Centrarchidae, Anabantidae, and Cichlidae to name three Families of fishes.

There are lots of others, such as certain catfishes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by IAmNitpicking (talkcontribs) 13:25, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 December 2016[edit] (talk) 16:03, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

On the specific article - about seahorse monogamy - it is mentioned that one common misconception about seahorses is that they mate for life. Many species of seahorses form pair bonds that last through at least the breeding season. Some species show a higher level of mate fidelity than others. However, many species readily switch mates when the opportunity arises. And also Although monogamy within fish is not common, it does appear to exist for some. In this case, the mate-guarding hypothesis may be an explanation. While in National Geographic's websites it clearly says Seahorses are truly unique, and not just because of their unusual equine shape. Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous and mate for life.

I was just wondering which one of those two is correct.

Thanks for your time.

Note: The edit request template is for requesting that specific changes be made to an article. Since you aren't asking for that, I'm closing the request. Maybe someone who is familiar with the article and the topic will respond to your question. (As a side note, I'm wondering whether, currently used for reference 27, meets WP:RS.) RivertorchFIREWATER 06:40, 17 December 2016 (UTC)

Swimming vertically[edit]

The article states that the only other fish to swim vertically is the Razorfish. However, don't Oarfish also swim vertically? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:192:101:84B6:5955:C0D1:F0A1:A49A (talk) 16:35, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

In fact, pipefishes also swim vertically.

IAmNitpicking (talk) 14:05, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

unlocking the tail?[edit]

What does this sentence mean? It needs more explanation.

"Their prehensile tail can only be unlocked in the most extreme conditions."

What would "locking" and "unlocking" be for a seahorse tail?

-- (talk) 03:25, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

Prehensile tail. They grab onto things. —DIYeditor (talk) 04:26, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

---I believe the point was the confusing sentence, which should probably read "Their prehensile tails, once they grip something, can only be forcibly released with extreme difficulty." IAmNitpicking (talk) 16:32, 11 July 2017 (UTC)