PM SentGeez did you read the rest of what I wrote? I was talking about stand and semi-stand (almost stand) development being their own animals to some extent, how they produce their own unique tonalities (which implies different speed, gradation etc as you noted) compared with reduced agitation or controlled compensation (extreme minus) development. Edge effects are different as well.
Perhaps it is a semantics issue. Maybe what you are calling semi-stand is what I would call reduced agitation. Not sure.
I also have alot of experience with extreme contrast and I wager I can control gradation and the rendering of highlight tonalities in the final print as well with reduced agitation as anyone does with semi-stand or full stand. That does not mean they are the same. I'm not doubting anybody's abilities, just trying to be informative.
So what I am trying to say is that stand development needs to be considered on its own tonal merits, not merely for control of highlight contrast. I would also warn people looking for highlight compression to be careful. Simply reducing highlight contrast does not guarantee quality highlight detail and gradation in the print. One must be careful to consider local contrast in addition to the total luminance range.
I think this is important because I see too many people considering stand development as a fail-safe fix-all. If you like the unique qualities it produces then by all means use it. I'm not knocking it at all. It is a valuable technique that can produce wonderful negatives when done properly, and with the right film/developer combination. I'm just trying to get the point across that it is an alternative, not simply a substitute.
Everything I said in my original post is technically correct and I stand by it.
On that note I think I'll exit the forums. It's becoming tiresome. We should all just take more pictures. My sense is increasingly that unless the question is very simple, issues concerning the "photographic process" cannot be discussed properly in forums like this. Too much is misread and/or misinterpreted and some of the topics are just too complicated to be dealt with in this way without inevitable arguments ensuing. One suggestion I'd make is for people not to write things like "simply untrue" when something is not simple.