Re: What is a Purist when we speak fly fishing?
1. "A purist is one who desires that an item remains true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences."
2. "a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition"
Seems to me definition 1 matches well with your thoughts. A concern with the history and tradition of the sport. A respect for the sport, if you will.
It's definition 2 where folks get crossthreaded...other definitions I saw indicate a purist is dedicated to tradition to a fault, suggesting that they go too far with their pursuit and in their dealings with others.
Definition 1 suggests a purist would be a positive influence on their sport, where definition 2 suggests the opposite, at least to me.
I think most people equate "purist" with "overbearing snob" and in some cases they are right. Seems like what you've pointed out is that it doen't have to be that way as long as you treat both the sport and the feeings of others with respect.