inbound - 10:44 am on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)
@wingslevel - you seem correct in much of what you say, but who's to say that panda does not produce, amongst other things, a site-wide variable (to do with how to treat exact matches on a "weak" site when a "synonym" exists for sites with more trust) which is used in the ranking process? That's the beauty of a black box, we can only speculate.
Problems that manifest themselves as to do with the long tail may still be because of panda. I doubt I'll be able to prove that, and disproving it is also unlikely.