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 Not entirely hypothetical question 
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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:27 pm 
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Andrew Rothman wrote:
MostlyHarmless wrote:
I would also like to point out that, in the not so recent past, there was a thread on this very web site where a number of instructors were suggesting that they sign each other off for renewals without actually taking a class.

joelr wrote:
Where? Link, please.


MostlyHarmless wrote:
OK, here and here.


Except that that is NOT what was discussed. What was discussed in those two threads was a) an instructor signing off on himself, which many people suggested might be legal but sure sounded shady, and b) having an all-instructor class/seminar/renewal, which WOULD BE A CLASS and which WOULD MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW.

Nowhere in either thread was there anyone "...suggesting that they sign each other off for renewals without actually taking a class."

I think you need to retract your false assertion.


I think that readers of this discussion can look at the links and decide for themselves. My reading of the thread is that it was proposed that an instructors seminar be held where instructors would by mutual agreement sign each other off. The statute does not contemplate such an activity, and there are obvious concerns about conflict of interest and who's actually responsible for being sure a valid curriculum is being followed (and as near as I can tell, there wasn't a plan to actually follow the coursework ordinarily used for students). I don't think such an activity is consistent with stewardship of the public trust, and I believe that's why it was ultimately canceled.


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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:33 pm 
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Andrew Rothman wrote:
I think that it is quite naive (or disingenuous) to suppose that the only reason that there are instructors doing shitty jobs is because no one has handed them, for free, a way to do it better.


Perhaps I was unclear. I didn't mean to suggest any such thing. What I suggest is that the availability of high-quality course materials is one of many barriers to entry for those who might otherwise wish to serve as instructors. I think you'll agree that quality teaching is hard work, and that preparation of fantastic course materials is doubly hard. There are still guys out there who would do a crap job if you handed the whole thing to them with a ribbon tied around it. My point is that if you increase the size of the pool of fantastic instructors, there won't be as much opportunity for the bad ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:43 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
What I suggest is that the availability of high-quality course materials is one of many barriers to entry for those who might otherwise wish to serve as instructors.
Only as a "hypothetical." In real life, there are such materials available -- both the MADFI and AACFI presentations were written to be both generic* and high-quality**; both are available to persons joining said organizations***.

The instructors who, say, seriously contemplate signing undated certificates aren't doing so because of a lack of high-quality course materials that say, "Hey, while you're at it -- don't commit fraud." (Even though there probably aren't high-quality course materials that say that, or advise instructors against doing phony quals with laser training toys, or against sticking a fork in various orifices, or how to pour piss out of a boot by reading the instructions on the heel.) You can't make anything foolproof; the fools are far too ingenious.

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* "Generic" in the sense of intended to be used by any good instructor; as opposed to "specific", where the presentation has been written to take full advantage of a particular instructor's particular skills and experiences.
** Full disclosure: I cowrote, with Professor Olson, the first version of the AACFI presentation; he and Tim Grant have updated it since. I receive royalties for the use of it.
*** And, for that matter, there is also the MNTactics presentation, which was apparently written to be quasi-encyclopedic, if not necessarily functional or entirely accurate, and which would, in my considered opinion, benefit greatly from an editing by somebody who has read and understood Powerpoint for Dummies.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:47 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
I think that readers of this discussion can look at the links and decide for themselves.
There, we are in complete agreement.
Quote:
My reading of the thread is that it was proposed that an instructors seminar be held where instructors would by mutual agreement sign each other off. The statute does not contemplate such an activity, and there are obvious concerns about conflict of interest and who's actually responsible for being sure a valid curriculum is being followed (and as near as I can tell, there wasn't a plan to actually follow the coursework ordinarily used for students). I don't think such an activity is consistent with stewardship of the public trust, and I believe that's why it was ultimately canceled.

I think your characterization is wrong from the gitgo, which is why I didn't recognize it as pointing to the thread you linked to -- even though I thought that such a class would have been a bad idea. But that's okay; you're allowed to be wrong. As to responsibility, that's easy: anybody and everybody participating in teaching a class and/or signing off on a certificate is responsible that a legally valid curriculum was actually being taught.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:53 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
I read through the entire thread you've preserved and encourage others to do so as well.
Good. Do you have a comment on Paul's assertion to the contrary about the preservation?
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I fail to see how the unified, firm, and polite suggestion, by five posters within 24 hours of the original post, that signing an undated certificate is inappropriate, constitutes "wussy protestations and silence."
I understand that you fail to see the problem; we're agreed.
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Would you have preferred to see some tearing down of SAM's character and intellect?
I dunno. To use the obvious analogy, what would you have thought appropriate in the ACORN scandal?
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Or perhaps some colorful anatomical metaphors? Have you considered that there were perhaps more strongly worded private messages or emails that you were not privy to?
Yup; I have. I think that it's quite likely that some of Scott D. Olson's buddies privately admonished him against showing his ass. I also think that, particularly after the scandal blew wide open, some of the ACORNholes sent strongly worded private messages or emails to the ACORNholes who had gotten caught out.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:11 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
You ultimately can't have it both ways.

Well, yeah, actually, I can. I can do (or not do) two very different things for very different sets of reasons, and not do something time-consuming and pointless because I don't wish to waste my time doing something time-consuming and pointless. Really.

Right now, there are more than enough good, ethical instructors out there to handle several multiples of the present demand for carry permit training in Minnesota. To skip quickly to the usual excuse -- the perhaps accurate concern that some small number of people who can come up with $100 for a permit application (as well as enough money to acquire a firearm, holster, belt and enough ammo to responsibly practices with) can't afford the prices that Andrew or Donnie or Sue or I or any of the other good instructors charge: people who go to the subpar instructors don't do so because they're unable to find -- or afford -- the good ones, as (just to pick the only example I know of a good, low-cost instructor; there may be others) Paul Horvick is available, and he probably isn't the only good, low-cost instructor.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:13 am 
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....anybody and everybody participating in teaching a class and/or signing off on a certificate is responsible that a legally valid curriculum was actually being taught.

I have been reading this entire thread and have seen some comments that I agree with and some that I do not. No surprise there! However, the one comment that is 100% spot on, no one can possibly disagree, is the above. It makes no difference who articulated the comment, it is a truism. And, at the risk of agitating someone, I might add just a tad to the comment and say...

...anybody and everybody participating in teaching a class and/or signing off on a certificate is responsible that a legally valid curriculum was actually being taught and that the supporting paperwork be accurate and complete.

Now as to the italicized portion, mistakes can happen. (Long story...I dated three certificates in a row 12-7-41)....and if mistakes happen, obviously we correct them with a smile on our faces and an chagrined apology for the inconvenience.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:17 am 
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phorvick wrote:
Now as to the italicized portion, mistakes can happen. (Long story...I dated three certificates in a row 12-7-41)....and if mistakes happen, obviously we correct them with a smile on our faces and an chagrined apology for the inconvenience.
Sure, to all of that. Every checkuary, I find myself crossing out the previous year's date and putting in the accurate one. I think that sort of thing is what we call an "error." Deliberately leaving a certificate undated is something entirely different.

ETA: I have been asked, on several occasions, to reissue a certificate when a student lost his. No problem -- I just date it appropriately: the date of actual training.

Once, though, I was asked by somebody who had taken my class two years before to issue a new cert, with a "fresher" date. I said, "No, I'm not going to commit fraud," and he apologized for not having thought it through. (And I honestly think that he hadn't thought it through -- he hadn't gone from "the certificate date must not be older than one year at the time of application" to "the certificate date must also be accurate, and if it's deliberately inaccurate -- or missing -- to gain some advantage, that's fraud.")

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:24 am 
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windbreak wrote:
mmcnx2 wrote:
Can we get the names of the 6 instructors that also had to ask this question?

I want to make sure to avoid them along with Sam for my renewal class.

Let's just put this in perspective. The fact you guys charge for the class basically makes you a business or at least a indepandant contractor. As such can you provide a single example when it would be OK for a business to issue a signed but not date a legal document?

I've signed tens of thousands of puchase orders, letters, contracts, internal forms, you name it and I can't recall ever not dating one. About the only thing I don't date is greeting cards they send around in the interoffice mail.

Again, the fact anyone even has to ask raises concern about their overall competency.

The other instructors were not asking the same question--they were very specifically TELLING me the correct answer.
Well, that's good to know -- so your claim is that at least six instructors over at the day care site are aware the fraud isn't a good thing to do, is it?

That's reassuring.

Could you perhaps quote one of them unambiguously as to the problems you might have run into if you'd actually committed the fraud?

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:46 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
Andrew Rothman wrote:
I think that it is quite naive (or disingenuous) to suppose that the only reason that there are instructors doing shitty jobs is because no one has handed them, for free, a way to do it better.


Perhaps I was unclear. I didn't mean to suggest any such thing. What I suggest is that the availability of high-quality course materials is one of many barriers to entry for those who might otherwise wish to serve as instructors.


There are also barriers to entry into the rewarding and lucrative field of brain surgery, but I think that's a good thing.

If you think that a grand fucking total of $100 -- a single student's tuition -- is too high a barrier of entry into teaching a good course, you're just wrong.

The reason there is a cost at all is two-fold: The $75 buys a six-hour class, and the $25 per year pays for an organization that monitors instructional quality and helps instructors that are having issues. Yup, another barrier: you have to do a good job, and prove it annually. We think this is a feature; lazy and crappy instructors tend to see it as a bug.

Quote:
I think you'll agree that quality teaching is hard work, and that preparation of fantastic course materials is doubly hard. There are still guys out there who would do a crap job if you handed the whole thing to them with a ribbon tied around it. My point is that if you increase the size of the pool of fantastic instructors, there won't be as much opportunity for the bad ones.


Any instructor who genuinely wants to do a good job has PLENTY of tools available to improve, of which MADFI membership is just one example. But here's the news flash: the shitty instructors either don't know how bad they suck, or have no interest in improving. See "you can lead a horse to water."

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* NRA, UT, MADFI certified Minnesota Permit to Carry instructor, and one of 66,513 law-abiding permit holders. Read my blog.


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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:48 am 
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joelr wrote:
The following is a warning which has been issued to you by an administrator or moderator of this site.
Quote:
This is a warning regarding the following post made by you: viewtopic.php?f=15&p=162179#p162179 .

"He's posted as evidence a link to a MCPPA instructors only section so the people commenting, aside from those with access to that section have only a slanted introduction and damnation to go on." That "only" is, to use the technical term, either a willfully ignorant misstatement or a fucking lie -- I also posted a link to an offsite, world-readable copy of the entire thread, from beginning to end, in the SAME POST THAT STARTED THIS THREAD. (The only changes I made were to scrub my source's identifying info; I didn't touch a character that anybody there typed.)

You're entitled to argue that my framing the issue was unfair; that's fine, and I don't give damn. You're not entitled to argue that I prevented readers from seeing the entire thread, and you did just that.

Fix that damned lie, right about now, please. If you want to put forward some sort of lame excuse that you hadn't noticed the link, lame away. But do it, right now, please.



Your link, when clicked, came up as a bunch of code in both Firefox and IE.

Also: Context defined:

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=context
Quote:
# S: (n) context, linguistic context, context of use (discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation)
# S: (n) context, circumstance, setting (the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event) "the historical context"

:bang:

The Bully Pulpit is often successful even when you're wrong.

Quote:
S: (n) bully pulpit (a public office of sufficiently high rank that it provides the holder with an opportunity to speak out and be listened to on any matter)


your position and control here certainly has its advantages.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:51 am 
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Andrew Rothman wrote:
Any instructor who genuinely wants to do a good job has PLENTY of tools available to improve, of which MADFI membership is just one example.
Yup. I can think of a book that might be useful (and is available at many public libraries, for erstwhile instructors who can't find a spare thirty bucks) and a website where quite a few good instructors are willing to talk shop, at no charge at all.

That said, there is a barrier to entry here at the Forum: you need to have access to the Internet, and an email address. Both of those can be gotten by using a public computer at a public library, but I guess it could be argued that we're failing to support the erstwhile instructors by implicitly insisting that they have to figure out a way to get to the nearest public library themselves, rather than sitting outside their houses, honking the horn, and offering a ride.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:58 am 
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plblark wrote:
joelr wrote:
The following is a warning which has been issued to you by an administrator or moderator of this site.
Quote:
This is a warning regarding the following post made by you: viewtopic.php?f=15&p=162179#p162179 .

"He's posted as evidence a link to a MCPPA instructors only section so the people commenting, aside from those with access to that section have only a slanted introduction and damnation to go on." That "only" is, to use the technical term, either a willfully ignorant misstatement or a fucking lie -- I also posted a link to an offsite, world-readable copy of the entire thread, from beginning to end, in the SAME POST THAT STARTED THIS THREAD. (The only changes I made were to scrub my source's identifying info; I didn't touch a character that anybody there typed.)

You're entitled to argue that my framing the issue was unfair; that's fine, and I don't give damn. You're not entitled to argue that I prevented readers from seeing the entire thread, and you did just that.

Fix that damned lie, right about now, please. If you want to put forward some sort of lame excuse that you hadn't noticed the link, lame away. But do it, right now, please.



Your link, when clicked, came up as a bunch of code in both Firefox and IE.

That's the way it goes -- it contained every word that everybody typed on that thread; if you can't figure out a way to read an .MHT file more conveniently, I don't think I've got to hold your hand for you.
Quote:

Also: Context defined:

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=context
Quote:
# S: (n) context, linguistic context, context of use (discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation)
# S: (n) context, circumstance, setting (the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event) "the historical context"

:bang:

The Bully Pulpit is often successful even when you're wrong.

Quote:
S: (n) bully pulpit (a public office of sufficiently high rank that it provides the holder with an opportunity to speak out and be listened to on any matter)

I think you'd benefit from reading and learning from Bennett's recent discussion on the argumentum ex dictionarium:
Quote:
I loathe the argument ex dictionarium. If your argument hinges on convincing people that a word means what your dictionary says it means, you’ve already, in my view, lost. English-language dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive, and vary wildly.


Quote:
your position and control here certainly has its advantages.
Sure does. Over at the day care site, Tom Tousignant can lock a more successful instructor out for, as he confessed -- and I don't make this stuff up, you know -- "trolling" by posting a class listing in their Classes section.

He -- and you -- can't do that here . . . for roughly the same reasons that Scott D. Olson, while a member here since 2007, wouldn't have been able to post his faux-hypothetical question about fraud without coming in for serious criticism, rather than the mincing about the issue (at best) that was lavished upon the poor dear at the day care site in an area that the day care site's management has carefully arranged to not be easily readable by the governmental authorities that investigate fraud.

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:03 am 
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The .MHT file is problematic, in that many/most Web browsers don't natively handle it. There's a plugin for Firefox to do it, and it seems to work OK. In the interests of open discussion, I converted it down to regular HTML, and it looks OK- just missing the avatars. Joel, if I email the file to you, will you post it?

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 Post subject: Re: Not entirely hypothetical question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:06 am 
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Jeremiah wrote:
The .MHT file is problematic, in that many/most Web browsers don't natively handle it. There's a plugin for Firefox to do it, and it seems to work OK. In the interests of open discussion, I converted it down to regular HTML, and it looks OK- just missing the avatars. Joel, if I email the file to you, will you post it?
Absolutely. Thanks for the work; I wasn't able to get Amaya to do that, and would have preferred to make it easy to read.

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