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Wingsuit Instructor/Coach Rating Input Needed.

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I share your concerns, and go one further. I know of at least one 'WSI' that doesn't have a coach rating, and probably won't get one. He has taught a lot of people to fly, and IMO is damn good at it. I'd like to see him keep teaching.
I'm with Kalland on this one. Being a coach does not guarantee being a good WSI, and not being one does not preclude someone from being a good teacher.
Incidentally, The worst advice I've ever heard came from someone with a lot of ratings and WS jumps.
PS: I'm not a 'WSI,' nor do I want to be.
But what do I know?

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The bonfire would be no fun if we all agreed.

Lets face it, even if the BSR wording were changed to specify an instrctional rating it wouldn't make any difference most of the time. It isn't enforceable and would only become a factor if an incident occurs.
Summer Rental special, 5 weeks for the price of 4! That is $160 a month.

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It would get my vote for sure. I have long believed that to coach in any discipline you carry more weight if you are at least a USPA Coach or country equivalent.

When I got my coach rating I was in the same class as Nick Batsch. His opinion was that to be a canopy coach he should be a USPA Coach. He passed by the way. ;)

If you want to charge money for it and therefore be considered a professional it is only ethical to be at least a rated coach.




This is an excellent post. I wish more people believed that. Oddly, the WORST perpetrators are freeflyers! You can't swing a dead cat at most dropzones without hitting some dork in the head with no ratings at all but charging $70 a pop to teach people to freefly. It's a joke. Just because you personally can do something does NOT mean you are in any way qualified to, or have any business trying to teach someone to emulate you.

PS: If anyone wants to come to Texas and attend a manufacturer-sanctioned Wingsuit Instructor/ Coach course, shoot me a PM. It's neither a waste of your time nor money. Ask anyone on here who's ever attended one.



Chuck

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I stated in my election campaign, and post election in another thread, that I would put key to keyboard and explain votes on the Wing Suit Instructor Rating Proposal. Here are my votes, and reasons behind them. For those that may disagree with me, I may or may not be able to respond to your statements directly on this forum based on my online time at the moment, suffice to say, if I do not respond in a timely manner, it is not that I am ignoring your opinions and responses. Every vote that I made, I made with what I believed was the best interest of the membership, and I believe I did the job I was elected to perform.

Wingsuit Instructor Rating Proposal: Voted No, by name.

I voted No on the WSI proposal for a number of reasons. They are, in no particular order:
- After some 2-3 years of development (of the question, should we implement this process), their still appeared to be a genuine lack of synergy amongst the WS community regarding whether or not this should be implemented. For every Pro opinion brought forward, there was a Con opinion that could be mustered, and so on. I am a firm believer that any action that USPA may take in this direction, must be palatable to the membership at large, to have any true chance for acceptance and success. And for better or worse, as of today, we simply arent there.

"We've been at this for 3 years now, we need to make a decision". - I heard that a couple of times during the BOD meetings, and I couldnt disagree with that statement more. That it has taken us 3 years and we havent reached a unified front so to speak, only enforces that we need to take more time and polish this concept with input and investigation. If it takes 6 years to find a path to a resolution, then so be it, it takes six years. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I refuse to vote for something just to get it off the table because we have been at it for 3 years already.

One brief comment on the 5400 member poll response. I wasn't concerned with whether the "no opinions" were a Pro or Con vote, what I took issue with was that we had no way of knowing who the Pro, Con, or NoOp votes were. Were the Pros and Cons cast by I/E, Instructors, DZO, S&TAs, the people that may be able to best cast a vote that will change the landscape of the entire USPA Instructional Rating process? I was told that there was an other poll that was directed at I/Es directly, an idea I would support, but I was not provided the results of the poll prior to being asked to vote on this WSI. (To be fair, I was told that poll was Pro WSI, but no information was provided to the BOD (myself anyways) prior to being asked to vote on the WSI.

- I am all for standardization, and getting ahead of this WS process before it turns into what is happening with canopy related incidents, but through this process at the most recent BOD meeting, I saw nothing to indicate to me that a Yes vote for a WSI at this time would accomplish that while at the same time being palatable to the membership as a whole, and thus stand a chance for success in implementation.

- I believe that to try and vote the WSI in today, is a band aid fix. We need to do what skydivers have always done first, remind each other of the personal responsibilities we take on as skydivers. DZO: You are responsible to ensure that anyone on your DZ that intends to WS has been properly trained to do so AND anyone that is teaching as a WSI now, is using proper training information, most of which has already available in the SIM. Aircraft Owner: You are responsible to ensure that you are leasing your aircraft to DZOs that are ensuring that their WS fliers and WSI are properly trained and using proper training techniques. S&TAs: You are respobsible for knowing your role in this process. Not sure? Work with your DZO, work with your USPA RD, to ensure you are doing what you are tasked to do. And most importanly, to the would be wingsuit flier themselves: It is OUR (Im one too) collective responsibility to seek out the appropriate training needed to safely learn to WS. The info is out there, its not hiding. USPA, DSE, and every other person involved in this process has published volumes of good information. And if questions still exist? Ask people before putting the suit on.

During session, we heard a story of a jumper that won a wingsuit, and when it arrived at the DZ, because there was no rated WSI, the people around this jumper, did the best they could do to explain what they knew, and then this jumper went up to make a WS jump. I challenge anyone to respond that 1) if standardized training is so important, that that was the appropriate decision of the jumper in question, and 2) who's responsibility in that chain of events was it to say, "wait a second, why dont you not jump the suit yet, and lets review your options?

For me personally, I was in the exact same situation with skysurfing 12 years ago. My DZO took responsibility and said, "if you want fly that thing here, you will get the appropriate training and show me the videos that you can safely do this". My response was, "we're in Boston and the closest skysurf schools are in florida and houston". Two weeks later, at a cost of $1200 round trip with the course, I was in Houston learning to skysurf...... My DZO did the right thing then, and I don't see any change in that expectation today.

I believe in Standardization and would LOVE to see standardized training in the WS community. But I would love MORE, to see our infrastructure operate as it was intended, a collective effort from DZO on down to person putting on the suit, to be working together to achieve the common goal of standardization. Why? Because unless it is a unified group effort, no WSI implemented will ever work to achieve that goal.

So.....I voted No for that reason, among others, we need to fix (through better education) the current dissemination process of information within USPA and the GM DZ interactions from top to bottom, and THEN, when we get there, we can actually have a reasonable expectation of standardization, because the framework will already be in place and functioning, to ensure that the standards are upheld.


After the WSI rating was defeated, a second motion was presented to add a Wingsuit Coach rating.

I voted No by name on this one too.

- A Coach rating is an instructional rating, so if I voted No on the above WSI, I was voting No on this one too, for all the same reasons.
- It felt like there was this need to pass something WS related with this request, and I just couldn't in good faith vote on ANYTHING that would effect the entire membership without it being debated in committee, questions asked and answered in debate, not in plenary session at the 11th hour. I do not believe that was the time or place to present such a motion. Im not a political spinster, but it felt like a consolation prize thing, "The WSI didnt pass, so how about just a coach rating?" I didnt like it.
- And again, in a proclaimed by many, broken system, I saw no correlation between a new USPA WS coach and an increase in standardization of training.


Last item was the BSR proposal. Something like, "you must have 200 WS jumps to teach WS." It was tabled. No vote. Had it gone to a vote, I would have voted No by name again.

- The goal is STANDARDIZED training. This measure will NOT ever ensure that. Im sorry, but if standardization is what we want, a BSR like this is NOT the answer. Why not? 1) Everyone currently teaching WS, will STILL be teaching WS and there is no requirement to follow any standard training in the proposed BSR.
- I will petition against this proposal at the next BOD meeting for that very reason. Why put a BSR in place to do something that DZOs should arguably be doing anyways? And if a DZO does have a phenomenal trainer but they only have a 150 WS jumps, but can train circles around other WSIs with thousands of jumps, why not let the DZO make that call themselves?


In closing, if it were me, wait it is me for the moment, with a voice on the BOD, I would look at "training for hire of licensed skydivers on USPA dropzones" across the board.

- If your a USPA member and you are training for hire, regardless of WS, or Freefly or CRW, should USPA take a position, that anyone training on a USPA DZ have exhibited the basic understanding of USPA training philosophies, and thus require, by either BSR, or ammendment to the GM pledge (the softer version), that anyone teaching for hire, be required to pass the USPA Coach Course? Ideally, the Coach I/E would lead the candidates through the SIM to the recommendations in teh SIM for that very discipline, and through the coach course, the candidate is educated on how to use those standards.

I couldn't imagine any professional trainer on a USPA DZ not being willing to step up and take a USPA coach course, or atleast testing out of it.

Im not saying this is my idea, my agenda, its simply a suggestion to consider, as it outlines thinking Macro to Micro. Looking at USPA policy as a big picture, and then filtering it down to the individual discipline. Not the other way around, voting on a Micro (WS) that will then have a backwards ripple effect potentially on the Macro (USPA).

OR

A less intrusive option, if WS is truly in need of method specific oversight, create a WS proficiency card similar to the Pro rating card and place the responsibility, and thus liability of the training caliber on the S&TA. For those that would argue "the S&TA program is broken", okay fine, Macro to Micro, we fix the S&TA process first, then look at the proficiency card idea again.

Phew.....I am exhausted.......but a promise is a promise. These are my votes, and these are the reasons behind them, and a couple of ideas outside the WSI rating process that I also think deserve atleast a little debate before we drop the final gavel on this whole WS training process.

Some of you will agree with me, some of you will disagree with me. I would just hope that agree or disagree, that you will respect that I am here sharing my thoughts and giving you my honest opinions.

I thank you all for confidence in me to do my best to help steer this ship we call USPA as we head into some exciting, yet uncharted waters. I'm always open to listening to ideas and look forward to flying WS with you guys as I see you on the road.

Blue skies.
Namaste,
Tom Noonan

www.everest-skydive.com

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After thinking about this overnight, I came up with the following question: What has happened that we need this BSR? Are their course being taught improperly? Are first wingsuiters getting hurt? Is there REALLY a need for this BSR? Or is this a feel good BSR to try to appease a small group of jumpers.

While I personal don't have an issue with the BSR, I am adamantly opposed to over regulation. I do not believe there is any need for this BSR.

If this BSR is approved, the most logical next step would be to require a coach rating for anyone learning to Freefly, then on to the next discipline.

Buzz

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After thinking about this overnight, I came up with the following question: What has happened that we need this BSR? Are their course being taught improperly? Are first wingsuiters getting hurt? Is there REALLY a need for this BSR? Or is this a feel good BSR to try to appease a small group of jumpers.

While I personal don't have an issue with the BSR, I am adamantly opposed to over regulation. I do not believe there is any need for this BSR.

If this BSR is approved, the most logical next step would be to require a coach rating for anyone learning to Freefly, then on to the next discipline.

Buzz



See what happens when you start thinking? ;)

Your concerns echo those I expressed repeatedly and which Dr. Lee outlined in a different way: Not only has nothing actually happened that requires a new BSR, all of the proposed (and thankfully poop-canned) wingsuit-related regulation would have fundamentally altered the way the entire USPA does its business with regard to training, ratings, group member requirements, reporting requirements, liability exposure, all of it.

Yet none of the proponents of those preposterous proposals ever even thought about doing an "environmental impact assessment" to see how what they proposed would affect everything else.

The big problem was tail strikes and unless there's great conspiracy to hide them, essentially none have occurred since the debate resulted in the three-second rule, the stickers by the door, and improved "social awareness" of the importance of following the three-second rule -- all without a single regulation, rule or requirement other than what a given drop zone decided was right for its business model.

The same goes for the proposed wingsuit BSR: It's a solution in search of a problem that is unnecessary and serves only to complicate the lives of the DZOs and S&TAs who will be forced to keep track of yet another paper trail lest they expose themselves to greater liability by failing to do so. And of course, like any complex system, the more parts there are, the greater the odds that one of them will fail at any given time. So, basically, my best guesstimate is that a wingsuit BSR will exponentially increase your liability and general headaches while only incrementally improving safety -- and that math only adds up in cost-benefit analyses based on emotion and rhetoric, not facts and reality.

And as I said in the Z-Hills double fatality thread on the Safety and Training Forum (post #129), instead of wasting discussion and BOD time on a counterproductive wingsuiting BSR, we should use that time to revisit the pack opening altitude BSR because it is obsolete for multiple reasons and probably should be raised to accommodate all the changes that have occurred in the skydiving environment since it was put in place.

B|
44
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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The same illogic is applied to many things in this world. "If we allow same sex marriage, then we'll have to allow owner/dog marriages."

It's a silly conversation. Yes, people are getting hurt, killed, damaging property, aircraft, creating problems for DZO's and S&TA's. On large and small DZ's.

Suggesting that better training is merely about FFC is as off-base as suggesting that AFF is just about 5 jumps. Proper instruction is about also creating the culture and mindset for progression.
As far as instructors; Should we talk about an "instructor" that has no USPA training, no life-background in education and training, smokes herb before most jumps, has permanently crippled another jumper, and whose organizational skills have put people in oceans?

Or should we discuss an "instructor" that failed to check his student's gear, resulting in a fatality.

Or the "instructor" that failed to check his student's gear and notice a mis-rigged 3-ring that created some excitement on cutaway.

Or the 'instructors' that have been experiencing AAD fires for going too low?

Or the 'instructor' that consistently puts his FFC students in large suits "because that's all I got?"

Instructors that don't know/teach proper exit skills? Instability recovery? Navigation?
It's a lengthy list. You yourself, spoke very loudly and strongly at the San Diego meeting saying how much you think this training is needed, after you saw the several tailstrike photos, videos, and other related mayhem. This was before USPA reported the nearly 100k$ in tailstrike repairs last year. This was before the insurance letter went out. This was before the 'list' of stupid shit in the past few months. Everyone wants standard training but won't agree on standardized training because they want to keep doing their unstandard training. The lunatics are running the asylum.

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The big problem was tail strikes and unless there's great conspiracy to hide them, essentially none have occurred since the debate resulted in the three-second rule, the sticker">Yet none of the proponents of those preposterous proposals ever even thought about doing an "environmental impact assessment" to see how what they proposed would affect everything else.

The big problem was tail strikes and unless there's great conspiracy to hide them, essentially none have occurred since the debate resulted in the three-second rule, the sticker


Your posts very much ring like those of many new skydivers posting on DZ.com; filled with opinions and very little relevant experience or information on which to base them.

Quote

Yet none of the proponents of those preposterous proposals ever even thought about doing an "environmental impact assessment" to see how what they proposed would affect everything else.



Wow. You're good at alliteration. Yet still, not well informed.
Ducks/dark come to mind.

You won this debate before the USPA. That's great.
It still doesn't mean it was the correct course of action.
Obviously, standardized training wasn't the correct course either.

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Obviously, standardized training wasn't the correct course either.

Sadly, this is my perspective of what happened.

Some of the ones that were the biggest voices against, seem to have moved over to instruction and are making some decent money. I'm very surprised at the cost of some FFC now.
More so given the type of instruction being given.

These have and continue to be my concerns in wingies.

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This is not about winsuit training. It is about growing government (in this case, USPA) to cover so much more. If the argument works that all wingsuit courses should be the same or standardized, then why shouldn't all freefly course be too. The proponents always say this is a wingsuit issue only and it will not grow into other disciplines. Says who???

I hate to see arguments descend to name calling. Thats a sure sign that one side has lost their argument and name calling and attacks are all they have left.

I would appreciate some rationale arguments as to why a BSR is NEEDED? Are their a rash of wingsuiters being injured due to poor training?

A DZO who shall remain nameless tried to sell me on the idea of the WS Instr rating. They said "at our DZ we require 2 intro to freefly jumps as part of the initial 25 jumps" and then moved over to try to use that analogy on wing suiting. My response was that was awesome that their program included that! But I did not want USPA to require DZ's to do this. BTW, I very much respect this DZO and think the world of them.

As for safety, thats not the reason behind this. We all know it would be safer to require helmets but their is no across the board requirement for helmets. I could go on and on with more analogies but will spare you the diatribe. You've probably already heard it.

Like I told DSE at the BoD meeting, I think he has a great program that works at his DZ. I just don't think that because one program works well at one (or more) DZ's that is should become required of all. Additional requirements should only be put into place when their is a valid reason AND a logical need that cannot be accomplished through education and recommendations.

My Recommendation: Instead of a new BSR, add a recommendation into the SIM that all method specific training "SHOULD" be done by a USPA Coach or Instructor.


Thats my 2 cents. Feel free to flame away at me. :)

Buzz

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It is interesting that the USPA is entertaining requiring a coach rating for WS instructors even though it has been stated that any WS instruction jumps don't count towards being current in the coach rating.

Would this not force WS coaches to also jump with unlicensed jumper s to fulfill currency for the coach rating?

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It is interesting that the USPA is entertaining requiring a coach rating for WS instructors even though it has been stated that any WS instruction jumps don't count towards being current in the coach rating.

Would this not force WS coaches to also jump with unlicensed jumper s to fulfill currency for the coach rating?



I got my coach rating in November last year. Honestly there is a lot about the rating that should be updated. This is just one of them.

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Would this not force WS coaches to also jump with unlicensed jumper s to fulfill currency for the coach rating?



No. I don't believe it will. It will simply state you must possess a Coach rating and have 200 WS jumps to teach a FJC for wing suiting. Nothing more.


Buzz

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You won this debate before the USPA. That's great.



Thanks, Douglas. I appreciate your kind words but I can accept only partial credit for this victory of common sense and good governance.

I am indeed proud of whatever small part I played in poop-canning that preposterous proposal, but there are many others who deserve as much or even more credit, starting with Dr. Lee and his compelling farewell letter commentary that contributed so much to this debate.

Next on the list is Professor Kallend, and next after that I think probably belongs all the DZOs, S&TAs and wingsuiters who put their heads together and came up with a plan that has reduced wingsuit tail strikes from crisis-level frequency to essentially nil, all without the imposition of a single new rule, regulation or bureaucracy. Without their excellent and stunningly effective work, the outcome may have been different.

And finally, great credit for the result goes to those on the board of directors who saw the big-picture consequences of a wingsuit instructional bureaucracy and acted accordingly.

It was truly a community effort and we should all be proud that our community was able to sort through all the narrow-focus nonsense to process the big-picture pattern to arrive at an intelligent decision.

One more thing, too: Thanks to you, Douglas, for your enormous contributions to the debate, and to the development and advancement of wingsuiting. First off, as Buzz said above, and I have mentioned in the past, you've created a great system at Elsinore and no one could go wrong by adopting it for their own DZs. Second, while your demand for a new advanced training bureaucracy was in fact preposterous, there is little if anything preposterous about your concerns over how wingsuit training is currently conducted and your goal to improve it.

The bottom line is that "standardized training" is a great goal and it is the correct course of action, but you didn't actually propose standardized training: you demanded "bureaucratized training" and that, as the board rightly decided, was indeed preposterous.

So please take this to the bank, my brother from another mother:

You won this debate too.

Due primarily to your relentless pursuit of better training standards and techniques, people at all levels and in every corner of sport parachuting are now not only much more aware of wingsuiting issues, they are giving much more thought to what the training should look like, and how it can fit into their DZs, and that is good for everybody.

So good on ya, mate - and thank you.

B|
44
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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No. I don't believe it will. It will simply state you must possess a Coach rating and have 200 WS jumps to teach a FJC for wing suiting. Nothing more.



I think you might be missing VB's concern.

Suppose that I am a very experienced wingsuit pilot and competent instructor. (I'm not, but...)

Suppose that I love wingsuiting so much that I don't do other types of jumps (that's pretty common among wingsuiters).

Suppose that I want to continue teaching after the new BSR. To continue teaching, I get a USPA Coach rating.

To get the rating, I have to learn some teaching skills (useful) and learn how to jump with an unlicensed skydiver (not relevant to wingsuiting).

To maintain the rating, I have to do a bunch (15? Somebody help me out with the number....) of jumps with unlicensed skydivers (nothing to do with wingsuiting) each year, even though I only want to wingsuit.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

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To maintain the rating, I have to do a bunch (15? Somebody help me out with the number....) of jumps with unlicensed skydivers (nothing to do with wingsuiting) each year, even though I only want to wingsuit.



My apologies. You would be correct. They would need the requisite number of jumps to renew the coach rating but I would believe they could be wingsuit jumps, maybe???.

Thanks for the clarification.

V/R


Buzz

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My apologies. You would be correct. They would need the requisite number of jumps to renew the coach rating but I would believe they could be wingsuit jumps, maybe???.

Thanks for the clarification.

V/R


Buzz




No it has already been asked here and clarified by someone in the know. WS instruction jumps do not count as coach currency because a WS candidate with 200-500 plus jumps is not considered a student skydiver.

There would either have to be a change in this consideration or WS coaches would have to do some community service with real unlicensed skydivers. Something not every WSI has a passion for.

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The bottom line is that "standardized training" is a great goal and it is the correct course of action, but you didn't actually propose standardized training: you demanded "bureaucratized training" and that, as the board rightly decided, was indeed preposterous.



Again you demonstrate that you're unaware of how the process over the past 5 years has transpired. Standardized training was indeed proposed.
Years ago.
When you're only allowed one crayon in the box, it's difficult to paint rainbows.
Hopefully you're now done calling my employers and clients to whine about me and my efforts.B|

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When you're only allowed one crayon in the box, it's difficult to paint rainbows.



Indeed. As Johnny Carson famously said:

"You can get a lot more with a gun and a smile than you can with just a smile."

Back to the drawing board for you, Douglas, and next time, try something that will pass private enterprise muster instead of forcing people to adopt it at the point of a quasi-government gun. It requires more creativity, excellence and persuasiveness, but I think you're up to it.

As I said in my thank you note above, you've accomplished a lot and you're on the right track, but you can take this to the bank too, my brother from another mother:

Until you demonstrate that you're aware of the difference between "standardized training" and "bureaucratized training," y'all jes' gonna keep beatin' yore punkin haid up against another brick in The Wall.

B|
44
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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Robin.
Takes a lot to provoke me into speaking up in this forum at all anymore.
I've got friends on both sides of this debate.
Everyone else I've personally spoken to about it has kept it polite and civilized. Agree, disagree, doesn't have to get personal. Example: Dr. Kallend. I happen to be against much of what Dr. K is FOR, in the political debates in SC for instance, and I strongly dislike the way he goes about it. Big deal. I'm sure some people are outraged by my hair, too, but it means nothing.

I've met, hung out with, and talked bird stuff, all kinds of stuff, with Dr. K at a whole fistful of events by now, I think he's an ok guy and differences of opinion and worldview aside, I still call him a friend and I'm happy to see him whenever we meet. I could engage the man in a debate about whatever without resorting to insult or deliberately abrasive attitude.

You couldn't find a more different pair to put together... a professor, a career academic, a Doctor, and me, a half-feral technical hacker whose native habitat is more like factories, mechanical spaces, junkyards, alleys and industrial environments, but we get along just fine. It is all about the respect and respect goes both ways. I have the most amazingly broad social circle ranging from the scuzziest looking people you've ever seen, to Manhattan professionals operating at levels I can only ever wistfully look up to but cannot reach, all because I understand respect and deep down, I think most people are awesome and I treat them as such.

" y'all jes' gonna keep beatin' yore punkin haid up against another brick in The Wall. "

Was that necessary? Really?
I don't know what that is, but it sure as hell isn't respect. Your attitude towards Spot comes off full of not-even-thinly-veiled jabs, scorn and mockery. And now we can add gloating to the list. That's classy. What's that meant to accomplish? I don't think its working.

You're against what Spot is for and you disagree with his methods. We get that. But must you express it by insult? There are better ways to make your point.

"It has been said, be proud of your enemy, and enjoy his success."

Throwing peanuts and mocking your opponent...? That's just low, man.

You don't like Spot? Fine. Don't like what he's doing or his methods, fine. But the least you could do would be to show the most basic of respect by engaging his work intellectually instead of this teardown and mock tactic you keep using.

I've never met you, but after the way you treat Spot on here, not too sure I'd want to. Clearly you feel you and/or "your side" of the debate have "won" and Spot has "lost". Fair enough. Would it be asking too much to expect you to be gracious about it?

-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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