Sunday, September 21, 2014

VV: Validating Form, Ignoring Function

VV, get it? Fifth post in a row starting with V? This will actually be the fourth post talking about validation. First, read this article and prepare to get upset:
http://m.weeklystandard.com/articles/rotherham-s-collaborators_804406.html?page=1

Taking everything out, ignoring the fact that 1400 girls were systematically victimized, ignoring any cultural or racial parameters, I want to focus on one very simple thing.

16 years. 1400 victims. Local government, social services, the police and the National Health Service knew about it. Only five arrests, as near as I can make out... until this news report broke.

This is the part I want to write about: The groups that did so little, the groups that even after they knew children were being victimized, and by doing nothing allowed hundreds of others be victimized, were praised. They were praised for their approach and focus and their collaboration and their 'best practices.'

Partner, if 'best practices' leave children to be injured, they aren't 'best.' They aren't even good.

There's form and there's function. If the form doesn't accomplish the function, it doesn't matter how perfect the form is, it is wrong. When a person or an organization focuses on the form to the exclusion of function, which appears to be the trend in all bureaucracies, they become useless. And in cases like this, actively evil.

If you have a test to promote your sergeants, but the people who score high on the test aren't significantly better than the ones who score low, your test is wrong. It is a failure. You are testing for something-- tests always test for something-- but it is not testing for what you believe it is.

If your academy curriculum is centered around what is measurable and not what a rookie needs, it is a tool of bureaucracy, not justice or even survival. And you are dooming students to injury and maybe death to appease the system. And it is a system. And when the system must be served more than the people, you get Rotherham.

It's the way of the world. It has become so ordinary that no one notices, or those that do, laugh. California requires MSDS for bricks. There are places where you can't legally make a straw bale house because no one has written code for them. On a daily level, the constant bureaucratic meddling is annoying or funny. Hideously expensive and wasteful. But we just move on, because it seems so normal.

But this is 1400 victimized children. It should be a slap in the face hard enough to make anyone and everyone rethink how their methods are measured.

Otherwise, the gods of bureaucracy will have their blood sacrifices.

1 comment:

Verner Riecke said...

Rory - 'But this is 1400 victimized children. It should be a slap in the face hard enough to make anyone and everyone rethink how their methods are measured.'

I agree 100%. But what do you think the chances are that this will shake people up enough, so that they will move to be more efficient? What are the chances that this will just breed even more bureaucracy? 'Cause it's the latter that seems to be the case all over the world. If bureaucracy doesn't work, what is the usual answer? EVEN MORE bureaucracy. More laws, more policies, more soulless procedures, more clueless bureaucrats to oversee clueless bureaucrats.

When horrific thinks happen, such as this, people even DEMAND government meddling, from the same government that failed consistently to do anything about it. A majority does not want to solve the problem, they want someone else to solve it.

Case in point:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64G5FfG2Xpg

I see this as a world-wide tendency. There are never fewer laws regulating more effectively, just more and more increasingly ineffective or even hindering ones. Not just in gun laws and prevention of child victimization, but business, environment protection, agriculture, education, you name it.

The form is that if we regulate the hell out of it, then it is well regulated. No regard for efficiency, no goal-oriented problem solving.

As you put it, in self-defense, everyone studies the solutions, but few look at the problem. The same is happening in bureaucracy. There is a huge increase in disconnect.

So what do we do, how do we stop this, how do we reverse the trend? I've been thinking long and hard on this, but I see no way to stop what seems to be -at least to me- an avalanche.