Obviously you can't plan to rely on just a decoder to play with cw, but for those just learning cw, it can be a useful aid for the learning process. Take that away and there is no reason to even try. There no cw requirement for licensing and no govt agencies use it, so why make these silly points so even more people will feel stigmatized for for not doing it "your way"? It's a hobby for God's sake...it's not that important.
Right, I agree, I appreciate your opinion, it is a hobby and looks like not to be important.
However, a guy that feels stigmatized by this (not mine) thread. and feels demoralized by it for trying to learn CW, is just the guy that better can't start at all, and use a decoder till another toy is passing by to try another mode. He will find out PSK31 is much more suited for him. So stigmatizing is a way of saving time for him, that he should waste otherwise, by trying something for a while (dutch: for a blue Monday) and finding out he doesn't have the perseverance.
You have minority groups, and a lot of members get their self esteem from being or feeling to be a member of such a group. As a rule it are less intellectually gifted people. May be they identify themself by the local soccer club, and feel good when that club wins a match without doing anything else then buying their merchandise, and shouting their lungs out of their throat during a match. They get at least a part if not all of their self esteem from the social clustering.
So, you have motorbikers, when your only hobby is a motorbike, and you have to spend the day with some odd job like cleaning greasy staircases and toilets in Anchorage, and you have no other personal interests, and saved a lot of money to buy the best bike ever, and to pimp it up to make it a custom design, and you join a bikers club, that makes you feel to be someone.
So you start stigmatizing guys in cars, that have no bike, because they want easy transportation, in all weather conditions, they can't even ride a bike, and in the group they are stigmatized as being pedal bin drivers.
Do you really think that there is any pedal bin driver that want to ride a bike for fun in good weather, is demoralised by those statement makers?
Don't think so.
My personal idea is that it is not a way to learn the code by watching a decoder. Decoders can help copy by head in order to prevent strain. Strain is wrong, when you feel easy and relaxed the code enters in your mind as Jesus words in a shaker. http://www.nrc.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ANP-12709202-568x378.jpg
So it takes away the strain because when you missed something you can look at the decoder. It is the wrong way to start with a decoder.
So best thing to do, when you want to breed CW guys, is pointing to the required perseverance, just like the DoD collects guys for heavy military tasks, by pointing to the severe physical and mental requirements and
when you are sufficiently experienced and master copying the code yourself, directing to the right way to learn and saying loud and clear what is the wrong way.
And yes, without government requirements there is sure a good reason to learn the code, you can make low power connections over long distances, like every QRP adept can tell you. Backpackers with a small sun powered trx can safe their life with it. Ask preppers. Above that in contesting and dxpeditions a lot more contacts per unit of time are possible. You don't have to spell "A_of_Alfa" "B_of_Bravo" "Cof_fee"
Rescue amateur service should require it to become a member, they don't because then there are hardly members to manage and when managing is your hobby , you have to drop that essential requirement for preppers and emergency ham radio organisations.