I've heard a lot about monkey fists causing serious injuries.
True, and use is regulated or banned in some places as
noted. I still keep the first one I tied, more as a souvenir than anything else.
In my experience if you get some practice you can heave a line to it's full extent out to about 70' without a weight. The difference between what you can do by hand and when you need a shotgun line thrower is pretty small. If you are so far off as to need a shotgun you should consider putting a dinghy in the water to run a line ashore.
There is a lot that I disagree with in the video (the lifeline gates should not be dropped, tying a bowline through a cleat guarantees chafe on the line and should only be done for very short stays or until the boat can be tied up properly, I disagree with not doing more than a 270 degree wrap if the line unless the is going to be on the cleat very short time due to chafe, the lines running perpendicular are specifically called breast lines, etc.) but I think that the video is helpful for a novice.
No. Yes. No.
Open lifeline gates are a huge help. They help with line handling and dock access. If you have a lot of freeboard on a floating dock you can sit on the deck edge before easing down to the dock (a tactic I use even single-handed - remember "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" (me)).
The only time I use a bowline in docking is as a temporary measure when I have an overloaded cleat and don't have a dockline with an eye or if I have to get a spring around a piling and don't have a long enough line to double back to the boat.
I completely disagree with what I think your are saying about cleat hitches. From the standing part run to the far side of the cleat and under the horn. Go under the opposite horn and then across the cleat and under the first horn. Put a lock turn on the second horn and you are done. Find something useful and tidy to do with rest of the working part that does NOT include more turns on the cleat. Ever. Not. Don't do it. You're done. There is no place in boating for "if you can't tie a knot, tie a lot." Just stop.
Not mentioned anywhere in this thread is when to put out finders. I rarely put out fenders until I'm tied up. There are too many scenarios where catching a fender will damage life lines or stanchions. If a dock has issues (exposed nails, concrete, steel) that won't let you approach without fenders go somewhere else.
Color coded lines help...
I don't understand. How?
It seems to me that if you need help, you'll accept whatever help you can get.
That depends on whether you stay in charge or the guy on the dock is in charge. I've certainly been "in charge" of dockings from the dock but how do you know if it is me on the dock or the owner of some marina queen? Do you want to take the chance that the person on the dock is more experienced than you? Absolutely do not assume a marina dockhand knows anything.