[r-t] Re: Decisions

Robin Woolley robin at robinw.org.uk
Wed Jan 12 14:30:45 UTC 2005

In reply to Graham John.

Firstly, let me remind everyone that the original report on extension was
"based on the theory that correct relationship of place-positions in the
extension with those in the parent is the "first principle" in method
extension, which can be ascertained impersonally by the application of a
mathematical formula based on certain rules suggested by accepted standard
methods of varying types."

I accept this statement unequivocally and, if you like, I regard it as my
fundamental tenet on all my work into extension. Note especially the last
few words starting with "application".

I believe it is important to recognise that place notation is the key to
this, because one man's word-description of a method is not the same as
another woman's.

Richard Smith has provided a list of exceptions to these rules, but we need
to know dates. There are three different types of extension, before 1953,
before the decision was made 'compulsory' and those rung after this date.
Those before 1953 are of fundamental importance as it is these upon which
the whole science of extension is based. After the date for compulsion, it
is not the successful namings which are of interest, it is those which were
rejected as extensions from which we can learn most.

Looking at the pre-1953 extension dates, we see that many were rung in
Birmingham and Leicester round about 1949. The latter were conducted by
Harold Poole, who Harry Poyner knew. In an e-mail to me, he says: "The
Methods Committee at the time were very much people for maintaining the
status quo, and refused to agree to the names of some of the peals he
scored. They never explained WHY - just, 'It isn't done this way, and we are
the people whose opinions count - not you'". This is, presumably, why the
so-called Joint Committee on Method Extension was set up, its interim report
being in 1950. (I make no further comment).

All this accounts for, and agrees with much of, the first three paras. of
Graham's msg (8th Jan). It is worth poimnting out at this stage that, not
incl. 2004, then no peal on more than 16 has been rung since 1994.

Graham then makes four points:
"- produces relationships which ringers recognise and can use to aid
- is agreed by the majority of interested parties
- is consistent and understandable
- is easily applied so anyone can work out a correct extension".

The last two applied until the last CC meeting.  The second is, obviously,
no longer true and the first part of the first is, I would suggest, less
likely now we have modal and indefinite extension. (Does anyone use 'up' and
'down' works on any nimbers higher than 6?)

Graham then goes on to propose a strategy, points 1 to 9

Much of what he says is useful for a way forward. However, the main (by
far) criticism of the MC which I have is that they usually go far too far.

As an example of this, consider the 4-way table of TDMM. They have not been
able to re-print this, but then much of what it contains is irrelevant to
the ordinary 41-spliced ringer. I have, for some years, had my own copy of
what might be called a sixway table which does the job as regards all those
methods which don't have multi-places or 5-6 up. It's two sheets of A4 and a
similar one could be done for Plain methods - this would only be a 'one-way'

This 'going too far' is considering numbers on which no peals have ever been

Therefore, it should not be a too difficult problem to produce all
extensions of all plain minor methods 'from the book', along, maybe with the
'Radley' up group so these can then be considered. Regular results only can
be considered. As Graham indicates, 'classical' results should come first,
then any quantum solutions, etc. We can worry about treble-dodging and
bigger numbers later!

We do need to consider carefully who 'owns' the decisions - is it the MC, or
the exercise at large?

Best wishes & sorry for the delay,

PS: I have also, for some time, maintained a set of Minor extension tables,
but have not found anyone to check them. Any takers, anyone?

PPS: I shall reply to Richard of even date 'as and when'

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