[r-t] Philip's new Decisions, including Wiki page

ted.steele at tesco.net ted.steele at tesco.net
Mon Aug 4 02:29:12 UTC 2008

---- Philip Earis <pje24 at cantab.net> wrote: 
> "Regarding so plain bob caters, I'd classify the notation for this as 
> "&, 1290". The notation is the information you 
> need to write a method out, and this includes the information that there is 
> a bell continually making 10ths. I wouldn't call this foolish."

I disagree entirely as this implies that any method rung on five is a different method than the same thing rung with a cover on six. I suspect that the numerous bands that regularly ring Plain Bob and Grandsire doubles, etc. would find this extremely unhelpful. Do we want folk claiming "first in method" when having rung a five bell peal they repeat it with a cover bell? The information that one requires to write out plain bob doubles or anything else certainly does not include information about whether there is or is not a cover bell. I think that this particular proposal is going just a bit too far, being really unnecessary and would be more likely to promote resistance to change  than  to encourage it.
> "This way is clear, neat and unambiguous. It removes precisely the sort of 
> messing around with cover-bells, etc that afflicts the current decisions."

I find it quite ambiguous. I personally see nothing wrong with ringing odd bell methods at any stage without a cover or even bell methods with one and would simply modify the decision to allow this. I suspect  that restriction of the number of cover bells to one might be found acceptable though.

The more I read of these and other proposals to simplify and open up the decisions the more it becomes obvious why it is unlikely to happen. What we see is a wonderful demonstration of the difficulty of writing a set of rules to cover a variety of complex inter-related issues with numerous special cases in a way that will be at once acceptable and understandable to everyone while avoiding ambiguity and omission. It simply cannot be done simply! It is the same problem that leads to the need for experts to write out the legislation agreed by politicians and is the reason why even then the Acts are full of holes and require judges to decide what they really mean (and other judges later to correct them).

The only real answer is to let well alone what has become established and keep any new proposals very simple. There will be no acceptance of the sort of stuff being proposed simply because for the majority of ringers it is meaningless (although attempts to call PB Doubles minor when rung with a cover would be understood and I suspect roundly ridiculed) and the CCCBR would be likely to recognize this and pass it over. My own suggestion of allowing anything new to have provisional recognition until accepted by the exercise through repeat performances begins to look not so bad after all. It would allow for decision changes to be made without discussion or opposition simply on the basis of what is actually rung and would save a lot of arguing.


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