[r-t] Old methods

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Thu Jul 17 01:02:36 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 7:37 PM, Matthew Frye <matthew__100 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I don't believe that any decisions could ever really "stifle
> innovation"

Well, the Decisions themselves don't, I suppose, in the same way that
if I stab someone it's not the knife that's at fault, it's I. The
problem is the way we, as ringers, tend to use the Decisions. But the
end result is the same, anyway.

The majority of ringers appear to continue to view the Council as
telling them what is or is not legal to ring. No amount of careful
wording gets around that. "Not automatically included in the analysis"
ends up being completely equivalent to "something we're just not
going to ring" for most bands.

We are, on average, a very conservative lot.

One further point. Even if we were to believe that the Decisions don't
stifle innovation, the way in which they are promulgated certainly
punishes it:

- The first peal of variable cover that was rung still does not appear
  in the Council's analyses. When the Decisions were amended to make
  variable cover "legal" the only peal of it that had been rung up
  until then was explicitly, and I believe spitefully, not granted the
  legitimacy that subsequent peals of it are accorded. So what the
  Council would have us believe is the first peal of the stuff, is
  presumably the second.

- Long before differential hunter methods became "legal" I believe
  peals had been rung that contained them. At least one of spliced
  plain royal with some three lead course methods, and I seem to
  recall there were some others, as well. These peals were chucked
  out, and the bands that rang them were not entitled to name the
  methods. Now that they are legal there has been no effort to
  recognize the ground breaking work that went on, I think decades
  earlier, and let the names proposed by the earlier bands stand.

- I'm am confident other examples of similar non-recognition of past
  performaces that meet current Decisions could be found.

So the reward for doing something new is that you get slapped in the
face by the Council, but others get to do what you did with the
Council's blessing.

> as most people who are likely to push innovation are usually quite happy to
> ignor the rules,

I think you have cause and effect reversed here. The people who are
willing to push innovation currently are only those that are happy to
ignore the rules. Those who are afraid to ring things the Council
won't include in their analysis automatically (which most still phrase
as "accept") avoid anything innovative.

And this is closely related to the punishment of innovation I referred
to above. It is completely dysfunctional that to get something made
acceptable you are required to first break the rules, without being
forgiven for it.

And finally, it's not just that some folks willing to break rules
can't be found to try new things. It is the pejorative tone that
having had to break rules to get the rules changed, makes the new
things continue to seem wierd, exotic, and somehow not for the rest of
us. Just because something is new doesn't mean it is particularly
difficult, and we are denying ourselves a good deal of potential
pleasure in not ringing a wider variety of things.

For example, given the historic popularity of Grandsire and Oxford Bob
Triples, I'm sure non-superstar bands could enjoy all sorts of
differential hunter types of methods, too. But because they were
banned for so long, even though now legal they are still viewed as
wierd and not quite right by the majority of ringers, and so not

In the end, we suffer the consequences of our own conservatism.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"For lack of congenial company, he lived in an unsociable isolation
which fashionable people called pose and illbreeding, the authorities
a recalcitrant spirit, his neighbours madness, his family selfishness
and pride."   -- Marcel Proust, _À la recherche du temps perdu_,
                 tr. C. K. Scott Moncrieff

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