[r-t] Poll on consecutive blows in the same position

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Mon Dec 29 07:24:08 UTC 2014

On Sun, Dec 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM, Alexander Holroyd <holroyd at math.ubc.ca> wrote:
> The reason for my question is that I don't see any need for such a
> distinction, but perhaps I am missing something.

That seems a very good point, which I, at least, appear to have
seduced myself into not groking before. There may well be plenty of
other distinctions that my imagination is insufficiently developed to
encompass, but, once we allow lead-based methods to have but a single
lead in a course, I can see only two, or maybe three, fuzzy, imprecise

a) Lead-based methods are things people want to think about, 'cause
they feel, rightly or wrongly, that they understand them clearly, and
can easily create some precise definitions if we can just reach some
kind of agreement; while non-lead-based methods are anything they
don't want to think about right now, because they raise potentially
difficult issues they prefer to defer. :-)

b) Lead-based methods don't change their lead length with "normal"
kinds of calls, but non-lead-based ones might. Of course, people don't
want to think about calls right now, so this degenerates into (a).
And "normal" calls is an awfully fuzzy concept, anyway. I think.
But maybe I'm wrong.

c?) The kinds of things people want to think about (usually) have a
clear notion of different courses, which calls (usually) take you
between. It's not clear to me that this is as consistently true with
Dixonoids, but I don't understand them well enough to figure out if
that is germane (and am unlikely to become further illuminated by the
discussion on this list if we continue to not want to discuss them :-)
And in any case this does degenerate into (b) since it involves calls.
And it may be all moot anyway: similar considerations come about with
lead-based methods in the presence of (i) calls like 18 in Cambridge
Major that are now allowed, and (ii) differential methods in some
cases, I think. Maybe. Unless I'm confused. I dunno.

On the other hand, I'm not convinced that the only kinds of methods
are those that have a fixed sequence of changes as their basis. Might
some sufficiently advanced band someday in the future choose to ring
something generated in part by a chance process, and thus different in
different performances? I dunno. Doesn't appeal to me, but it'd still
be ringing, and a kind of method. Or maybe there are other things
unattemped yet?

Orthogonal to this (I think), but sort of germane to the
meta-discussion: something else people seem really, really unwilling
to think about at present is jump changes, even though they are
actively rung today. And I'm reasonably confident that many folks who
have rung, say, Cambridge Treble Jump Minor, would call it a "method".

There is an amusing tension between wanting to have a descriptive
apparatus broad enough to allow for future growth, and a not
unreasonable desire to at least converge quickly on +something+ less
arbitrary and baroque than what we have today even if only covers what
is rung today. I have no idea how best to accomodate these somewhat
contradictory desires.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Life is too short and Proust is too long"
      -- attributed to Anatole France by Russell
         Baker, "Crawling Up Everest"

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