[r-t] Lead-based methods [was: Poll on consecutive blows in the same position]

Iain Anderson iain at 13to8.co.uk
Tue Dec 30 00:10:51 UTC 2014

Mark Davies wrote:
> Yes, and for this reason perhaps "rule-based method" is completely the 
> wrong term to use. "Dixonoid" or (in Don's new system) "Non-β" is less 
> confusing. The idea is that this type of construction cannot be 
> defined as a fixed sequence of changes; this contrasts with Kent, 
> Bristol, Charm, Bottom and so on, where, although you might be better 
> off ringing them by a rule, they can certainly be described by a 
> string of place notation.
Don Morrison wrote (2014-07-16):
     Which, I think, leads to the question: when folks make rules,
     are they doing it so that the record keepers can serve the ringers,
     or so the ringers can serve the record keepers?

Is there a danger that we are being a slave to place notation? 
Certainly, place notation is a very convenient, practical, and concise 
way of defining a traditional method.  But as far as I can see, the only 
reason for separating β from non-β methods is that the former can be 
well-defined using a fixed place notation whereas the latter can't 
(probably).  At the moment we don't appear to have an alternative, so 
the most significant categorization is based on what is convenient for 
the record keepers.  It might be that this categorization is also the 
most convenient for the way ringers think, but that isn't yet clear to 
me.  For example, what proportion of ringers know the place notation for 
Cambridge Surprise Minor? What proportion ring it by place notation?  
Given that those proportions are so low, why is it so important that we 
can define a method by place notation, other than for the convenience of 
the record keepers?

I can't help feeling that it would be useful to have a universal way of 
defining non-β methods.  Perhaps then we'll discover that there is a 
single system that can cope with both β and non-β methods, and there 
will be no need to separate the two types.


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