[r-t] A New Hope
richard at ex-parrot.com
Wed May 28 22:06:16 UTC 2014
The CC has moved that "it is time to subject the Decisions
on methods to a fundamental rethink". Unsurprisingly I
agree. We have been told that the Admin Committee meet in
October when they are to be presented with an interrim
report on the matter. I agree with with Philip Earis's
assessment that the likely reaction from the Methods
Committee that a major overhaul would involve much work for
too little gain. We need to pre-empt that with a
counter-proposal outlining what we want of the Decisions and
how such a reform should be implemented. Ideally it should
be printed in the Comic before October.
Much of the problem seems to be that we've lost track of the
purpose of the Decisions, and that is the first thing we
need to address. Why do we need a definition of what
constitutes a peal if the Central Council no longer
recognises peals? Why is it in the interest of the Exercise
to have pages of verbiage explaining when a method isn't a
method? Where a Decision cannot be justified as furthering
some legitimate interest of the Council, it should be
While the Central Council had the notion of recognising
peals, this clearly provided a justification for defining a
peal. But since 2002, when the notion of an unrecognised
peal was removed, what purpose has the definition served?
Either the Council should be open about the fact that it
still recognises peals, or it should accept that it no
longer has any valid justification for defining peals.
Off the top of my head, I can think of three facilities that
the Decisions provide or allow the Council to provide. One
is a vocabulary with which to discuss technical matters.
The peals analysis is another. And the last one is the
methods collections, which isn't even mentioned in the
Decisions. We may disagree with the specifics of how they
are provided, but that their provision is of benefit is
uncontroversial. These are the justifications that should
be in the Decisions, and by which they should be judged.
Once we know what we the Decisions are for, we should
consider how they should be produced. I am firmly of the
view that if there is a need for technical material, which
there probably is, the current process for maintaining it is
inadequate. A small and unrepresentative quango producing
proposals for ratification by an unwieldy council who
largely lack the experience to approve it. And why
should they? Such issues affect very few ringers. The vast
majority of the technical content should be removed from the
Decisions and placed in a separate document of Technical
Definitions which is maintained through a different process.
I don't know what that process should be, but it needs to
involve direct input from those parties who are actually
affected by Decisions.
At the same time, the Decisions need to language to quash
the popular view that the Central Council generally, and the
Methods Committee specifically, are opposed to any form of
progress. Let's have a new, general section in Decisions
with some broad statements such as the following:
1. The Council recognises that change ringing is
continually evolving. Forms of ringing practiced by one
generation have often been considered undesirable to
earlier generations and can become neglected or deprecated
by future generations.
2. The Council promotes innovation in change ringing and
encourages performaces that expand its boundaries. It
recognises that the not all innovations will ultimately
become popular and undertakes not to dismiss any genuine
attempts at innovation.
3. The Council seeks to promote informed debate amongst
the ringing community on precisely what types of
performance should fall within the accepted boundaries of
change ringing, and that such debate is best facilitated
by a providing a set of simple, broad, consistent and,
above all, stable Technical Definitions covering the basic
concepts used in change ringing.
4. The Council believes that the purpose of these
Technical Definitions is not to proscribe what may be
rung, but rather to aid in the description, classification
and discussion of former, current and future practice.
5. The Council recognises that any attempt to accommodate
future innovation will inevitably lead to definitions that
also accommodate seemingly worthless performances. The
Council does not believe it is practical to outlaw all
such performances and believes that any attempt to do so
risks stiffling innovation.
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