[r-t] A Ringing Puzzle
richard at ex-parrot.com
Sat May 24 23:14:44 UTC 2014
I've been reading this thread with interest, and I'm not
surprised there there is little enthusiasm here for the
specific proposal for non-method blocks.
The idea of allowing things other than methods in a peal is,
I think, a good one. Over the centuries the word "method"
has become imbued with an implied meaning, and it's perhaps
understandable that people are reluctant to allow arbitrary
sections of ringing to be called a method. The use of the
term "block" seems a nice, neutral word for something more
general than a method.
The devil, of course, is in the detail, and I have
many objects to the details of proposal which seems poorly
considered. If the Methods Committee actually cared about
producing a solid, workable proposal, one would think they
might choose to disseminate a draft of it to interested
parties, including this list, before committing to a final
version. The fact that they never do that forces me to
conclude that their principal concern is in maintaining
their monopoly on drafting the Decisions and using it to
continue the prescriptive approach to what is rung.
One objection is that the proposed amendment is poorly
drafted. Defining a non-method block without first defining
a block is bizarre. A far more satisfactory approach would
be to define a block, then define a method as a specific
type of block, and finally to define a non-method block as a
block other than a method. This would have the further
advantanges of replacing the clumsy, repeated phrase "method
or non-method block" with "block", and allowing a round
block (which is used many times in the existing Decisions
without definition) to be defined as a block beginning and
ending with rounds.
On c-r, Don makes the point that under the proposed
Decisions, not everything is method or non-method block.
Dixons is such an example. This is because the leads and
courses of Dixons are of varying lengths and are composed of
different sequences of changes: and they cannot all be
called Dixons. If this proposal was intended as the panacea
to allow anything (bar jump changes and cylindrical) to be
rung, it fails.
The dichotomy between methods and non-method blocks feels
quite arbitrary to me. A good example is Don's example of
two similar methods: one of which is false in the plain
course and is therefore a non-method block, while the other
of which is a method. But a better example comes from
Pipe's Particles peal. The six quark "methods" (Down, Up,
Strange, Charm, Bottom, Top) are of quite a different
character to normal methods, and the odd occasion I rang
them at GSM practices, I thought they required a different
way of thinking. But it seems quite wrong to pick out two
or three of them (Strange, Bottom and perhaps Top, depending
on whether motion (E) passes) as non-method blocks, while
leaving the others as methods. One would never notice while
ringing them that Strange and Bottom run false in the plain
course, so why allude to that in the name?
I notice that the previous relaxation to the Decisions to
allow calls that vary the length of the lead has been
restricted to methods. In the case of Don's two methods, in
one case you can ring it with calls that alter the length of
the lead, in the other case you cannot. While I can believe
the exclusion of Dixons might have been due to incompetence
on the part of the draftsman, this cannot possibly be.
This is a new, deliberate, and arbitrary restriction. It
certainly feels like the Methods Commitee have been forced
against their will to allow false methods (as "blocks") and
lead-length-altering calls, but are still determined fuck
you over if you want to do both.
So how should we allow such things? One possibility is to
allow everything to be a method. The two sticking points
are methods that are false in plain course, and those that
have hunt bells than working bells. Motion (E) deals with
the latter half of the problem in an efficient and minimal
fashion. The remaining half could be resolved by simply
striking the word "true" from Decision (E)A.1(b). Are
motions permitted from the floor without notice at the CC
meeting? If they are, I strongly encourage people to vote
against motion (D), the main motion on non-method blocks, to
vote for motion (E), and to propose striking "true" from
(E)A.1(b) as a motion from the floor.
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