[r-t] Method extension

Philip Earis pje24 at cantab.net
Wed Apr 29 03:52:52 UTC 2015

Andrew Johnson:
"What should happen if a band rang Double Bob and Reverse Bob Fourteen, but 
using the opposite place notation? Should the CCCBR let that stand as the 
band is to be trusted?"

I've said, many times, that the role of the CC should be (at most) to 
consider stepping in where a band's naming appears wilfully perverse. This 
example fits that category for me.

"Most ringers would understand the current extensions for Plain Bob, 
Grandsire, Cambridge, Yorkshire, Double Court/Double Norwich, Kent TB, 
Oxford TB, St Clement's College Bob, Little Bob, Stedman, Erin, Superlative 
Surprise, Bristol Surprise"

I'd strongly take issue with this.  Firstly, "most ringers" can just about 
bash through call changes, and possibly plain hunt.  If you think the 
typical ringer understands how Bristol major might extend to maximus then 
you're spectacularly in the clouds (and this is why it's crazy the CC spends 
such inordinate time, energy and heat on such an arcane topic).

Moreover, though, your examples merely show the limitations of "current 
extensions", and of the futility of the topic more generally. I'm a fairly 
experienced ringer, and I get bamboozled by the lack of logic and 
consistency. Let's run through some of your examples:

Plain Bob - the current CC Decision rules mean that eg Plain Bob Minor 
should extend to Grandsire Triples, as Don points out.  Do you think most 
ringers would agree? Why under the status quo does a method with one hunt 
bell extend a stage by adding a hunt bell? If this is a good approach, why 
is Plain Bob hard-coded as an exception? Any why add a hunt-bell only once, 
ie why not add a hunt bell each higher stage?

Grandsire - again, so why with the current CC Decisions does a method with 
one hunt-bell extend by adding a hut bell, but a method with two hunt bells 
not add another hunt bell when it extends?

Cambridge - there are clearly some similarities between Cambridge Minor and 
Major, but then again there are between eg Cambridge Minor and Yorkshire 
Major.  As you point out yourself, Cambridge minor has only a maximum of 2 
places made in a change, and yet with the major you introduce features like 
1258 changes.

St Clement's - this is a particular irritation of mine.  To my mind the key 
features of the method are that you have dodges on the front for the whole 
lead, plain hunting on the back (n-2), and 2nds made when the treble leads. 
So surely if you wanted to extend St Clement's Minor to 7 bells, you should 
end up with the method known as St Simon's Triples? The CC thinks otherwise. 
To illustrate the inconsistency, both Plain Bob Minor and St Clement's Minor 
share the same overwork...and yet when extended to triples, St Clement's 
Triples and Plain Bob Triples don't share an overwork under the current 

Little Bob - Why should this be extended by fixing the length of the lead at 
8 changes, when eg Oxford TB is currently extended by making the lead 
longer?  Why isn't the extension of Little Bob Minor to 8 bells 
Gainsborough?  Bit subjective isn't it?

Superlative Surprise - it's far from obvious the way Superlative extends. If 
you showed 100 ringers the "blue lines" of Superlative Major and Superlative 
Maximus, how many do you think would say there were clear similarities? I'd 
be surprised if there was one, to be frank. And the question remains that if 
there's a clear design principle, what about royal then?

And for an example you didn't give - what about the methods where the treble 
plain hunts to (n-1)th place at any stage?  Surely these are all related, 
and any extension rules should recognise this? It is about as obvious and 
intuitive extension you can produce, surely?  The CC Decisions preclude 
this, though.

My point is that it's not that the current Decisions are toxically venal as 
an algorithm goes, it's more that it is futile to try to have a consistent 
algorithmic approach. It's trying to force a 1:many problem into a 1:1 
framework.  You need to hard-code subjective preferences continually, and 
there will still be historic baggage.  It's a battle that can't be won, so I 
don't see any point in trying to fight it, creating an ever-more complex and 
lengthy set of parameterised decisions.

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