[r-t] Results of Poll on the Null Change

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Fri Jan 9 14:30:54 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 5:25 AM, John Harrison <john at jaharrison.me.uk> wrote:
> Why do we need a definition of forest?  Is not defining tree, leaf litter,
> etc sufficient?

That's a false analogy.

Think about _why_ we are coming up with definitions. We have stated
that it is so we can keep records of what people ring. Thus we need
definitions of all the things for which we want to write down
something (peals, methods, etc.), and beyond that only those
underlying lower level parts required to define those concepts (rows,
changes, etc.).

Now, there is a scenario where we would also have to define "change
ringing", but we have deliberately chosen to avoid it. We could have
an overarching rule "anything that is change ringing, and that the
ringers assert is a recordable entity, like peal or method, but that
doesn't fit our decriptive apparatus, we will also record." I believe
I or others have suggested such a scheme, but the driving force behind
our current effort of definition is a belief, I suspect naive, that we
_can_ create a descriptive apparatus with definitions that fit not
only everything that is rung today, but also fit a sufficiently wide
swath of new things that we won't get into trouble in the future. In
such a world defining "change ringing" as something distinct from
just its contituent parts not only does not help us, it can
potentially hurt us if it is not exactly consistent with all the
definitions of the lower level parts.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Those who are condemned to stagnation are often pronounced
happy on the pretext that happiness consists in being at rest."
    -- Simone de Beauvoir, _The Second Sex_, tr Howard Parshley

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