[r-t] CC Methods Committee Consultation

Roddy Horton roddy at horton.karoo.co.uk
Sun Mar 8 15:51:16 UTC 2015

What an excellent response.

If Don were prepared to send this to the RW as a respone to the MC's request for responses I would be happy to add my name to it and I hope others would too.


On Sun 08/03/15 04:24 , Philip Earis pje24 at cantab.net sent:
> Roddy:
> "it strikes me that the timing of the MC announcement is either poorly
> thought through or deliberately planned in order to minimise comments. I
> find this quite appalling...May I suggest that those who have been most
> vocal on this list write a letter to the RW explaining what good work has
> been done on this list, that members of the MC are on this list and
> therefore have been aware of the discussions taking place and finally
> include in such letter a summary of the results of the surveys that have
> taken place..."
> I have reproduced below, with his permission, Don Morrion's detailed
> response to the Method Committee's consultation. Don recently sent this to
> the open subgroup that Tim Barnes set up on Google to develop a better,
> fundamental descriptive framework for change ringing.
> I am forwarding this because I believe that it deserves to be disseminated,
> visible and openly archived, but especially to encourage others to engage
> with the process (and potentially the RW), to think about the fundamental
> reason a framework is needed, and to make your voice heard.
> I do not think it will be helpful to debate Don's specific input - his
> views are his own and I hope they will be considered carefully.
> ===Don's Response to the Consultation===
> I am writing regarding the consultation paper at
> http://cccbr.org.uk/methods/#decisions. Thank you
> for preparing this,and giving us an opportunity to comment.
> Here are some comments on it, both on its overall tenor and scope, and
> on details of its contents, including my answers to some of the
> explicit questions asked; as well as some comments on the overall
> consultation process.
> In many ways I am very pleased to see this start. I think you have
> done an excellent job, particularly at the end, in section 3.0,
> enumerating many of the issues others have raised, and thus shown
> a sensitivity to many of their concerns.
> I applaud that you see your goal as "seek[ing] to start the
> consultation by asking for views ...and to understand what changes
> people think might be required...". Unfortunately, I fear that the
> largest portion of this document does little to meet such a goal, and
> in fact, actually works against it. The vast majority of it is given
> an explanation of the existing structure of the decisions, and of
> details therein. This seems wholly inappropriate for this stage
> of such a consultation, and, frankly, reads as a defense of the
> status quo.
> Further, I disagree with your assertion that "it is therefore
> reasonable to start by asking why it is that changes might be needed,
> and what those changes are". Such a position almost guarantees
> thatwork will proceed from an assumption that the existing structure is
> sound, and only needs to be modified. It is the opposite of the open
> inquiry that is needed.
> I would also laughingly disagree with, if not the literal words, at
> least the tone of "The current set of Decisions...have evolved
> overtime to match changes in ringing practice". That makes it sound
> alltoo orderly. Rather, I think we must agree they have instead been
> dragged, kicking and screaming, in attempts to match, as best they
> can, what ringing practice evolved into, typically several years
> behind the evolution of that practice itself. That the decisions need
> to change so frequently is one of their fundamental problems. We
> should aim for a structure that will accommodate all the things
> ringers do, or might foreseeably do. Instead they have typically tried
> to describe, as tightly as possibly, only what ringers have in the
> past done, and proscribe anything else.
> Your high level questions of sections 1, Why have decisions?, and 2,
> Prescription, are admirable, and are at the level this consultation
> should be starting.
> It seems odd, though, that you state, regarding section 2, "in
> thissection we analyse the prescriptive statements that appear in the
> current Decisions and ask whether they make sense in today's ringing
> context and whether they are consistent with the overall objectives of
> the Decisions" -- that you are making this analysis presumes you
> already know what overall objectives of the decisions are, but is that
> not exactly what you are consulting with others to ascertain? How can
> you hope to perform such an analysis without answers to the higher
> level questions?
> "1.0 What are the decisions for?"
> This is a fine question, and an important one to gather answers
> from the ringing community for. What service to ringing do ringers
> want decisions to provide?
> Unfortunately, this is followed immediately by two pages extolling
> what the current decisions do. This is backwards, and automatically
> frames the question as "in what ways should we modify these",
> which iswhat we have been doing for a century. Instead, we should start by
> asking the high level question you do ask, and only once we have an
> answer to that question, ask to what extent do the current decisions
> meet these needs.
> Getting to your explicit questions on page 4:
> I'm afraid I do *not* believe these objectives are reasonable in
> principle. Rather they are just an enumeration of what the current
> decisions do.
> Regarding 1. There seems possibly to be some implicit belief that it
> is obvious that we need an objective standard definition for peals. It
> is not at all obvious to me. Why do we need such a thing? We get on
> just fine without one for quarters. People keep totals, personal,
> association and tower, of quarters just as they do for peals. And no
> problems seem to result. Indeed, the quarter peal community seems
> healthier and more vibrant than the peal community, as more ringers
> ring quarters than peals, more quarters are rung than peals, and more
> quarters are rung at towers by their local bands than are peals.
> Far better, I think, would be to start from the position, which seems
> to work well for quarters, of simply accepting that what ringers
> submit to Bellboard or the RW as a peal is a peal. If there are cases
> where this leads to difficulty (there are none I know of for
> quarters), then perhaps we need whatever minimal decisions will solve
> those problems, but we certainly do not need the enormous apparatus we
> have today.
> Regarding 2, 3 and 4. Having some framework for describing
> consistently what a band has rung seems useful. Does it need to be
> anything as complex as what we have today? I doubt it.
> Regarding 5. I fail to see where the need for extra requirements
> for record length peals arises. This seems wholly arbitrary. That
> it is included as a "goal" seems to miss the point entirely.
> Whatis the need for it?
> To answer your further two sub-questions:
> I strongly oppose the notion of introducing two classes of peals. We
> have enough problems today, without insisting that some of our ringers
> get to ring first class, and others ring steerage. The introduction of
> a two-tiered system makes things worse, not better. We should be
> aiming to reduce the number of rules, not increase them.
> I also oppose the introduction of decisions for quarter peals.
> The quarter peal community is getting on just fine without them.
> Your careful and thoughtful enumeration of so many details of
> prescriptive language on pages 5 through 15 (and thus the bulk of the
> document) is most illuminating. Thank you very much for taking the
> trouble to do this. Perhaps what it shows most clearly is that the
> existing decisions are indeed highly "prescriptive", So that
> shouldhave the virtue of putting an end to any discussion of whether or not
> that is the case.
> A further point coming out of this useful enumeration is that several
> times the comments begin "This is presumably..." or "We
> assume that...".If it's questionable even to the custodians of these rules what their
> rationale was, such prescriptive rules have no business continuing
> to exist.
> That said, this long enumeration constituting the bulk of this
> document seems unfortunate, as it seems to be concentrating on
> individual limbs of the various trees instead of on the whole forest
> we should be considering first. Perhaps this useful enumeration would
> have been better added as an appendix?
> In any case, I strongly believe that what decisions there are should
> not be prescriptive. At most they should say things like "peal
> ringersusually do such and so" or the like, though most of the existing
> longlitany of prescriptions should, I believe, be removed entirely.
> Regarding just a few of the specific instances:
> Why must we prohibit peals rung in relays? It's not something folks
> particularly want to do, most of the time, but why stop them if they
> choose to? Though I believe some years ago someone, I think it was Rod
> Pipe, was keen to organize an attempt for the extent of caters rung in
> relays. And, as you say, ringing peals in relays certainly has been
> done in the past.
> (D)A.6 is wholly inappropriate for our current needs, and, frankly,
> has been broken by many peals rung in recent decades. Many of our
> towers go to great lengths to ensure adequate sound control for
> practices. There are towers where no non-service ringing would
> be possible without good sound control. And long gone are the days
> when ringers would stand around other bands' towers listening to
> peals just so they could write scathing letters to the Bell News
> or Ringing World about the quality of what they heard.
> (D)A.10 is so subjective as to be useless.
> (D)A.1: Why? A very fine performance for the College Youths was
> rung recently that did not meet this restriction. It is sad that
> it was not counted as a peal because of this arbitrary technicality.
> (D)A.2. Prohibiting the null change is ridiculous. Why prohibit
> joining two 120s of doubles with a 12345 single to produce a tidy,
> symmetrical 240 with every row once each at hand and back?
> What is wrong with a handbell peal of minimus rung by one person?
> Sounds like a pretty fine accomplishment to me, probably far more
> noteworthy than one of Plain Bob Dooubles rung in hand by six
> different ringers.
> Why prohibit special lengths of Triples? And, by the way, you
> *can* in the current decisions ring a 5,100 of Triples: you just
> have to ring it variable cover; that inconsistency fruther highlights
> how silly this restriction is.
> Why can't you include two stages that are more than one apart?
> A band did ring a peal (not CC recognized) of Triples and Caters
> as Basingstoke some years ago, I believe.
> If people want to ring jump changes, why do we prohibit them?
> I think a peal of Cambridge Treble Jump Minor is probably more
> noteworthy than one of Cambridge Surprise.
> (D)C.1 If it's not spliced, what is a peal of multiple
> major methods where changes of method occur at, say, the
> treble's backstroke snap?
> (D)C.4 completely overlooks non-method blocks.
> (E)A.6 The explanation makes no sense. If someone is sufficiently to
> name Grandsire Doubles as a minor method with its own cover bell they
> can already name it something like Grandsire Block Minor today. And if
> more than four blows is OK in minimus, why not at higher stages?
> (E)D.4 and others. A variety of places in the decisions discuss
> publication in The Ringing World. While I love and read the RW myself,
> and wish I could still afford a paper copy instead of just electronic
> bits, I do recognize that it is no longer the primary venue for
> performance publication. These days that is clearly Bellboard, and
> almost certainly will remain some electronic forum for a long time to
> come; it will never again be the print magazine, no matter how much we
> may love it. The decisions should reflect this reality. And in a way
> that does not tie it to a particular electronic forum, such as
> Bellboard, as that undoubtedly will evolve and change just as ringing
> itself does.
> On page 16 you note that whatever the decisions say, people will
> find things to ring that don't comply with them. It is sad that
> the decisions are crafted to increase the likelihood of that; instead,
> they should be crafted to minimize such occurrences. It may be
> impossible to foresee all future developments, but we can do far
> better than we have.
> The specific questions on page 16:
> Yes, all, or nearly all, of the prescriptive statements should be
> removed.If there are none, what bad things happen? If any do, deal with them
> then,but with the minimal rule-making.
> Yes and no, I would not so much "revisit the way in which
> 'non-compliance' is handled", I would suggest eliminating the
> wholeproblem. If there are no prescriptions, there is no non-compliance.
> Ringers ring what they choose to. The Council, as their servant, keeps
> records of what they have done. If the Council's descriptive apparatus
> is not up to the task of recording a particular performance, it is
> that descriptive apparatus that is defective, not the performance.
> Yes, it should be easier to name new methods: why should peal ringers
> have all the fun, and quarter peal ringers be denied it? What is wrong
> with something like "the first band to ring a touch of at least
> 1250true rows of a method, or an extent of multi-extent block,
> shall..."?You *don't* have to have any rules for quarter peals, just say
> "touchof at least 1250 rows".
> 3.0 General Concerns and Questions
> I am delighted by this enumeration. You have been listening. Thank you.
> I agree whole-heartedly with all the complaints raised in your points
> 1 through 12 of this section, and believe all are problems with the
> current edifice. I believe that whatever replaces the existing
> decisions should be carefully constructed to present none of these
> twelve problems.
> Regarding point 13, I don't see why this is a problem, nor do I
> believe an unambiguous description is possible or desirable. A band
> that rings an extent of Original Minor by calling bobs where there
> would be 14 places in an extent of Single Court has rung Original; a
> band that rings an extent of Single Court in the usual way has rung
> Single Court. It doesn't matter that they're the same thing.
> What would be the point of requiring a band to submit compositions? And
> what do we do when they fail to do so? And what are we going to do with
> them when they do? I doubt Robert wants to publish them in the RW.
> We shouldn't be adding new rules, we should be simplifying and taking
> away the old, arbitrary ones.
> As to other points not in your list:
> I think the current decisions partition methods into far too many
> classes. They seem to be written with the notion that if we can think
> of some way to partition methods into disjoint classes, we should.
> This seems misguided, backwards.
> Broad, popular classes of methods like plain and treble dodging seem
> reasonable to single out. And while the distinction between surprise,
> delight and treble bob is completely artificial and serves no useful
> purpose, its preservation seems sensible to avoid the massive
> confusion that would result from combining those already large,
> densely populated namespaces. But why must we have distinctions
> between alliance, treble place and hybrid methods?
> Even worse, there seems no need for inserting the word differential
> into method titles. For the early differential methods it seems a
> sensible part of their *names* -- that was a goal in their
> construction, and the bands that rung them presumably wanted that word
> in their method names -- but the whole contrived edifice with the
> distinction between differential hunters and non-differential hunters
> is pointless. A surprise royal method should simply be a surprise
> royal method. Most of them have nine lead courses, but some of them
> have three lead courses. And some unusual cases may have more or
> fewer. So what?
> Closely related is the issue of non-method blocks. This is a foolish
> distinction. They are all methods. Some methods fit into a tidy
> categorization; others may not, but are still methods, just of a
> different type.
> But worse, most, perhaps all, of the non-method blocks that I'm aware
> of that have been discussed or rung fit perfectly naturally into the
> current categorization of methods. They simply have properties some
> ringers or rule makers at one time or another in the past decided they
> didn't like, such as having more than four blows in one place, or
> being false in their plain courses. But it is absurd that, say,
> Slapton Slow Course Doubles is a method but Caunton Slow Course is a
> non-method block. Or how can anyone sensibly say the two variations of
> one another shown in http://ringing.org/puzzle.html are not bothsurprise methods, but instead one is a method and the other a
> non-method block? And what happens when a non-method block extends to
> a method, or vice-versa, say by being true in its plain course at some
> stages but not at others?
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