[r-t] Sacred cows

Philip Earis pje24 at cantab.net
Wed Oct 7 05:05:19 UTC 2015

Rick DuPuy: “...the framework is still chock full of prescriptive rules which a performance must follow to qualify as a 'peal'...So let me ask: did the rules subgroup consider these particular sacred cows?”

I think there are three areas of confusion (or perhaps fallacies) in your reasoning:

1) Most importantly, you seem to lump together all “sacred cows”. However, any possible constraints fall into two distinct (and to mind my very different) areas: on the one hand the actual sequences of permutations that are rung, and on the other hand how those permutations are rung.  

Now a descriptive approach should, I feel, contain as few restrictions on the sequences of permutations that are rung as possible whilst still providing a coherent, consistent framework that reflects change ringing.  

The existing Decisions contain all manner of arbitrary restrictions and value judgements, some plain daft, on what sequences of permutations are permissible. The new framework aims to eliminate and simplify as much as possible here...as the companion document states, the main axiomatic constraints are simply that sequences of true permutations must be rung.  To my mind this is very laudable.

All of the “sacred cow” examples you list (relays of ringers, external aids, standers-behind) relate to the second (and distinct) area of *how* ringing is done.  It is important to realise this is a distinct area.  The framework aims to provide these criteria so that standard performances are comparable.  If I press start on Abel and let the computer ring a peal, I don’t regard that as me having rung a peal, and I am sure the consensus of ringers would be the same.  So I have no issue myself with formulising some constraints on what constitutes a standard performance. 

2) The constraints included in the new framework relate to standard performances, with the explicit statement that this is not a value judgement on performances that do not adhere to the framework.

3) The “rules subgroup” was and is an open-to-all collaborative effort, aiming to capture and codify broadly consensus opinions of people with knowledge and interest in the area.  The working and development of the draft documents has been extremely open, vastly more so than the pronouncements from on high of the secretive cabal that is the Methods Committee.  Many people have contributed to the subgroup, and I am sure that what is produced doesn’t fully satisfy anyone (me included)...but it has been a productive and instructive exercise, and has produced something which is much better than the status quo.


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