[r-t] Methods Committee terms of reference

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Mon Apr 17 15:04:01 UTC 2017

On Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM, Graham John <graham at changeringing.co.uk>
> “To provide and maintain the Council's definitions and requirements
> for change ringing, including methods, calls, and performances, and to
> consider and advise on all questions arising from their
> interpretation; to compile and maintain a library of all named methods
> with classification and appropriate references, and to maintain a
> record of historic method names; to commission tools and publications
> that aid in the understanding and analysis of methods; to adjudicate
> on any conflicts that occur in method naming, and to request
> alternative names for methods that may be considered inappropriate; to
> facilitate the creation and maintenance of standards for the
> electronic interchange of methods; to promote an interest in technical
> and theoretical aspects of ringing to ringers at large.”
> Proposed on behalf of the Methods Committee by Peter Niblett
> (Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild) and seconded by Mark Davies
> (Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association).

Many thanks for forwarding this.

Unlike the other proposals being put forward by the Methods Committee, much
of this one I strenuously disagree with:

Re: "provide and maintain the Council's definitions and requirements for
change ringing"

Why is the *methods* committee the Arbiter of All Change Ringing? Either
change its name to the "God Committee" or else restrict its purview to
methods, for heaven's sake.

The committee's existing terms of reference tell it to advise; these say to
"provide and maintain" -- a radical increase in its power, especially when
you add in the "requirements" part. This is exactly the opposite of the
positive changes the Council has slowly been evolving through, and exactly
the opposite of what I, it would appear naively, have thought the committee
was also adopting.

Re: "including ... calls":

Surely the compositions committee is entitled to a much more respected
opinion about calls than the methods committee?

Re: "including ... performances":

Ditto the Peal Records Committee.

Re: "to adjudicate on any conflicts that occur in method naming":

This is an wholly inappropriate increase in the committee's power. In the
past it recommended to the Council how to resolve such conflicts
(admittedly the Council nearly always rubber stamped the committee's
recommendations). This appears to be handing the power to the committee.
This is wrong. Given the history, it is the last committee I'd want to give
such power to. If a committee must adjudicate I'd, in all seriousness,
considering the history, prefer it be the Biographies Committee or the
Library Committee -- at least they don't have a long history of foot
dragging and ignoring others' advice.

These revised terms of reference, while adding things the committee should
be doing, recapitulate and reinforce the existing terms of reference
assertions regarding it doing things it should not. Just today much of the
discussion on this list has been about the committee making proposals that
seem well beyond what a "methods" committee should do. This is an
opportunity to correct this long standing problem. This motion instead
perpetuates it, and makes it far worse.

Frankly, I'm having a much harder time employing Hanlon's Razor here, and
not seeing this as a blatant power grab.

Please, please, please withdraw this horribly misguided motion.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"We read fine...things but never feel them to [the] full until we
have gone the same steps as the author."             -- John Keats
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