[r-t] classification (was Blocks to be renamed as methods)

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Fri Apr 21 10:36:50 UTC 2017

Don Morrison wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 5:07 PM, Richard Smith <richard at ex-parrot.com>
> wrote:
>> Alliance methods should consist of just hunting and dodging. (I'm of
>> two minds whether to go further and just say single dodging, but
>> probably not.) Gluon should not be an alliance method.
> ‚Äč‚ÄčThis seems to me to be veering into the "make a tidy classification,
> regardless of how it accords with common practise" mindset you're wisely
> arguing we get away from.

While it's true I'm favouring a degree of tidiness in the 
definitions, what I'm proposing is quite different to the 
status quo as I'm explicitly recognising that a lot of 
methods (albeit rarely rung ones) defy sensible 
classification, and the Central Council should not be 
wasting time in a futile attempt to do so.

I'm taking a few tidy families of methods and saying that 
they are uncontroversially alliance, or surprise, or 
whatever.  Beyond that I'm not trying to classify them. 
I'm not saying that Yorkshire Alliance isn't an alliance 
method.  Rather I'm saying it isn't necessarily 
uncontroversial that it is, and therefore the Decisions and 
the Methods Committee shouldn't be forcing a particular view 
on the band who rang it.  If they want to think of it as 
alliance, that's fine.  If they want to retain the word 
'Alliance' in the name, that too is fine.  If another band 
wants to name a similar method they can choose separately 
what to call it.

> Things with treble paths like Yorkshire Alliance and Akley Little Alliance
> seem quite popular (by alliance method standards), at least on eight. I've
> not done an exhaustive analysis, but randomly auditing a handful of the
> performances of alliance major reported so far this year it appears perhaps
> half of them use such a treble path. If that audit translates into reality
> it would seem likely that a majority of actual performances of alliance, at
> least above minor, wouldn't fit the category you want to define alliance to
> be. This doesn't seem right.

The majority (even just for major and above) do fit into the 
basic class I outlined, but it is only a small majority. 
The case where the hunt bell does "cats ears" at the back 
(or wherever it turns round) is possibly common enough to 
warrant consideration, but on the whole, I just don't think 
the Decisions should be concerned with classifying obscure 
treble paths.  Leave it to the band who came up with them.

> If you further limit it to single dodging, as you toy with half-heartedly,
> it will further leave out, among others, Cantuar, which I'd guess is
> historically the most frequently rung alliance maximus method, though no
> longer fashionable these days.

Cantuar is not a particularly helpful example as few would 
dispute it is an alliance method so whether it's in the 
standard core of alliance methods that the Central Council 
require to have 'Alliance' in its name is irrelevant.

Instead we should be asking whether there might be a method 
where the treble does some combination of hunting, single 
and multiple dodges that does not neatly fit in the class of 
alliance methods.  I didn't think it likely that there was, 
which is why I included multiple dodging.

> I can see that some crazy, though symmetrical, hunt bell paths would have
> little in common with what we think "alliance" means, but limiting it as
> you've suggested is a baby with the bath water sort of solution. I'm not
> sure how one might write a definition that limits it to what Potter Stewart
> would recognize as an alliance method, but I suspect something better than
> "hunting and dodging only" could be done.

I wasn't trying to write a formal definition.  I'm sure a 
better wording can be found.  (It's also worth noting that 
this restricted set of alliance methods is already 
referenced in the Decisions: (G)C.1(b) refers to "plain and 
treble dodging methods and Alliance methods with the 
treble's path formed from these two".  That's not especially 
satisfactory wording either.)

> Perhaps it's something where half the path looks like half a treble dodging
> path, but with some blows excised? That wouldn't solve the Cantuar double
> dodge issue, but perhaps thinking further about something like that might
> provide a solution?

Perhaps so.

> Or, more likely, it's not really a problem worthy of solution, and the
> existing alliance definition is good enough, so long as it's not forced on
> methods that probably don't want it, like Gluon.

That's exactly the point.  The existing alliance definition 
does force itself on methods like Gluon.  Far better to 
force it on too few methods and allow it to voluntarily 
adopted elsewhere when appropriate, than to force it on 
methods where it doesn't apply.


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