[r-t] Adjacency in Extension

Phillip Barnes phil at piltdown.org.uk
Mon Jul 30 18:45:11 UTC 2018

On 27 July 2018 at 19:49:06, Don Morrison (dfm at ringing.org) wrote:

* The whole point of having “extension” is we want to keep the same names for the “same” method at higher stages. The usual argument for preserving the distinctions treble bob, surprise and delight is to carve the available name space up into three pieces so more people can call a method “Mumble” by ringing unrelated methods of different classes (“Spitalfields Festival” is the poster child for this). That would seem to argue that extension should preserve class distinction. While I can easily imagine that the most natural extension of, say, a surprise minor method might be a delight major one, such a thing would rather make a mess of the partitioned name space stuff. Though, to me, it’s really one more yet another argument for the class distinction being an unfortunate one.
Don - Hear, hear! Let’s go back a (few hundred) step(s).

Is there a fundamental reason why method classification is required (and the constraint of imagination in naming new methods is not fundamental in this regard)? In other words is there something fundamental in group theory or some other branch of the mathematics which underlies change ringing that means classification is important or necessary?

I’m guessing not - it’s an entirely man-made construct. It has the good intention of making naming “easier” but as increasingly complex methods have been rung it has caused much much unnecessary conflict and in some cases deep unhappiness on all sides. While it may be useful up to a point and would be a nightmare to unpick the simpler aspects of classification too far at this stage it cannot under any circumstances be described as an unqualified success.

We then use this man-made construct and impose another man-made construct called extension rules / decisions. Once again the intentions are good - to avoid the naming controversies that surrounded London Royal and others but it has produced some bizarre effects. Bristol Royal and above are “non-conforming” extensions of Major while Clyde Royal and Strathclyde Maximus / above are conforming extensions of Glasgow Major but “misnamed” because they were first rung at the wrong time. And all of this is before examining some of the bizarre legal extensions of complex methods like Rigel or Avon. The rules / decisions are in themselves complex but then compound things add an additional “clause” that requires the class of a method to be preserved in the preferred extension so that a less good (to the naked eye, at least) extension could end up carrying the name forward to higher numbers.

Nearly everyone on this list knows this. So my question is why do we persist and go even further with the same paradigm rather than finding another way?


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