[r-t] The future of ringing.org

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Tue Jun 18 14:26:30 BST 2019

On Sat, Jun 15, 2019 at 9:17 PM Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org> wrote:
> I’m interested in the opinions of folks who actually use
> ringing.org. Does having it available in addition to Composition
> Library still offer value to you? And if so, in what ways?

Summary for the TL;DNR crowd: ringing.org will continue indefinitely, and I
will endeavor to continue making improvements to it. I may, naturally,
revisit this decision some years into the future if circumstances change.

My thanks to the 47 people who filled out the survey or replied by mail.
And to Graham, who kindly shared detailed thoughts of why he believes it
would be good for ringing.org to continue to exist. And additional thanks
also to the several kind folks who included thanks or praise in what they
wrote. Here’s a summary of what I learned.

By the very nature of my request and how I formulated the questions I, of
course, introduced a bias by encouraging responses from those who actually
use ringing.org, so any ratio of folks saying “keep it” to those saying
“ditch it” should be taken with a large dollop of salt. I continue to
suspect that Composition Library may be used more than ringing.org, though
both appear to be found useful by substantial portions of the ringing
community. That said, 39 (83%) of the respondents said ringing.org was
filling a need for them. It is worth noting that several of the respondents
who don’t use ringing.org did encourage me to drop it, as they view having
the two, different services as a distraction or detriment to the ringing
community; my apologies to them that on balance I feel I must nevertheless
continue ringing.org.

Unsurprisingly nearly all of the “I do use ringing.org” responses use
either or both of the peal or quarter peal calling collections, and many
kindly provided detailed descriptions of ways it meets their needs that
Composition Library might not, at least in its current form. So continuing
the calling pages on ringing.org seems an obvious choice.

Only a minority, albeit a substantial one, about 45%, use the methods
presentation. However, several of them made arguments for why they prefer
it to the many alternatives, not just Composition Library, for method
information. So, while a less obvious decision than the collections of
callings, on balance it seems worth preserving the method information, too.

Several folks stated that they typically, or frequently, start on
ringing.org, and, after selecting a small number of callings to consider in
greater depth, then move their activity to Composition Library for those
specific callings. Based on this, it would seem to be of value for me to
add links from the things in ringing.org to relevant pages in Composition
Library. I’ve had a conversation about this with Graham, and believe I see
how to make this work. I intend to add it to ringing.org. However, don’t
hold your breaths for it, it will only be added as part of the substantial
piece of maintenance I’ve started that will take me at least several more
months to finish; depending upon my Real Life, and whatever unforeseen
difficulties I encounter, perhaps a year or more.

But I do now intend to continue supporting ringing.org as long as I am
able, though, of course, I might revisit that choice as things change in
coming years. A long languishing TODO that I have at least made a bit of a
start on is creating sufficient documentation, and laying other necessary
groundwork, so that someone else might be able maintain ringing.org when I
am no longer able to do so. Though, having promised this for longer than a
decade, it’s another don’t-hold-your-breath item.

Again, thank you for your helpful, and often detailed, comments and
thoughts. I much appreciate them.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
“I would often run the first part of a quarter through Abel; sometimes
the whole quarter. At least then you know what it should sound like,
before the bells and ringers get hold of it.”
   — A J Barnfield, on the change-ringers mailing list, 7 January 2007
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