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When is the right time to rename a method?

In light of the recent newspaper article on Julie McDonnell (RW 1 September 2023 page 852) there have been calls on social media and elsewhere to rename or un-name the 18 methods and one variation that contain the name Julie McDonnell and which were named as part of the fund-raising initiative that she led.

However, there is not universal agreement on this.  Some people have argued that the methods remain part of the historical record and were named and rung as part of a specific campaign.  It is also worth considering how often any of the methods/variations are likely to be rung again.

Methods are named by the band that first rings them to a qualifying performance. Newly named methods are added the Methods Library, which is maintained by the Central Council in its role as the central record keeper of all named methods. Once a method is named, the name is considered immutable since the method may be rung by other bands, creating ringing records that use this name.

However, the Central Council also reserves the right to use a different name in the Methods Library from the one proposed by a band, or to leave the method unnamed if it considers this necessary (see Framework for Method Ringing, section 5.E.2).  The above also applies to variations, which are recorded in the Variations Library.

BellBoard contains over 800 performances in methods that include the Julie McDonnell name, and there will also be corresponding association and personal records. As it is impossible to update the printed records, there would be little point in just updating the online performance records.

One proposal is simply to remove the references to Julie McDonnell from the CCCBR Methods and Variations Libraries by renaming the methods/variation to align with the aims of the campaign, such as ‘Strike Back’ or similar. Should they be changed, CompLib would enable these methods to be located by a search on either their new or original names. This would not affect historic performances, but any future performances of the methods/variation would use the updated names.

If you have been involved, we would invite your comments via

The Central Council Executive
The Taxonomy and Technology Workgroup

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