Re: FWD: wording for training materials

Subject: Re: FWD: wording for training materials
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 16:13:08 -0400

>1. I expect that a writer, whether a junior or a senior, should be able to
>make all the editing changes marked on a document without missing several.
>Is this really too much to expect?

Yes, it is too much to expect. Standard publishing procedures (for many, many decades) include a requirement that the both the revised copy and the foul copy be returned to the editor (or at least a proofreader) for verification that marked changes were made. People are fallible. Fingers slip. So do minds. In your process you have deliberately made a tradeoff in the interest of increasing throughput, and you have to evaluate whether the resultant drop in quality is acceptable. If it is, move on, there's nothing to see here.

>2. For those of you who have an editor (or are the editor), how many
>editing passes typically occur? Does the editor typically perform a final
>pass on each doc before it is published? Is the editor expected to sign
>off on each doc before it is published?

It depends how critical the document is. For most types of documents, good enough is good enough and perfection is too costly to pursue. For some--especially where legal or contractual liabilities are involved--a final pass and the collection of multiple signatures may be required.

>3. Also for those of you who have an editor, is the editor's role clearly
>defined? In other words, is it clearly stated that the editor has final
>say on editing issues, and that writers must adhere to the editor's

Theory X: yes. Theory Y: no. I like to think of editing as a service offered to writers. That way the writer is ultimately responsible for the finished product, and if she chooses not to avail herself of the editor's services, so be it. I hate being a cop and try to avoid putting myself in situations where I have to act like one. [Shut up, Garison.]

>4. Others have stated that writers who deliberately ignore changes
>requested by the editor should be reprimanded. (Note: this action has been
>recommended when the editor is the manager, or when it is clearly
>understood that the editor has final say.) How is this typically handled
>in your group? Does the editor/manager pull the writer aside and say "hey,
>Joe, you need to start making those editorial changes"? Is the writer's
>work then carefully monitored for the next few projects? How *do* you
>handle this without crossing the line into dictatorship?

That's going to be a personal decision in most circumstances. If, as you say, it is understood that the editor has final say, then by all means document the insubordination and bring someone from HR into the loop so you can properly advise the employee he's on probation, etc., etc. If the company has a performance review system in place, make use of it. In other situations, such as where the editor is a service provider, just keep the writer's manager in the loop when you send back edited copy. Let the manager make the call.

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