It's great if an editor can cite problems in the
information itself, but I think we're confusing some
very critical roles here.<details snipped>
The statements I didn't quote all contained the word "should" regarding people's roles. I see several problems here.
The most obvious, of course, is that what "should" happen often doesn't, so having backups in place (that is, people who can fill the gaps in other people's abilities or skill sets) can be valuable for ultimately producing good docs, especially if a writer is inexperienced or under excessive pressure to deliver too much in too short a time frame, or any number of other situations.
Secondly, the division of roles given by your "shoulds" isn't cast in bronze. To my mind, whatever works in a team situation is a good thing. In some situations, a different mix of roles may produce a better product, cheaper or more quickly.
Lastly, your view of what an editor "should" do is more narrow than mine (see my response to your note on the thread titled "what to look for in a Tech Editor").
And on a related note, Andrew Plato said,
What seems cryptic, arcane, or confusing to a content/industry-ignorant writer
may be blaringly obvious to normal users. This is why a good writer must go way
beyond the interface and understand the context under which the product is
Absolutely. And if the writer doesn't understand the context, then a good editor (who does have that knowledge) can help immensely by filling in the gaps. Ideal? No. Valuable in a real, non-ideal situation? Yes. And often the writer will learn from that help. Even a good writer has to learn somewhere, sometime, somehow, and many of us are thrown in beyond our depth before we're ready.
Jean Hollis Weber
jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com
The Technical Editors' Eyrie http://www.jeanweber.com/
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