Re: Editing scorecard

Subject: Re: Editing scorecard
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 10:43:44 +0200

Kudos to Peter for an insightful comment.

Such an "editing scorecard" is, I believe, a very bad idea for
dissemination within the group *if* you are interested in morale.
Inevitably, there will be some who are assigned tasks that are not
directly related to straight editing--which won't be included in such
a "box score" approach.

Also, it makes no discrimination with regard to what the editor
confronts with particularly difficult documents. In most large
organizations, there are some writers who themselves create far more
work for a good editor than others do--and this is obviously ignored
with such a scorecard.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but in one of my assignments where
we had an in-house technical editor, out of nine writers one was a
particular problem child. It happens he began his career as a field
telephony switch technician, and his grasp of English was a bit
tenuous at best. Thus, he alone consumed perhaps half of the editor's
time and attention.

In many shops, too, at least one of the group will wind up being
considered the resident "tools person." Balky software, coping with
broken upgrades, dealing with IT support--all of those as "additional
duties" that would also not be reflected by such a "scorecard."

Then there's the impact of the thing itself. I am fairly sure you have
heard of teachers in states with a mandatory State achievement test
who were graded based on the results of their students on that test.
Other educational goals often fly out the window as the teacher in
response begin "teaching to the test." I suspect the results would be
quickly similar in this case, as editors begin to stress only those
items being evaluated.

Finally, the comment about ISO many cases, a total disaster.
Attaining that certification often means that bad practices become
enshrined and impossible to get rid of later. Those who benefit from
it seem to be those who go through a serious period of business
process re-engineering before codifying everything for the ISO
designation; unfortunately, those organizations are distinctly in the


On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 09:00, <techwr-l-request -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> wrote:
> From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>

> I wonder how you'll judge the comments.
> Sounds like an opportunity for mediocre editors to work the system instead of getting the job done. There likely won't be any problem if you hire only editors who simply want to turn out good work, and make sure no one gets caught in the scorecard machine.
> Except for the adherence to standards, this looks like a quest for so-called objective measurement. You could create a piece of software to conduct a poll of writers and SMEs to rate editors' comments on a scale of 1-10, and devise a formula for weighting the ratings on the number of documents or pages. The numerical results would look very, very scientific. You could adopt a policy for ranking that would show which editors were in the bottom ten percent, and then replace those editors with others.
> Later you would wonder why your outfit was no longer able to hire any excellent editors like you used to have.
> "ISO-9000 was all about this sort of stuff," says my wife, a quality engineer. She says, "It doesn't work."

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