Re: Peer Editing Among Corporate Tech Writing Teams

Subject: Re: Peer Editing Among Corporate Tech Writing Teams
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:20:09 -0500

Some people are natural copy editors. They cannot help but make copy better. They fix erroneous homonyms, suggest tighter paragraphs, and observe where parallel structure would make things simpler. They slaughter cliches and mixed metaphors. They can do this very well for material written by others, but quite possibly not for their own.

Others may be able to turn out perfect copy in a first draft. Yes, it's unusual, but Isaac Asimov claimed to have the talent for it.

Unfortunately, grammatical blunders elude still other writers, both in their own copy and elsewhere. They can can see an error staring at them and note notice it at all.

I am of the opinion that people who are poor editors cannot be transformed into good ones. The frame of mind required is established early in life. The result, in the peer-edited team effort, is likely to be substandard. On the bright side, nobody reads instructional copy any more. Sentence word present like China language that not concern any person. Nobody read it. Who care?

If you're actually going to apply this peer-editing technique, try using "many eyes" in much the same way as is used to catch bugs in Linux. A culture shift and a tool like git may be required. Do not give up at the first sign of failure. Nor at the second. Nor even at the third.

On Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:49:22 -0500, David Renn <daverenn08 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

I work in a Tech Writing Department of about 3 managers and 14 writers. Our
team used to have a dedicated copyeditor for the whole team. We're now
restructuring the department so that all authors are responsible for peer
reviews in place of having a copyeditor.

Have any of you ever had any experience where peer editing was implemented
across a team of multiple tech writers---whether small or large teams?

If so, would you be able to shed any light on the methodology your team
implemented for the peer review process; that is, the team structure, how
tasks were assigned/divvied up, what peer reviewers were required to review
for, how team ensured the process was implemented appropriately, or
anything else related?

And also, do you have any thoughts as to:

- the pros and cons of implementing peer editing in multiple-author tech
departments;
- what it might take to create a well-oiled peer editing machine where
all authors know and understand their role/responsibilities and are
dedicated to their assignments;
- any success/failure stories in general.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences!
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References:
Peer Editing Among Corporate Tech Writing Teams: From: David Renn

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