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FROM AN IN-HOUSE DISCUSSION PROMPTED BY A THREAD HERE
I agree - and disagree with the original writer. it depends on who is doing
the edits, and what the desired outcome is.
At Triangle, we had a "clean eyes" rule: nothing went out before it had been
reviewed by someone who had nothing to do with the project. On the other
hand, we had a "ditsy stuff list" of specific things to look for, in
addition to asking for "any comments". There, like here [AT&T], our major,
in depth peer review process tended to be an informal part of the day-to-day
exchange - kinda like the way you and I worked on Customer Service: we
didn't like the structure, bounced it back and forth between the two of us,
had a couple of brainstorming sessions about it, and came up with something
I've never found that people held back for fear of "insulting" another
writer, or of "hurting their feelings." Professionals don't have their ego
and self-worth so wrapped up in their work that they can't take constructive
criticism. I'm a professional. So are you. So are Tara and Diana, from
the old Triangle days.
Some people are natural editors: they can sense when a sentence structure, a
paragraph structure, or more, lacks coherence or is trying to fit a round
peg into a square hole... Some places have the luxury to have people like
that on their staff with nothing else to do but *be* editors. When you're
working in a small team with limited manpower, everyone has to do double
From: Delaney, Misti
Either I don't know what a "good" editor is, or I've never run into this
problem. (Or rather, I've run into people who were lousy editors, but it's
been far from universal in my experience of peer edits.) Then again, I've
only been in the biz for a half dozen years and have never seen it done any
other way than with peer edits.
Subject: Re: Peer Reviews
Date: Monday, July 03, 1995 6:46PM
> Have any of you experienced successful peer review
> operations? Unsuccessful?
Unsuccessful, for the most part. Peer edits can catch superficial
problems, but most peer edits don't work for an in-depth edit. The
=only= time I've ever had a peer edit work was when the other writer was
also an editor--and wasn't afraid to take the time to do it right.
Other problem: It's sometimes difficult for a "peer" to be honest. Who
wants to offend the person you eat lunch with? Who wants to trash
someone's work when s/he will get to edit yours? Etc. etc. etc.
Last problem: Just because someone is a good writer, doesn't mean s/he's
a decent editor. I know several good writers that aren't good editors
Nancy Hayes (nancyh -at- pmafire -dot- inel -dot- gov)