I agree that the idea of everyone being an editor is "fascinating" and I do see the problems that Richard points to: chaos. Since I am an editor of a print journal, I share real empathy for Richard's position; and yet, since I am a rhetor that would like to find some way of implementing radical- democratic approaches to editing, I, in turn, empathize with Eric's position as well.
When I send a ms out to three readers and they all like it and all suggest different ways of reenvisioning/ refocusing the ms, I invariably get returned, so to speak, three compossible mss. It could be a nightmare trying to negotiate with not only the writer but also the three anonymous readers. But there are ways around that particular problem, and I think that, given the technology that is available to us, there are ways, I hope, around the kind of chaos that Richard points to in relation to publishing and multiple editing of mss on the Web.
My suggestion, IF it will work:
I just got the latest version of Storyspace (1.3), which has built into it the means of "signifying" individuals who contribute to collaborative work. Each time someone adds a lexia/linkage to a document of some sort (a poem, story, scholarly article, etc.), it is possible to know exactly who added the comment, amendment, whatever. (Here, there in multiplicity, collaboration, but still traces of individual identities. Hence, I would hope the best of all possible worlds!)
Therefore, if a manuscript is published on the Web, I would assume first that the manuscript would be in the state that the author finally sent it.
Once out there, however, multiple editors could then begin editing it by making their own personal linkages. (What is important here is that the manuscript does not get fixed, but stays in process, and that each editor gets to edit the manuscript, and that there are numerous residual traces of individuals in collaboration.)
This assumes, to be sure, that what is, in fact, capable of being done in Stroyspace is also capable of being done on the Web. It seems to me that if such capabilities of automatic personal signatures are built into Storyspace but not on the Web, then, all that would be necessary is for each editor to sign her/his editing. Please keep in mind, however, that the originally published document would remain the same in its pristine original version, but would NOT, in another sense, remain the same because edited by way of the serpentine, Byzantine lexias.
Does this sound do-able and reasonable?
Victor (J. Vitanza)
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 13:44:41 -0600 Sender: CyberJournal for Rhetoric and Writing
From: "Victor J. Vitanza" Subject: Re: all: editing?