Tips and Best Practices for a Peer-Edit System
The purpose of this wiki page is to collect best practices for a peer editing system. Please add your own thoughts and recommendations— be bold! Also, it might be worthwhile to include the pros and cons of using a dedicated editor vs. a peer editor. This information could be migrated to a new page if it becomes unwieldy to have both in one place.
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OverviewA peer editor group (often called peer reviewers) can provide many benefits to your team, including the following:
- Resource balancing for a department when an editor is unavailable (vacation, leave, no dedicated editor).
- Opportunities for employees to try out editing.
- Technical reviews when the editor has less knowledge of the subject matter, especially if the editor has to cover a broad range of subjects.
- Professional development for the peer editors themselves in the form of coaching (peer editor learns how to share constructive feedback) and of learning how to mentor other writers.
When using a peer editing system, it's helpful if an experienced editor oversees the following:
- Establish a formal definition and title for the role. Peer "review" (a technical accuracy review, for example) sets a different expectation from peer "edit" (a copy edit, for example).
- Create peer editing education, teach it to the peer editors, and document their certification in a public place.
- Document the process for when to invoke a peer edit.
- Ensure that you have a style guide.
Levels of Edit
- Title page shows correct title, company name and address, and the company logo.
- Version number and document date are current.
- Legal notice is current and trademarks, including third-party ones, are listed.
- Spell check the document.
- The preface uses the correct template and contains correct chapter numbers, descriptions, and any required product-specific information.
- Product names are used correctly and consistently.
- Trademarks are used and attributed correctly.
- Cross-references are punctuated correctly and refer to the intended target.
- Figures, tables, and examples are numbered correctly.
- Page footers and numbers are correct.
- Change bars do not appear.
- Headings, lists, and sentences have parallel construction.
- Typeface conventions are followed in all document elements.
- Illustrations are consistent and sized appropriately throughout the book.
- Numbered lists and steps are used appropriately and are numbered correctly.
- Headings are useful, descriptive, and specific.
- Terms and abbreviations avoid jargon and follow guidelines for localization.
- Task-oriented writing is clear. User actions and system actions are distinct.
- Reference and conceptual information are eliminated from task descriptions.
- Subjects and verbs agree, and pronouns and antecedents agree.
- Long sentences are divided for readability and localization.