Dumb vs. Smart Revision

Several readers of my posts on revision have pointed out that content gets revised for many reasons. Peter Fournier suggest a distinction should be made between dumb and smart revision. I’ll attempt to do that here.

An initial distinction between dumb revision and smart revision might be that smart revision adds value and dumb revision does not.

Reducing writer errors

One of the most consistent responses I have received to my posts on revision as waste (Improving First Run Quality, and Revision, Waste, and Evenness) is some variant of “mistakes happen”. Some felt I was blaming writers, or even questioning their integrity. (Such comments were much more prevalent on LinkedIn than on the blog itself.)

Actually, this has very little to do with either the integrity or the diligence of individual writers. Writers are human, and they do make mistakes. The problem is that they tend to work in environments that make mistakes more likely, and that make discovering them less likely. If we want to reduce waste in the content creation process, we should be looking not at individual writers, but at the process and environment in which they work. read more