Editing Codes

As part of the authentic communication framework, we have a collection of short editing marks, or codes, that we use to identify a specific writing guideline and communicate the rationale behind a suggested edit. They are organized into four structural sections (and several sub-sections) that help scan, parse, and process a piece we’re editing in a structured, consistent way:

    1. Scope & Narrative Structure

    1. Flow & Readability

    1. Style & Phrasing

    1. Choice of Words

See the Editing Codes and their guidelines.

When editing someone’s work, the first “positivity” pass we take is to mark things we like with “++” and the relevant code (e.g. ++CRISP): colorful word choices, solid writing, use of our principles. This specific praise reinforces positive aspects, which builds trust. It also reminds writers and editors to keep these pieces when making changes later in the process.

In later passes, we use the pure codes (without “++”) to mark sections that we are changing or that need changing. For example, ACRO is a code about word choice, reminding the writer and editor to explain an acronym. Beyond the simple code, we strive to add a compact explanation of what we see and why it needs changing.

Writing and creativity are always subjective. We strive to avoid good/bad binary thinking and judgments. When making suggestions and changes to someone else’s writing, we don’t talk about “wrong” and “corrected” or “fixed” text. We say things like “original” and “updated”, or “your text” and “my suggestion.”