Writers are often frustrated by the idea that if two different editors looked at the same document they would not mark it up the same way. While certainly a large portion would be similar, maybe even the same, many differences would exist. Even if editing to the same style guide, editors will react or respond to the content differently. One editor might let a long sentence go, whereas another editor will break it into two. It is possible that the same editor seeing similar content at two different times might edit similar sentences differently. (Yes, I’ve done this.) As editors, we must fight against our own biases or soapboxes or “bugaboos” (as I like to call them) to bring consistency to our own editing but also among other editors that we might work with. Of course, when working with other editors, we sometimes pick up these bugaboos from them, bringing some consistency to the teams.
This notion of consistency among editors was inspired by An American Editor writing about a futile quest for perfection in editing. I wholeheartedly agree that there can be no perfection in editing. As technical editors, we cannot be perfectionists. Sometimes, good enough is perfect, and we must listen to Voltaire who said “The perfect is the enemy of good.”