The Case for Unauthorized Edits

When a blogger disagrees with a piece of writing, the usual approach is to excerpt the piece, react against its argument, and score various debating points. The process is adversarial.

This is a perfectly good way to operate, but I wonder if there aren’t times when an alternative approach would be useful. What if sometimes bloggers approached pieces as a skeptical editor? That posture still involves pointing out the weakest parts of a piece, but the critique is less adversarial — perhaps so much so that folks who’d otherwise dismiss dissent wind up seeing how the weaknesses in their arguments undermine even what they’re trying to accomplish.

Perhaps this is merely a reflection of my own impulse to edit stuff, and I’m not even sure I’ve executed the concept particularly well here (see the second link, a PDF). Despite those risks, I’d be curious to hear what TAS readers think.