Showing your work
There are times when I sit in the slot and open up a text from a copy editor who has indicated every change in a highlighted notes mode: every deletion, every correction of a typo, every change in capitalization, every substitution of one word for another. And I clench my teeth, because screaming in the newsroom makes other people nervous.
My professional colleagues may differ from me on this point, and they are welcome to say why in comments, but I don’t want you showing me your work. It’s distracting, and I wind up missing things I should have noticed because I’m paying more attention to what you highlighted than to what remains.
It’s true, I have asked students or probationers to do this, and I have done so myself, with Microsoft Word’s really, really annoying “track changes” function, when required to do so by a client. It is defensible as a limited, preliminary measure to determine that an editor is doing the job reliably. And I suppose that in contracts or other formal texts, where the addition or deletion of a single comma can have tremendous consequences, it may be a regrettable necessity.
But in general, I don’t see much good in it. It does, as I said, distract the reader from the actual edited text—and sometimes, grrrrr, if the note highlighting isn’t done precisely, it generates additional spaces—and I suspect it encourages anality in writers who misjudge the quality of their prose and demand an accounting of every last keystroke.
If you’re uncertain about your work, ask questions before you turn it in. You’ve been engaged to use your judgment, so just edit the damned thing.