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I find the most effective method to ReworkingThreadMess into DocumentMode is a multi-step process.

Skim the page to learn keywords and the shape of major thrusts; don't read the page as that will break you mind and then you won't be able to rework.

Cut all the useless words people write, like weasel words, repetitions, courtesy words, and self-inflated windbaggery. You will be left with the core ideas. Be courageous, in the sense that I've deleted very long whinges that said nothing, but maintain your integrity to avoid conflict later on. You will need to read each paragraph and try to understand what the author meant; it's not enough to claim that deference goes to the editor's patience (which is true), since as the editor you presumably have lots of patience. Trust me, if you don't, your patience will be tested when people complain their idea is missing.

Do signatures count as useless at this stage? I've been wondering if it's easier to rework if you cut signatures out early in the process, and then reinstate them if you later find that you need to.

I usually leave signatures in to know who said what. After you are done cutting useless words, you may actually decide to stop. I've found that a paired down discussion (i.e. with signatures) often is clearer and more human than many other forms of writing on a wiki.

Group ideas that seem similar. This is an iterative process. While grouping, you will think of creative ways to regroup ideas, reorganize them into something that might look like a progression of ideas. Often you may want to split the page as well, or you may find material best suited on another existing page. (Do your homework.) Moving towards an outline of what you will eventually write is the key.

Write. Writing a document mode from ThreadMess, some people try to depersonalize the ThreadMess entirely, but that's very boring. Feel free to use quotations with attributions, Wiki:SummaWay, DialecticMode, or anything else that seems appropriate. You aren't forced to write a boring prosaic essay. You only need to organize the ideas in a way that a reader can digest them. Please avoid point form, however, as that is really hard for a reader to mentally synthesize.

Throughout this process, you will make many saves. It's customary to place a "Please hold; please write messages about this process on my namepage. --me" notice at the top of the page while you do your work. Nonetheless, usually someone will edit the page to help you or hinder you. Just quietly move their comments to your namepage (and ignore them for a while if it makes you feel better).

It's important to finish your work too, since no one will take it up midway through yours, so make sure you have the time and patience to complete the task (cf. ReworkingProblems). It's also important to maintain your integrity throughout the process, and fairly represent all sides, even if you particularly believe in one side or the other. Otherwise, after the ensuing FlameWar, you will never rework again. It's tempting to insert your rejoinders to enemy ideas while you rework, and I've done this, but there's a limit to how much you can do this without making the final result too biased. Sanity must prevail. -- SunirShah



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