Who are editors, and what are they good for?

At a recent talk to a group of academic editors in Delhi, I asked what people thought that editors – as a species – were, or should be, like:

'Book-lover.' Seems obvious – but comforting that someone should have come up with this first.

'Someone very good with language.' Yes, another tick.

'Able to think outside the box.' Hmmm. Less sure about this one, which suggested that the proposer had spent a little too much time inside a box marked Management Training 101.

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Himal Southasian