I think you latter point is exactly the focus of the debate. Your 
approaches are different and they are both entirely justifiable.

For a scholar who focuses on the text and its tradition, the encoders 
are editors as much as the ancient scribe who scribbled on the margins. 
Their labour can be seen as part of the same process of altering the 
text, whatever that is.
For a scholar interested in the material artefact (e.g. the manuscript), 
any editorial intervention not contained in the object is immeasurably 
different from what's on the parchment/papyrus/stone.

I am afraid my comment doesn't tackle the practical core of the debate 

All the best,

Tim Finney wrote:

> Eager to begin holding my peace, but here goes...
> I lump modern editors together with ancient scribes because they do the
> same things. Sometimes they restore a more primitive reading. Other
> times they make a complete mess of it. Consider these:
> (1) A modern editor examines available evidence and synthesizes a text
> then submits it to the publisher who prints it (sometimes).
> (2) A scribe gets hold of the nearest exemplar and copies it, possibly
> consulting other exemplars in the process.
> (3) A corrector alters the text of one manuscript based on the text of
> another. (Apologies to rock-chiselers.)
> What's the difference between (1), (2), and (3)? I think that it is more
> to do with the mechanics of production than anything else. Taking a long
> view of history, when some other revolution overtakes the electronic
> one, people might try to integrate the hand-copied, mechanically
> printed, and TEI encoded versions of a text. What would they think of
> special elements created to distinguish editors of our era from their
> forerunners?
> Perhaps the difference between the our camps is to do with focus. One
> cares about the object (e.g. manuscript) and therefore wants to
> distinguish textual renditions within it from contemporary opinions on
> those renditions. The other camp cares about the text and therefore sees
> all opinions about what that text might be in the same light.
> Best
> Tim Finney
> On Mon, 2007-01-29 at 16:09 +0000, Gabriel BODARD wrote: 
>> Surely the distinction, Tim, is not between pre- and post-Gutenberg
>> editors, but between the editor who writes on the very manuscript
>> (papyrus, stone, etc.) that we are describing, and the one who is
>> conjecturing, restoring, expanding, or otherwise improving the text for
>> an external edition. (I appreciate that this distinction is much clearer
>> in epigraphy than it is in manuscript studies, where sometimes there
>> will be ambiguous instances; occasional ambiguity is no reason not to
>> have a clear system in place.) So if a late Byzantine scribe has
>> scrawled on a much older manuscript, we as editors have no choice but to
>> record that in our edition of the text/object. But if an early modern
>> editor prints an edition and conjectures some wild emendations, we don't
>> have to record that in the description of the text at all (although we'd
>> probably mention it in an apparatus).
>> Of course ancient and modern editors are often doing the same thing in
>> principle, and in their own minds, but the essential difference is what
>> they are doing to the piece of papyrus/stone that we're commenting on.
>> The editorial conjectures you print in the text (or tag in the text)
>> depend on your judgement. What scribal annotations you record is
>> entirely down to what is on the page. That's why we have to preserve a
>> very clear distinction between how we tag them.
>> Thanks for the ref to the V marginalium: very entertaining!
>> Cheers,
>> Gabby
>> Tim Finney a écrit :
>>> It still seems to me that scribes and editors, whether lazy, drunk,
>>> incompetent or otherwise, are fundamentally and self-evidently doing the
>>> same thing--conveying what they think the text is or should be.
>>> It is self-evident that I am rather outspoken on this, so I will hold my
>>> peace. I suppose that I can live with the convention of using
>>> <sic>/<corr> for post-Gutenberg editors and <add>/<del> for
>>> pre-Gutenberg ones.
>>> As a parting shot, I recount the following from Codex Vaticanus at Heb
>>> 1.3, where we get a rare insight into the mind of a scribe. The first
>>> hand wrote φανερων. A much later hand made some changes indicating he
>>> (very unlikely to be she in this case) thought the correct reading was
>>> the more common φερων. A yet later scribe wrote in the margin, "Bad and
>>> stupid [scribe]! Leave the old [reading] alone. Don't change it!" 
>>> Here are relevant images:
>>> So, is this scribal change better represented by using <add>/<del> or
>>> <sic>/<corr>?
>>> Best
>>> Tim Finney

Dr Arianna Ciula
Research Associate
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS (UK)
Tel: +44 (0)20 78481945