It's a pain to write large documents with multiple people as authors, editors, critics and reviewers.
The standard way to tackle this task is to ship around multiple slightly contradictory versions of a Microsoft Word document (with changes tracked) in email, and hope that whoever is cutting and pasting can make sense of the mishmosh that sometimes happens. Occasionally the problem of coordination gets severe enough that you call a meeting, lock everyone in the same room with their laptops and a printer, and only let them emerge when a final draft appears.
The nouveau way to tackle the task is to put everyone in a collaborative document editing environment - e.g. a wiki - and push all of your work online. Changes are tracked by default. The writing environment is never what you see is what you get, so there's always the problem of translating what goes onto the screen into something that looks good on paper. If you're lucky, the final document doesn't ever have to hit paper, but you're rarely that lucky.
If anything, it's easier to manage this set of tasks when people are physically distant from each other, since you are forced by space and time to engage in some thinking ahead of time on coordination technology.
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