Copy editors are highly trained professionals. Apart from an excellent command of the language, copy editors need a broad general knowledge in order to spot factual errors and good critical-thinking skills. However, even a professional can overlook mistakes from time to time.
The idea is simple: Instead
of employing a handful of high skill copy editors in series, a large number of low skill copy editors are employed in parallel.
This is how it works:
1) A web site is set up. customers upload a piece of text. A program first performs crude spelling and grammar corrections. Another program analyses the text and deliberately inserts a random error (or "tag") every 1000 words or so.
2) Workers now log on to the site, open the text of their choice and start looking for errors. They simply click on the word where they suspect an error. If it is a "tag", the worker is automatically awarded $0.10. If not, the section of text is forwarded to a professional copy editor, who either a) performs the correction and approves an award of $0.50 or b) can spot no error and approves a fine of $0.10.
3) Once each tag has been spotted at least 100 times, the copyediting process is complete. A program reverts the inserted errors, performs the changes approved by the copyeditor, and emails the text to the customer.
* A thousand eyes are more likely to spot a mistake than two eyes. The collective knowledge of a large group of unskilled editors is still higher than the knowledge of a skilled editor.
* The copyeditor's valuable time is used more cost-effectively, since s/he only spends time correcting errors, not searching for them.
*The unskilled workers don't need to be interviewed, supervised, managed, or formally employed. They simply log on and start working. The bounty system ensures that they are really doing their job, and gives them certainty of income.
*Fast job completion. Whole books could be copyedited in as little as 15 min.