In short, this means they decide if a story is good enough to publish.
But their decisions are based on more than that. They consider lots of other factors, for instance:
- Is this story by a big name author, who will prompt bookstore sales even if the story is mediocre?
- Have I already bought three werewolf stories this month?
- Does this story fit the theme of the anthology or tone of the magazine?
- Do I already have too many 8000 (or 800) word stories on backlog?
And, editors have never been perfect. Sometimes people throw published books across the room, wondering why any editor bothered with them.
In Cyberland, in contrast, you, Reader, are my publisher. You have the power to act as my gatekeeper. You have the power to tell people I’ve never met, when they’re sitting at their computers, bored, looking for something, that this is a good place to visit.
And if you do, I promise to try to make them welcome, and to tell the best story I can in that moment.
Oh, yeah, I should add a disclaimer: If you don't like my work, I recommend you don’t throw your computer across the room. I can offer no warranty, express or implied, as to the repairability of either computer or wall if they are thusly mistreated. Besides, you get an editor's privileges too--you can tell me what you think of my writing. And unlike the wall, I will listen. Also unlike the wall, I will likely comment back.
(Second disclaimer - the dumb computer crashed and I had to retype this. I'm not proofreading now, I wanted to be on the road already; any typos are gratis.)