R. Allan Freeze's article (Eos, September 22, p. 673) on the editorial process brings up also the question of the reviewer's role. Having authored and reviewed papers for a number of different journals gives me the impression that Freeze's experience with WRR must hold for most refereed journals.
My experience can be concluded in the following statements: (1) As an author I have always felt that the paper revised following the comments of the reviewers came out better than the original version. (I even know about authors who do not hide the fact that they use the review process to get new ideas and better papers.) (2) As a reviewer I many times felt unsure about whether my criticism was appropriate. As a consequence of this I never ask to get a paper back for a second review.