A great challenge facing those who sought to edit the integrated commentaries was the need to responsibly condense and abridge the sometimes verbose dialectical arguments. Many of the Tosafists wrote voluminously, strengthening their arguments with multiple points, and supporting conclusions with many proofs. Shortening these passages was of supreme importance and required literary vision and editorial prudence. Only the most crucial proofs and arguments needed to be retained; the less crucial positions and arguments could be omitted.
At times, the editors of Tosafot also engaged in their own forms of integration. As part of the abridgment process, the Tosafist editors occasionally spliced together material from the already integrated commentaries that emerged from the second stage of the Tosafist enterprise. Further integration of the already integrated works produced new passages that contained spliced-together sections from earlier works. However, when operating as an editor, a Tosafist seldom introduced new material into the text. His concern was not with including his own original contributions, nor integrating material from earlier commentaries. His primary focus was responsible presentation of the inherited material before him.
Aryeh Leibowitz, “The Emergence and Development of Tosafot on the Talmud”, Hakirah 15 (Summer 2013), 160.