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The defining characteristic of Leitfehler-based methods in automated stammatology is that they weight the variant readings in the various witnesses according to their ability to serve as Leitfehler (or significant variant). They are a subcategory of distance-based methods. Thus the traditional scholarly concept of leitfehler Leitfehler is taken to be a quantitative one: a variant’s usefulness as leitfehler Leitfehler may be assigned a number or weight. In classical stemmatology the Leitfehler is the most important tool to arrive at a filiation of witnesses that is believed to be most correct representation. Therefore such automated methods follow the traditional procedure of finding the correct stemma codicum more closely than others that do not take this into account. The effects of weighting variants is a point of debate in the field. Some have explored this open issue and the possibilities for semi-automated weighting (Spencer et al. 2004).

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