Lots o' feelings and philosophies here. Ain't photography grand?
A very small percentage of my work I like a lot. When I print one of these "winners", I work it over as long as it takes to make my ideal print of the image, at 8x10. I create, verbally, the same info as on the "maps" discussed. The info is very much like the Deane image, but usually not to that extent. Mine is verbal, because it's in a database, in my own notation, and, as Ralph points out, it saves me a lot of time when printing a final print - later and at a larger size, with the 8x10 as a guide. I scan the 8x10, and use the scan to submit for competitions and shows, which almost all require today. It's my system, and it works for me.
True, in the future, I may feel differently about the printing and may not follow these notes verbatim, but they are a record of what I did, along with film exp and dev data.
As to the extent of the "massaging" of the image, the difference from a simple printing approach is no doubt lost on many who see my prints, but it is me that I'm satisfying. It's also quite rewarding when another photographer, when seeing one of my prints in a show, says to me that he can't believe the detail captured in the low values. The detail is there because of split printing, selective dodging, then re-exposing with a different filter, etc. This can lead to a great discussion, and so on.
I can relate to the finessing of the sky, as noted above, to blend off to the border, I've done it, along with working other parts of the edges, to avoid what one famous photographer (don't remember who) once called "sucking energy from the focus of the image", or something like that.
Not arguing with anyone here, but who would expect us all to approach printing the same way?