Many recommenders are more comfortable writing the reco more in a letter format, on their own paper. This is fine, as long as they make sure to answer the questions asked. They can still write it in more prose, rather than in short bulleted sections. I actually found that my recommenders wrote better recos when they wrote on their own paper in a letter format. They tended to answer the questions more completely and with better examples.
Re: who makes a good recommender, the more someone knows you and has worked with you, the better. In your case, if the editor isn't the person you were working for directly, then that person isn't a good choice. Also, if you have only worked with the editor online (and not in person), an adcomm may see this as not a close relationship. Ideally, your recommender has seen you in a bunch of situations, both good and bad, has seen you rise to challenges, overcome problems, etc.
Actually, a client could be a good recommender! But again, the client would need to have good examples to back up their answers to questions. Just saying "This applicant is a great person" won't be enough. They'll need to have seen enough of what you've done to credibly comment on your abilities.
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