Re: Readability question?

Subject: Re: Readability question?
From: stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net
To: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, David Dubin <David -dot- Dubin -at- sage -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 22:40:25 +0000

<waves to Geoff>
I am actually at a bit of a disadvantage: I found a nice article that I think counter-refutes what Geoff cited; I put it on the desktop of my son't laptop (which I was using at my last contract); and then I hosed his machine. So I can't cite it 8^(
To give a brief summation of my position, I think readability formulas *do* measure something useful and *are* worthwhile, in the proper context. I would liken the formula to a thermometer. Sure, if you give the thermometer to a scheming child and leave the room, the child might lay it against a light bulb and produce a false reading; but in the hands of a skillful (and watchful) parent, there can be no shenanigans, and a more accurate measurement is obtained than if the parent simply laid a hand on the child's forehead and decided the child had a fever.
Similarly, a readability index will indeed give false results if a scheming writer feeds in a foreign language, or gibberish; but in the hands of a skillful (and watchful) editor, there can be no shenanigans, and a more accurate measurement is obtained than if the editor simply marked up the text and decided it was wordy.
More than that I cannot say at this time 8^)

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Past President
STC Boston Chapter
978-413-2553 [C]
Boston Chapter Web site:
* I am a candidate for STC Director *

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