Re: Dumbing it down

Subject: Re: Dumbing it down
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 22:14:58 -0500

Amy...your comment goes against everything that I hold near and dear to my
little tech-writing heart. Why is a simpler level of understanding
automatically "dumber"?

I truly object to the concept of just because you are writing something in
terms that EVERYONE at every level of your audience, (at whatever level of
understanding they may be) can understand, that it must be "dumber" than the
version that could be understood by the people who's level of comprehension
you approve of.

YOU AREN'T WRITING FOR YOU. Regardless of your level of comprehension, it
doesn't matter one iota. If a certain level of writing is need for your
particular audience, then it is your responsibility to do so. There is no
judgement involved, it's simply done. it's not a reflection of you, how much
you know, what kinds of education, degree, experience you may have, it's
based on writing something in very simple terms.

Remember, what is probably the most complex principle ever conceived was
written by someone who could have been thought to be above EVERYONE. The
writing went something like this: E=MC2.

>At any rate, my question isn't really about the grammar tool in Word.
>It's more about having to dumb down a document to a certain grade
>level of reading. The dumber the better it seems. My purpose in using
>the tool in the first place was to show the higherups (they do like to
>see those numbers, don't they?) that my words really aren't too
>big, etc. One doc had a readability level of 5.3 and the other had a
>level of 7.2. Not too bad, I thought.


If your audience believed that the words were "too big", then regardless of
what a piece of software says, they simply were. It's not the software that
has to know how to insert Tab A into Slot B, the reader does. Besides, the
"biggest" words in the languge are the smallest; God, man, love, hate, I,
you, etc,

John Posada
Bellcore
john -at- tdandw -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=




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