Re: Readability tools? Just say no!

Subject: Re: Readability tools? Just say no!
From: Diane Haugen <dhaugen -at- MEANS -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 13:08:23 -0600

At 12:00 PM -0500 03/24/99, Campbell, Art wrote:

>Thanks for your thoughts, Geoffery, but my firm is in business to make
>money. If my doc has to score low on a Flesch scale in order to help the
>business, it will. ;-) Reading level analysis, no matter how
>theoretically flawed it may be, is a criteria for acceptance of
>documentation by large numbers of OEM companies; a number have this
>written into their quality/ISO specs. If you write to that audience,
>you meet the standards.

I salute Geoff Hart for reminding people on this list how really flawed the
Flesch scale is in determining readability, but also realize that if a
company requires a certain number, if you're in business, you produce that

Perhaps the real issue here is whether anyone is trying to educate the
people who make these lists of specifications about the uselessness of
readability num ers? Most professioinals know they are flawed. Has any
professional, including those in business to make money, let the people
requiring them know of their weaknesses?

How do you successfully and non-adversarially educate businesses or the
government about issues like this? If no one tells them, how will they
ever learn? It's easy to say they don't care. How do you interest them in


Diane Haugen
Whiskey Creek Document Design

Document Design <>

Associate Editor,
Old House Chronicle <>

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