Re: Readability tools? Just say no!

Subject: Re: Readability tools? Just say no!
From: Katav <katav -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 05:15:53 -0800

--- Diane Haugen <dhaugen -at- MEANS -dot- NET> wrote:

> Most professioinals know they [readability ratings]
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
> Diane

MOST customers deal with marketing types (vs.
professional writers) who have as their task to GET THE
BUSINESS. (That's not all bad; consider the
alternatives for us :-] .) The marketeers have the
client's interest at heart and it could be painfully
counter-productive to try to 'educate' the client.

Having written that, I come down firmly on the side of
good writing vs. 'stuck with standards' although I HAVE
written to the standards. When I _did_ run text through
the tests, I caught some lazy phrasing (passive voice)
and dangerous negatives (no/not/dis/un) that required
attention ... as far as I am concerned, the testing is
more for MY benefit than the client's (but if there's a
surcharge for adherence to a specific standard, you can
bet I'll make certain everyone knows it was used).

As to readability vs. readability tests, I always take
my lead from Jerry Cohen. (If you want to know why,
post a ? to me off-list.)

Katav ( katav -at- yahoo -dot- com )
''Despise not any person and do not deem anything unworthy
of consideration, for there is no person without his hour,
and no thing without its place'' {Ben Azzai [Avot 4:2]}

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