[Wikimedia-l] making tech journalism easier to read

Sumana Harihareswara sumanah at wikimedia.org
Tue May 21 03:45:32 UTC 2013

When you're trying to write a blog.wikimedia.org entry or
wikitech-ambassadors email about a technical topic, but you want to make
sure nontechnical Wikimedians can read it, is there an automated check
you can run through?

For general readability we have http://www.readability-score.com/ to
check, for example, the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease.  My blog entry
has a grade level of 11.5, meaning that it would be difficult for
someone to read it unless they had about as much English fluency as an
average US student in their last year of pre-college schooling.  In the
future I will probably aim more for a grade level of 10 or so; we have a
lot of non-native English speakers in our community.  I think it's too
difficult to rewrite everything in Up-Goer 5 http://splasho.com/upgoer5/
or Simple English Wikipedia style, even for regular-person-friendly blog
entries about WMF Engineering,[0] but I am willing to be told if I am wrong.

Aside from general readability, I also want to be careful about using
jargon, and substitute more accessible terminology where possible. I may
whip up a script to check whether some text has words from
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Glossary and the other site glossaries
in it, unless someone has a better idea.

Sumana Harihareswara
Engineering Community Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

[0] I just tried rewriting a couple sentences from my blog post in
Up-Goer 5 style. "Now, we are looking forward to making more places to
give people their words and pictures, more quickly. The team is planning
to make another place like that."

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