[Wikimedia-l] making tech journalism easier to read

Florence Devouard anthere9 at yahoo.com
Tue May 21 08:47:59 UTC 2013

On 5/21/13 5:45 AM, Sumana Harihareswara wrote:
> 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?

<I can not help making that comment given the topic of your email, sorry>

I read this sentence at least 4 times, trying to figure out what you meant.

At first sight, I thought some words were missing (when... but... >>> 
usually, a "when" is followed by a "then" not by a "but").

Then I realized that the "but" part was to be read as an additional 
comment and that what matters was actually "when" followed by a 
question. I then thought "is that a question to us" ? At second sight, 
it actually looks to be a question to us. I started thinking "what is 
meant by automated check" ???

I thought the next paragraph would bring some light on what you meant by 
"automated check" so that it would become possible to answer your 
question (just wanted to help...)

Last, I realize that the question was actually meant from you, to us. 
But was supposed to be a point we were actually wondering about. And 
that your email was actually an answer to this prospective question (in 
case we might wonder). The question was not a question.

Actually the rest of the explanation uses only one expression that are 
unknown to me ("whip up a script") but I am happy to say I understood 
the general meaning. Still, I would suggest avoid weird sentences such 
as "when... but... is there ?". Be straight to the point.

For information, the grade of your email is : Average Grade Level	8.7
(yeah !)
Which is good on the paper (sort of paper). But still was hard to 
understand. I am still not quite sure what the goal of your email 
exactly was :(

But I loved the link to http://www.readability-score.com/ :)


My own grade is 5.9...

> For general readability we have http://www.readability-score.com/ to
> check, for example, the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease.  My blog entry
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/02/05/how-the-technical-operations-team-stops-problems-in-their-tracks/
> 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.

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