[Wikimedia-l] making tech journalism easier to read

Lodewijk lodewijk at effeietsanders.org
Wed May 22 07:07:31 UTC 2013

I think what is even more helpful to people, is to avoid abbreviations as
much as possible, or explain them. For example:
* Up-Goer 5 (but there was a link next to it - which allows you to guess
what it means)
* SMOG (the stuff that is in the air, right?)

Usually this kind of abbreviations (without in-text explanation) makes
texts much harder to read. Even a link to an explanation is usually less
helpful than a few words of what it actually is (especially when reading
offline - yes, that world still exists).

Anyway, aside from that, I think Quim has a point that jargon is much more
dangerous than complicated words. However, don't underestimate the amount
of non-native volunteers. I have all too often heard at meetings that
people felt insecure to participate in a discussion because they felt it
was above their level. Some native speakers have the habit of going all
wild with complicated words (this is not too common, gladly) and then you
realize that texts with long sentences with lots of long complicated words
are much harder to understand, even if you understand each word by itself.

So this score thing Sumana linked to might indeed be helpful, but probably
only at longer texts. At short texts there is not enough critical mass to
be precise.


2013/5/22 MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com>

> 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'd recommend doing what we do on the wiki to make topics easier or more
> accessible: include a lot of links. The blog is worryingly low on links in
> each post, given that it's the blog of Wikimedia, king of [[links]].
> Perhaps linking needs to be made easier in WordPress?
> I'm not sure there's much else to be said other than "avoid the use of
> (unexplained) jargon and write clearly and concisely."
> The Wikimedia blog is made up of several sub-blogs. The tech blog seems
> like it would inherently be more... technical than the community blog or
> the fundraising blog. Unless the larger issue is the audience question.
> That's a bit of a rabbit hole, though.
> MZMcBride
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