[Wikimedia-l] making tech journalism easier to read

Federico Leva (Nemo) nemowiki at gmail.com
Wed May 22 09:44:19 UTC 2013

Quim Gil, 21/05/2013 23:15:
> [...] Good journalism is mostly about a lead paragraph for the masses followed
> by an increasingly dense body text (aka the 5 Ws and the inverted
> pyramid). You can adapt and change these rules at will, as long as you
> are aware of them.
> Paying more editorial attention to the title and the lead will allow
> more room for complex terminology down in the body text. And this
> applies to technical posts just as much as to other posts about other
> expert fields for librarians, translators, lawyers, educators...
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5_Ws
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_pyramid

I agree that this is more useful, with the caveats by Lodewijk.
	As for our English texts, aside from jargon, their main deficiency is 
IMHO usually in not considering language diversity. The issue is very 
apparent in our requests for translations: often, you have very "simple" 
and short sentences which are translated in a way that reverses their 
meaning upside down. An article or pronoun implicit in English, if 
misunderstood by a native speaker of a language where the article or 
pronoun matters, is enough to spoil an entire text. What to do?
1) Some time ago I added some short leaflets here, but more and better 
resources are needed: 
2) An automatical service we'd benefit from is one which takes a text 
and highlights all idiomatic expressions (which may be obvious in USA 
English but mean the opposite in UK English or just nothing for most 
people), formal/literary expressions (which may mean nothing for most 
native speakers and at the same time be obvious for speakers of another 
language more closely related to them) etc.
	Let me also add that – personally – I have no problems reading and 
understanding sentences spanning multiple pages, if they were written by 
Proust (who always has a reason), but I have big problems understanding 
texts which lack coherency and focus. English texts composed by many 
scattered short sentences, without conjunctions and other sentence 
connectors, are for me very painful to read. However, it seems most 
people prefer to have many small concepts and to connect the dots 
themselves to get the figure as they can.


More information about the Wikimedia-l mailing list