Sunday, April 24, 2005

Is This Blog Readable?

Not wanting to look to the people who actually read this blog for the answer to such a question, I instead used this site, which I learned about from Washington Monthly. It turns out that the blog is somewhat readable. Here are my scores (see the site for an extended explanation of the scores):

Total sentences677
Total words11,009
Average words per Sentence16.26
Words with 1 Syllable7,057
Words with 2 Syllables2,058
Words with 3 Syllables1,176
Words with 4 or more Syllables718
Percentage of word with three or more syllables17.20%
Average Syllables per Word1.60
Gunning Fog Index13.39
Flesch Reading Ease55.29
Flesch-Kincaid Grade9.59

Basically, my Gunning Fog score says that the blog is a bit tougher to read than the Wall Street Journal; the Flesch Reading Ease score says that I'm not quite as readable as a good author would want to be; and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade score says that you'd have to be about half way through the 9th grade to get this blog. Interestingly, the blog has gotten more readable of late (perhaps because I haven't posted as many long cog sci rants this month, due to time constraints and computer problems). Here are my scores for February:

Total sentences1,576
Total words23,456
Average words per Sentence14.88
Words with 1 Syllable13,929
Words with 2 Syllables4,646
Words with 3 Syllables2,982
Words with 4 or more Syllables1,899
Percentage of word with three or more syllables20.81%
Average Syllables per Word1.70
Gunning Fog Index14.28
Flesch Reading Ease48.31
Flesch-Kincaid Grade10.22

Back then, you had to be in the tenth grade to get me, and my Flesch Reading Ease score was abysmal. Just as a comparison, here are the Gunning Fog Index scores for some of my favorite blogs:

Leiter Reports: 13.44
Majikthise: 9.29
Mormon Metaphysics: 9.87
No de Qur'tuba: 10.02
Pharyngula: 9.55
Philosophy, et cetera: 9.98
Siris: 9.89

In other words, I'm less readable than just about everyone (Dr. Leiter is slightly less readable than I currently am, but back in February, I made even his blog look like a Winnie the Pooh book). And people wonder why I am self-conscious about my writing! If these numbers are any indication, I've got work to do to become a more readable writer. Of course, I'm too lazy to actually do that. So, you'll have to deal with my unreadable blogging.


Brandon said...

I'm much more readable than I would have expected; although I seem to be in a relatively readable period.

Perhaps you can start a cognitive science column in the Wall Street Journal someday.

Chris said...

Brandon, one of the things that as always impressed me about your blog, and also Richard's, is that you discuss difficult issues (an interpretation of Anselem, or an approach to Hume, say, in your case) in an incredibly readible fashion. The numbers only confirmed that. I wish I had a similar ability.

I wonder if the WSJ is looking for a cog sci writer. Juding by the way economists use behavioral data, they could probably use one (see, I'm unreadable and mean!).

Clark Goble said...

I think though, at least with my blog, you biased things somewhat by just scanning the front page. Since I only include the first paragraphs there this changes my score. If you put in the typical longish post then my score is up a few points. I put in a few and was getting scores of 10 - 11. I think that's because I tend to use more "folksy" language in my introduction before diving into the heavier stuff.

Chris said...

Clark, you're probably right. I quickly looked at three of your full posts (Peirce and Heidegger; Icons and Predication; and Freedom, Heidegger, Kant), and got an average readability score of 11.06, which is more than a point higher than the score from your front page (the highest was the Peirce and Heidegger post, with a readability of 11.56). I still think that's impressive, though. Considering the readability of Heidegger is probably far, far below that (with a much higher readability score), your ability to discuss it in readable prose is commendable.

Dan Navarro said...

Wow. I'm as readable as Time. I wonder if I should feel insulted by that, since I hate that magazine. In any case, I've not found your blog all that hard to read. But then, I rather like long posts on cogsci topics... it's much more fun than reading papers.

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