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# You people write at a fifth grade level

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For some reason today I was interested in the Flesch-Kincaid scale of readability. If you've never heard of it, it's the same thing that MS Word uses to determine the "grade level" of your writing.

In a nutshell, the algorithm takes the average number of words per sentence, the average number of syllables per word, and uses these two numbers in a little formula to determine the approximate grade level of that piece of writing.

For instance, dsm's latest fanfic has a grade level of 6.7, bbg's latest fanfic has a grade level of 5.7, and this one by AresGodofWAR has a grade level of 3.5. It's totally mathematical and arbitrary and doesn't take into account spelling or syntax or diction or grammar or anything, but nonetheless it can provide a surprisingly accurate look at how difficult / easy a given piece of writing is to read.

So anyways, after I spent some time writing a PHP function to determine the Flesch-Kincaid readability score for selections of text, I played around with it a while, pasting in things from various webpages. Then someone said that I should use it on these forums.

So I hacked together a quick script to do just that. For every poster with over five posts on these forums, the script calculated the grade level for each of the posts and found the average.

Here is the result. Isle is so high up because in one of his few (I think he had exactly 5) posts, he had a big long "HAHAHAHAHA" that the script takes to be a word with a shitload of syllables, which pumped up the score to stupidly high values.

Then once I had this, I made a quick plot of the values:

So you guys write at approximately a fifth grade level. Sorry.

Heh, Sephiroth probably brought our average down about 4 or 5 points :P

Edit: Now that I've actually decided to be intelligent enough to look at the list -- something's gotta be fux0red about that system, some people I thought would be up at the top are pretty far down...I'm screwed because I write too many run-ons :P

And give a big roofle for Appleboyisgay's -12.9

I'd just like to point out at this time that this has absolutely nothing to do with me. :)

Someone, eh Ling? If you haven't figured it out yet, Grotug = Hellbent. schmolze.com/~jacobi for all my aliases.

Archvile64 said:

Edit: Now that I've actually decided to be intelligent enough to look at the list -- something's gotta be fux0red about that system, some people I thought would be up at the top are pretty far down...I'm screwed because I write too many run-ons :P

Run-on sentences actually RAISE the grade level of the writing.

The formula is:

grade level = (WS * 0.39) + (SW * 11.8) - 15.59

Where WS = words per sentence and SW = syllables per word.

Do you really expect someone to write essays here? This isn't a school project where you have to use metaphors, analogies, correct spelling, or even freaking make sentances. I'm sure people would even get pissed off if you kept making posts that were full of poetic bullshit no one could understand. 5th grade level of writting is pretty much what you need to get your point across, easily, clearly, and quickly. In any case, how about you go to other forums and see what they score with, doubt if it will be even as high as this.

Heh. Most of the regulars are pretty far down the list.

Hmmm, I just realised something. I probably loose a lot of points for putting 'heh' at the beginning of my posts a lot.

orion said:

Do you really expect someone to write essays here? This isn't a school project where you have to use metaphors, analogies, correct spelling, or even freaking make sentances. I'm sure people would even get pissed off if you kept making posts that were full of poetic bullshit no one could understand. 5th grade level of writting is pretty much what you need to get your point across, easily, clearly, and quickly. In any case, how about you go to other forums and see what they score with, doubt if it will be even as high as this.

CALM DOWN, GIGANTOR

Liam the Bard 4.1

Hooray

Ralphis 2.8

rofl

yeah, sorry, I just had to reply to pretty pathetic email. Well, now that that's out of my system I'm kind of happy. I love you all!!!

(see it's not the quality of the post, it's the meaning behind it)

Yeah one could easily argue that writing in a style above 5th grade actually hampers quick and efficient communication,too pedantic.There that should raise it a little.Heh.

Heh. You'd think that my frequent use of the word antidisestablishmentarianism might actualy raise it a bit, but I guess all the 'heh'ing brings it back down.

magikal said:

Yeah one could easily argue that writing in a style above 5th grade actually hampers quick and efficient communication,too pedantic.There that should raise it a little.Heh.

Ogh gn00!!! j0-0 didn't pu7 in sp4c3s b3tw33n puncj004tion!!! (Well, that dropped me down to probably a 3)

Wow. 3.5...I got a 90% in english this term...i guess my ellipsisesess got a bit out of hand...oh w£ll; i'm go0d at inglishe...now i'm gonna go now by by¿

P.S. Ling: Find a good post by Appleboyisgay and I'll give you a cookie.

4.5, not bad for a guy that learned most of his english skills by frequenting forums and watching US' TV sitcoms.

I learned english through Cartoon Network. =]

TheHighestTree said:

P.S. Ling: Find a good post by Appleboyisgay and I'll give you a cookie.

TheHighestTree said:

Wow. 3.5...I got a 90% in english this term...i guess my ellipsisesess got a bit out of hand...oh w£ll; i'm go0d at inglishe...now i'm gonna go now by by¿

Only a 90?

4.5, dead even with Lüt and Zaldron. Hmm.

I'm gonna take that algorithm through Fanfiction.net and have a few laughs. Who's in?

As long as I'm higher than 'esco', then I'm happy.

ralphis and esco both have 2.8

IMJack said:

I'm gonna take that algorithm through Fanfiction.net and have a few laughs. Who's in?

FanFiction.net is so completely and terribly retarded that it'd probably break the script.

wow, never expect there is someone that blunt hates, /me is scared...

IMJack said:

4.5, dead even with Lüt and Zaldron. Hmm.

I'm gonna take that algorithm through Fanfiction.net and have a few laughs. Who's in?

Ok so let's call 4.5 a "ESVR" or Elite Spammer Verbosity Rating.

...or we can grab a funny word like POO and sweat out a meaning.

wow, never expect there is someone that blunt hates, /me is scared...

Hehe, no, I don't hate the dude. I was mearly commenting that as long as my writing was better than his, then I'm happy. :)

While I was doing some deinstitutionalization for my possessive society of antidisestablishmentarianism, I managed to be succombed by the deadly lung disease, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

will said:

As long as I'm higher than 'esco', then I'm happy.

That should be a weed ritual-chant.

...hey, stop hitting me, OW stop it! I was tired!

Oh, I have to say this is completely retarded. I write at a grade three level? That's funny :) That algorithm is wack. Grammar, spelling, clarity and punctuation are far more indicative of the level of the writer. Run on sentences raising the grade level? :P Stupid. Number of syllables? Bwahahahaha.

Wildman = 3.4? Seems to me the lower the score, the better the writer. Rick writes better than anyone on these boards, by a very scary margin.

However, since the humilation of being considered lower than high school level in terms of writing proficiency is too much for me to take, I will just have to do something about that :)

From now on, I'm going to have my on-line thesaurus handy. I will be sure to use twenty dollar words when one dollar words will do. After all, that surely will make me a better writer. Run on sentences here we come :)

No more clear english for you baby!

Oh yeah.