Submissions:2016/I Don't Get It: Making Your Articles Readable

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Revision as of 20:00, 17 August 2016 by Thewellman (talk | contribs) (Interested attendees: another)

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Title
I Don't Get It - Making Your Articles Readable
Theme
community & education
Academic Peer Review option
n
Type of submission
presentation
Author
Val Swisher
E-mail address
vals@contentrules.com
Username
valswisher
Affiliation
Content Rules, Inc.
Abstract
You spend lots of time working on making your articles as good as they can be. You aim for FA status. But, how readable is your content? In this presentation, I will present information on how to write your articles so that the Wikipedia readership can understand them. I will outline best practices for really readable writing. Using examples from Wikipedia articles, we will look at objective metrics that evaluate current Wikipedia writing. Attendees will come away with practical information that they can use right away to make your articles easier to read and understand.

Readability is an important topic for writing Wikipedia articles. It is critical that we write articles so that the majority of readers can understand them. The average reading level in the United States is 7th to 8th grade (see Literacy in the United States). But, how do current articles compare to the standard U.S. reading level?

Readability is also a well-defined topic on Wikipedia (see Readability). There are articles about a variety of readability measures. Wikipedia contains lots of information on how the brain processes information, reading for special needs, and types of reading. Wikipedia also has a style guide that contains rules for writing Wikipedia articles. However, many articles on Wikipedia are difficult to understand. In this presentation, I will use objective metrics to evaluate how easy it is to read Wikipedia articles. My data comes from checking content using a natural language processor, programmed with over 100 best practice writing rules. I will provide examples of good quality content and content that could be improved.

I will present information on how to write in a style of English that is easy to comprehend. This is different from Simple English or Plain English as in Simple English Wikipedia. Simple English and Plain English put a strict limit on the vocabulary words that are allowed. Limiting the vocabulary is not always feasible in a Wikipedia article. However, even using a large variety of words, it is easy – and important – to make sure we create articles that people can understand.


Length of presentation
30 minutes
Special schedule requests
Preferred room size
50
Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?
maybe

Interested attendees

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  1. Content Rules has been offering guidance about readability to Wikipedians since 2012 or earlier. Wikipedia contributors to medical content have especially benefited from their support, but I have always thought that their expertise would be of interest to all sorts of Wikipedia contributors for any subject. I would be excited to hear this talk. With the new translation tool, I would like to see more people contribute more content to Simple English Wikipedia and having better readability guides could help with that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:38, 17 August 2016 (EDT)
  2. Thewellman (talk) 16:00, 17 August 2016 (EDT) particularly interested in preferred options for defining technical vocabulary while avoiding creation of stub articles