Monday, December 04, 2006

A Dollop of Self-Delusion, if You Please

From the ever-entertaining and the brain-in-full-tilt-boogie Hillbilly, Please comes this link of statistical depression. How's it work? Well, you simply put your blog URL in the space indicated, press the Calc key and...Voila (or Eureka! or What the Hell? or whatever your favorite exclamation of surprise/disgust/ relief is).

You have your answer. An (allegedly) scientific calculation of your blog's readability. The key number, per Jagosaurus is the....

Gunning-Fog Index, which is calculated as per the following algorithm listed to determine the Gunning-Fog index.

* Calculate the average number of words you use per sentence.

* Calculate the percentage of difficult words in the sample (words with three or more syllables).

* Add the totals together, and multiply the sum by 0.4.

* Algorithm: (average_words_sentence + number_words_three_syllables_plus) * 0.4

The result is your Gunning-Fog index, which is a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. The lower the number, the more understandable the content will be to your visitors. Results over seventeen are reported as seventeen, where seventeen is considered post-graduate level

You can input your own blog or others', if you really want to get into depressing waters.

Herewith, current Gunning-Fog Index values of some of the blogs that are listed on this blog for you to go to visit.

Yours Truly 8.89 (i.e., barely out of high school? You'll do fine here!)
Easily Distracted 11.82 (History Prof from Swarthmore, wouldn't you know...)
Mortimer Shy 10.61 (This score told me that this test is whacked. If you read this blog, I'd say a 15 or 17 score would be minimal)
Outer Life 10.57
Searchie 11.31
Lilek's Bleats 9.18
2 Blowhards 10.14
Dooney's Cafe 11.17
About Last Night 9.56
This Blog Will be Deleted by Tomorrow 9.51
Andrew Sullivan 9.47
Online Photogrpaher 10.35
Maud Newton 11.27
Bookslut 8.78 (A book review/info site. Again, a surprise. Should've been higher)
The Elegant Variation 11.18 (A book review/info site.)

Now, in true self-delusional mode, what would be intreresting is to take these Gunning-Fog Indices and compare them with the worth of your blog and come up with a ratio of dollars to sense. That would be a useful exercise.....which I won't go on about as the results for yours truly don't really nurture my soul. What may need to happen is the arbitrary insertion of fundamentally inconsequential and frivolous long-syllabled words without any concern for comprehension of one's message. Communication on a higher plane, as it were, without a possibility of understanding.

So, Gunning Fog Index, take this!


I can always hope that the Gunning-Fog Index takes into account the witty and prosaic comments left on my blog entries for calcualtion purposes. Just riding on someone's coattails...


Comments: I went and did it - I mostly try such things :-).

I found out you need to be 9 years old to be able to comprehend moi. You would also need to speak some German - I think that's where my longish words come from - but on the same level :-)
Alcessa, I think you're selling yourself short. Your score of 9, mean that it takes 9 years of schooling to read and understand your blog.
(as per the site's explanation: your Gunning-Fog index, which is a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content.)

What this means is that the person who reads my blog will have to not cut classes for anouther 2 months if they want to read yours. Darn high school kids!
Oh sorry, yes, 9 years of schooling. This means primary school in Slovenia. People with Slovenian primary school level are those sitting in job centers day by day because their branch of production has been moved to China or something.

What you need to do is to find some real long German words and throw them in somewhere...

I didn't get those 2 months plus for my English writing I'm sure.

Heh. I like that.
Okay, so I did this, and as expected, scored somewhere in the neighborhood of Jr. High, less than required for a Reader's Digest subscription. I am so proud. It should be noted however, that two of my favorites, Mark Twain and The Bible (KJV?), are at the 6th grade level. So there's that. I do try to write simply, for my readers' sake. Yeah, that's it. ;-)

And now? And now, I can't even type the damn 4-syllable word verification word!

Simplicity is the key to a happy and successful life. Of this, I am sure. :-)
Hey, I have a challenge for you. How 'bout trying to write an entire (feature length) post using only 3+ syllable words and then recheck your score. I've only ever used 84 such words, so each additional should increase the score dramatically, if I understand fractions at all. You go first. ;-)

WV is getting simpler now, just 2 syllables: "yeldfr" as in, I yeldfr help.
I also think it is worth noting, since I inadvertently inflicted this on you, that a high Gunning Fog score is not necessarily a good thing.
You are absolutely right.
This was going to be my evil plan.
1) Zip up the Gunning Fog Index to 11.99 (Always loved the way gas has been priced in the last 60 years. Plus, 11.99 sounds more humble than 12.00)
2) Then, get the Flesch Reading Ease to 75, or so.

I just have to see how much evil is necessary to get these two numbers. If it's the kind of evil that cuts severely into my family time, reading time, Netflix time, cooking time..well, then other opportunities will have to be sought.

Gwynn, I'm on the task. I'll be pulling out some dusty S.J. Perlman, John Barth, and Lawrence Durrell. There's enough tongue-swallowing 8 syllable worded sentences among their collected works that it should add nitro to my blog. Fasten your seat-belts. This'll give me something to do until Christmas rolls around. Keep your OED close to your PC.
Aww, geez. Everyone knows Texans get screwed with these tests.

Just 'cause we sound stoopid, don't mean we are one....

For your delectation, Darko:
Darko, they say this is the longest German word (no one says anything about foreign languages in your test):

If you want it, take it...
Searchie & Alcessa,
Delectation, eh? I appreciate your witty conrtributions. It sounds like my next few entries will be totally incomprehendable. But, I'll be treating them as simple scientific experiments to see how this verbal difficulty algorithm works.
Oh, what deeds these idle fingers are forced to do!
..and your word, Rheindonauschifffahrtskapitänsmütze, what is its meaning?
I notice Rhein, fff (I've never seen three "f"s together before), and kapitän, so I'm conjecturing something along the lines of...
"If the captain of the Rhine cruise ship orders you to drink 3 liters of beer, then you drink 3 liters of beer."

That scoring of Mr. Shy is damnably revealing. I'm not sure I'd care to read a blog that scored higher than 11 (the enlightened among us already know you can't get any higher than 11 anyway).
Too true, WP, too true, and a great link to that mysterious 11.

For myself, reading Mr. Shy's blog is always an adventure. Unexpected results come out. I almost always re-read his entries at least twice. Enjoyably each time.
Through no fault/reason of Mr. Shy's, sometimes, after reading his posts I feel really, really smart.

Then, sometimes, I feel quite stupid.

I would love to venture into the drinking establishment that he refers to on occassion and determine the elixirs they serve up. Perhaps imbibing of one would mimimize the "stupid" moments.
"If the captain of the Rhine cruise ship orders you to drink 3 liters of beer, then you drink 3 liters of beer."

Ha ha ha... precious! Yes yes, you've got the meaning...

a) They had a spelling reform in German speaking countries and thus, when two words merge of which one ends in ff and the other starts with an f, 3 fffs are to be written.

b) the expression itself is not really important, but they do say that Donauschiffahrtskapitän is the longest German word (mine above is a nice example of cheating a bit, stretching it), meaning exactly what you said: "Captain of the Danube cruise ship" (Mütze is a cap)

c) I hope you don't really intend to do anything serious to your doorstep... Like putting up large pillars or stuff.
9.51!? Oh my, It's just as I suspected. Progressive dementia! You see not long ago my Gunning Fog Index was 10.29!

As long as acquiescence is not an operative cluster of syllables around these premises we (as in the regal we) have come to the inevitable, inexorable though not entirely anticipated conclusion by now apparent to every cogently ratiocinating personage – while continuing in our inveterate ideography of amphigoric drivel we must concurrently and concomitantly write in a much more pedantic, ornamental and sophisticated style.
concomitantly and amphigoric, two of my favorite words.
Now, this is what I call writing.
Or, is that writhing?
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