Quiet please. Genius at work.

I just subjected The Frame Problem to The Blog Readability Test, which supposedly assesses the level of education required to understand a given blog. The site provides no information on how it assesses blog readability. Nor does it display its rating scale. But it did rate TFP as being at the genius level, so I’m inclined to trust its methods 🙂

This Blog is at a Genius Reading Level.

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Comments
7 Responses to “Quiet please. Genius at work.”
  1. Stoobs says:

    I’m curious about their algorithm. My blog is elementary school level, which is probably accurate, given its ridiculous nature, but the fact that it was assigned that grade in about 10 seconds makes me curious as to how it was determined. I mean, it’s clearly not content. Is it checking average syllable count? Is there a master chart of difficult words with scores assigned? Does it check spelling and grammar? I don’t know. I’m tempted to set up a dozen blogs that consist of random assortments of syllables, random assortments of words, and long convoluted sentences that are grammatically correct but syntactically meaningless, just to see what grades they get.

  2. ronbrown says:

    Try entering in blogs you visit and see how well its output matches up with what you would’ve expected.

    I figure that grammar and spelling have got to be in there. I could see there being a master chart of difficult words (perhaps assembled from Graduate Record Examination (GRE) word lists and such). Maybe another algorithm could involve tracking sentence length along with tracking for run-on sentences. For a person to be able to compose long sentences that are not classified as run-ons, they have to be able to use a number of prescriptive grammatical tools (e.g., appropriately placed commas, semicolons, parentheses, “—“s, etc.). Perhaps article length is also considered, though with other factors ranking higher in priority (e.g., grammar, spelling). They may also track writer vocabulary. How many unique words are present in the blog, relative to total number of words (or unique words per capita)?

  3. Stoobs says:

    It’s actually supposed to indicate the level of education necessary to understand the blog in question, so really grammar should have little or no impact. After all, it’s generally harder to understand something poorly written than something well written. I just don’t know.

    The fact that http://www.dictionary.com gets a genius rating leads me to believe it’s probably based on word choice. I’m going to update my blog with some big words, and see what happens.

  4. Carmen says:

    You’ve defiinately earned my vote today Mr. Genious 🙂 Keep up the good work – excellent writer I might add

  5. ronbrown says:

    G: Hey. Yeah, there was one of those links in the code for a TV/Movie site. I just removed that part.

  6. brad says:

    I appreciate the technical insights here, as I just ran the Critics Rant Reading Leveler on some blogs recently. It looks like their scale includes: elementary school, middle school, high school, college (undergrad), college (postgrad), genius. May have missed some levels … certainly they should have a sub-genius one, eh?

    Dunno … maybe that particular site is spam. I’m suspicious when “research” tools don’t reveal anything about their methods. But, for what it’s worth, I did find this intriguing: When I ran the Reading Leveler on separate pages of a particular non-profit’s website, the home page was High School and the page about some gnarly erudite scholarly stuff turned out College (Postgrad). As a linguist and an editor, that was my intuitive take anyway, the “College” page on that site drives me nuts with how ethereally abstract it is. (I’m more concrete but my blog also rated College-Postgrad.)

    Sounds like you’d be aware already of the “Fog Index” formula for figuring a book’s reading level. In case not, here’s a how-to I found in my files for the DIY-oriented who might be interested in subjecting their blogs (or others) to Blogger Fogger identification. It’s got pluses and minuses as a measurement, but could be fun anyway!

    1. Choose an excerpt of 100 to 125 words. Divide the total number of words by the number of sentences in the sample. Count fully independent clauses, such as those divided by a semi-colon, as separate sentences. This number is the average sentence length.

    2. Count words of three syllables or more in the passage. Divide this number by the number of words in the passage (ignoring the decimal point) to get the percentage of long words.

    3. Add the average sentence length and the percentage of long words.

    4. Multiply the total by 0.4 and ignore the digits following the decimal point. The result is the approximate number of years of schooling needed to read and understand the passage.

    EXAMPLE

    * 120 words in the sample, with 4 sentences = 30 words per sentence average.

    * 15 three-syllable-or-more words in the sample = 13% long words (rounded up).

    * 30 + 13 = 43.

    * 43 x 0.4 = 17.2 years education = one full year of graduate school.

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