Talk:Arecibo message

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Article based on English Wikipedia

This article or parts of it were created based, in whole or in part, on this version of the English Wikipedia article. The complete history of the article can be found there.--Eptalon (talk) 14:48, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Complex[change source]

There need to be a few changes to get this article into simple English. It is a complex subject, and while many of the words are linked, it needs work to make it readable. At the moment according to this site [1] its Flesch Reading Ease is 24.32 (target 70+) and its Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level score is 11.96 (target 8). This sentence is an example of one which needs work: "Because it will take 25,000 years for the message to reach its intended destination of stars (and an additional 25,000 years for any reply), the Arecibo message was more a demonstration of human technological achievement than a real attempt to enter into a conversation with extraterrestrials." --Peterdownunder (talk) 06:24, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I made some changes, and Flesch-Kincaid is now around 50. Note however, I do not believe in bean-counting methods such as represented by these tests. I have stated this position on varioous occasions; I will reiterate it here:
  1. To produce a useful measurement of semantic complexity we need to take into account semantic information. Sentences like "A and B and C", or "A because B", are not necessarily more difficult to understand than "A. B. C.", "A. For this reason, B.", respectively. AFAIK, Flesh-Kincaid et al do not take into account semantic info; and are therefore unsuitable.
  2. We are talking about writing about a scientific subject. For the reason of exactness, it is unavoidable to use the appropriate scientific vocabulary. Any approach based on "the X most used words in English" will therefore fail. Take "the X most words in relevant scientific publications", and you probably get a very different picture, with the usual restriction: Your average 10-year-old will not understand an article from such a scientific publication.
If you see a way of simplifying the article, while keeping its exactness, feel free; I do not claim any ownership.... --Eptalon (talk) 12:42, 3 July 2011 (UTC)