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Complex[change source]

There is a lot of complex language still in this article. A quick check on this site [1] shows its Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level is 11.21 (target 8) and its Flesch Reading Ease score is 30.13 (target 70+). Example of a sentence which could be made simpler: "They breathe through gills in their rectum, and can rapidly propel themselves by suddenly expelling water through the anus". --Peterdownunder (talk) 05:42, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

This is a scientific article, and will have to keep to using the respective scientific vocabulary (for the sake of being exact). I have already made a respective comment on Talk:Arecibo message; it also applies here:
  1. A methodology that tries to measure how difficult a text is to understand should take into account semantic information. The problem is that methods like Flesh-Kincaid, Flesh Reading Ease (and some of the others commonly cited here) do not take this information into account. While it is true that shorter sentences are often easier to understand, this does not have to be the case; longer sentences that consist of shorter parts linked by conjunctions are not necessarily more difficult to understand.
  2. Methodolgies that rely on the use of word lists, and on the occurrence of the words of a sentence in a word list will need to use adapted word lists, for the respective subject area. An adapted methodology would therefore need to select the respective word list (based on semantic info, extracted from the text). To my knolwedge, this is not done; rather a static word list is used. It is clear that 5.000 most used words in press and media will not include the specialized vocabulary to describe an insect (for example). As a result, the insect article gets a "bad score". --Eptalon (talk) 08:11, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Readability measures[change source]

About a year ago I rewrote the page Textual difficulty to put readability measures in the context of what is known about the ease with which texts are read.

One needs to distinguish between what the measures do (predict reading difficulty) and how one might use them for editing purposes. Obviously, as Ep says, science texts are bound to have some load of technical terms, which tend to be rather long words not common in general English (or any other language). At the same time, the measures are good at comparing like with like, for example, two texts on roughly similar topics. Used with discretion, they can be an editing help. Given that one can't rewrite everything, the measures help direct attention to those articles most in need. What we do about those articles depends on how good we are at editing, and also on how well we know the science in question. Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:09, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

I would expect scientific based articles to score lower on readability tests because they need to use a certain amount of scientific jargon. Part of the challenge, and what I enjoy most about writing here, is making complex and difficult concepts readable and understandable for everyone. I fully agree with Macdonald-Ross that readability tests are only one item to measure simplicity; and will never replace common sense or good writing. However, I stand by my first comments, this article was not simple enough, scientific words excepted. --Peterdownunder (talk) 13:01, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
After changes made recently I tested the scores again and they now read Reading Ease 71.4 and Grade Score 6.5 --Peterdownunder (talk) 13:24, 4 July 2011 (UTC)