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Labour’s website: too smart for its own good?

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, November 20th, 2007 - 30 comments
Categories: interweb - Tags:

picture-18.jpgSomeone just sent me this blog readability test.

It cl/aims to tell you what level of education is required to read your blog/website/myspace page.

Here at The Standard we scored “College (undergrad)”, as did Kiwiblog. The real interest was the Party sites though.

Depending on your point of view I suppose, Labour’s site fared pretty badly, requiring a “Genius” reading level for comprehension. Strangely the Progressives and NZ First sites did too.

National on the other hand required merely a “High School” level of comprehension as did the Green and the Maori Party sites. ACT was one step further down, needing a “Junior High” reading level.

United Future required only “Elementary”. Go figure.

30 comments on “Labour’s website: too smart for its own good? ”

  1. Lady Leftie 1

    Thanks for this. Interestingly I tried the Plain English site (www.writegroup.co.nz) and they scored “Junior High School”.

    Stuff and the Herald site both got genius too.

  2. dave 2

    what this means is that writers of some blogs know how to communicate to a wide range of people. The lower the level, the better the communicator. Thats why Nationals site is better than Labours and Big News is better then The Standard.

  3. Daveo 3

    Do you have any idea how much of a prat you sound Dave? And judging by the number of comments on your blog your reading level is less an indication of your ability to communicate than it is of the sloppiness of your prose.

  4. Nih 4

    The results are arbitrary and change quite a bit as new posts are added. I ran the tool on The Standard several times over the last couple of days, getting a different result every time.

    In short, not a very accurate toy.

  5. Nih 5

    By the way, someone else obviously reads Engadget. Fess up. I used to be one of the “but will it blend?” folks.

  6. dave 6

    DaveO
    communication within a blog is not based on the number of comments. Otherwise blogs with not many comments shuch as whaleoil or NRT fit into your puny description

  7. illuminatedtiger 7

    Rodney Hide has never had the intelligence to attract the more learned voted so good for him!

  8. illuminatedtiger 8

    *voter

  9. Nih 9

    your puny description

    That made me crack up. I think you missed the point of his criticism.

  10. Nih 10

    I should clarify. That quoted bit made me crack up all on it’s own. I have no idea why I found it so amusing.

  11. Tane 11

    Dave, No Right Turn doesn’t have comments because he got sick of having to fend off trolls. Whaleoil doesn’t have many comments because he’s a muppet that no one takes seriously.

  12. Phil 12

    Given that the average level of final education for New Zealanders is roughly “High-School / Some Tertiary Education”, you’d have to say that the Nat’s got it bang-on for reading level.

    The Labour party site may run the risk of making readers feel like they’re being talked down to.

  13. Nih 13

    The tool is a word analysis that’s then assigned a score based on some measurement of a word’s difficulty, not the tone of the content. I don’t know that it’d be a good indicator of a website talking down to visitors.

    There have been a few articles from google over the years about how thoroughly difficult it really is to gauge what tone the content of an article has. Before you even begin to consider sarcasm, you get phrases like “the bombing did a good job of flattening the cafe”, or “bush did a good job of ruining international relations” and the article being assigned a positive tone when in fact it’s unmistakably negative.

    That technology is still a way off unfortunately.

  14. illuminatedtiger 14

    You will never get a perfect algorithm for this kind of stuff and just like Nih says it’s all based on measurement of a word’s difficulty, number crunching at the end of the day. I would hazard a guess regarding Labour’s site to have something to do with all the statistics they would be presenting. Another reason might be that Labour would most likely have a greater concentration of academics than say National or ACT.

  15. If the algorithm is using an American dictionary, it may well alter things by “Labour” not being a word.

  16. Lee C 16

    Do you think there is a corellation between how much a party is in touch with the sensibilities and aspirations of ‘ordinary folk’ and their websites?

    Is there any evidence to suggest that the more successful, or longer time in power a government has, the further away it must logically drift from its grassroots opinions?

    By implication, the party which is struggling to break through, ‘simplifies’ its message to appeal to the people it claims the rother party has forgotten, because it ‘needs’ to get through to more people?

    This might on one level, explain the constant left-right drift in voter activity.

  17. ak 17

    Exactly Lee. A very insightful analysis.

    A party “struggling to break through” because, for example, it has no distinguishable policy differences or a bad record say, might “simplify its message” as you describe: maybe it would employ simplistic populist cant and use phrases like “one law for all”, “nanny state” or “tax cuts” – or perhaps just repeat baseless insults like “corrupt”, “liars”, etc.

    But really, would the public reward such an insult to their intelligence?

  18. the sprout 18

    nice work ak

  19. ahod 19

    When I typed the National Party’s website URL into this thing, I recieved a box saying ‘Something went wrong’. How appropriate.

    http://www.sandragoudie.co.nz scored an expected ‘Elementary School’.

  20. Lampie 20

    “But really, would the public reward such an insult to their intelligence?”

    My opinion would be ‘most likely’. Most people such as the sample here, are pretty loyal to a brand such as National, Labour, Greens and so forth. It’s the “don’t knows” I would refer to as the public in your quote. I would feel that this segment would not have a high interest in politics until closer to polling day and been the egocentric type, vote what they feel is best for them.

  21. Phil 21

    Lampie, self interested voting exactly what Democracy is all about!

    I’ve always belived that Democracy works best when all voters vote for the party that most closely represents or supports the activities that they themselves care about. When people start using their vote to represent others views, oucomes get skewed at the national outcomes are sub-optimal (lets leave aside that this assumes govt’s carry through on their promises).

    This ‘egocentric type’ as you so untastefully put it, are actually allowing us to fulfull what it really means to be a democratic nation.

    Please note that there is a big difference between SELF INTERESTED and SELFISH…

  22. Nih 22

    You’re elucidating the differences between self interest and selfish without actually realising that he’s already talking the same talk as you.

    Getting back to this conservative/liberal mindset thing, I think it’s a pretty safe statement to say that conservatives will more readily vote with a narrower sense of benevolence than liberals, because that’s one of their key values. But that’s ok.

    What this boils down to once you take the emotion out of most left or right wing rhetoric is “Everyone should look out for them and their own” versus “We have to work together to help everyone”.

    Both are fine, but changing the scope of what you’re talking about can change which philosophy suits which statement. Conservatives would prefer you looked our for your family as well as yourself, but not necessarily your community. Liberals would say that if you care about your family, helping your community will help them too. Neither of these ideas have any bearing on free will.

    Wanting to help everyone doesn’t necessarily mean authoritarianism such as redbaiter might try to make you think. The concepts of free will in the west have always ensured that for the most part you don’t have to take the liberal help offered and you’re not forced by conservative society to be a standard family unit. The point is these options are available. To mix it all up a little more, I can safely say that redbaiter would like to force you to not accept available help where it’s offered, or to keep it from being available. That’s still authoritarianism, as preached by an authoritarian talking about the evils of… authoritarianism.

    It’s really worth taking a step back occasionally and realising that we do have a vast amount of freedom. Freedom to obey, freedom to disobey, freedom to help and freedom to stand alone. Our laws almost exclusively govern our behaviour where it affects others against their will.

    Stuff like the Brethren influencing an election doesn’t even come under these topics. That’s an issue of democracy and electoral procedure and those things have rules up the wazoo because without them the concepts would fall down. So be it. The price we pay for democracy is that we must adhere to it.

    The election is still a way off and everyone is still working out who they’d vote for and trying to sort these complicated concepts out in our heads. Let’s face it, if they weren’t complicated to us we wouldn’t be doing the best we can to govern ourselves and select our futures. But take a step back and enjoy freedom for a moment, because we do have it pretty good.

  23. Nih 23

    Shit, I did a wall of text. Sorry.

  24. Lee C 24

    Yeah good work, ak. Good work sprout.

    You certainly took the hypothetical issue I raised and used it to expose my incredibly partisan insults, and shoot them down in flames.

    Or something.

  25. the sprout 25

    nicely put nih. it’s a shame more people don’t bother to consider such things.

  26. Lampie 26

    egocentric – is not a nasty word

  27. Phil 27

    Courtesy of dictionary.com… sounds like a pretty nasty word to describe someone from where i’m standing

    e·go·cen·tric

    1. having or regarding the self or the individual as the center of all things
    2. having little or no regard for interests, beliefs, or attitudes other than one’s own; self-centered.

    —Synonyms 2. self-absorbed, self-obsessed.

  28. Lampie 28

    may sound nasty but most of us are egocentric. For example, feelings that might accompany egocentric thinking: anger, depression, resentment, arrogance, indifference, defensiveness and apathy (source: Critical thinking: tools for taking charge of your professional and personal life by Richard Paul and Linda Elder) page 165. Egocentric thinking is pretty normal. Motives for egocentric thinking – selfish interests and justifying your thinking, behaviours such as manipulating facts and situations to suit ourselves (why I didn’t like the Herald and its editorial on EFB), hmmmm think we can find examples of that in politics as egocentricity is the heart of many political, religious, pressure groups and charities. Note I said many not ALL.

    So it’s not evil or anything, it really is just normal behaviour, examples are everywhere especially business and politics. I just notice mine more now. I just hate newspapers and polls that prey on it.

  29. the sprout 29

    the complication being that you can be ego-centriuc and still other-regarding, as when kids are everything to their parents such that they “selfishly” do things for their kids because of the reflected pleasure they gain from doing so.

  30. Lampie 30

    sprout, yeap, agree with that, I didn’t mean egocentric in a bad way. Still a little pissed that a major newspaper is able to “whip up” a one sided view knowing that people are going to read it and not stop to THINK. Think about the argument put forward and the evidence presented and see that it was a one sided view rather than a balanced argument. The use of emotive words “attack on….” aghhh.

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