Reading Level inclusion in STATS

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Storyman
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Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:38 pm Post

There are times that I'd like to be sure that the reading level is at a certain level. Ideally there would be both a document and overall draft score.

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AmberV
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Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:11 pm Post

Keith has already expressed how this isn't really in the scope of the application's design. There are plenty of online front-ends to the Flesch-Kincaid calculator (and others) that can be used for free, it doesn't really make sense to duplicate that in the software when it is already so easy to do elsewhere.
.:.
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Storyman
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Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:23 pm Post

AmberV wrote:Keith has already expressed how this isn't really in the scope of the application's design. There are plenty of online front-ends to the Flesch-Kincaid calculator (and others) that can be used for free, it doesn't really make sense to duplicate that in the software when it is already so easy to do elsewhere.


Amber, despite your strong and cogent argument, I believe you have overlooked the more salient points to be made on the issue. Using your logic nothing in the statistics panel is needed because the same information can be gained by using alternate free online sources. In particular I fail to see why you would even bother objecting to such a request.

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Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:18 pm Post

Not necessarily, since the contents of the binder and even the text within the editor can be altered significantly by the compile settings. The statistics uses a background compile to more accurately compute the word and page count (which is why it takes a few moments to generate the window output). This factor would have a much lesser impact upon the results of a readability check.
.:.
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Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:28 pm Post

Storyman wrote:you have overlooked the more salient points to be made on the issue.


Doesn’t it just piss you off when developers take a proprietary attitude toward their software? I mean, all they do is design, code, test, invest, plan, revise and repair, promote, sell, support, maintain, upgrade, and generally baby-sit the thing. A lot of nerve, thinking they get to decide what goes in and what does not.

ps
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Storyman
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Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:46 pm Post

PJS wrote:
Storyman wrote:you have overlooked the more salient points to be made on the issue.


Doesn’t it just piss you off when developers take a proprietary attitude toward their software? I mean, all they do is design, code, test, invest, plan, revise and repair, promote, sell, support, maintain, upgrade, and generally baby-sit the thing. A lot of nerve, thinking they get to decide what goes in and what does not.

ps


Not all. David is entitled to whatever he thinks is correct for their program. To that I have no objections. I all asked for was consideration of the idea. A better response would have been to ask what benefit would be gained from inclusion of the idea rather than making an all-knowing judgement. The point is making a judgement call without first understanding the purpose and goal is foolhardy.

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Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:13 am Post

Storyman wrote:I all asked for was consideration of the idea.

But you seem to have missed the simple fact that the idea has *already* been considered some time in the past, and rejected.

Storyman wrote:A better response would have been to ask what benefit would be gained from inclusion of the idea rather than making an all-knowing judgement.

I'm sorry, but I find it extraordinary that anyone could think that Keith, who has been developing Scrivener for the last six years, and Ioa, who has over those six years demonstrated quite extraordinary knowledge of so many things that I can't begin to list them, don't have an idea of the benefits of reading level stats. They have not just fallen off a Christmas tree!

I'm sure the intention was not to be dismissive of your idea. Instead, I'm sure the intention was to say "I'm sorry, but we've already thought about it, and we've already decided that it doesn't fit with what we're trying to do".

I imagine it would also be very difficult to implement.
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Storyman
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Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:31 pm Post

Hey, we're talking about a suggestion. The developer can think for himself. What amazes me is the presumptuousness of people who feel they need to 'protect' Scrivener's programmer. He's done a good job and can make up his own mind. What some of you have missed is that he can also change his mind if he sees a need for a concept that was previously dismissed. Give him some credit will ya'.

As creative writers, I didn't expect such a rigid and contentious response. I expected inquisitive minds, not arthritic ones.

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Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:28 pm Post

Storyman wrote:As creative writers, I didn't expect such a rigid and contentious response. I expected inquisitive minds, not arthritic ones.


don,t read too much into it. we,ve seen enough people coming and deliberately extending discussions into full blown arguments long after a coherent and definitive response has been provided that sometimes good and well meaning suggestions like yours get misinterpreted.

if you were wondering, it was probably the
despite your strong and cogent argument...
that pushed people in the wrong direction.
i suspect
okay, thanks. i just wanted to raise it again as it,s something i,d find useful. can anyone suggest a site that is easy to use for this...
would have been better received.

here is a signed pic of me to cheer everyone up and raise the tone.
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:€

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Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:49 pm Post

Now then cousin...don't be fanning the flames and inflaming the situation with your impeccable feline logic. Best let the humans fight it out/resolve the situation betwixt themselves.

Happy New Year everybody :D
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Storyman
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Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:14 pm Post

What is bizarre is that no one is commenting directly on the issue of the pros/cons of reading level stats. The only comments have been regarding the protection and worshiping of David--Scrivener's programmer. That's fine if that gets you through the day. Aristotle put it best, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

At issue is if David wants to write a little code that will count the occurrence of 'e' in a document and a little computation using the number of words. That's it.

If you have something constructive to add, please do so. Otherwise get back to your writing and stop wasting people's time in the forum.

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vic-k
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Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:42 pm Post

Actually, SM, it seems to have escaped your noticed, that the developer of Scriv for Windows is called Lee, and the developer of Scriv for Mac is called Keith(Kevin for short).

I would be inclined not to engage the powers that be in contentious debate about a topic, concerning your particular pet want, when, from what I can gather, they've made it perfectly clear(or at least attempted to), that it's a none starter.

To prolong needless debate, tends to imply that the prolonger, is in need of meaningful, and absorbing employment, stimulating enough to counteract any tendency t'ward procrastination.

Good luck with your writing SM, and a Happy New Year to you.
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Floss
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Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:48 pm Post

Storyman wrote:What is bizarre is that no one is commenting directly on the issue of the pros/cons of reading level stats.

fair enough...
i think reading level stats ignore things like style, tone and cadence and instead look only at blunt measures such as sentence length and numbers of syllables, which paint works such as dr suess as great works of writing when clearly it,s aimed at the lowest common denominator.
i think readility statistics ignore things such as correct grammar, punctuation and sentence structure all of which have a significant impact on readability
i think they they mislead what is suitable for different audience levels, purporting to be able to tell what ,grade, a piece of writing is suitable for based purely on things like number of syllables in a word when some of the least suitable words for young readers in english language have only one syllable.
let,s just say i think they are more of an accountant,s tool than a writers.

Storyman wrote:At issue is if David wants to write a little code that will count the occurrence of 'e' in a document and a little computation using the number of words. That's it.

it'll be a bit harder than that.
i suspect the code required to count the number of syllables in per word would be a complex task for minimal reward. i also suspect that running the readibility statistics code on the kind of long form documents scrivener is used for would take a long time especially on slower computers.
:€

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robertdguthrie
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Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:01 pm Post

Off-topic-ing is what we do here, once a question has been answered definitively. Keith, the designer of Scrivener and programmer for the original Mac version, has answered this question, so the counter-suggestions and meta commentary begin. Welcome to the forums as they are and are likely to remain.

But just as an exercise, let's take a look at the Pros:
1. Some number of people (at least two) will find this feature useful.

Cons:
1. There are multiple Reading Level calculation formulae/algorithms/statistical models; which one gets implemented?
2. Corollary: Consider that if two requests are enough to spur implementation, then the developer would have to seriously consider all of them.
3. Also, readability seems like a logical extension to reading level, and could be argued with the same enthusiasm. Should Keith & Lee implement those too?
4. There are issues getting computers to recognize abbreviations and other non-terminal punctuation as such (first-word auto-capitalization in those cases can't be easily programmed around); Therefore implementing any algorithm that counts sentences will never be perfect.
5. There is some debate as to the value of readability statistics, whereas it is extremely common for there to be either character or word count constraints on submissions, so the implicit argument that the currently available stats are equally useful/useless to readability stats sounds churlish to me.
6. Even the simplest feature takes far more work than it seems. Your feature request will take time away from other development efforts by the individuals who work on each of the versions of Scrivener (Mac has 1*, Windows has 1.5, iOS has 1... )


* 1/2 if you count Scapple as equal to Scrivener in development effort, which it may be as Keith approaches the official release of this new program.
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Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:30 am Post

robertdguthrie wrote:Cons:
1. There are multiple Reading Level calculation formulae/algorithms/statistical models; which one gets implemented?
2. Corollary: Consider that if two requests are enough to spur implementation, then the developer would have to seriously consider all of them.
3. Also, readability seems like a logical extension to reading level, and could be argued with the same enthusiasm. Should Keith & Lee implement those too?
4. There are issues getting computers to recognize abbreviations and other non-terminal punctuation as such (first-word auto-capitalization in those cases can't be easily programmed around); Therefore implementing any algorithm that counts sentences will never be perfect.
5. There is some debate as to the value of readability statistics, whereas it is extremely common for there to be either character or word count constraints on submissions, so the implicit argument that the currently available stats are equally useful/useless to readability stats sounds churlish to me.
6. Even the simplest feature takes far more work than it seems. Your feature request will take time away from other development efforts by the individuals who work on each of the versions of Scrivener (Mac has 1*, Windows has 1.5, iOS has 1... )


* 1/2 if you count Scapple as equal to Scrivener in development effort, which it may be as Keith approaches the official release of this new program.


Hmm, permission to speak freely, sir? :wink: Keep in mind that I don't value these things very much, but they do have a general utility. (E.g., a score of second grade and a score of eighth grade define a major change in readability, even if, as absolute estimates, they are fraught with error.)

* One could break down the pros as well as the cons. You just didn't, so I have to point that out.

1. Yep. But: try to get some input and pick one of the approaches. They all have a bias, so you are also right: this decision alone could shut this whole thing down.

2. No way. This forum isn't a statistically valid sample. The decision as to what to include has to be built up at least partly elsewhere. This is a constant problem for developers; it's easy to think you know what you are doing. <big grin; I'm a developer for many years>

3. Good point. See #1.

4. Yep.

5. I think something that allows one to compare relative numbers between samples is useful. It's a mistake to believe any of these are all that accurate. (E.g., no one reads at a grade 4.3 level; the accuracy is not there.)

6. Indeed. This may never show up, for a variety of reasons as above, or simply because it's too much work and there are higher priorities. However: if this feature existed, I would use it now and then because it would be useful.

My actual personal opinion? As long as I can grab a chunk of text, and paste it into a web form, this is just not something that I have to have in Scrivener. For me, Scrivener was perfect a long time (and many minor revisions) ago. Scrivener gets a little less perfect every time more features get added, so I'm not personally in any hurry to see anything get added. I use Scrivener for two things: writing, and organizing that writing. The ability to output in a format for submission is a nice bonus. I have a small subset of the features that are also modestly useful. The rest of the stuff is there for other folks, so if they really need something, even something the boss doesn't want to add, I'm still sympathetic. Just so long as, one day, Scrivener doesn't become another Word, choking on features. <g>