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Readability of Wikipedia

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Author: Lucassen, T. · Dijkstra, R. · Schraagen, J.M.C.
Type:article
Date:2012
Source:First Monday, September, 9, 17
Identifier: 463823
Keywords: Psychology · Future Internet Use · Information Society · Human · HOI - Human Behaviour & Organisational Innovations · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences

Abstract

Wikipedia is becoming widely acknowledged as a reliable source of encyclopedic information. However, concerns have been expressed about its readability. Wikipedia articles might be written in a language too difficult to be understood by most of its visitors. In this study, we apply the Flesch reading ease test to all available articles from the English Wikipedia to investigate these concerns. The results show that overall readability is poor, with 75 percent of all articles scoring below the desired readability score. The ‘Simple English’ Wikipedia scores better, but its readability is still insufficient for its target audience. A demo of our methodology is available at http://www.readabilityofwikipedia.com