Website deflates writers full of hot air
The Local · 25 Jul 2011, 15:05
Published: 25 Jul 2011 15:05 GMT+02:00
Bernd Wurm, a 43-year-old computer science expert, told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper on Monday that he launched the “BlaBlaMeter” earlier this year because he was fed with the “blown up speech” often used in advertisements and other promotional materials.
The website, blablameter.de, which Wurm said he put together in less than a month, can analyse both English and German text. It works by determining whether writing uses common bombastic phrases or replaces verbs with terms like “optimisation of processes.” It also scans for excessively long words which Wurm calls “bad words that you use whenever you want to impress someone else.”
Straightforward writing, he said, works best.
The site rates writing on a scale of 0 to 1, which 1 considered to be almost complete “bullshit.”
The Local's tests showed the site to be fairly accurate. It immediately sensed one e-commerce company’s press release was full of blather, giving it a hefty 1.14 BS rating. A straightforward Associated Press news story, however, showed only “marginal indications of bullshit English.”
Wurm told Der Tagesspiegel that he doesn’t aim to mock people’s writing. Instead, he hopes his site will provide an independent method for authors, professors and other writers to test whether their articles might be insufferable.
This article, by the way, received a 0.34 and a note that it was “still OK for PR and advertising purposes, but more critical audiences may be sceptical."