Readability of Wikipedia

Lucassen, T., Dijkstra, R.L., Schraagen, J.M. (2012) Readability of Wikipedia. First Monday, 17.

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 www.readabilityofwikipedia.com.

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