Computer: Text Filter
Dumb-Downer   (+14, -3)  [vote for, against]
Audience specific text content modulation

Found next to Spell checker in Word. When aplied to the above subhead, the Dumb-downer returns;

'Makes stuff easier to understand for the people who are going to read it'

The Dumb-downer would have several levels of dumbing, from the 'first year under grad' through 'red neck' to 'Pauly Shore' You would be able to choose between having whole sentances dumbed down, and just 'dumb-checking' words. Suggested alternatives for the word 'Capacitor' would include 'Thingumy' 'Whatsit' and 'Doohicky'

I done think this idea be a good'un, Pa!
-- Zircon, Oct 03 2002

(?) Similar idea http://www.halfbake...anguage_20Clarifier
[yamahito, Oct 03 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Is it dumbing down, or is it culture? [[ sctld ], Oct 03 2002]

For Amos
[yamahito, Oct 03 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

...and funny looking too. [madradish, Oct 04 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The Dialectizer
Translate anything into Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, Swedish Chef, Moron, Pig Latin, or Hacker. [BinaryCookies, Oct 06 2002]

duh huh?
-- blissmiss, Oct 03 2002

I was like, ya know, just talkin' to Megan, and I'm like, Huh-Low!, some guys are so hard to understand, and she's like, gawwd, fer shure, and I'm like what's with that! Oh, wow!
-- Amos Kito, Oct 03 2002

Dumbin' doon is ay ane o' them thing's tha' jus' makes yu look a' socie'y an as' yersel', "Is wha' ahm sayin' wrang, or is i' jus' culture, on the same level as yon lang tha' them in thon posh schools speakit?". Are wi' dummin' doon, or is ah-body el' jus' dumbin' up?
-- [ sctld ], Oct 03 2002

I thought the accent translator was a different idea, sctld.. good combination, though..
-- yamahito, Oct 03 2002

Btu i hope you see my point. Maybe we're just generating our own cultures. We're not dumbing down, its everybody thats trying to 'dumb up'.

I'll provide some links with examples of so-called 'dumbing down', and how they have been accepted as culture.

Although hopefully this won't happen to AOLSpeak.
-- [ sctld ], Oct 03 2002

well, if your point was that dumbing down will mean a different thing to every person who uses such a feature, granted.

But as Zircon says in the subtitle- //Audience specific//...
-- yamahito, Oct 03 2002

I think Zircon's refering to the fact that each user will require a differnt amount of 'dumbing down', a quantised dumbing down, and not that the definition of 'dumbing down' will change specific to each person.
-- [ sctld ], Oct 03 2002

I admit the negative thing here is more to do with a catchy title than anything else, I don't know why the device shouldn't have some higher settings. You could stipulate from what level you are writing, and for whom the piece is intended. The device would suggests up grades as appropriate. This would be very useful for those first year essays.

Your level; Fresher
Audience level; Lecturer

Then again this may be cheating. Heh heh. An expansion pack could include a 'changing the perspecive/tense system'. And maybe a Tee shirt that says 'Dumbed-Down and luvin' it.'
-- Zircon, Oct 03 2002

Thanks, yamahito! I didn't know there was so many "Dumb-Downer" ideas here. I followed the [link], which led to another & another, and counted 23 of them before I ran outta fingers & toes to count on.
-- Amos Kito, Oct 03 2002

And who would teach the dummies where the button is?
-- blissmiss, Oct 03 2002

They would have to read "Buttons, Keys and Switches for Dummies".
-- FarmerJohn, Oct 03 2002

Every piece of writing should be dumbed down. That is to say, words should be made as simple as possible. Most academic & literary works suffer from the opposite. 'The phthalocyanine atmosphere gesticulated in the tendrils of her hairdo...'

actually no, that's quite funny
-- General Washington, Oct 03 2002

<aside to antipodeans>The first thing I saw when I read this title was 'Yes he is'</ata> (link for others - sorry Zircon).

I like this but I agree with bliss, I think my dad wouldn't be able to work out how to use it.

FJ's anno reminded me of something funny I saw in a bookshop..."Idiots guide to the Kama Sutra"
-- madradish, Oct 04 2002

Are we 'generating culture' or are we 'dumbing down?' That's easily answered. The former could be re-interpreted as simply modifying language with essentially no changes to timeless concepts, so you could say that the latter would simply forget to pass them on or lose them in a muddle of ignorance.

Call me Benedict Arnold, but I rather disagree with the General. Every piece of literature should be made much more complex. Raise the standard I say, and world will rise with it. Read Tolkien to your kids at bed-time. Then turn 'em loose in here.
-- RayfordSteele, Oct 04 2002

Tolkien bores my daughter. Come to think of it, he bores me, too. She might like Ayn Rand, though.
-- bristolz, Oct 04 2002

Audience level: kid at bedtime

Your level: Professor (Dr Seuss)
-- egbert, Oct 04 2002

Read your kids whatever interests them most. I've met too many children (and adults) who had their education stunted by well meaning people who tried to get them to read above their comfort and interest level.

That's why I love Harry Potter, as well as being a great read it gets kids interested in reading.
-- madradish, Oct 04 2002

[Rods] thats some insight you have there. I'm a bit of an intellectual snob myself, and tend to look down on those, of my generation, who left school at 16. But then I find myself having to qualify this, (as I meet such people who are bright enough to put me in the shade), and I find myself guilty of making this crass generalisation which is no more right than saying all teenages are drunken dope-addicts or glue-sniffers. So I guess the best I can say is I find it unnearving when people are shortsighted (metaphorically) or lacking in ambition to fulfill their potential. Stupid people are okay, but intelligent people acting stupid out of laziness, or because they think intelligence is somehow uncool, irritate the hell out of me. (For some reason though I as I read you anno. I could hear Jerry Springers voice.)


This is all a little off topic, as I outlined above I didn't really intend for this to be an invective against the hordes of the ignorant, rather a useful user modifiable automatic/thesaurus/context tool.
-- Zircon, Oct 04 2002

[Benedict:] I suspect we agree here. I'm all for Tolkein, Vollman, Pynchon, the whole shopping trolley. My guide is: make your ideas as complicated as you want, but express them simply. DIchotomy between words & their meanings, mate.

I'm still wondering about yamahito's use of 'anagnorisis', recently... I think I'm impressed with that, though. I think this word was excellently deployed as a kind of tongs with which to pick up the conversation (shitting).

[bristolz:] Isn't Ayn Rand what monetarists read their children at night? "Eat your greens, or the horrid Mr Keynes will come and eat you!" Anyone who thinks the Robin Hood myth is 'pernicious' and 'evil' can't be 100% ok, I reckon.
-- General Washington, Oct 04 2002

I think the idea is to simplifying rather than dumb down? To me simplifying is what GW said above, whereas dumbing down involves oversimplifying the underlying concepts. Hence the Dr Seuss reference, complex ideas from an intelligent man expressed in simple language.

Also it seems to me the phrase "dumbing down" is used to imply overtones of bad taste and/or banality. Makes a catchy title, though.
-- egbert, Oct 04 2002

Yes! Exactly! wanted a snappy title but device actually indented to convert text to format that an intended audiance will feel comfortable with.

A good example of this would be; I have to read a lot of (fairly dull) scientific papers in the course of my studies. If they had been run through a 'dumb-downer' they would still convey the same content but be written in a style that would envigorate my synapses. 'Nature' and some other journals have started to do this by requiring articles in the first person, to make them more accessible.

[yamahito]-san thank you for the links, oh venerable one. I am honoured. Especially the one that is run through that valley girl engine. Are you familiar with the Burn-Maker?
-- Zircon, Oct 04 2002

Requiring scientific papers to be written in a more interesting and accessible manner would be great. The sheer amount of technical jargon will tend to defeat this, but it is a worthwhile goal.

I have had to give up on papers that should have been interesting, because the authors made them excessively dry to the point that they were virtually unreadable even to people working in the area. You could call it simplificator?
-- madradish, Oct 04 2002

Wait, something familiar about this. Complex scientific explanation reduced to simple allegory? Of course - Star Trek scriptwriting!
-- egbert, Oct 04 2002

Wasn't this process that lead to the production of "The Sorcerer's Stone" from J.R. Rowling's "The Philosopher's Stone"?
-- Aristotle, Oct 04 2002

Did it stay as the philosophers stone in UK? I'm sure I would have noticed the change.
-- Zircon, Oct 04 2002


J.R. was the one in Dallas.
-- yamahito, Oct 04 2002

Personally sometimes I enjoy figgering out complexity for complexity's sake, even if it's shear torture in the process. My theory is that the more of it you are exposed to, the more you can eventually understand. Always grasp beyond your reach, and eventually your arms will stretch. I'm constantly sticking my nose into places and journals where I haven't the foggiest concept for the most part, (which is most everywhere, it seems).
-- RayfordSteele, Oct 04 2002

-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2002

If you enjoy complexity then try reading 'The sound and the Fury' by William Faulkner. My highschool english teacher gave it to me when I was being a smartass by reading books he leant me in one night. I gave up almost halfway through when I finally worked out the gender of one of the main characters, and returned it to my teacher in chagrin.
-- madradish, Oct 05 2002

Preferably it would also reduce my 2000-word treatises to something of a length that most people are actually willing to read.

"Cool. I talk too much."
-- beland, Dec 31 2003

Boy, after reading my old anno's here, it makes me want to ask, "Who is this guy?" I think I've flopped 180 degrees. Make it all as dumb as possible, I say.
-- RayfordSteele, Dec 31 2003

Who's the old anno now? [+]
-- xxobot, Sep 02 2008

the Large Hadron Colider: "The thingie holds the widget that makes doodads go down a track. The doodads might want to get away, so there are special magnets that hold them on the track. The doodads go around in a big circle and make bang-bang, and other doodads are made. The widget watches the doodads being made and remembers it with the whatchamacallit. Then scientists can watch the whatchamaycall it and learn stuff.
-- Voice, Sep 02 2008

Yeah, dumb is a downer, isn't it.
-- Spacecoyote, Sep 02 2008

Yes, words/language are a way of dumbing down reality .
-- wjt, Sep 02 2008

random, halfbakery