Nitpicking experts make Wikipedia a harder read
The news comes from a Japanese study whose preliminary results were revealed at the Conference on Information and Knowledge Management on Maui, Hawaii, last month. Information scientist Adam Jatowt of Kyoto University and Katsumi Tanaka of the Japan Science and Technology Agency compared articles written on the same subjects in Wikipedia and the online version of Britannica. Their aim was to see if Wikipedia articles truly deserved to be top of the Google search rankings on so many subjects quite so often.
Using what they call "standard readability measures" and statistical analyses of, for example, sentence length and how often easily understood popular words were used, they found Wikipedia lagged in terms of the "readability and comprehensibility" of its content.
The reason is clear, they say: articles on difficult topics are written by experts who sacrifice readability for accuracy - and that is compounded as other experts weigh in with further accuracy-obsessed edits that remove "simplifications, generalisations or intuitive explanations" that might have served to aid readability.