Plain Language Act:

Total posts: [29]
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1 tclittle19th May 2011 09:42:45 PM from Somewhere Down in Texas
Professional Forum Ninja
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110519/ap_on_re_us/us_no_more_gobbledygook

Basically, the government must stop using confusing words on public documents.

They can still confuse each other though.:)
2 Deboss19th May 2011 10:57:22 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
I predict this is going to backfire horribly.
3 Sivartis19th May 2011 11:00:37 PM from Washington State
Captionless One
In what way?
♭What.
I see three possible scenarios for this going horribly wrong

A) Plain language turns out to be far too ambiguous for subtleties of law

B) Political Correctness Gone Mad

C) Somehow manages to make things less comprehensible

That said, I do think this is a good idea, and I don't think any of the above is particularly likely. Also, the actual guidelines

edited 19th May '11 11:14:01 PM by petrie911

Belief or disbelief rests with you.
5 NickTheSwing19th May 2011 11:14:10 PM from Ya really wanna know? , Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
BFS Enthusiast
Here's how I think it'll go:

So, yo dudes and dudettes, there be some new taxes, which means you gotta pay every once in a while, 'kay?

Hey, so look out for the bad guy Al-zawhiri, he is one awful mofo

edited 19th May '11 11:15:05 PM by NickTheSwing

[up][up] The Guideline have 117 Pages !!!

Plain Language is not enough, limit the number of words too.
Lover of masks.
We have one. Its called the Total Length; Do Repress Act.
Please.
8 Deboss20th May 2011 01:08:15 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
I think it will back fire in the same way the "paper work reduction" plan did, it'll be done badly, with such loose definitions of "plain language" that it'll just pack words on and not do anything effective.
I want Kat's glasses!
What I would like is a bunch of standardized, understandable and named EULAs so you don't have to read (or more likely, be liable not to) pages and pages of "legalese" every time you install software on your computer: Instead, you'd just have to read the name of the standard license type and a reminder of its key points.
Grandma, what big teeth you have! It would be a shame if anything happened to them.
^ Agreeing with this.

However, this "Plain Language Act" sounds like a bad idea. How do you define a "confusing word"?
11 Kayeka20th May 2011 02:52:29 AM from Amsterdam , Relationship Status: Brony
World's biggest wannabe
[up]Anything that someone without a Law degree doesn't know about, I'd say.
People say I have a problem with authority. I say that authority has a problem with me.
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
The guidelines are 100 pages plus.

The "politician's disease", also known as "Doesn't know when to shut the fuck up", won't be cured by politicians.

edited 20th May '11 3:14:34 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
13 MrAHR20th May 2011 03:14:37 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
The Brobdingnaggs have invaded our country.

I am OK with this.
Restrict vocabulary to Simple English and ban the use of passive voice. At the very least, we should get some fun sounding laws out of that.
Belief or disbelief rests with you.
This could also be good for disability accessibility, for cognitively or language disabled people.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
16 Fighteer20th May 2011 11:32:01 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
I read some of the guidelines, at least the ones summarized in the news article. Sounds like a great, long past due idea.
victorinox243
Plain language is vague and allows loopholes on basis of syntax. It's dangerous to write actual legislation in that way because interpretation will be up for grabs. Legislation and Contract Law are written in that "confusing" language for a reason. Because it is more precise and attempts to remove all doubt.

I highly doubt that transcribing stuff into "plain English" will make people any more knowledgeable of the stuff that is getting passed. If anything, it's going to make another layer of confusion by "translating" the government into another language. And we all know how much fun it is to watch dubbed shows.

I say what we really need is to augment literal accessibility, such as putting the legislation online with key phrases highlighted to tell you their meaning, origin, usage, etc. much like how "that other encyclopaedia" does.

edited 20th May '11 1:57:54 PM by victorinox243

Gunpla is amazing!
All laws should be presented in the form of images on flash cards.

Also this is being passed by a bunch of Literal Genie lawyers who are trying to remove Exact Words and rule the world!

edited 20th May '11 1:57:18 PM by Thorn14

victorinox243
[up] Perhaps we need to put all laws in the form of moving pictures on our wall sets.

edited 20th May '11 2:03:24 PM by victorinox243

20 Linhasxoc20th May 2011 04:27:49 PM , Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
An better way, I think, would be mandating, say, that documents be readable at an 8th-grade (or other) reading level.
so basically,. people want documents to be easily manipulateable just to satisfy morons who want to comprehend laws without needing to study law?
Going Forth!
I have yet to read a law that is as confusing as texting.

^ This.

A large problem is what you define as "too difficult". Too difficult for whom? I knew what a pendulum was when I was about a year old. Does that mean my equally-aged counterparts should know what a pendulum is at age one? Would they be confused by the word 'pendulum' and thus, should we not use it?

*
scratching at .8, just hopin'
Hire cognitive scientists, ergonomists/human factor engineers, and information theorists to draft the wording of laws. They know how ambiguities can confuse people and how to get the most information content in the minimal amount of wording - hell, it's a field of fucking study.
Well in any case, I have seen efforts to reduce language complexity work very well in many places. I feel that Canada is moving away from that, with the current majority government trying to ram through legislation by being as obfuscated as possible (and as long as possible with 600 page legislation text dumps). Previously, though, it was pretty good. For instance, go online, the entire Criminal Code of Canada is there and unless you're really stupid, you can read it like plain english.

It's hard not to understand "You will go to jail for no more than 15 years if convicted." :)

Total posts: 29
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