RegDwighт said: @Robusto wow, that's formatting to the max. Bold and italics and monospaced and in quotes. John has outlawlered himself.¹

It occurs to me that this is something we can measure.

  1. I propose that a single character’s lawler weight (lw) be the standard unit of measure of the typographical emphasis applied to it (such as bold face, larger font, italics, quotation marks, and block quoting). If a character has no typographical emphasis, lw=0. If it is emphasized in one way, lw=1. If it is emphasized in two ways, lw=2, and so on.

  2. I propose that the lawler (ll) be the standard unit of measure of the typographical emphasis applied to a text as a whole, and be calculated as the ratio of the total lawler weight of the characters to the total number of characters.

For example, consider the text of the two numbered paragraphs above. The italicized characters have lw=1; the others have lw=0. The overall typographical emphasis is around 0.04 (4%) lawler.

The overall typographical emphasis of the John Lawler answer² referred to by RegDwighт above is about 0.6 (60%) lawler.

(It is possible for a text to have a lawler greater than 1. The overall typographical emphasis of a paragraph which is both bolded and italicized in its entirety would be 2 (200%) lawler.)

  • 1
    If one could up vote for a great sense of humor, plus ten here. – Kris Dec 12 '12 at 8:52
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    I think this has turned out to be a quantification of the sense of humor possessed by ELU regulars. ;-) I do get why two people would closevote "not constructive", but the two "off topic" closevotes mystify me. The proposal is plainly meta discussion about ELU. – MetaEd Dec 12 '12 at 16:27
  • @Kris One is certainly allowed to upvote for humor. This is not ELU, it's meta. "On Meta, voting is often used to express agreement or disagreement, not to point out a lack of quality or helpfulness." – MetaEd Dec 12 '12 at 16:28
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    I'm tempted to provide the 5th close vote just for the meta-humor of it. – Hellion Dec 12 '12 at 20:25
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    I believe the scale should be logarithmic, where plain text has a raw value of 1, etc., but the lawler weight is the log of the raw value. – Andrew Lazarus Dec 12 '12 at 21:35
  • @AndrewLazarus Is that to avoid cases of lawler > 100%? – MetaEd Dec 13 '12 at 3:55
  • I don't like to think I'm humourless, but it seems to me this should have been put in a chat room. – FumbleFingers Dec 13 '12 at 4:27
  • 10
    LMAO (plus eleven more characters). – John Lawler Dec 13 '12 at 4:54
  • 1
    @JohnLawler That isn't funny. – Kris Dec 13 '12 at 4:57
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    @MετάEd, no, I just think that there's decreasing marginal shock value to each new typographical ornament, and a logarithmic model is one way to model this. – Andrew Lazarus Dec 13 '12 at 18:18
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    Like the Nichter Scale. BTW, I've always typographed like this on the Web, as this piece from around 20 years ago in plain HTML shows. The reason I use so much typography is because I intend to write like I sound when I'm lecturing about grammar, which I used to do for a living. Since the facilities are available here, I use'em. Why not? – John Lawler Dec 14 '12 at 17:49
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    I've just noticed that this is "closed as off topic by" a buncha people. Which topic is it off, just for curiosity's sake? It's at least funnier than the usual run of meta "questions", whatever topic it's off. – John Lawler Dec 21 '12 at 20:04

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