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, 2012 at 8:52
  • 2
    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, 2012 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, 2012 at 16:28
  • 2
    I'm tempted to provide the 5th close vote just for the meta-humor of it.
    – Hellion
    Dec 12, 2012 at 20:25
  • 1
    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. Dec 12, 2012 at 21:35
  • @AndrewLazarus Is that to avoid cases of lawler > 100%?
    – MetaEd
    Dec 13, 2012 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. Dec 13, 2012 at 4:27
  • 12
    LMAO (plus eleven more characters). Dec 13, 2012 at 4:54
  • 2
    @JohnLawler That isn't funny.
    – Kris
    Dec 13, 2012 at 4:57
  • 3
    @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. Dec 13, 2012 at 18:18
  • 3
    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? Dec 14, 2012 at 17:49
  • 13
    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. Dec 21, 2012 at 20:04


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .