Monday, June 13, 2011

Stuff I like: Simple English (and thoughts on lawmaking)

If only my textbooks could be this succinct and straightforward. ] covers a lot of subjects (but not as many as normal wikipedia) in simple english.

For instance:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is [...] used to shoot very small particles into each other at high speed. [source]
is much simpler than

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature. [source]

 To be frank, I think if our laws were required to meet the following requirements, we would have a much more easily understood and comprehensive legislative system:

- Written in english, conforming to Wikipedia's Simple English guidelines
- 12 point font, PT Serif,
- Double-spaced, 1-inch margins around the entire page
- Not allowed to reference any other laws (except to repeal them in their entirety).
- Conflicts between laws are not permitted- if a law conflicts with an older law, it must be rewritten (or the conflicting text excised) until it is a standalone document.

It might also help to number/label them such that their name gives you a relatively good idea of when they were passed as well as what they reference and if they've been appealed or not, a la:

51 - HLTH.R
2070 - SEC

would translate in plaintext to: 51st law passed, Health-related, Repealed.
and 2070th law passed, Security-related, (not repealed implied).

No preceding zeroes or anything like that. The numbering of laws is unrelated to the tags that follow them- there is no 51 - HLTH and 51 - SEC; only 51 - HLTH and 52 - SEC.

If more distinct categories must be made, the form is as follows: -
[<.>subcategory][...<.>subcategory (as necessary)[<.>R (if repealed)].

Thusly, searches can be made via number, category, and subcategory (or subcategories), and it is immediately clear if a law is still applicable or not. Furthermore, the restrictions on size and content will guarantee (so far as I can tell) that laws will remain straightforward and understandable by all parties.

If you have spotted a loophole that I've left for someone to exploit, please let me know.

Also, of interest but not worthy of its own post: [ ].

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