Unmuted Thoughts

Measuring the ‘ethical’ quality of a writing

The quality of writing is not measured on how much time your reader spends reading. Neither on reader engagement metrices. To be clear, I am talking about ‘non-fiction’ writings.

It is in how much time the reader spends in thinking about the idea you shared in your writing. How many thoughts your words triggered in his/her mind. More importantly how many changes it may or might bring to them.

While reading, the reader may nod their heads agreeing your idea, shakes no when they couldn’t agree with you and they can even take a time to look away and chew your idea (what they just read) in their mind. Finally they can come up with an understanding or decision after a thought process. In my opinion, that’s a good quality writing.

Some considerations for ethically responsible writing…

Write your idea and then bring them to right audience. Not the other way around. This piece of advice looks counter-intuitive. But in the long run, your reader base increases as more and more relevant readers finds your content.

At the end they should forget you (the messenger, the writer) but take away the idea (message) with them. Idea should be core of your writing. Not gimmicks. Aim for perpetuation of your ideas.

It’s not how much they retain or remember the exact words. It’s all about how much they built a new ‘thing’ in their mind with it.

Help them to make their decision. Do Not push yours. And don’t try to decide for the readers.

Incept. Don’t try to manipulate. (Readers can sense this tone easily sooner or later). Convince by reasons, not by emotions.

Worry only about how it will be perceived. Be precise. Try to be more clearer and less ambiguous.

Be responsible for your words. Be more responsible for the readers’ understanding. After all, the goal is to make them reconstruct your idea in their mind in the way you wanted. Making them to feel as you wanted them to feel.

P.S. Ethics are judged based on the intentions and values. Not based on the skill of writing.

About the author

Sakthitharan Subramanian

Systems Thinker | Academic Researcher | Productivity Enthusiast | Loves Minimalism, Philosophy | Ph.D. in Computer Science |