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Browsing the net, a link in a newsletter I subscribe to sent me to some skirts in an upmarket shop in New York. This reminded me that I shall need some skirts to wear for work in the coming summer. (For those of you doing a double take at this, I live in Australia.)

Here are the skirts if you’d like to look.

I started googling for ideas for skirts, and typed in ‘make your own skirt’. The first few results were interesting, but genuine. After only a page and a half though I started to get some really weird hits. After a bit I realised that these articles are what I’ve read about in terms of computer generated internet content and articles. I know that there is software which will compare the text of an article with what is already on the net, to see if the writer is just trying to re-use old content, either theirs or somebody else’s.Most popular and well known being Copyscape.  I’m guessing that these articles are written by some kind of programme which just changes some words, to try and make the piece original. The results are hilarious to say the least, or they are once you realise what is going on. Up to that point they are just plain perplexing, as in I’m thinking “What the ?!!!”

For example, see if you can figure out what this person is trying to say ‘it’s necessary that we peek following ourself.’. Do you think they mean we should look after ourselves?

As if to demonstrate the need for original content, it wasn’t long before I came up with the same article on more than one page. To make it worse, the sites weren’t even about making skirts, which was what I was looking for. They were for all sorts of other things, in some cases I don’t know what they were about. One was multi-level marketing, some were just inexplicable.

If you try searching just blogs, I think you get even better examples of computer generated content, as opposed to quality original writing. I’m not going to post any links here, for fear of offending someone, but try it for yourself. It reminds me of Roald Dahl’s story, The Great Automatic Grammatizator’, but I’d have to dig out the book and read it again to remember exactly how it goes. It was I think based on a guy who invented a machine for writing novels and such. The theory being that there are only limited numbers of combinations of words, and that literature could be written according to a mathematical formula. I’ve heard the same idea applied to music.

How did I get from deciding I need new skirts for work, to deciding to read a Roald Dahl story again? Go figure! And have fun looking for similar examples of writing.