Sadia Afroz on what stylometry can tell us about the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed.

“Lodestar” Might Smack of Pencian Prose, but Stylometry Is a Little More Complicated Than That

“Lodestar” Might Smack of Pencian Prose, but Stylometry Is a Little More Complicated Than That

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
Sept. 10 2018 10:36 PM

Stylometry for Dummies

What prose analysis can (and can’t) tell us about that infamous New York Times op-ed.

The Gist has moved! Find new episodes here.

Getty-resized-magnify
Analyzing prose is a complex science.

Johnny Eggitt/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to Slate’s The Gist:

Slate Plus members: Get your ad-free podcast feed.

Advertisement

Listen to The Gist via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

gist_dailyemails

On The Gist, are we having a national crisis?

The New York Times’ publication of an anonymous op-ed has sparked rounds of speculation as to who’s behind it—and the deep-state trappings it describes. Some see the word “lodestar” as signature Mike Pence, but as Sadia Afroz explains, stylometry—the analysis of prose to uncover its author’s identity—is a little more complicated than looking at individual words. Afroz is a senior research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute.

In the Spiel, Serena Williams, sexism, and double standards.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

Podcast production by Pierre Bienaimé and Daniel Schroeder.

Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.