Tired of seeing next language requests !?
Japanese? Danish? Chinese? Latin? Esperanto? Ancient Greek? It is a common thing to see language request all over the discussion page, the facebook page, and i can even guess that the Duolingo experts and developers get flooded in RL with new language requests all the time. Geez! I am not even a developer and i get tired of seeing the posts. Sure i would also like to learn a couple of languages that are not yet available on the site but it's important to remember that the site is actually quite new. I get that the feedback is actually important for Duolingo since it lets them know which direction to go next in matter of new languages (they have ask this in the fb page) but i wonder if the community is not tired of seeing these posts flooding everywhere. Maybe this important information could be redirected to one place where it is not a distraction and can be better managed by the staff. I could think a couple of solutions, maybe opening a new section on the discussion page dedicated to possible new languages, maybe adding a permanent poll on the site. Another proposal could be to have a post in the blog or anywhere else showing which possible languages could be next (even if its not going to be exactly like that it would give some peace of mind to the troubled users) and an estimated time of arrival. [Something like we are thinking of adding arabic, swedish and swahili in the next six months and icelandic, basque and nahuatl in the next year and we are not planning on adding slovenian in the near future: just to give a silly example]. Or maybe just adding a FAQ or a suggestion box. Perhaps a simple checkbox in the account settings could do the job, asking: "which language(s) would you like to see on Duolingo next?"
Anyhow, since this topic is very important to Duolingo and it is so recursive among new users i think it would be worthy to dedicate a space to it whatever it would be (and most importantly a space far away from the places where is not doing any good or just going wasted). I don't know, i would like to hear the community opinion about this. Am i the only one tired of the language requests? Would it be important to redirect that data somewhere and keep it in just one place? Best Wishes to all.
My views are somewhat different. Statistically, chances are that the most widespread language on the Web is English (or "Globish"). Similarly, chances are that non-Anglo natives massively outnumber English, Irish, American, Australian... internet users.
Therefore, the order of priority for Duolingo should be:
Complete & improve existing languages (there is a lot to do!)
Reverse existing languages for English learners.
Personally, I'd like the current languages to be expanded to a level where I can speak with a native speaker as well as I can speak in English. In other words, I want to reach a point where I can speak about complex topics like politics, science, ethics, etc. Hopefully they'll reach that point.
Although I share your desire of language proficiency in terms of speaking, I don't see how Duolingo can achieve that. I think Duolingo is a website with an amazing, innovative potential and an incredibly effective concept to 1) get started with the language of your choice (if available) and 2) get to an "intermediate-beginners level" of listening comprehension as well as 3) even get a decent level of understanding and translating written language. However, everything exceeding this frame (e.g. listening to fast-paced conversations of natives - getting a hang of different dialects - developing a certain routine of chosing foreign, unfamiliar words and phrases as you are talking - really forcing your brain to get used to wrapping your tongue around words it hasn't been processing yet) is not feasible for Duolingo, in my opinion, because it's not just vocab, it's practice and interaction. I don't think that any kind of software is able to emulate this kind of human-to-human communication (yet). Please share your thoughts about that with me.
That's a great idea. Of all you proposed solutions, I like the permanent poll best. One place it might make sense to have it is in the settings page. As you select which available languages you want to learn, you would select as well which ones you would like to see implemented.
I think there can be an immovable post at the top of the Dualingo discussion page to make people vote for and talk about their next language requests. It may help to collect all related requests and ideas. People just want to share their opinion, if we had a constant topic about it, there would be no need to open new ones.
Thanks to all for the follow up, it's nice to feel that you are heard in the community. I only would like to add that i am not against the people who want to share which language they would want to see next in duolingo but the fact that right now their opinions flood the boards because there doesn't seem to be a space proper to them. We all have been newbies on the site and some people don't know nor research which threads or discussions have already been done before. The idea would be to set a proper place to direct those opinions. Thanks again for the comments and all the feedback.
Glad I searched for "permanent." I agree that there should be a permanent poll. The poll could be structured and administered differently than discussions are now.
Weighted votes: For example, it makes sense (to me) that serious students, especially those who have made extensive use of duolingo resources so far, should have opinions that are more valuable to developers. So votes could be weighted by language skill levels accrued to date. While it is true that people with strong language knowledge could place into a high skill level, I say "marhaban" (yes, I would like the next language to be Arabic). People who take the time to place out of a lower language level will be great resources to other students -- that is also a valuable commodity to the site. I understand that my current ratings would not give me as much weight as say the author of this discussion or of xoviat. But that just proves that my suggestion is not meant to game the system in my favor. :)
That said, I think the weighting should be divisible -- if one user votes for two languages, split his or her vote. 10 languages, etc.
Also, it would be nice if the developers influenced the vote with their preferences -- they have to do the work after all. They should do that by dividing the list into two or three sections: "languages duolingo staff are currently considering"; "languages that would be a stretch for duolingo right now"; and maybe, "languages that we do not foresee offering anytime soon -- but we want to know what our users think." The main benefit of the categories would be to nudge users without shutting down discussion.
Finally, it would be great if votes (1) could be changed and (2) got less "weighty" with age. A person changing his or her vote, for example, after reading comments for and against -- that should be self-explanatory. Also, a person may have voted for Arabic. Then later want to come back and vote for Hebrew. It could happen. And if a person with a huge rating cast a vote and then disappeared for a long time, it would skew the poll to let that person's vote endure at full strength. So the vote ideally would lose strength over time, perhaps accelerating even faster towards zero if a user was off-site for six months or more. When they log back in, and use the site for some amount of time, their vote could regain strength. But this idea also means that old votes would defer to young votes unless they renew.
One poll -- weighted to value dedication and knowledge, discounted for lack of participation.
I think a permanent poll would be the perfect solution. My idea: You can vote for a specific number of languages that you are allowed to change at any time. So the pattern could shift if you change your mind as to what you want your Top Five or Top Ten to be.
This is a great idea. I hope they do it.
I love the permanent poll idea, and all the suggestions for it. It would be great to see what language is in highest demand, because, obviously, Duolingo can't just add any old language they set their sights on. If the ultimate goal is to help as many people as possible with language learning, then Mandarin would probably be a better choice to add than, say, Hmong. A poll would help organize all that.
Also, it would probably attract potential course contributors. Let's say Arabic is in the lead on the poll, and a person who is in fluent in Arabic happens to see that. Well, that could be a huge encourager to them to apply to contribute. I knew it would make me want to apply. And thus, you have another contributor to the (hypothetical) Arabic course, which will help the course to develop faster, which will make all those people who vote for the Arabic course get their wish sooner.
All in all, I think a poll is a wonderful idea. I'd like to see it happen in the near future.