Italics used in Notes - cursive letters
I'm noticing in the notes that when italics is used on a Russian word, we end up with the alphabet in cursive. The issue here is that some of the cursive Cyrillic letters look quite different, and when I'm reading a lesson I'm trying to learn what it is explaining instead of now having to learn cursive for one or two words. Instead of learning what the notes are explaining I find myself caught up in spending more time trying to figure out how the Russian word for "potatoes" is actually spelled. It doesn't help that there seems to be at least 3 ways to write certain letters in cursive, and trying to find even one document through Google that shows the transliteration along with whatever cursive Cyrillic letter manages to match the italic font is a huge pain.
Also, cursive isn't used often enough or consistently enough for one to be learning to read it through Duolingo, so I really wish the notes would avoid italicizing Russian words, which puts them in cursive.
This occurs in the notes for Alphabet, Where, V. Pres. 1, Inf & Like, and Food (I haven't gotten past food yet).
Please report it if you find it anywhere else. I try not to use italics for Russian words (with the obvious exception of the Alphabet skill).
Still, you are wrong to assume that italics is seldom used in Russian.
You could probably copy and paste the text into another window or program to remove the italics. It's a good point you make, but I would also add that italics are used just as frequently in Russian as they are in English, so at some point the learner will have to get accustomed to them. The similarities to cursive are just a bonus.
It is worth getting used to cursive, in my experience most Russians write in some variation of it, and the sooner you learn it the better, if you plan to use the language. Ditto italic, to some extent, because sooner or later you're liable to come across Russian words in italic.
Which is not to say the italics shouldn't be taken out of the notes and tips, but is just an observation :)
I think there are only two really bad letters to mess with you, and those are т and д which end up looking like m and g. Other than that, I don't think it takes much time to figure out for most people, though I do agree having a separate lesson about it or having a reference somewhere might help.
The letter г looks like a backwards s, п looks like n, and и looks like u. They also throw some people off.