https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

The duo Sides of Duolingo

I would like to tell you my experiences with Duolingo, and I hope that people will not be too upset or this article will not be deleted, because I am going to shed light on not only the bright aspects of this language course.

The Excitement

I joined Duolingo and were really happy and grateful for being able to learn a language for free, so I tried to give back as much as I could by writing a few helpful essays for users who asked me, gave some tips and made serious and funny comments to make the learing fun and interesting.

The downer

All was good, and I really was looking forward to visit Duolingo daily and enjoying the funny comments in the English section, until I one day decided to do a reverse German course in order to brush up my Spanish. The comments were not funny anymore and I found myself in endless and at times militant discussions about "the right" translation. So I thought: "well, since the German Spanish course is new I will loosen the atmosphere up by throwing in a joke or 2", but a dozent comments disappeared mysteriously until one moderator told me not to joke, stick to the native language and read first if explanations like the example posted above would be necessary, because the Discussion section would be full of such topics. In other words she told me that all my comments were not valuable and later admitted to having deleted all those comments before even giving me a chance to correct my course.

This certainly was the turning-point in which I woke up and my eyes opened slowly to the 2 sides of the coin: Another user saw my problems and told me to be careful, because many people would have had their comments censored, and on top of that once people voted the deleted comments down, they put them up again to make the person look bad.

I didn't want to believe such a "conspiracy theory" until my email-notifications suddenly also stopped working and I realized that this only happened to certain people, so it was personal and not a bug. It took me an entire month of complaining once a week until the notifications were turned on again but without even any explanation or apology which showed me that there is something very fishy going on in the background of Duolingo: If one falls out of favour Duolingo doesn't give you a fair feedback but simply cuts you of on the technical side: From making comment boxes disappear, to turning of the notification bell or mail-notifications, to giving moderators the ability to arbitrary delete what they want - it simply became appearant that there are many more things stored per user than just the visible progress: Pfreferences, likes and dislikes of others, likely comments about that user, and nothing is ever deleted - just made look invisible. My case is by no means an individual case - I saw many here, but they don't even dare to speak out on Duolingo anymore because they all know how monitored all our conversations are. All of them only mailed me their experiences personally.

The research

So I started to surf the web for Duolingo and found out the real reason behind Duolingo: Luis, the creator of Duolingo first developed the captcha recognition which makes a user solve one unscannable word, so he cleverly invented a crowd source method for making millions of users manually correct scanned texts.

The awakening

Good idea ... until for 28 million it became a Google-idea which now uses it not only to scan books but also to store every activity of each IP. Example: You want to contribute in a discussion which might not be "political correct" - as soon as you solve a captcha to comment or download something your IP is logged. Try the same page with a Tor Browser (which cloaks your IP so that you can surf anonymous) and you will not be able to solve the captcha anymore. Google employs the same strategy as Duolingo here: They don't tell you straight forward that they don't accept your IP - instead, they pretend to give you tons of nearly unreadable captchas telling you that you didn't solve the previous one right - until you finally have to give up and use a browser which reveals your true IP. This goes along the lines with Luis saying to Obama that Duolingo checks for 1/10th of a second delay in the user's answer in order to detect how firm someone's vocabulary is. Initially a good thing, would it not be that by now it dawned upon me that we as users are here to make money for Luis through the immersion process:

The emersion from the immersion

Ever wondered why you have this competitive XP-lists when adding friends and why someone gets 10-fold the XPs when contributing to immersion-work? This basically sets you up to "fail" when only learning and "win" wen doing translations for Duolingo. Yes you may say: "but I uploaded my document myself" - true, but in my case I could clearly see how someone is treated if not contributing to given material:

Even though Duolingo collected $90 million if you add all numbers up, {half from it coming from Google}( the entire system is set up in a way that Duolingo only does what is necessary to have control over the backbone, all other work is outsourced to us. "Fair enough" I thought - we get a free course and Duolingo gets a bit of help with the translations, but because I once submitted a document for immersion and others translated it literally overnight I had no chance to even contribute to that document myself and therefore am now excluded from immersion because they simply took my immersion button away and even told me when I asked for it to be reinstated that they would consider that if the community would agree: a clear admittance on their behalf that this was done deliberately and was no bug. But they never reinstalled my button. So my own efforts, writing explanation for Spanish speaking people did not count because Duolingo did not make any money on it. Maybe that is the reason why Duolingo since this year does not upload translated Wikipedia Articles automatically to Wikipedia anymore - maybe there is no money in Duolingo in it.

The next problem is that Duolingo not only makes us translate for them, but wants to save money an all fronts, meaning also on the customer service end, so they "recruit" new moderators by having scanned their value to the Duolingo system: the upvotes, amount of comments, progress, etc... and suddenly some people here found themselves having been made a moderator without even having been asked. What happens now is some weird dynamics in which normal users suddenly see themselves in an new-rich position of power and exercise it for the sake of exercising it. I literally have seen personal revenge being exercised for personal issues like feminism or militant veganism.

So what is my conclusion and recommendation? Despite my negative experiences I want to continue to learn languages with Duolingo, and I do encourage anyone to do the same. But be aware that you are made a tool to fit slick into the system and your personal issues are not wanted here. So "use the force" as it is intended - enjoy your learning without being bothered about what others do: on one hand let the overzealous moderaters feel as if it would be their place and on the other hand: don't attack others who criticize Duolingo - after all not everybody must conform to your own excitement.
All in all: Duolingo can be a great kick-starter and therefore we can be grateful. Yet we don't have to feel obliged to create entire language-courses for them for free, because they make pretty certain to get something out of our immersion and free moderators already. I still help in discussions and I will continue to do so, but I do it for the people here, not to be a "useful idiot" for DL.

And on another last note: Your brain-synapses grow not only with the content, meaning with new languages, but also with new structures, so using the Duolingo structure is great for a while, but then comes the time when another way of learning is also called for. That's how this happens to me:
I am proud that in Germany we currently can help a million refugees in need, so I decided to teach some of them German. So, when writing this, even though I was on a 123 day streak learning Spanish, I might drop out soon because my first student and me started to make a language exchange in which we speak German whilst I am taught the Arabic alphabet and language.
Arabic is a language Duolingo does not offer yet, and it will do me good to learn in different ways, like with such inspiring videos of an Arabic, Hebral and Italian teacher additionally.

Edit:

I am overwhelmed and positively surprised that instead of having gotten tons of downvotes or this post or my account being deleted, There came 45 upvotes within 4 hours and so many interesting and positive comments!
I am grateful to all of you who showed me that after all Duolingo is human and there is a lot of good intention attached to the users and some moderators. My entire post above stands, and I am glad that instead of withdrawing in bitterness I constructively used my "dis-appointment" to "re-search" about the background of Duolingo and therewith re-adjust my position to a more relaxed one, taking things not so personal anymore and on the other hand not feeling obligated to "give" as much "back" as possible, because Duolingo knows how to capitalize on us - a fair deal.

3 years ago

115 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Thank you for sharing all of this. Our goal is to provide free effective education to the world.

We use gaming mechanics to motivate learners. Learning a language is challenging as we all know, and it's our goal to teach you a language effectively and to make it fun at the same time. Many people enjoy the challenge of earning lingots and XP, and we've found that it increases language acquisition.

Comments that aren't relevant to sentence discussions will get deleted. It's so that the thread stays on topic and so that a learner can quickly glance at the sentence discussion and get the most useful info from the thread. There's no conspiracy theory :) All moderators get guidelines and are notified. They normally are asked to become a moderator from other community members or have contributed to a course.

As this project has grown, we've evolved from the original focus of immersion. We're now providing a free platform for over 100k classrooms through Duolingo for Schools. We've created the Duolingo Test Center, which allows people to get certified at 1/10th of the standard price. And over 110 million people are learning for free through this platform. This is all within our mission of more fair access to education.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sgt.Hammer
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Kristine, great comments. Bravo!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thank you very much, Kristine, you literally fulfill the duty of a "moderate-r" ;-)
Where we both agree upon is that the way DL is structured is clever and effective, and by no means am I out to challenge the lingot and XP incentives as such.
And we also agree that: "There is no conspiracy theory", because I never wanted to put one out in the first place - all I did is to point out existing problems which don't seem to be listened to.
Umpteen upvotes indicate that there is some discomfort which likely could be solved if
- There is a proper place to report bugs and issues - this discussion place is a mess - some report here, some there, and it is designed that any complaint or constructive suggestion will fade awayafter two weeks - , washed away by new discussions created.
- The XP-system would be well adviced to be properly adjusted so that pure learners have a chance to compare their results with translators,
- Moderators should not be recruited merely for their value as free helpers, and thrown into the cold water,
because some do exercise their new found power like new-rich people, which can lead in unfortunate circumstances to the impression that "the fish smells from the head" (a German expression to state that the atmosphere of a company is a reflection of the bosses).
What certainly would help a lot is to
- tell moderators to let users know when and why their comments were deleted, and - not to let some Duolingo-employees hide their profile-activities and block responses - therewith acting out of a state of "invincibility".
This inhibits the possibility to clarify misunderstandings.
And if it gets on some people's nerves to deal with repercussions of what they sow, they shoulnd't be moderators in the first place.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
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.

Thank you for the calming effect

Which you promote throughout

Thanks are to all here involved

Smile with a lesson and a doughnut

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Initially I was very happy with your friendly response, but after 2 months it dawned upon me that I was somehow dissatisfied with your sentence: "There's no conspiracy theory :)"

You meant to say that there is "no conspiracy", but your freudian slip "conspiracy theory" , made it look like you meant to degrade and marginalize me into the "suspicious nutter-corner". Your additional smiley unfortunately gave it a condescending note (which I am certain you didn't intend, because in my eyes you do a great job in serving the DL comunity).

I never intended to put up a conspiracy theory, but a clear research and analysis where Duolingo comes from and that the (certainly in a lot of ways constructive) mindset of Luis van Ahn is reflected in the sense of power of unpaid crowd-sourced moderators.

There is a back and a front of calming down people: Most of the time it is an admirable act of empathy, yet it can also suffocate acts of investigative journalism by ridiculing unorthodox and inconvenient researches,
which in turn provides the most fertile ground for real conspiracies to be established.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hyllning

Thank you for this Kristine :)

Congrats and great thanks to you and the whole Duolingo Team!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Are you going to ban me for being critical of the way I have been treated by the moderators? That happens a lot doesn't it? But maybe it isn't the right thing to do.

I upvote my own posts because of downvote trolls.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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The techs have not made you a target. There are 100,000,000 users. And a staff of somewhere around 50 people running everything. The techs simply don't have enough time to pick on people.

As for the sentence discussions, getting your jokes deleted wasn't personal, it was standard procedure. It is standard because of 100,000,000 users, there are a lot of jokers and off purpose comments in forums that were created to serve a specific function. There are so many of these off purpose comments that in the past I've cleaned a single sentence discussion and it took me 2 hours. I could not possibly have had a conversation with that many people. It's not about you, it is about keeping the forums functioning against a tide of people who are not multiplying their own impulses by 100,000,000 to imagine what the impact must be.

Edit: Another user gave the feedback that:
"Abusive moderators and Poor user support/feedback are the most disappointing aspects of Duolingo."

If anyone feels that they are being abused by a moderator, please email Abuse@duolingo.com. In the subject line, write: Attention Kristine, regarding [moderator username]. You'll want to attach a screenshot of the abuse as proof. Here are instructions for how to attach a screenshot. Also include a written description of the situation.

As for support, see the first portion of my comment.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

What you wrote, Usagiboy, (and I am referring to the first part of your message before your quarrels with CretinClearwater1) write makes sense to me: From a mere logistical point of view this is much to much work to cater for needs of individuals on such a large website.

Yet I would like to insist on the issue that moderators are too quickly elevated into their position not necessarily having the maturity to handle each case adequate. One solution for example could be to hand them out a short explanation of why comments are deleted which then could be send to any user at the first deletion of a comment. If I would have gotten such a notification stating that this is nothing personal, I would have not felt strange for 6 weeks not wanting to "feel paranoid".

I am seriously not convinced anymore that my mail-notification-fault for an entire month was only a bug - it all happened in strange coincidence with unexplained moderator-behaviour, plus my imersion button still does not work anymore and it does not make sense to me why this should happen to only some users and others not. I used to program myself and if there is a but it usually hits everyone but not only some.

However, thank you for your answer - I will do what I myself can to contribute to the solution, and work on my end not to take such issues so personal.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duonks
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Regarding strange things happening to some users and not others, they could well simply be "A/B tests": duo is continously evolving by testing tweaks on random subsets of users for certain lengths of time and comparing the responses against the rest. :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

You have a good point there.
Yet I can not see the value in mail-notifications, input-fields, or the imersion-button being deactivated, because there is nothing to be learned from.

(Impressive Streak and array of languages btw you learned )

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
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Repying here as we are out of room on your comment below....

I'm not saying that it's not possible that they have cut off some of your features because someone is upset with you, but quite frankly it just seems unlikely. The staff at Duolingo more than have their hands full trying to keep up with the company's expansion, and try to turn a great free service into something that actually turns a profit for them. Unless you did something really bad (and I've seen some pretty bad trolls in my time here) I don't see why they would waste any time on you. The bad trolls that I have seen just have their accounts entirely disabled.

As far as I am aware, although moderators can delete comments (and we have already discussed why they would do that) they don't have any other 'powers' to disable features on other people's accounts. Again, most moderators are good people, volunteering their spare time to keep the forums clean for us. I can't imagine any of them having the time or inclination to mess around with people's accounts. Like us, they are here to learn languages, but they also volunteer their extra time to help the site. Most people like that are not the kind of people to get into petty squabbles.

I have seen some people (not yourself) claiming that moderators have some kind of campaign going against them. Honestly, I think some of those people have an overinflated sense of their own importance, and the moderators here just want to get on with their job of keeping the forums clean without constantly being hassled for it.

I do completely agree with you about our data being used and analysed for the purposes of improving Duolingo, and for the owners to make a profit out of us. Sometimes there have been so many A/B tests going on and features stopping and starting that one feels like a guinea pig. However, that's just the price we have to pay for getting to use this site for free. I just think it's more that we are part of a mass how-do-people-learn-and-how-can-we-make-money-out-of-it experiment (and fair enough too, they have put a lot of work and money into it) than that we are being controlled, picked on or used individually.

Good luck with your language learning, I genuinely hope your issues are just bugs and are sorted out soon.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thanks, that makes sense what you say.
Yet I am still glad that I did the research to find out where Luis and therewith Duolingo is coming from, so I do have a clearer picture about where I am in right now.
Especially the feedbacks and replies gave me a good "feel" for what is real and how human the community here is.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
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You are correct that there would be no value in that, but I have seen this happen with other users as a genuine bug.

I've seen multiple people complain that their notifications suddenly stop for no reason. I think Duolingo can just be a bit buggy sometimes. Hardly surprising really, when you consider the size of their userbase against the tiny number of staff they have.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

I see your points of both comments and I appreciate that you want to see rather the good and not focus on potential "conspiracies". Maybe you are right.
My goal of this article was more to express the strange feelings I gathered within the last 2 months - you know - the moment before you realize that something fishy might be going on - when you doubt yourself if you maybe didn't make those comments you suddenly didn't see anymore, or if all technical glitches were only bugs.

It was more that one thing came to another leading up to a strange picture and then I made further reasearch which confirmed that Luis is very good in "immersing" people to work for him for free, whether it were the captchas or now DL. I don't critizise him for being clever - after all if people don't play it is somehow fair that we all pay in a different way - here with either immersion or the certificates, in Google, Youtube & Facebook with our data for the gov.

All I would like to do is for people to be clear and awake about what they are getting into - I myself am likely to continue Duolingo for as long as I get something out of it - and am even happy to buy a certificate of them to give something back. I also am happy to help anyone here to give something to the community. But by now I know that there are also some drawbacks to this crowdsourcing method and if I don't feel well anymore I might reduce my visits here.

On a closing note: it is important not to spoil it for enthusiasts like you - as I see you also have an impressive streak, funny profile and vast array of aquired language-competences, so I think you are a valuable asset to the Duolingo community and wish you that you enjoy yourself here for a long time :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry that you felt put off. At this time, it is not possible to message each person. We do not have enough time.

As for not receiving notifications, moderators do not have anything on our tool consoles to affect a person's notifications.

As for Immersion, there is currently an A/B test running that disables Immersion for some users. I don't know why they are running this test.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thanks for shedding some light on the immersion-test. This is weird and it unfortunately the tech-team which I complained about this twice did not fill me in on your knowledge. Instead they gave me strange instructions what I should do to reactivate the button when in fact they could have done it with a mouseclick.

After having had day-long discussions (on how links in forums could be opened simply in a new window in order to avoid people loosing their progress, for example) I think I put enough effort into Duolingo and simply chose not to bother with immersion (and other technical glitches any longer) for as long as it is deactivated.

Now that I try not to take things so personal anymore the other side of the coin is also for me not to get too involved to deeply anymore and take this (admittedly valuable) learning-system "as is".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
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I can see why you would wonder what was happening if a whole bunch of your comments got deleted.

From Duolingo's side, I do understand why they would delete what they consider a bunch of 'spam' which is clogging up sentence discussions. On the other hand, I personally find it fun when I am slogging through a hard part of the course, get to a funny sentence, and someone has added a witty comment. It lightens the load a bit, and makes it feel like there are a whole bunch of us in this together, trying to learn a language and have a bit of fun at the same time.

I think a lot of problem with the sentence discussions, and why they sometimes crack down on comments, is that people just post without reading through what is already there. Sometimes, in some of the older courses like French, a funny comment will have 50+ upvotes. That's 50+ people who had a bit of a laugh, and their language course was made more fun by that comment. Conversely, I've also seen the same question asked and then quite clearly answered 10 or more times, which to me is just sheer laziness in expecting an answer to be spoonfed to you, and not even bothering to read what someone has already made the effort to explain.

Doing some of the new courses (like French from Italian), you can almost hear the tumbleweed blowing through, the discussions are that empty. I think comments which lighten the mood a bit add to the experience and should be allowed, but it should be made much clearer to people that they should read the sentence discussions before repeating the same questions and comments over and over.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

I totally agree with everything you have said !

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LiKenun
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I make comments of both kinds. Sometimes when a sentence is unremarkable as a learning aid, I post a witty comment instead. Other times, I post about etymology and grammar.

I suspect that at times, there can be hordes of regular users who are just militant about downvoting things that offend them (for pretty trivial reasons) such as on the Vietnamese course where a new comment on etymology sino-Vietnamese vocabulary draws exactly 5 downvotes on average in the span of a day—likely from the same group. They have the effect of hiding content that would be useful to other multilingual users who have the advantage of knowing Chinese, Korean, or Japanese in addition to English.

It was also only on the Vietnamese course that, I too, saw the other side of Duolingo. I have not had problems elsewhere. Herds of users that anonymously downvote things into oblivion are downright hostile to other learners and the people who take the time to share knowledge.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Did you see Usagiboy7 and a couple friends try to troll me in this thread? When I told them to stop making personal attacks against me, my account was blocked. Usagiboy7 is also associated with voting with multiple accounts to alter discussions.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Dear Cretin - since the many comments of yours indicate that you are troubled I will come over to your profile (in order not to clock up this discussion with personal issues); share my empathy with you, and how I managed to outmaneuver similar predicaments you are in right now.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Moderator usagiboy7 is bullying me in this thread. He had a couple friends try to troll me with personal attacks, but it made him and his friends look worse, so he deleted my comments and my account.

Abusive moderators and poor user support/feedback are the most disappointing aspects of Duolingo. It was necessary to delete my account because Usagiboy7 is one the abusive moderators I am referring to. He does hold grudges and abuse her authority regularly. It has lowered the quality of my experience on Duolingo to interact with him and the gang of trolls who upvote him and attack anyone with criticism.

Duolingo does not promptly respond to offers to contribute courses or genuinely good ideas submitted to them. But Usagiboy7 would like you waste your time sending the same people complaints about the volunteers why they allow to be abusive here. Why? They have already received many complaints about you Usagiboy7. Why do you tell people to waste their time writing reports that will not have any effect?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/68dustin

Please stop being rude to Usagiboy7.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

I think this is the 6th personal attack against me in this thread so far. Thanks.

My posts have been deleted in this post without notice or explanation because Usagiboy7 does not like my opinions, not because they are offensive. The Usagiboy7 character is bullying me in this thread. Did you see any of that? What the OP is talking about, Usagiboy7 is doing here in this thread.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
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Having seen some of your behaviour on the forum, I'm gobsmacked you can be remotely surprised some of your comments get deleted.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Thank you for another personal attack. I am only agreeing with the OP that the moderators are abusive at times. Attacking opinions they disagree with but that do not contain any offensive content.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
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It's not a personal attack, it's an observation of fact. I've seen you in several discussions, and in not one of them have I seen you make a positive contribution, and in several of them I've seen you being obnoxious and rude.

If you behave like a jerk, people will treat you like a jerk. If you aren't rude, offensive and unhelpful - if instead you are polite, helpful and friendly - then you wouldn't find yourself the subject of "personal attacks" (air quotes very much intended).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bersalon
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Um, Cretin, Flootzavut does not act like a jerk. Have you taken the time to check out his profile? He's very helpful and friendly.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stephenbal4
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Cretin is a troll and we should quit feeding it. It signed up 7 days ago and tested out of 23 skills in Spanish (presumably for credibility among the community). It then proceeded to "learn" one more skill. From then on, it jumped on the forums and complained with "woe is me, the sky is falling". It has never done another lesson, and its streak is at 0.

I am fully certain that this is a troll, and there is no reason for us to engage it in pleasantries.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

You act like a jerk and are not treated like a jerk flootzavut. That is not the way things work here. You are a troll and part of a group of trolls who attempt to disrupt discussions. I am not trying to be friends with you or impress you. You and other trolls and moderators have attacked me and my opinions. I continue to express my opinions.

Now I am asking you stop trying to make personal attacks against me. It was boring the first time.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/erykzim

We heard you the first twelve times.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Because, while I am being attacked by troll friends of Usagiboy7, he is deleting my non-offensive comments too. It is not fair to call someone repetitive if they are being silenced. My non-offensive opinions are silenced and I am exposed to personal attacks because of abusive moderation. Which is a central theme in the original post.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Latcarf
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"he is deleting my non-offensive comments too" So you admit writing offensive comments? Why are you surprised to be banned then?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

I am not surprised at all. I said that abusive moderation is one of the most disappointing things about Duolingo. I have not written an offensive comment today or in this post, and I am new. I am not surprised at all that Usagiboy would attack my account, at the same time his friends were trolling me with personal attacks. That is what the OP is complaining about too.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/G.I._Joe

I thought Duolingo gave up on supporting Immersion and considering it a serious source of income a year ago.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Mod
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They've started making English proficiency tests at a much discounted price. There is more information in This article

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Usagiboy7 is claiming that by using his name in discussions I am harassing him. That is why he can ban me. I mention his name when I disagree with him so that people what I am talking about. Usagiboy7 convenientely construes this as harassment and uses the guidelines to get rid of another critical voice.

It is amazing how much of the harassment on this site is discovered by Usagiboy7 against himself, which allows him to take action against the "harasser, troll, bad person etc..." it should be a joke. But he has abused so many people this way for so long no one laughs. He has troll friends without any sense of humor like him show up to insult you while he waits for an excuse to attack your account.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stapmoshun
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they* also why reply to their comment talking about how they "harass you"? theyre talking about duolingo making proficiency tests. :\

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

he/she/it has behaved very aggressively towards me for expressing criticism.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Because he/she/it was deleting my posts at the time, you see me complaining about that don't you? Probably 10 comments were deleted when I wrote this, many of the comments asked why I was being treated like my opinions are worthless, but those are gone too now.

Like I told a user below, it is not fair to call someone repetitive or off-topic when their original on-topic comments are being silenced.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheQueenZerelda

Screen shots, bro. If you are going to make accusations, you need evidence.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stapmoshun
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scroll down and you'll see that they said "If anyone feels that they are being abused by a moderator, please email Abuse@duolingo.com. In the subject line, write: Attention Kristine, regarding [moderator username]. You'll want to attach a screenshot of the abuse as proof." if you feel like this is happening to you, then go ahead and do that.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pawsycuddles

Yes, I agree with @Lapis9001.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

Stop bullying me. My opinions are protected by the guidelines.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/68dustin

If you feel you are being abused by a User, a Moderator, or an Admin, contact Duolingo at Abuse@Duolingo.com.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bersalon
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I'm not sure which guidelines you are using, since the ones I use are the Duolingo guidelines. Could you please show me where yours are?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hyllning

Here are the Guidelines.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bersalon
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Yes, I was just using that as a way to say that the guidelines don't support his opinions. I was saying that he is using his own guidelines to judge.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hyllning

Nice! 207 Lingots given! o-o I'm jealous.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

207-0-0 = 27, right?
So to ease your jealousy I give you 27 ling0ts

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hyllning

Haha stephenbal4! XD

100000 - 0 = 1, right? Here's 1 Lingot!

XD

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

2 thinks are strange: - your name changes back and forth from The-Mockingjay to Hyllning (it should change globally, not in the same threat) Do you use one from the web and one from your phone?
And the second thing:
- "Rosencross" below also got the mystery-sum of 207 lingots. I wonder who did hit the lingot button 207 times or what went wrong ^^

Edit: Since we can't reply at such a deep level of chat anymore I sum up the solutions:
The-Mockingjay changed his nam back to Hyllning and something went wrong with the programming, so it sometimes shows this, or that name, so he told Kristenmc about it.
And about the 207 lingots: Bersalon & Rosencross are brothers and played a practical joke upon themselves ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hyllning

Aw. Thanks germano_germino, you didn't have to! ^-^

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stephenbal4
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100000 lingots? I'm jealous!

;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stephenbal4
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Loool. Thanks for the lingot :).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rosencross

Practical joke; I gave 207 of Bersalon's lingots (I know his password) to myself. After the joke was over I gave them back. Case closed.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CretinClearwatr1

We are not friends, you have made a few personal attacks, I would like you to stop bothering me. You are not helping me to learn anything or discuss any relevant issues.

@WinAR6 This post involves claims of moderator abuse. I am agreeing with the OP that it is a problem. I am not begging you to believe me. I am angry that Usagiboy7 is abusing his powers on this forum to bully me and other users who express opinions that are non-offensive, but that she personally disagrees with.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WinAR6
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Comments like this are what bug most people. Your accusation towards Usagiboy7 is making it seem a bit like you are the one bothering him. It also kind of makes the comments section unpleasant.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mikethin

Seriously dude, how many accounts do you have? I know that other people are not generating all of your upvotes and people who disagree with you's downvotes.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KOokey_Pokey

so... ur saying duolingo is a bit evil and a bit amazing?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

The short answer is: yes,
but I think that is what happens most of the time in the world, so this is not terrible
- as Miss Thorson above said: "There are always sides to the story". Every person and institution has them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KOokey_Pokey

thank u

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissThorson

This is very good, thank you for posting this. There are always two sides to the story. You did the research that none of us thought to do, or maybe I'm just speaking for myself. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thank you Miss Thorson - I am glad to find an open minded person in you who is willing to see both sides of the coin
Maybe this is a female virtue (or the result of the motive in your profile, which I like :).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissThorson

You're welcome. :)

Thank you! Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I would like to think it's the result of the motive in my profile. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/erykzim

This is a great website for learning languages, and this tin-foil-hat thread is not going to change anything, thankfully.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Yes: I stated a few times above: this is a great site for learning languages.

And No: I am neither a tinfoil hat, nor inclined to start a mokey-war with you here on the basis who degrades the other one better.

Instead I'd rather reach out to the hearts of people who are in the process of establishing an own decision in order for us to see many facets of this issue.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rosencross

A very well written article; although I knew that Dou made money off of Immersion, I did not quite put together why one would get so much more XP for translating. Thanks for investigating thoroughly and informing the rest of us.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thanks so much "Rosenkreuzer"! I am so glad that my first feedback is positive and was surprised to see 8 upvotes within 15 minutes already, because I was scared that I only would get "baracked" or maybe even this article or my account would be deleted.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
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Well, that's certainly interesting reading. I do believe though, that Duolingo are not making any money out of immersion, and they have had some legal issues with it in Europe.

In fact, most new languages coming in now don't even have an immersion option.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vytah
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Incubator-made courses, like German for Spanish speakers, do not have immersion, that's probably why your immersion button is missing.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thank you - now that was a very valuable information - have a lingot :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankenstein724
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Others have alluded to this, and I could have made it a comment on any of theirs, or just posted a new comment altogether, but I'll post it here. This is only meant to reinforce what others have said.

While, on the one hand, DL doesn't make some big announcement when you sign up that they benefit off of your translations, it is absolutely no secret either. You can find the TED talk online of the creator of DL, back when it was still relatively brand new, talking at length about his vision of translating all of the web into as many languages as possible. People could learn languages for free, and provide a great service for it all at the same time. So, them "making us tools" sounds a little bit more pejorative than they really deserve.

On the other hand, that was a few years ago now and, as others have mentioned, the translation vision has more or less completely fallen from their business model. AFAIK, there are only about 5 or so languages (out of the many, many languages) that have immersion going in either/both directions. IIRC, none of the courses that grew in the incubator (which is a majority of them now) have the immersion option and no plans are made to add the ability.

EDIT: I'm now actually watching the video you posted. The one I watched is actually from closer to when it was launched. As a tangent, it is interesting that he still claims that Rosetta Stone costs between $500 and $1000. I don't have any opinion on the program itself (I've never used it), but they seem to have a sale more often than they don't...to the point where if you are paying more than $300 for a full course, you are doing something wrong.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
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Translation isn't DLs business model any more - hasn't been for a while, sine they started the testing center - and in any case very few articles ever fell int that category anyhow. Most were from EN other language, and those are identified with a "sponsored" banner identifying them as paid work.

Most of the (rather poor) translations done here are by users and just for fun. I find it super helpful with my Italian reading studies, but have no illusions it's of any use or possible good to anyone but me.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/frankenstein724
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I'm aware of this. I specifically mentioned a couple of things that you mentioned.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thanks, you make sense. For anyone reading this:
This is the video Frankenstein was talking about

I do take your informations seriously and am in the process of preparing an answer which takes all valuable informations people like you or KristineMC on this site here said.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Krinadoodle
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Very enlightening. I didn't do anything to deserve Duo wrath, though, and yet my notifications aren't working. Is this a glitch?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/erykzim

For me, it takes about five minutes for a notification to happen.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Krinadoodle
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Huh. Well, I didn't get a notification of your comment. I used to get notifications of replies.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

This is of course difficult now to asses whether this is done to you deliberately or a technical glitch. I was not certain about it for 2 months and only after careful research did I write this article because 3 factors played in hand in hand - on one hand the deliberate deletions of my comments (which a moderator admitted to), then the mailnotification issue at the same time, and now my immersion button is gone and I was told that they consider putting it back - which in itself is an admittance of Duolingo switching it of deliberately. I was never a troll or a terrible user who would have deserved it like you.

All I can say, go with your female intuition but don't let any suspicions let the fun of learning be spoiled for you. Submit a bug report here and hopefully all will turn out for the best in the end. Good luck! ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
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I also had a problem with receiving emails from Duolingo, but it was fixed when I switched my account's email address.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thanks, that is good to know, next time something like this happens to me ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pawsycuddles

I'm glad you gained positive feedback, we need to take a stand to this bias that Duo seems to have. But on a happier note, I can safely say that Duolingo is the best language learning app out there and therefore will continue my language studying here.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Thanks, and I totally agree with you. And kudos for being a language-front liner : grown up in the UK and living in France now !

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stephenbal4
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In regards to the moderators deleting comments, the moderators in one of my languages do that too.. I think it's left up to the moderators to control commenting as they see fit, and there's probably even less jurisdiction for the courses with no English in them. I wouldn't worry too much about that part.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

I agree with you and not being too involved anymore - it is just nervewrecking when some people hit on you merely for not subscribing to their opinion in life - in one case it was a hard-core vegan and in the other case a hardcore feminist whose wrath I reaped by mildly joking about that no hearts are won over when being exposed to their harsh opinions of what is "good" or "bad".

The joke being that their censorship of my "off-topic" jokes was based on their personal issues which are not related to language-learing at all.
In my opinion this is where Duolingo neglects to train their moderators before throwing them into the cold waters of responsibility - all due to the clever exploitation of free work. Would they have payed their moderators there likely would have been a more responsible approach, because payed people don't have to exercise their newly gained power at the expense of users for they are already properly compensated for their work.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stephenbal4
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It is true that volunteering gives you greater control over your actions, but Duolingo is possible because they crowd-source knowledge and do so in exchange for free learning. I for one hold Luis in high regard. Without him, I wouldn't know Swedish or German. I can't walk into a neighbor's home who has willingly invited me in and then complain that his furniture is not as nice as I was hoping it would be.

I wouldn't bother too much with the "hardcore vegan" and "hardcore feminist". People of all walks of life are on here, and many can and do express and attempt to enforce their views. They're not all going to line up with yours. That doesn't mean they're right, and it doesn't mean you're right.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

All is right in what you say, and would we all be machines you would be absolutely right.
However there is another aspect to the entire discussion here:
People have feelings and if something is set up to merely work as a machine some souls feel left out if they are squeezed into an efficient system.

I personally will take your advice into consideration and work on my sensitivities, but that doesn't mean that we can neglect more fragile souls who thrive by expressing themselves in a community.

So in a way we can agree - we both can't claim the whole truth for ourself, because the story has multiple facets. I do appreciate your side of the story and especially how differentiated you told it to us. Thanks.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CodyORB
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Wierd

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Well, these are just my impressions after having felt strange for 2 months and having done some research. I would recommend to you to simply let those informations sink in and at a later stage you will form your own opinion about everything.
It's a 2-sided coin and there is no "good" or "bad" about it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CodyORB
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Ok... I still don't get it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

Ok, I see, but may I ask:
What exactly is it that I didn't convey to you clear enough?
Feel free to ask, I am happy to answer - that's what we are here for.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CodyORB
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I read the post a bit closer and now I see

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rmac13

Hmmm

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/buenotc
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@german, como un usuario k he pasado mucho tiempo aquí, puedo decir k sentimos tu dolor. Es como en el matrix, hay unos k sepan la realidad y hay otros k no. Gracias por tu voluntad. Eres mi héroe :).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/germano_germino

AWW, ¡MUCHAS GRACIAS! (Si serías una mujer serías mis Trinity ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KOokey_Pokey

well! this certinately have been the longest post i ever read!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CodyORB
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You are not supposed to place jokes in the sentence forums

3 years ago

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