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https://www.duolingo.com/El_Mercielago

[Feature Request] Buy Back or Win Back a Streak

Hello fellow DL'ers,

I'm still relatively new to DL and truly enjoying my time here learning a new language. But I'm beginning to see certain flaws in its design. The Streak feature for example is a nice ego boost. It's a sign that you're active and committed to learning a new language. But having won and lost my streak several times now for no other reason than life's circumstances I have felt the sting of discouragement that undoubtedly many of you have felt as well. So what I've done below is try to identify a few ways the system can be improved to help users restore their streaks without making it a 'give away' (keeping meaning to the streak) and with maintaining the integrity of the learning process.

First I need to point out the flaw in Streak Freeze. Streak Freeze was a good idea that allows some reprieve for life to supersede a lesson every now and then. But it's not retroactive. The user has to know before hand that they are not going to be able to access the site. The problem of course is that we often don't know that we aren't going to be able to access the site. So we need a similar feature that's more robust to life's all-too-often chaotic circumstances.

I propose one of the following two features... A streak Buy Back feature and a Win Back feature. Keep in mind that these are mutually exclusive and my suggestion is to implement one or the other, not both.

The Buy Back option would replace the Streak Freeze option in the Lingot Store. Just like Streak Freeze it would cost 10 Lingots, but the cost would increase by 10 Lingots for every day of inactivity. For instance if you are one day behind then the Buy Back cost would be 10 Lingots. If you were 4 days behind the Buy Back cost would be 40 Lingots and so forth. The Buy Back might be limited to a certain max number of days or it might be limited only by the number of Lingot's one posses. In either case it would offer a retroactive return to your streak thus being fairer to life's circumstances and allowing for that flexibility that Streak Freeze does not offer.

Alternatively the Win Back feature would work passively through XP. We wouldn't actually see this feature appear by name anywhere in the interface. Simply put, for every day you are inactive and don't use Streak Freeze, your XP requirement becomes a multiple of your daily goal. For instance, if your daily goal is 40XP and you lose a day then your goal increases to 80XP (2 times your goal). If you are inactive a second day then your goal increases to 120XP (3 times your goal) and so forth. You must meet this new goal in order to restore your streak. The reason I like this idea is because it gives you the opportunity to do one full day of work to make up for each day lost, thus it's perfectly fair. You would still lose your streak if you did not complete the new goal required on the day you were active because obviously we still need a condition when your new streak will begin.

We know that emotional influences affect learning and anything we can do to encourage positive emotion without sacrificing the integrity of the learning process is only going to benefit students. Streaks are a great way to engender that kind of positive emotion. But the system has to allow for a certain amount of flexibility both from the perspective of a day-to-day student and as an active working adult. Streak Freeze alone doesn't do that.

So now I want to know what you guys think. Please post your thoughts. :)

2 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson
jimnicholson
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You can buy a streak freeze and it just sits there until it is used. You do not need to know exactly when you will be unavailable beforehand.

However, a streak repair might be a good idea. Though perhaps as a pay option, say $3.99? It would be quite a good business model! Might even pay for the whole site. [I realise this might be an unpopular idea]

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anitramwaju
anitramwaju
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Good to know :-) If I had known that earlier I probably wouldn't have lost my 70 days streak one of those days described by El_Mercielago when I didn't know in advance I wouldn't have even the time to go to the site to buy a streak freeze (which I did only once since I am on Duolingo)…

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson
jimnicholson
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The main problem is that I have never seen a warning that it has been used.

Sometimes it is obvious that you have missed the deadline, but sometimes perhaps not. I do the double or nothing, so that at least once a week I go to the store and see that my streak freeze is still in place.

Note: I also go check in the store, if I have any doubt in my mind that I met my target.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Mercielago

That's a good pro-tip regarding the Streak Freeze. Thank you.

As a developer myself I am not opposed to micro transactions. But just glancing at the jobs page I get the impression that DuoLingo is having no problem obtaining funding and/or monetizing their products.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimnicholson
jimnicholson
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Funding yes, if you mean venture capital, but monetising? I can't imagine merchandising or immersion bring in much money. I have no idea how the test centre is doing. I hope that is working out for them. Certainly certified testing seems to be the model that many educational sites (especially MOOCs) are going for now.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ObsessedWithCats

I think earning back a streak is a good idea. It would invert the situation where someone loses a long streak and loses motivation to continue, instead encouraging harder work to catch up.

Additionally, doing a super-quick hover-cheat-all-the-answers lesson on a day when I have no time would be less effective than leaving it until the next day and doing it properly.

I don't like the idea of buying back a streak though I can see why Duolingo might XD

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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I think a Buy Back feature (if implemented at all) should go up arithmetically, e.g. 10 lingots for one day, 10+20 = 30 lingots for two days, 10+20+30 = 60 lingots for three days, 10+20+30+40 = 100 lingots for four days, and so on.

To make longer Buy Backs more "expensive" and thus creating a smaller incentive to let the failed streak grow.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulguk
paulguk
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If you miss a day you're not practising; it's fine as it is.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Mercielago

I think you've missed the point. The fact that I didn't practice yesterday is not in question. It's the reason I didn't practice that is the issue. We're often faced with uncontrollable circumstances. The only mitigation in place for these circumstances is the Streak Freeze.

Now, granted, I did not know that the Streak Freeze could be "equipped". I thought it was something that applied automatically the next day after it was purchased.

The solution now may not be to implement a new feature but to simply improve the Streak Freeze description so that its functionality is more clear.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulguk
paulguk
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I haven't missed the point. Yes, some people have busy lives and can't practise; although it only takes 10 minutes a day to get 10XP. IMO there's no need to change. Being able to buy a streak devalues it somewhat. As an educator, although not a linguist, I know that a student who always completes assignments on time is better than one who buys credits (and, yes, it is possible).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

And if I miss work because my car broke down or I was sick I still missed work, someone had to make up for my absence, and I will not get paid. If I did not show up for a dentist appointment, I did not show up, plain and simple. Even if I think if I have a good excuse/reason/explanation I can't "fix things" retroactively. That is the way most of the world works.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ObsessedWithCats

Those jobs and situations are that way by necessity, because other people are depending on us - the only necessity for us to appear each day is the one generated by way Duolingo is set up. No one depends on us here - why shouldn't Duolingo be like the kind of job you can make up for lost time on?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulguk
paulguk
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The whole point is to practice everyday which, I think, is more effective than doing a lot say once a week. The streak, in its present form, develops a habit, which is why I like it. Change it and it's not really a streak at all. You can make up for time on XPs.

2 years ago