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https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724

Immersion Downvoting Experiment

jheavner724
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I did a little experiment in immersion recently. You see, currently I almost exclusively translate Spanish (I'm nearing the end of tier 4 and I began using immersion around last week) and, despite all the horror stories I had heard about immersion downvoting, I had not experienced anything of the kind (in fact, other than the downvotes I'll mention later, I have yet to receive any, despite my hundreds of translations).

So, I decided to test the waters of the other languages. (Note: I have no problem translating in the other Duo languages, but I have been on a bit of a Spanish Duo immersion obsession it seems... perhaps I will start mixing it up soon)

In German, after translating a few small sentences (sometimes just single words), I have yet to receive any votes (up or down) over the last few days, which is fair considering my translations were tiny and nothing special.

In Portuguese I have received a few upvotes and no downvotes, which is fair considering I did some short translations accurately.

In French I have received two upvotes and no downvotes, which is, again, to be expected when only translating a small sentence or two.

BUT, here is the surprise. In Italian I accurately translated a dozen or so sentences and got 18 upvotes, awesome, but I also received 8 downvotes. Why? I do not really know, considering they are all accurate translations. Looking over my edits it seems that someone has a vendetta against me in the Italian immersion section or perhaps is just being a bad sport towards everyone.

For each downvote I received 2.25 upvotes, yet I have zero points in tier 1. This is an issue, especially considering I don't know who wrongfully downvoted my translations and it is obvious that the downvotes were poorly thought out (I have 3 upvotes on most of the translations which this person downvoted).

Sure, I do not currently translate Italian on Duo but I may consider doing it. I would love to have the opportunity, but now I fear that I will never get anywhere and instead good translations will be downvoted.

I do not know why this only seems to occur in the Italian section. I've never been downvoted in the Spanish or French or German or Portuguese sections, only Italian.

I just thought this was worth mentioning. I find it interesting and alarming. Hopefully the Duo team can find a way to fix this issue :)

P.S. Sorry if this is a bit long.

4 years ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kassandra8286
kassandra8286
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I only translate Spanish to English (as you can tell by my lonely little flag), and I suspected way back when all the discussions about downvoting were being posted that it was more prevalent in the other languages, as I almost never see downvotes in Spanish Immersion. Your experiment is interesting. I remember a new user posting about how discouraged she was after receiving several downvotes on an Italian article she translated, even though she is fluent in Italian. What's going on over there?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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I have no idea, honestly. It's disappointing though.

All of the translations I made were accurate (I speak Italian) albeit short, but one person decided to go downvote all of them on one article, for some odd reason.

Hopefully this gets fixed though.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kassandra8286
kassandra8286
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We'll see. A few weeks ago Luis said they were looking at the downvoting issue and considering whether to get keep it or not. Soon after that, they removed the option for a test group (of which I was one). Just this morning I saw that I have it back again. I hope they share the results of their test group experiment with us, along with letting us know any changes they plan to roll out. Right now it's too easy for any of the 15 million users to spuriously downvote people for any reason, or no reason.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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Agreed.

P.S. I was part of the test group too, though I got it back yesterday, and obviously my not having the feature did not stop others from downvoting me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kassandra8286
kassandra8286
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I know - that was a pretty unfair aspect of being in the test group.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joseph2
Joseph2
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It's funny that you say this. My situation is almost identical. I've stuck to Spanish translation because, well, I'm a lot better at it right now. I actually thought downvotes were back in testing mode or something because I'd never even seen a single one since I started actively looking (around Tier 4 or 5; I'm now halfway through Tier 6).

I recently started getting a little more active in French, German, and Italian immersion, generally translating just very basic sentences and words. I'm at Tier 1 in all three, and my situation is the same as yours: all upvotes in French and German. In Italian, I had 65 upvotes yesterday and four random downvotes, knocking my score back to 45. One of the downvotes was for translating "in" to "in". Single word "sentence" in one of those Wikipedia factboxes, no room for interpretation or nuance, nothing. It was just "in" just like all the other "ins" in the same infobox.

Strangely, today I only have 2 downvotes. The "in" downvote was one of the ones removed.

Something I've noticed about the tiers may be a factor. In Spanish there seem to be a lot of people in all the tiers. There are loads of 4's, 5's, 6's. I've even seen a few 7's, but it generally seems to be pretty balanced. In the other languages, I see mostly Tiers 8, 9, and 10, which I don't think anyone has reached in Spanish. It seems like the wider popularity of Spanish translation has probably kept things more level, since I'm sure we all received at least a few downvotes before the tier system was put into place. With the other languages, it seems like a select handful of translators were able to reach the top simply due to the languages' relative unpopularity.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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I honestly didn't even know a tier 7 or higher existed!

This is very possibly the case though. I'm sure there are great translators in all languages (Viaggiatore comes to mind for Italian), but there are unfortunately also very bad translators that have the power to downvote others.

I think there should be stricter policy. I have yet to downvote anything on immersion. The only things I would downvote are cases of spam or Google Translate translations (usually pretty obvious) or something of the sort, but I wouldn't downvote anyone for making an honest mistake (though, if, say, the sentence were "El hombre es muy agradable" and the translation was "The cow said hello", then I may make an exception, considering that is obviously someone who purposely botched the translation or has no clue what he/she is doing).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Markmcopc
Markmcopc
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I am very concerned that down voting serves no useful purpose in practice. I am quite discouraged from translating when downvotes can be handed out so carelessly, and they cost so much. They teach me nothing.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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This seems the same problem someone else encountered in a different thread, and I'll share some of my thoughts from there:

I don't think you should take it personally. The issue is that there are no official guidelines on how to use the "down-vote" button, a sentence could be downvoted because of spam, wrong translations, typos, punctuation, and various other reasons.

Also you should be aware that there are many "ways to skin a cat", from your perspective (and those people) the translation was correct. However, another person may have different views on it, and may know a better way to express the sentence you deem to be correct. In fact there are cases where the majority is wrong. For example, someone in immersion once translated a number as a lot of text (e.g. "1"= "Monkey goes home") and there were people that actually up-voted that translation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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I'm not taking it personally, it is just unfortunate. Also, I specifically chose short, simple translations to avoid the whole issue about which translation is optimal. For example, even the translation "60 cm" to "60 cm" was downvoted (and others like it). So, it was definitely wrongful by any reasonable standard for downvoting that I can think of.

Interestingly enough, the person who downvoted my 8 Italian translations seems to have reverted their votes (though this still puts me at 0 in tier 1, rather than 18).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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I think this is an extreme case, but I may offer a reason why. You purposely chose simple translations and some users don't like that because it may seem as if you are just looking to score points doing easy translations (e.g. putting punctuation). The users may have reverted it because they were afraid of getting reported for abuse or it was a mistake of some sort.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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It's not actually their business to do that, though, is it? The material shows as still to translate if no one tidies up the little corners, which is just annoying to everyone, and if you're a real beginner, the really basic stuff is where you have to start. It's legitimate to do those translations. It is not legitimate to penalise someone for doing so accurately.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alipaulam
Alipaulam
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I've said this before elsewhere, but - apart from the possible existence of a troll or two - I think there may have been a bug with downvoting in Italian. i was regularly getting two downvotes every time I went up a tier, so I'd start off with a - 10 handicap. When Duo introduced the new system where you can see where dowvotes and upvotes occurred, the latest downvotes disappeared (though I didn't get any credit for the previous 2 levels), suggesting that when the programme actually analysed the downvotes, it couldn't find them. I'd already decided that maybe they had been carried forward from previous levels when they should have been cancelled, but in any case I'm happy to see the back of them.

Has anyone else experienced this?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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My downvotes were also revoked (though my tier placement did not get reinstated).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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I'm aware that this is by far not the first time this has been brought up. I just thought it worth mentioning that, despite me making equally as accurate translations in each language, I was only wrongfully downvoted in one .

It's a shame too, considering I was considering beginning to do Italian translations next.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/moogy
moogy
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Perhaps there should be a chance to appeal against down votes you have been given, in a similar fashion to the reporting facility in the learning tree. This may be time consuming but at the moment the Immersion section is vulnerable to unnecessary and even vindictive down voting. However you shouldn't allow yourself to be put off using immersion because given the massive and ever growing amount of articles to translate it's unlikely you'll be treated unfairly on a regular
basis. Good luck and keep translating !!

4 years ago