https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Vote yes/no for improvised FAQ sticky-note

Usagiboy7
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Users have asked me to periodically make new discussions for
New User FAQ http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1426103
or
Guide to Duolingo Guides http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1278938
because at this time, there is no way to permanently stick them to main General Discussion forum page. (I personally really enjoy making and maintaining guides, so, I'm glad staff hasn't taken over this bit.So, it's not necessarily a bad thing!)

Making the same post more than once is generally frowned on in our community, seen as spamming and cluttering the forum. So, I can't do something like that without asking all of you.

Alt text

  • Writing "No" means you do not want me to make new posts for either of the Discussions "New User FAQ" or "A Guide to Duolingo Guides". Please include:
    1. Why you do not support reposting a guide.
    2. Any criticism of the idea so that other community members can thoroughly consider how they want to vote.

  • Writing "Yes" means you want me to make new posts for either the "New user FAQ" or "A Guide to Duolingo Guides" Include:
    1. Which guide you want reposted (Chose only one).
    2. How often you want it reposted (I will not consider requests to post it more than once a week).
    3. Why you feel that this would be a good use of our Discussion area.

So I can follow people's replies to one another more easily, please write @username if you are replying to someone specific. Let's keep this a respectful, constructive conversation.

You can change your vote as many times as you want from now until 5pm next Thursday.

Notes:
1. I won't be counting up-votes as yeses, because some people up-vote even if they disagree, so long as they feel a Discussion is valuable in some way.(Feel free to upvote though, so this discussion can stay visible for a while!!)
2. If the majority vote is "yes" I won't be erasing the original copies of these discussions, but, I will be deleting all subsequent copies to make way for each new copy, so they don't clutter the search bar searches.
3. I might be making a few cosmetic changes to this OP. I always think of things after hitting "post" :P

4 years ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Vorarlberg

No.

1 - If someone has a question, link them to your original post. The majority of users seem to be unwilling or unable to do a search. Reposting anything would be pointless. It would just disappear again in a week. Reposting every week = spam, regardless of content.

2 - While I have read/seen your guides and the immersion guideline (and appreciate the effort behind them all), Duo should be on this themselves.

3 - As for the immersion guidelines (which you didn't mention specifically, but they are in your guideline guidelines), again, I appreciate the effort, and I agree with almost all (if not all) of the points made in them, and I follow them (not because of the guideline, but because that's my general practice), but I find it mildly unsettling that a user created guideline is being used as a "bible" of sorts (even if some of the content comes directly from Duolingo/Luis). I'm not sure how to express this properly. If Duolingo wanted us to follow guidelines, they should release an official immersion guideline. I constantly see linking or referring to this user created guideline (that was put together by <=141 people based on the comment count) without any mention that it is unofficial. Perhaps at least a change to the title would suffice? "Suggested Immersion Community Guidelines"? "Unofficial Immersion Community Guidelines"? I still don't feel like I'm expressing my disagreement properly, so I'll leave it there. Again, I like the content of the guideline, but I find it's use as the guide very misleading.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
wazzie
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I'm going to comment on this, because this has been bothering me for a while too. I really do appreciate all the work you put into these guides Usagi, but if I was being completely honest, I don't always like them.
I remember reading early on someone (and it may have been you) saying something along the lines of, "DL hasn't told me to stop, so they must support/agree with me (someone) making these". I don't necessarily agree. DL likes to be hands-off, so if a user makes guide, they are not going to delete it unless it goes against their TOS, but that doesn't mean the approve of them, or even think they are a good idea.
I understand that everyone gets tired of writing the same thing to new users again and again, but I think people now rely on these way too much. In a recent example, on this comment http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1512418$comment_id=1513342, Usagi linked two separate Guide post to answer a question which literally could be answered in a single sentence. It just frustrates me. I like the idea of community, and I see post that just link to other post passive-aggressive, especially if it is a simple answer. I don't know. I've been considering making a post about this in general, but I really like you Usagi, and don't want to create drama, but I think it has gotten out of hand.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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I do agree that Duolingo has a hands-off approach, but the guides themselves are handsoff. Perhaps at the time UsagiBoy7 was not a moderator when that statement was made. But now Usagiboy7 is a moderator, whether you or I or anybody likes it or not , the actions of a moderator reflects on Duolingo too. So, in my opinion, at this point in time anything that a moderator does is to a certain extent scrutinized more than a regular user by the community manager, and perhaps other staff members.

In other words, if the guides were something they dislike they would probably indicate it, and at one point the community manager made a mention that one of Usagi's guides was rather helpful to the community. The community manager's statements are probably to an extent even more scrutinized by other staff members, so I doubt it would have been made lightly.

Regarding the practice of linking to the helpful threads, I completely agree with doing it. Just because a question can be answered with one sentence, it does not mean the user may or may not have other questions, and would probably be willing to create far more threads seeking help. I've seen it happening more than once. So helping those users help themselves is better than just feeding them the information, in my opinion.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
wazzie
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I don't disagree that they helpful. They can definitely be helpful when used correctly. But I do have a couple of issues with them. One issue I have is having opinion inserted into them, especially in the ones posted by UsagiBoy7. Like you said, UsagiBoy7 represents the DL. When a moderator post a guide, it is taken much more seriously by someone then if an average user did it. Someone new to the site may even think that that guide came directly from DL, not understanding the difference between users/moderators/staff.
As for linking to the guides, despite my concerns with them, I still link users to them. But, if I can simply answer their question, I'm going to do that too. I think it is crazy to link to two separate guides, which both contain the exact single line of information, when one can just give that information, perhaps with a link to the guides "for more information" or "if you have other questions check..." (which is what I usually do). And I have seen them overused. And this is not yours or Usagiboy7's fault, but I have seen people link to these guides, when the guides do not answer the question. I know this has to be frustrating to new users. Those guides contain a lot of information (which is great!) but can be overwhelming. I like things simple.

edit: I have recently noticed LauraGjovaag in the forums, and I love the way she handles these situations. She answers the questions, but always tags them with, "--- For answers to a variety of Duolingo questions, check out the guides listed at http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1278938 or use the search box ---"
ex. http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1513995
(I may have to steal this)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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I just saw your edit, and agree that you have valid concerns. But for new users, it is a way to acquaint them with the site before they trip on themselves. There has to be some sort of balance, and that is hard to find, I guess.

I entirely agree with Lauragjovaag's method, in fact, I would have prefered if we could all add signatures to our posts. That way we can just respond to a thread, and people will see them wherever we go.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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@wazzie, thank you for engaging this topic. I appreciate the constructive criticism. I hope to be able to clarify the reason why I do some things one way rather than another. What you've pointed out is accurate, I don't always give the shortest route. Sometimes, I will post the link to "A Guide to Duolingo Guides". And I will tell them to go from there to the New User FAQ. On their way scrolling through the Guide, they can see the titles of other guides. I'm hoping that along the way, they will note something and return to it later.

There have been other times, when people ask a common question about, say, when a new language will come out or if Duolingo is going to be adding a feature to User Groups. Sometimes, Staff has only given very vague answers. I link them to those very vague answers rather than just giving them a vague answer for the very concern you have with my guide. If I can show them where staff gave that vague answer directly, they are more likely to believe that it really is the most updated answer, and that also it is the official answer. In addition, again, they get to scroll through topics that answer questions they still had but hadn't asked yet.

In essence, linking someone one step over becomes a tutorial of sorts.

Btw, I too am a huge fan of how LauraGjovaag has their little link dropping quote organized. :)

And, to tag on what Dessamator has said, the website manager has given approval for 2 of the guides so far. And while that does not give it the Duo bird stamp of unquestionable officialdom, it gives their lawyers less to worry about and simultaneously gives staff acknowledgment.

Anyhow, I hope all of what I've written has helped to clarify my reasoning. And, if you still dont' agree with my methods, that is ok too :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Well, I chose the title for the guideline very carefully, the "community" part of it makes it unofficial. The fact that it was posted by a user like myself makes it even more unofficial, and also the fact that it is buried and hidden. The last part of the guide indicates that it was designed by the community, so it is actually self-explanatory. That is also why I leave it buried, it is unofficial, and I personally believe most users don't like it or don't care, and that's why I don't attempt to create new versions of it or post it in the discussion section once again.

Anyway, they are simply guidelines which one may ignore. I hope you don't believe I'm being defensive, but I was just explaining my reasoning for keeping it as it is. I don't think Duolingo will ever have any guidelines that look like those simply because whichever method of translation is used may not be applicable everywhere (e.g. US vs Russia vs Angola vs Australia), in my opinion.

That said, I'm glad you find the guide useful.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Well, though the idea seems interesting, this is like patching a leaky boat, and in fact cheating the Duolingo system. For whatever reason, they seem to have designed it this way, perhaps because they presumed that good discussions would naturally float to the top, and unpopular ones would simply disappear. We can only wait and hope that Duolingo comes up with a better system to make good discussions stick.

There are easier ways to make the discussion reappear without reposting it, and I've been aware of it for months. The reason I don't do it, is simply because it seems as if one is artificially forcing people to like a discussion, and although it seems like a lot of people like it, that may or may not be true. For example, consider the fact that only a small portion of users ever post something in the forums. Sure a lot of people can browse the forums and read what they want, but even the sum of the users that ever visits the forums is probably negligible.

Finally, as a moderator you probably have certain responsibilities to uphold the rules of conduct, and as you've said so yourself, recreating such posts may seem spammy or cluttering. In my opinion, it is not a productive use of your time.

To summarize, I'd have to say NO.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
Jack.Elliot
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I do not quite understand but some organisation of the discussion boards is needed

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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@Dessamator,

I knew you'd be a great addition for this conversation, thank you for joining in!

To clarify, I wouldn't have posted this if the idea was in direct contravention of the guidelines. As it is, there is no direct mandate against reposting a discussion, rather, there is a general agreement that reposting discussions constitutes a form of spam. And as a moderator, I honor that agreement in my duties. I am gauging the temperature of renegotiating this single case because of popular request.

Guidelines http://www.duolingo.com/guidelines (posting this for the sake of the conversation as you and I compare points. I know you've already read them ;) )

I too am aware of at least one way of floating discussions. But I have no respect for people who use it to float their posts artificially.

Your point that some people might not like it is valid. Ostensibly, if the majority of people had liked it, they would have up-voted it. As it is, it is still more than 1000 likes short of rising to the top of the Most Popular discussions tab.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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I'm fully aware it is in no way a violation of the guidelines, it is simply frowned upon by the community, which is why I tend to avoid it. Also, regardless of how many people liked or upvoted it, they are still a very small number of people. When we compare that to posts that inspire a lot of argument or a lot of passion (e.g. that half-heart debate), we see them floating to the top in a few minutes or hours.

That's why I don't presume to know what is in the users' mind, just because few agree with me and upvote it does not mean they are not a small minority (who are already aware of it anyway). The vast majority may be annoyed at seeing these posts over and over again, and eventually even those who initially supported the idea may turn their backs on it simply because they've seen it so many times.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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@Dessamater

Even more good points.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
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I absolutely agree. Still, I'll be up for sticky topics (or links somewhere). Yes, I know, that's slightly off-topic here. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vonnelca
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Is there not a possibility to add your guide to the official guideline? And for DL to welcome a new user pointing to this guide.? I can not say yes after the stern words of dessamator, but personally I would not mind.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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@vonnelca

At this time no. And, personally I like that the guide is in community hands to be shaped and reshaped as a need arises. Not to say that staff aren't part of the community, but, they have a different function here and many more responsibilities. (I am a volunteer moderator, I don't count as staff). With guides and FAQ under our control, we can make changes more rapidly because we are allowed a wider margin of error. When it comes to Duolingo, I don't have a public relations director watching me like a hawk and hopefully you don't either. ;)

Dessamator is wonderful in discussions like these. I always appreciate their insight.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vonnelca
vonnelca
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My suggestion was not that DL staff takes over but just to make a link to your guide to guidelines. When that is not possible. I vote for a once week short comment in the general forum because I think it is extreemly helpful,not only for new users and may act as an reminder to all of us to refresh the things we think, we already know.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
Jack.Elliot
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I also would not mind.. or perhaps a trial

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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A point Dessamator and Usagiboy7 were discussing elsewhere got me thinking... what about backup copies of these things, as well as the guides that they link to? If something were to happen to the accounts of the creators of them, those would all be lost to the community. Perhaps somebody else could repost these things to preserve them as backups? This will also temporarily bring them back to the front of the board (though I don't recommend doing this on a regular basis, just a one-time only thing).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
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I have thought of this as well, and I believe it is important to keep backups indeed. From what Usagiboy7 has told me, backups have been made for all guides that have been created and maintained by Usagiboy7. For my part I've made a backup of the immersion community guidelines, it is somewhere in my email, and I've also uploaded it to immersion. Although the version there is somewhat old.

Someone else also suggested that maybe these guides should be uploaded to a wiki site and maintained by the community. I like this idea because then no matter what happens to any of us, it can still be used, and saved for posterity, even in the event that Duolingo may one day cease to exist, others may build on the ideas and create a different tool that may make use of it.

It can also be maintained by several users, instead of the content being dictated by myself or Usagiboy7 or any single person for that matter. Though there is the risk of someone deleting it all, but I guess wiki has some method of backup too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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I've also created a backup of my guide elsewhere and given Usagiboy7 access to it, but I agree it would make more sense to give a greater portion of the community access. I like the idea of a wiki, but I've never set one up before. If you create a guide for creating wiki guides (or just walk me through the steps here), I'll put the soon-to-be-outdated Vocabulary Tab guide in it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
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There are many kinds of wikis [1,2], so I'm unsure as to which one would be best. For example:

So I guess, the first step is really in deciding which wiki subcategory is best for our purposes.

1 - http://wikiindex.org/Welcome
2 - http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Duolingo

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I really like this wiki idea and think we should go ahead with it. However, I've never created a wiki before. I've gotten information from wiki's. I've seen Wikipedia and Wikihow the most.

I like the idea of attaching it to Wikihow's Use-Duolingo extension. What extensions would we want to use? Maybe something like:

Use-Duolingo/Guide-To-Duolingo-Guides
Use-Duolingo/Guide-Immersion-Community-Guidelines
Use-Duolingo/Guide-Immersion-Navigation
Use-Duolingo/Guide-New-User-FAQ
Use-Duolingo/Guide-Vocabulary-Tab
Use-Duolingo/Guide-Discussion-Forums
Use-Duolingo/Guide-Keyboards-and-Special-Marks
Use-Duolingo/Guide-Email-Notification-Filters

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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I haven't created one either. I think that it may be a good idea to attach it to Use-Duolingo's extension, and this page explains how to create a wikihow[1]. We'll probably have to learn the rules and syntax of the website first.

That said, it seems that most of your guides fit in just fine in the website because they are all based on steps. However, the immersion guidelines are more like a reference book. There are no particular steps to be followed, and people can consult them in any manner they prefer, so I'm not sure it will fit in well with the rest of the guides.

1 - http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Started-on-Wikhow
http://www.wikihow.com/wikiHow:Deletion-Policy
http://www.wikihow.com/wikiHow:Writer%27s-Guide

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Dessamator, I'm making some hot chocolate. When I sit back down I'll have a look at those links and see if I can make heads or tails of how to kick this thing off. :)

Update: I know now have a wikihow account. Let's move this convo to an Activity stream :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
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I don't think you would get your desired results.
I'm not sure you could post it with enough frequency to make a difference, new post easily get buried within a few hours, and I'm not sure how the popularity tab works, and if the old 'upvotes' would cause it to appear in that tab or not.
I also agree with Dessamator 100%.
I say NO too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
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I'm going to vote yes. (Please excuse the odd formatting. The bottom bit is all an answer to 3.)

  1. I would have to defer to your judgment. I admit that I have not read all the guides. That said, the guide to the guides seems sensible.

  2. Maybe once a week at first, then see how that works out and adjust as necessary?

  3. When I'm a newbie, I will read the guides if I can find them easily. Finding them easily includes people linking them to me, or finding a prominent link. I learned most of what I knew about duolingo at first through rumor, hearsay, and advice from slightly more experienced friends. It was like trying to figure out where babies come from.

On the other hand, I often deal with newbies on another forum where there are permalinks, and I get the feeling that if the guides were the best solution for everyone, people wouldn't keep asking questions that are answered in the guides. Sometimes I think you just want to hear a direct answer from a person, especially if you're new and confused.

Yet as someone who has been a moderator, it can be extremely taxing and time-consuming answering the same questions and sets of questions over and over again. It starts to eat up time you might spend carrying out other necessary tasks. It's also really boring. I doubt the mods here are getting paid, which would put them solidly in the set of people not paid enough to deal with that headache. Maybe it sounds silly, but it really is demoralizing over time. You end up having to replace your mods regularly because the veterans burn out.

I appreciate your work, Usagiboy7. I know from my stream that you are extremely active on the site, especially with guides and newbies. If you think this would make your job easier at all, I hope you get a chance to try it out.

4 years ago
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