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https://www.duolingo.com/BillofKempsey

Private discussion

BillofKempsey
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Is there any way on Duolingo to send a private message to another member? For example, I recently saw a suggestion that someone would like a DL penpal to practice their language with. If I wanted to follow that up (I don't, in fact), I would have to give that person my email address at least but I might not want to broadcast it to others.

Of course, I could create a gmail account specially for that purpose and then kill it afterwards but having the ability to exchange messages privately within DL would be better. So, is there a way? If not, should one be added?

4 years ago

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I imagine that if Duolingo offered private chat areas it would increase their liability (and people's safety) by encouraging people to exchange private information and potentially connect them with unsafe people.


If someone is trying to force you to give them your private information or to meet them somewhere, even if they have embarrassing information about you that they threaten to put on the internet, call the police or tell an adult person who you trust. If it happens on Duolingo, you can also use the white Support tab on the left to file a report with Duolingo. Make sure to tell Duolingo what the person's username is. If you aren't sure how to file a report, you can ask me and I will help you with that. I won't judge you or try to embarrass you or anything like that.

Be cautious whenever you share information about yourself with others. There are always loopholes, but remember that Duolingo's guidelines (http://www.duolingo.com/guidelines) ask us not to post our email or residential addresses etc. here. Even if you've shared your private information on Duolingo, please let us know if someone is harassing you on here. Your safety is very important.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems
Hohenems
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I always like to point out that we're encourage not to share anything personal, like email, etc... but we're also encouraged to connect via your facebook page where you most likely are using your real name, have photos tagged with family members' names, your occupation, where you work, geo-tagged locations you've been recently, what your dog ate for supper, etc....

Duo has to get it's message(s) worked out.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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Good grief, Usagiboy, how on earth do you think someone is going to try to force you to give out sensitive information on a discussion board!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I speak from personal experience. Meeting people with disbelief makes it harder for them to reach out.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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I really don't want to upset you and I'm sorry you've had bad experiences - I've had them too, and certainly don't disbelieve you that there are bullies on the internet. I have seen your other posts and you've clearly had a horrible time and I can guess why - you've given plenty of hints. I think it's disgraceful that you've been treated like that. But I don't see how we can be forced to give out info on a chat board or in PMs (rather than technical mining of data,which is a whole different issue). I agree with Bill. Everyone should be careful about what they say on message boards, of course, and if someone asks something you don't want to put on a public board, you just say politely that you never put that stuff on boards.

Online bullying is horrendous and there should always be a report button and the option to block someone who is harassing you - something this site currently lacks. That is in part why I feel we do need private messaging - so that we can have conversations with those with whom we're on friendly terms without worrying that the person who has taken agin us is going to be following us around making spiteful comments. And so that you can always say to someone you trust, 'am I misreading that person's comments/behaviour or are they having a go at me?' and get some perspective and reassurance, without fanning the flames where there is a problem or hurting the feelings of someone whose posts may have been misinterpreted.

I am sorry that you've had such a miserable time. You deserve better and I hope the people concerned got what for. I swore blind when I signed up here that I wasn't using the discussion feature - perhaps I'd better absent myself.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillofKempsey
BillofKempsey
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Stay with us Luscinda. I am sure we all value your contributions

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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In an abusive situation often people accede to the demands of the abuser in the hopes that it would alleviate the abuse. I think this is what Usagiboy7 meant when they talked about people being forced to give private information. As far as that is concerned, your suggestion of a block user button is the best idea I've seen in this discussion so far.

But to say, "if someone asks something you don't want to put on a public board, you just say politely that you never put that stuff on boards," is a lot easier to discuss in the abstract than when you're the subject of abuse.

Take a look at these statistics: "90% of social media-using teens who have witnessed online cruelty say they have ignored mean behavior on social media, and 35% have done this frequently. 95% of social media-using teens who have witnessed cruel behavior on social networking sites say they have seen others ignoring the mean behavior, and 55% witness this frequently." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_bully#In_Social_Media ). If the subject of abuse feels as though they're alone and there's nobody out there to support them, doing anything that may further antagonize an abuser, whether done politely or not, is the farthest thing from the mind of the victim.

Duolingo has a great set of moderators and a community manager that has won my admiration for their responsiveness, but they can't catch every instance of abuse instantly, which is why Usagiboy7's advice is so crucial.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
Jack.Elliot
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Crucial ... Always report even in doubt .... ...

This is why the moderators are so very good and the stafff exceptional

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
Phobic
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I've been a moderator elsewhere on the intertubes. I've seen people's lives nearly destroyed. I've been around for the aftermath of attacks so brutal the victims have suffered the effects of trauma for months or years. These things have happened over the internet, sometimes entirely in text. This is not an exaggeration, but I don't know whether you'll be able to believe me.

That's probably the worst thing. Sometimes nobody but the attacker and victim know there's anything serious going on. If the victim lashes back or even tries to explain what's happening, they sound crazy. Most people just can't seem to believe that anyone would really act that way or do those things. The victim may even begin to doubt themselves. That's called gaslighting.

I'm very open about some things that other people would rather keep to themselves. I have a learning disability and several varieties of anxiety disorder. The only reason I feel comfortable saying those things is that I'm reasonably confident that I can defend myself in most situations I might encounter online. Now imagine that someone sees this post and posts about their own struggles with one of those things, or maybe with bullying or gaslighting, because they feel like they've finally found a place where someone will understand and believe them.

I'm not a very dangerous person. They're probably quite safe telling me. Maybe you know they're safe telling you. How many other people, of duolingo's several million users, may happen to read the comment? How many would you be willing to personally vouch for?

Personal information is as easy as one kind ear. Kind of horrible, isn't it?

ETA: This is not meant as a criticism of you personally. I think it probably applies to most of the people in here most of the time, including me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillofKempsey
BillofKempsey
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And people can behave like that in Private Chat too. I have seen its effects on a friend on another website. As long as such people exist, you cannot prevent it.

But that is not an argument against Private Chat. Kids get bullied at school. We do not respond by abolishing school.

It IS an argument for a Report Abuse button. I have some confidence that Duolingo (unlike that other website) would step in strongly to deal with such abuse.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
Phobic
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They sure can behave like that in private chat. Skilled manipulators and really good listeners are overlapping categories. I've also known people who have been burned.

I think this problem will exist as long as people exist.

I really don't have any data on this issue as it relates to private chats except that they are only private until there's drama.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillofKempsey
BillofKempsey
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If I choose to give private details, I do take a risk. But:

  1. Unless I am totally stupid, I know that so I am careful.

  2. The risk is very much smaller if the information is given privately to someone I have chosen to chat with and whom presumably I trust

Notwithstanding the Guidelines, when I was looking around before starting this discussion, I saw 5 or 6 examples of people giving their email addresses. They had no way of knowing whether I or Jack the Ripper was going to read them.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems
Hohenems
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If you want to share sensitive information (and not actually chat back and forth), a solution is to post whatever you want on the person's stream (e.g. your email address), then immediately delete it. The person (and only that person) will get an email regarding your post (if they have email notifications turned on). Odds of someone seeing it are extremely minimal. Not a perfect solution, but a mild work around.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillofKempsey
BillofKempsey
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Thanks. Sounds good.

Now shouldn't we all get back to language practice? ;-)

Maybe that is an argument against Duolingo introducing Private Chat. Too distracting from the job in hand.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johnlvs2run

The current method of not having private messages greatly increases the chances of stalkers getting people's personal information, as there is no alternative but to post it openly on the discussion forum where the whole world can see it.

Just one post of an email address on the forum is there forever for anyone in the world to pick up.

Private messaging would resolve this, so that only the intended people would see the personally exchanged information.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillofKempsey
BillofKempsey
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I can understand that DL would be reluctant to get into this. See Usagiboy7's post in reply to my original one. Also, DL has limited resources and may not want to divert them for this.

There are ways round. See Hohenems' suggestion above.

Alternatively, as I mentioned above, I could create a temporary address, e.g. "DuoBillofKempsey@gmail.com", inviting you to mail me there. I could then reply using my real email address. I need never look at the temporary address again and could presumably delete it if I wished.

3 years ago