How to Host a Successful Competition

Hello Everyone!

My name is Maya, and I have hosted 2 successful competitions. I decided to make this post so that everyone can host a good competition. If you have anything you'd like to add or any questions, please feel free to comment down below. Thanks! =D

Here are a few links to look at as well:

Here is a list of competitions being hosted by people now:

And here are the rules to hosting a competition:

The first thing you need to know when hosting a competition is this:

You can't put a price tag on first impressions.

The more professional you can make a post look, the more chance you will have of gaining players. Even simple things like capitalization, punctuation, and spelling can really make a difference.

Use this post to make your post look even more nice:

The second thing to remember:

Organization is *extremely* crucial.

There are many ways to keep organized. Here are a few:

~Writing down the usernames of everyone that joins your competition.

Write these down on a paper, on your computer, on your phone, wherever you want, but make sure to always put it in your competition post. In case you lose the list, you always have the post. Plus, it makes it convenient for you, and it allows other people to see it as well.

~Asking people to ask questions on your stream.

Sometimes, it can be hard to find anything new in the comments. And notifications don't always work. You will be able to find things more easily on your stream, and you can always delete the comment later.

~Coping down the URL.

By bookmarking (or copying the URL) of a person's profile, you can access the person's stream with the click of a button. This is extremely helpful when trying to send a message to one or all of your competitors. Note: When you copy the URL, make sure to also put it in a safe place where you can access it later.

To bookmark, follow these instructions:

Press Ctrl + D (on Mac, use Command instead)


Click on the star in the upper right hand corner.

Then, hit Done.

Also: It helps to keep all of your bookmarks in a folder on you bookmarks bar. To put a bookmark in a folder, follow the instructions above. Except, before you hit Done, go to the Folder section underneath name; and choose a folder to put it in. Later, when you need one of the bookmarks, click on the folder and select the bookmark. If you right-click on the folder, it will show a drop-down list. One of the options is to open all tabs, which will be helpful later on.

And if you are copying a URL, remember this: If you leave out the 's' in https, you then have the choice of 2 options:

If you click on it, it will change the tab you are on to the link.

If you hold down either Ctrl or Shift, it will open the link in a new tab. This will also be helpful.

These tips are a few must-dos, but feel free to do anything else that will help you stay more organized.

The 3rd most important thing about running a successful competition is:

Be a good host.

Ways to show people that you will be a great host:

~ Devote time to your competition.

Make sure to check your stream every morning, every afternoon, and every evening. You should spend at least 30 minutes on Duolingo everyday answering questions, organizing things, adding people to your competition, and sending out messages asking for people to join.

~Send out notifications.

Sending out notifications when you update something, when the competition starts/ends, and when someone wins, makes a very good impression. It will only take a few minutes if you have the URL/ bookmark of everyone's stream, and by copying and pasting, you could send out 20 messages in about 3 minutes!

~Try to be friends with your players.

Even a simple "Have a nice day" can go a long way (hey, that rhymes!). One of the best parts of hosting a competition is getting to meet new people. If you make friends with these people, they will most likely help you out in the future, and probably will join any other competitions you make later.

Those are the 3 most important rules to follow when hosting a competition. Here are a few extra things:

Prizes & Fees

People hate large fees. The reason people join competitions is for learning, not for getting lingots. Having a very small fee (1-3 lingots) or no fee at all will attract more players. Even if you have a great prize, people will still be discouraged by the fee.

If you need lingots for prizes, don't worry. People usually donate lingots to competitions, and if your post is good, you should get about 50-100 lingots. Or, if you want, complete a few lessons to get some lingots.

Start & End Times

Make sure to include the day your competition start, the day it ends, and, if you include specific times, your time zone. Make sure to say exactly which time zone you are using, since some time zone are written the same, although they are different times. It's best you include the country you live in, so people don't get confused.

Competitions with Teams

It's a huge risk making teams. If you have a team with players that are active and are following all of the rules, you create an environment that's fun for everyone. People will be happy paying on teams, BUT-

If you have a team with players that aren't following the rules or aren't staying active, any player on that team will be not have much fun. And trying to find teammates is very hard.

So a warning to those who choose to make competitions with teams: be prepared to spend a lot of time on Duolingo to find teammates.

A competition with no teams is less fun, but you will not have to worry about finding players.


Make sure all of your rules follow the guidelines.

Upvotes & Downvotes

Don't be discouraged if your competition post is getting downvoted. There are people out there who will get on Duolingo and downvote every single post. They are the ones doing the wrong thing; as long as your post follows the guidelines and you aren't breaking any rules, you will be fine.


Credit anyone who has helped you with your competitions. A credits section is something that makes you look like a good host.

Well, I hope you learned from this post. If you have any questions, or if you would like to add anything, please comment down below. Remember to NEVER, EVER, SPAM, AND FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES.

This post has been approved by moderator lindakanga:

Thanks for reading! Please upvote this discussion so more people can see it!

And one more thing: All competitions, challenges, and games that you create should be language focused, never lingot focused. The reason we are on this amazing website/app is not because of gaining the most lingots. Luis von Ahn made Duolingo for learning languages, not for lingots. Don't get me wrong; I love lingots as much as the next person, but these competitions are made to help and motivate us learn some of the most amazing things on the planet: languages. =D

Hope you all have a wonderful day! I wish you all the best with your language studies! =D


July 31, 2016

  • 164

Hello Maya.
Thank you for producing this guide for creating appropriate language learning oriented competitions.
I will also link to this from Game Centre - Rules

July 31, 2016

Thanks Linda =D

July 31, 2016

Wonderful post! All of your competitions always seem very original, easy to use, and well organized. Thanks for helping others host better competitions!

July 31, 2016

Thank you Zoe =D

July 31, 2016

How do you enter a competition or be part of a team?

July 31, 2016

You will first need to find a competition in order to join one. Not all competitions have teams, that depends. Check out this link for a few competitions:

July 31, 2016

Proud of you Maya :)

July 31, 2016

Thanks guys =D

July 31, 2016

Thank you sooooooo much maya!!!!!! this really helps me!!

September 2, 2016

Wow! You put in a lot of work! You have my applause.

March 2, 2017

Thank you for this! However, there aren't any streams anymore.

November 6, 2017
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