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If You Took Over Duolingo

If you had control over Duolingo, what would you change or make better? I'm asking this to settle an argument. Whether you have been loyal since the dark ages, or fresh meat out of the freezer, comment what you would change/get rid of/make better in Duolingo.

March 2, 2017



I would add an Email Address Verification (code) when creating an account and it will be sent to his/her email (if the user uses a fake email, then it will not be able to create an account. If it uses a real/personal one, the code will be automatically sent on email/gmail and ready to type it down on the site). The reason for doing this is to prevent spam and down-votes (irrelevant down-votes) + keeping the forums uncluttered, of course. I would also make the votes (up and down) visible. I would also bring Immersion back :)


Yeah, I noticed there's a lot of unnecessary downvoting, especially in really good, or well-written posts. Always confused me.


I totally agree with you too. Great ideas!


I would clean the Discussions and get rid of unnecessary posts such as:




Or any trolling/irrelevant/spam/etc. post.

And I would undo down votes on really good questions, or answers. Don't you hate it when people down vote just to troll? I mean seriously! People post good things all the time, but we never get to see them because, they are hidden and downvoted. We can all help mods and staff by not posting spam/irrelevant discussions and not down voting important ones. I would bring back Immersion also! Lets all work to make Duolingo a better place/website!


Um, how, exactly? We all want spam out, but how would you exactly do it?


I totally agree! There must be a way to find out who is doing all this down voting and then deal with this situation.


We should probably use the voting system of Reddit, where vote fuzzling happens and a post standardly is at 1 point...


An easier way to review conversations on one's activity stream. If someone posts something on your stream and you answer it and then they answer back and so on and so forth, there's no easy way to review it. Sometimes I don't know that someone has answered again until I physically go to through my own activity stream and I happen to see it. By then it may be days later. It also seems that you only get notifications when someone initially posts something on your stream, but you don't get any notifications if it's a continuing conversation. So receiving notifications on all activity on your stream would definitely be an improvement.


If you turn on email notifications for "Somebody responds to a discussion I'm following", you'll be notified every time someone comments on an activity of yours, or on an activity you've commented on. :-) The email with lead you to a page like this.


Thank You! I just turned on the option of being notified when somebody posts on my stream. I had that turned off. :)


I myself am having a harder time managing, but at least I shouldn't remember exactly where I've posted :D


I find that even with email notifications turned on for when someone posts on your stream, I find I still do not get notified (either by email or through that bell at the top right of your screen) when there is a continuing conversation on my stream. I still have to physically go into my own activity stream and scroll down to that conversation to find out if anything new was posted. That definitely needs to be fixed.


That might be happening on your end rather than Duolingo's. I am getting all of my notifications. I'm not sure how to help you troubleshoot it though, outside of having you test creating an email filter like I did. Here is an example of how to create a filter


If that's been happening for a while, you might want to submit a bug report here.(Many people don't know the page exists!) However, lately (more than a week), there's been some upgrades going on and email notifications are faulty.(I've observed this myself, like I get notified late, or not at all) It might be possible that the system hasn't turned it on for you, completely or partially, due to the mentioned problems.


Thanks for the suggestions!


I get the exact same thing! Adding that to my list of things I'd want changed.


I would bring Immersion back. Mr. Luis said that only 0.05% of users used Immersion, but I would say that only half of Duolingo's 140 million users get on Duolingo regularly.


Well then, consider me a proud member of that 0.05%!


It makes sense that it was such a small percentage. Immersion wasn't offered on the apps. And far more people used the apps than used the website.


I know right! Have some lingots :)


0,1% almost certainly wouldn't have been enough. Luis said they never crossed 1% of active users, even when they tried to advertise it after the lessons.


In my humble opinion, once you have finished the tree there is not very much to do. Not long ago there was the translation module but now that it's gone, learning turned to be a repetitive and boring task because the damned duo bot will never replace the warm feeling of learning a language with your friends. The questions and tests are very basic and are useless if you want to take a TOELF o TOEIC test, what I mean is that the learning curve lacks the complexity associated with advanced language learning. What does Duolingo need? More advanced learning tools. New ways of learning, new voices, more spoken exercises, more grammar, etc ...


I would look into making Duolingo a non-profit organization. :)


I'm not sure what the investors would think of your idea!? :-/



But, grantors would probably LOVE it :D


I would too - it works for Khan Academy (which now has game-style courses too). :)


Here's what I would do if I took over Duolingo.

1: Bring back Immersion.

2: Make it where everything on the app is availible on the website and vice versa.

3: Give clubs an actual message board so club members can talk to each other and be able to learn even more!

4: Make it where you can't redo skills that are golden until they are no longer golden. (That way people can't just do Basics 1 over and over to gel loads of XP. So they will have to actually try to learn new skills to get XP.)

5: Make special 7-Day streak freezes for 7 times the price of the normal streak freezes. (Example: A person could go camping or some other thing at a place with no internet for a few days without having to have the thought of the lost of their hard-earned streak on their mind.)


I understand what you are saying about streak freezes; in certain situations, it would be useful to be able to purchase multiple ones. However, I'm inclined to disagree with your fourth comment. I know it can be extremely annoying when a person does Basics 1 over and over in order to get XP, especially when they're in an XP contest! Still, I would argue that is unfair to simply prohibit users from redoing a lesson until it's no longer golden. I don't know about other people, but it takes me some time to really absorb what I've learned in a lesson; I almost always complete each lesson multiple times before moving on, and I come back to review each skill frequently. For me, that's the only way I can really commit it to memory.


Well, #4 was mainly meant to keep people from cheating in XP contests and such, only other thing I can think of for #4 is making where you don't get XP when you do golden skills. But I think that might sound even worse. XD


As for those who keep their streak by doing the Basics over and over again they are keeping their streak but not learning the language. It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Oh, and as for the XPs somebody needs to tell them that the rumor that with a million XPs you won a villa on the French Riviera is all a lie.


I agree with you entirely. Whenever I only have enough time to keep my streak alive, I do a lesson that isn't golden. So that almost never is Basics 1.


I agree with most of those but there is one catch with point 4. At the moment I am maintaining 4 trees in gold status and not learning any new content. There is the odd day nothing has decayed on any of my trees so if I couldn't repeat a lesson that's already gold I'd lose my streak for that day. I'd have no issue with repeating lessons that are already gold giving you a lot less XP as long as it's not none. I like to keep my streak going!


Agree with almost everything, but can't see the point of your 4/


My point was #4 is to keep people from getting loads of XP that that aren't actually "earning". People will do Basics 1 a bunch of times and get loads of XP.


Improve the support: Add more 1st/2nd level staff, let 3rd level answer bug reports to make it more transparent to users: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21158568$comment_id=21159393


I would have way more exercises translating from L1 to L2 (Yes, I know you can do the reverse tree, but it would be nice to have more balance.) I would like to see a second tree that is for intermediate learners (e.g. Spanish 2). I would like more variety in the sentences. You get the same ones over and over.


I am very happy that Duolingo is also caring for non-native speakers of English. For them it is very difficult to learn a foreign language from a foreign language like English.

Please, try learning 'German from Spanish' and at the same time the reverse tree 'Spanish from German'.
I like to hear your experience!

Please, feel free to correct my English.


1_ I would add speaking exercises.

I was a Livemocha user, before this damned firm called Rosetta Stone, killed it because it was better than their softwares, and you had the possibility to register your voice saying written dialogs and to be reviewed by natives. They told you if they were able to understand your way to pronounce the language, and corrected a bit your accent.

2_ I would also add writing exercices, like ling8, but better.

3_ Maybe I would add a kind of karma system for comments, because to many people spend their time on spamming instead of helping learners or asking interesting questions in the lessons forums.

4_ I would add a real way to add new languages, because I don't really believe in their incubator right now.

5_ I would improve the Android app, because this app is silly with the internet connection. It doesn't know how to download lessons while I'm connected to the wi-fi to let me work when the wifi is off.

6_ I would integrate ReadLang with Duolingo, or makes a private immersion system (with no other guy who mess with my translations), but letting the ability to work in small groups (instead of the useless clubs, let's make immersion clubs!)


Just wanted to put this out there for you or others to check out, a few years ago a Duolingoer told me about RhinoSpike. I haven't been using it so I don't know what might have changed. But, it allows people to upload recordings of reading passages or speaking sentences. Those people log what country, and what accent group they are from, etc. :)


I would try to get people to add Frisian


There are quite a few people who would choose to bring immersion back if they had one wish. I personally think it was somewhat flawed and lacked a lot of useful features So I would wish for something similar to what www.readlang.com has instead, maybe with more options, and geared towards Duolingo users. You could also add a feature that would allow users to add subtitles to videos in other languages.


It was flawed, but still useful. I really don't like their plan to make Duolingo a gathering of teenagers. We need a balance.


I would get rid of the 5 downvotes hides a discussion.The reason being that some really good posts are hidden because of people who make multiple accounts and downvote stuff they don't like


I am curious about your argument....What was it about dealing with duolingo?


It was about changing the interface of the site. In my opinion, the interface has been gradually improving over years. To insult the improvement that obviously doesn't happen over night, sounds kinda entitled to me. Especially since every aspect of the site cost nothing, and is completely relied upon contributions and people giving their time.


I would prefer they focus on content; Changing interface is not cheap at all.


Hmm....Is thinking deeply...I think are you right but I see where some people are coming from.


I can too, I'm just too loyal to play the Devil's Advocate with Duolingo lmao


I love being a Devil's Advocate in any debate


That kind of thinking has led to tragic events in history. I know this isn't on the same level, but it is the same kind of thinking!


The solution I think is to give a lingot, or giving a lingot to one of the replies. I rarely see good post hidden though.

I don't know if you were here on Duolingo few years before, but hidding comments was a real progress ! Before that, all the "zzzzz lol lol lol" post were visible and very very annoying.

So I disagree with your idea.It would be worse to have all that spam that hidding some very scarce good discussion.


We would need an alternative if Duolingo got rid of it.

I agree, -5 has caused a few undeserved casualties. However, it has sunk a TON of posts that don't belong anywhere near Duolingo, as well as a considerable amount of spam.


eh.I really don't know.Maybe if it was a higher number?

[deactivated user]

    I'm new at this, and so far i think it is great. But I would add onto it though, I would add teaching people how to write in Chinese I think writing in Chinese is fun and cool, you should try it to! All of you had so many interesting things to say. Love it! :)


    Ever noticed how some of the features ("Search" on https://www.duolingo.com/discussion , the gear symbol on another user's profile page, etc.) are light gray on a white background? They can be practically invisible on some screens. :/ I'd make them darker to improve their visibility. :)


    I am currently coding a language learning website to try and improve on Duolingo, and one of the first features that I happened to code is a discussion forum for which you can translate existing discussions and comments, turning it into a multilingual hub where you can see all the discussions in the language you are interested in.


    I don't find the quizes useful as you don't get any feedback on incorrect answers or even know which ones are incorrect. A waste of inglots!


    Anyone remember old Livemocha? When you could just see a user profile you like and then instant message them if they're online and practice language right away. I would love to have something like that again.

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