https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia

Isn't it time we were more tolerant of novice users errors?

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Tonight I came across a post in the general forum which was asking for advice on Italian. The user was obviously unused to the forums and had therefore asked the question in the wrong place. One of the moderators gave helpful advice about moving the post to the Italian forum and I supplied an answer to the Italian question. So far, so good but in the space of half an hour the moderator's post received 4 upvotes, the OP 3 downvotes and I received no votes.

My point is that the only reason for downvoting this post was because a person unfamiliar with the forums had made a mistake, not a serious mistake because Italian learners read the general forum too but serious enough for our self-appointed guardians to downvote the post, thus doing all they could to reduce the likelihood of the OP receiving an answer. I draw this conclusion from the fact that the moderator post received upvotes, whereas my reply to the question did not (and before anybody says anything, yes, I do realise that my reply might not deserve upvotes but it is the contrast which is striking).

The downvotes were clearly designed to hide the post, despite the fact that a moderator had already dealt with the issue. It strikes me that this community has some very unforgiving members who have no tolerance for and give no allowance for new users and I find that a sad indictment on the self-righteous and self-satisfied minority who now seem to have far too much influence on the forums. Can't we all please, try to be a bit more understanding and helpful and less judgemental of the uninitiated.

Thank you for reading this if you have got this far.

Edit: A side effect of the downvotes of course is that if the OP then does as they are asked and edits the post to put it in the correct forum, then the downvotes go with it and it could then be hidden on that forum meaning that they have no chance of getting a reply at all. Very unfair and very unkind!

1 year ago

105 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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Couldn't agree more. And on top of that we get 'helpful' [sic] people coming along many hours after a question has been answered and is done and dusted, only to order the OP to move (and thus bump) the already defunct thread.

I'm not sure why any of us bother anymore. The forum has been killed by the combination of this sort of nonsense and a frankly bizarre approach to moderation that stamps out useful conversation in favour of inanity and grandstanding. So for instance, sensible conversation about each other's cultures is now squashed, ruling out people learning English practising their English with competent native speakers (because surely the most useful thing here now is being able to go and talk to people on the board in the language you are learning), but pointless threads suggesting that we all cite random words in random foreign languages on the English-language board is not only tolerated but actively encouraged by some elements among TPTB.

Newbies are told not to try to make friends on the boards but to 'visit' others on their streams - how on earth they are to know with whom they might make friends now that all conversation is killed and immersion gone, no one seems to have considered? Are they to put in random search terms to find the usernames of random strangers and then send them random notes saying 'hello'? And then having been told only to post about languages, the children run off and poach someone else's text from somewhere else on the web and post it as a lecture to the rest of us, and these are allowed to stand.

I think Duo is left with the boards it sadly now deserves and it's a real shame.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Ain't that the truth? Duolingo is a shadow of its former self and I think it is only we old-timers who remember how friendly, supportive and tolerant it once was.

I couldn't agree more about telling new users to post on stranger's streams. They tend to pick the most active and helpful looking members but of course most of them have no space or time to add new users as friends because of Duo's 99 friends only appearing on your activity. Thus the newbies follow the advice and get some friendly but nondescript message saying "welcome aboard and good luck" or, if they actually ask to be talked to, receive a polite and friendly reply saying that the person concerned just simply hasn't the time to talk to everyone. All in all not a good way of integrating new users and making them feel welcome.

As you say, Duo now has the boards it deserves and yes, that is a shame.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeonMoogle
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Whenever I read posts about how the forums used to be, I really wish that I found out about Duo sooner that I did. It seems like the community was pretty great back then. Even in the time I've been here it has changed a lot.

Please excuse me, I just thought I would chime in.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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There was never a golden age, there was plenty of snippiness and we had the idiotic grandstanders in the past. Just not the 'don't anyone dare actually have a conversation' nonsense or the grandiloquent self-promoting dippy-hippy agenda, tell-you-all-what-to-do-brain-not-engaged nonsense or the random groups of twelve year olds with no interest in learning/talking to us playing games on the boards (though we did get some very interesting young people who were here for the right reasons).

I stumbled on nice thread a few weeks ago that was two years old - just a nice chat about expressions people use, and there were several people participating happily who would now be making rude comments about it and deleting it. I don't consider that progress.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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But it's not over Neon, it can become friendly again.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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Gosh - it is so great to see you here NeonMoogle :-D
You, NeonMoogle, are in a great group of people who are validly contributing to this discussion.

And especially ifphigenia. They are an amazing person ! They also were instrumental in encouraging me to stay part of the Duolingo community - through a very awkward period in my life and through a very trying time that I also caused myself to inappropriately become entangled with on Duolingo.

Genia, is an amazing person. And one that gives greatly to this community - in very profound ways.

For yes, we are a community. And this issue raised by Genia, is a critical aspect of what we are as a community.

So please - NeonMoogle - do not hestitate to chime in. Please - I hope you choose to ring loud, and help us to fulfill the desire and potential of this community. To continue to strive to make this an outstanding community whose main focus is to help - free of charge for access - for people to learn languages.

What you, as an individual decide to do - it does make a difference. To your own life. To the community immediately around you. And to us as a global community.

I hope you continue to choose to help us - and find your inner super power. To help this community to be able to continue to provide access to language learning to the world for free - and ESPECIALLY in a community that chooses - to make this a safe and welcoming environment - that chooses to show kindness to those that are in our community.

We are though a world wide community. Open to all of humanity. And some of us - are in very awkward places - for all sorts of reasons.

So this is why we have the rules we do - to help us remain open for the world to learn languages for free. And you choosing to use your own super powers and influences on the world. To choose to show kindness and assistance to others. And to choose to engage with people who have other agendas. To choose to use your power to not interact with them. To down vote inappropriate comments, and block people who have other issues, and to report offenses, in acord with How to report abuse And in accord with our guidelines

It is you that is special and valued NeonMoogle, and have the power to change your world, and our world.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

Hi! I started DL 71 days ago, but didn't start posting immediately. I have made, and am still making loads of mistakes. In fact, I don't really know where to reply to the initial post as there is no place to click reply there. Even when people do tell me where to post or what to do I sometimes am unable to follow their instructions as my screen seems to look different to theirs despite my being online and not using an app (I've been told these are different). I still feel rather 'lost' and sometimes people are really unhelpful, but normally others do help. I think when I am downvoted I would like to know the reason. I think the person downvoting should post the reason why at the same time, otherwise I cannot learn. I am unable to access anyone's activity stream, including my own, and am told this is proabably an A/B test. I'd love to know what an A/B test is. I also have seen abbreviations I don't understand in this discussion. What is OP? As well as trying to learn French I seem to have to learn a new language without help. What is a forum? Is this a thread, or a discussion? I am of reasonable intelligence, but completely outside of my area of experience. I can tell you practically how to greet a Zulu inkosi (chief) but do not know what to do when I get a notification to tell me someone is following me. So I just ignore it. I want to use the discuss this sentence bits to help me when I don't understand why I have got a sentence wrong, or to find out if others did or didn't hear the audio saying what it said it was saying, things like that. Things to help me learn. but I've had to ask questions about how to use the website too, particularly when I've tried searching for a relevant discussion and not found an answer. Sorry this is so long, but I have been getting quite frustrated with navigating the site to get answers to questions I really need answers to. I am very grateful to several users and a couple of moderators who have been particularly helpful to me. Having noticed this discussion, thread, board or whatever it is called (I really don't know the difference as no-one has ever explained) I thought it might be the right place to say all this so other, more experienced users can see how difficult it all is for newbies and so other newbies do not feel so stupid and alone.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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There should be a white box under the initial post - subsequent posts you have to hit 'reply'. It's a slightly odd interface.

OP is something you find on a lot of boards, meaning 'original poster' - the person who wrote the first comment on this 'thread', starting this particular conversation on a message board.

As to having to learn French alone - well, that's what the site does, it's badly flawed but that's what it is. You can buy a good-quality, professionally constructed Teach Yourself course from The Works for a tenner.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_Chava

Hi Anne!

I'll do my best to answer as many of your questions as broken down by @lindakanga's lovely post below as I can. First, a quick disclaimer - I'm still quite new myself here (in fact, yesterday marked my two-week anniversary on Duolingo ;)), so I'm obviously not yet any expert on the site. I'll do my best, though, to answer according to my understanding. :)

  1. What is OP? @Luscinda already responded to this one below, but as she said, "OP" is just an abbreviated way of writing "Original Poster". The OP/original poster would be the person who started whatever discussion/conversation is in question, the first person to post the comment beginning the chain. I'm not sure what terminology you're familiar with, so I apologize if this doesn't make sense. For an example, in the case of this discussion we're on right now, I believe the OP would be @Ifphigenia, because she started the thread.

  2. What is a forum? You've clearly found the "Discussion" section of Duolingo (as attested to by your posting here!). You may have noticed that (assuming your web display looks the same as mine), if you click on the "Discussions" tab (which takes you to this link: https://www.duolingo.com/discussion), to the right of the page is is something that says "Your subscriptions". Depending on your settings (you can edit your own subscriptions), you may have different things listed there. Each of them is a separate forum, I think; in my case, I've subscribed to "Duolingo in English", "Spanish from English", "Hebrew from English", and "Troubleshooting". You almost certainly have different settings. Put simply, a "forum" is a category of discussions. If you have a technical question, it would probably be posted in "Troubleshooting". A discussion about Duolingo in general would go in the general Duolingo forum, and a language-specific question would go in the forum for the relevant language. (So if I have a question about Hebrew, I would post it in the "Hebrew from English" forum, and hopefully another Hebrew learner would see it and be able to respond.) Any individual forum has many different discussions posted in it. Think of it as a just a way of organizing the individual threads, so to speak, if that makes any sense.

  3. & 4. What are discussions, threads, and boards? I'm going off my experience with other web platforms here, so it's always possible that these words are used in other ways than I'm familiar with here on Duolingo. As far as I know, though, all three words are actually just different terms for basically the same thing. A discussion/thread/board/message board is something someone posts within a forum (see above), which other people can then post their own replies too. It looks like you've already figured this out, so good for you! To post a new discussion of your own, go to the "Discussion" tab of Duolingo and click on where it says "New Discussion". Choose what you want your title to be, type the content of the post itself, and select which discussion topic (aka forum! :D) your posts fits in best. (Do this by clicking on where it says "Pick a discussion topic" and choosing from the drop-down menu.) Once your board is ready, just click "Post Discussion" and it should go through for other users to read and reply to. For other possible meanings, I've also occasionally seen "board" used as a synonym for "forum", and "thread" might also be used to refer to a specific chain of comments within a discussion. So your post and our replies to that might be described as one thread, within @Ifphigenia's discussion. Does that make sense?

  4. What is an A/B test in Duolingo? Ahh, yes, A/B testing. First of all, I still don't completely know how the system works. It seems pretty confusing to me, and I'm not sure how open about the details of the system the staff are either. As I understand it, however, A/B testing is a method of experimenting with different potential web features for the site and how they affect users' usage of the website. Users are randomly assigned to two (possibly more in some instances) different groups, each of which have a slightly different version of Duolingo attached to their account. Through some means of measurement, the staff track how the different groups use the site, and try to discern which feature is "better" by these observations. Duolingo is usually running a huge number of various tests (some more noticeable variations than others), and each user is assigned one group or another for each individual test. Thus, many of our versions differ, sometimes slightly, sometimes more drastically. The idea behind A/B testing is that, through this experimentation, in the end, Duolingo can make a better experience for everyone. I can see the idea, though I must confess that I do find the dramatic differences between accounts (and the inability to have any control over which features we are denied) rather frustrating. Like you, I also have no access to any activity stream (my own included), and I strongly suspect that we are both assigned to the same not-so-lucky group of a specific A/B test. As far as I can tell, the only way to work around this is to wait until the test is over and all accounts are reverted to normal (which could be days, weeks, or months from now) or to make a new account and hope that you get assigned to a different group this time, one that does have access to activity. It's frustrating, but there it is. In the meantime, I guess we're both stuck without activity streaming capabilities. :P

I have to go right now, I'm afraid, but I'll try to get back to you on more of your questions later today if I get the chance, assuming no one else gets there before me. And, to all other users, again - I'm still a newbie, and it's always possible I'm misunderstanding something. So feel free to correct me if anything here is misinformation. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

thanks Sarah_chava. I am not familiar with any terminology as I've not done anything like this before. My internet use has been limited to searching for things I need to know and emailing. Am I right in this? If so that bit now makes sense. the board is where all the forums(?fora) are. All forum is a category or group or collection of discussions with similar themes. A discussion and a thread are the same thing? Within each discussion are posts and the OP is the original poster, the one who started off the discussion.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_Chava

thanks Sarah_chava. I am not familiar with any terminology as I've not done anything like this before. My internet use has been limited to searching for things I need to know and emailing. Am I right in this? If so that bit now makes sense. the board is where all the forums(?fora) are. All forum is a category or group or collection of discussions with similar themes. A discussion and a thread are the same thing? Within each discussion are posts and the OP is the original poster, the one who started off the discussion.

No problem! Fair enough - I'm no Internet expert myself. Yes, that sounds exactly right, as far as I can tell. Well said and summarized! (I've never heard the plural of forum as fora, but who knows? ;))

Also, just so you know, I edited my post and added some info about my understanding of A/B testing. Hope this helps! :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

thanks again Sarah_chava. You are amazing given your short time on DL. Firstly, I did a year of latin at school and learned then that words ending in um end in a for their plural. Now I looked it up online: The plural of forum is usually spelled forums; the plural fora (as in the original Latin) is chiefly used when talking about a public square in an ancient Roman city. When I read your later post/ edits I can see where some of my confusions lay...the use of the terms seem to be a bit fluid. that's OK, now I know I can adapt round that. This AB thing may force me to open a new account. Pity, but there it is. I hadn't thought of opening a new account, as I assumed it was a glitch with the website or my own inability to do things properly. This is due to everyone telling me what to do and not responding when I tell them I can't. The answer about being part of an AB study when I don't know what that is, and also not being really definite that this is the problem has also made me feel rather helpless. I have tried searching the site to find out about the AB study but failed. I think you are amazing to know. I have asked but didn't find out. Thank you so much for your help.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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oh - before I go back to bed - this resource:
click here for help may also provide you with some of your answers.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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Hi there Anne,
Welcome to Duolingo.
Gosh you have progressed ever so far in French !

CONGRATULATIONS !

You are HIGHLY intelligent and a very welcome member of our language learning community.

ok - lets break down your queries.

  1. What is OP ?
  2. What is a forum?
  3. What is a thread, or a discussion ?
  4. What is a board ?
  5. What is an A/B test in Duolingo ?
  6. What help is there here for learning French ?
  7. Why are some people unhelpful ?
  8. What to do when I get a notification to tell me someone is following me.
  9. I don't really know where to reply to the initial post as there is no place to click reply there.
  10. How do you search for a relevant discussion.

Please be aware - it is getting well after midnight here, so you will have to be patient for me to answer these questions. I am a volunteer here - as are all of our moderators. And we are an open learning platform for all to access to provide resources to learn a language.

The finances and backbone of resources to be able to do this are provided by our host, Duolingo.
Yet the real wealth of Duolingo is the countless volunteers from around the world that assist others with their language learning - at their cost of time and resources. These are in the main - our general community. A very small number of these are moderators (mods - is often the terminology some people use for moderators). However the greater number are our general community. They are the ones that are the true stars that make this site so amazing.

Be aware though - we are an open community - of people of all ages and backgrounds and abilities and history. And so of course each of us are individuals, in ever so many ways just like you.

Due to the lateness of the night for me, I will first point out regarding learning French, it is really useful to read the "Tips and Notes" in each skill level.
Also as you are doing - checking out the "Discussions" on individual sentences.

You may also be interested in a series I have developed ( and am developing, click here for - Learning Loom Ladder This is for French, and is another support for the learning French, according to our "tree".

There is also general references on other topics around French click here - for French learning loom index

I will come back to all your questions tomorrow, to answer the rest of them.
Or perhaps others might hop by and answer them.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

sleep well. I have learned patience, and I also have others helping me with access to activity. I am going to feel guilty soon as I am actively communicating now with about 4 moderators, you are all volunteers and also thin on the ground. I simply wanted to vent and make other newbies feel better, and didn't expect answers. I will look at your links. But all this communication is also hampering my French learning. I did a very basic French course at school in England (UK native English speaker) but the last time I did any French was 1965, aged 16, so maybe my progress is not so amazing as I do have some background.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

for Luscinda, but there is no reply button there! Thanks Luscinda. Is a thread the discussion? The what is the board? The white box seems to put the comment under all the others and in long discussions this is often nowhere near to the topic that was originally being talked about. OK for short discussions. but if I want to talk about the original post and not what is being talked about later it seems like completely the wrong place to put it. I am happy with learning French this way, it is the navigation to find all the resources that I find a problem. It's like being in a foreign town without a map, knowing that the resources are there but not knowing how to get to them. What makes it worse is the discussions talking about accessing resources like activities and immersion that I have learned I do not have. I have spent hours looking for these without success before, now, at last learning that in Europe we don't have immersion and being on an AB test (and I still need to learn about this) I cannot access or see anyone's activity but they can see mine. So the 'aloneness' is the navigation and the language of the site (AB test, immersion etc) and not the foreign language itself. I think the language bit, and the moderators, are great!!!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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The Reply button only goes down a very few levels, which is why you're not seeing it on Luscinda's post. Regarding activity and immersion - do you not have an "Activity" button between "Home" and "Discussion" at the top of the screen? I thought they'd discontinued that A/B test.

Immersion has been removed for everyone, sadly, it's not just the EU :-(

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

for theron126. Thanks. I am in extensive communication re activity with 2 different moderators. No I do not have Activity by any route anyone has suggested. Rather frustrating!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-BloomingStars-

It was nice, I've been here for about four years and it's changed a lot.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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As always - this is a good point you make Genia.

I am also commenting here - just to draw more attention to the issue you are raising.

I do assure you, and our community also - there are some significant changes that are underway in the background. On quite a number of fronts.

There is nothing as close to wonderful as these Duolingo forums for language learning. Even despite the flaws of the system. In any system there will be strengths and weaknesses.

And it continually is the backbone of this community that continues to give me hope for now, and for a better future. Beyond even the practicality of language learning. That the way the backbone of our community continue to choose to support this community - that it is you that drive the true wealth of what makes Duolingo so valuable.

Every time you choose to politely and kindly assist someone with a question.
When you choose to NOT respond to the comments that are inappropriate, off topic and rude, and choose to block someone who is obviously not here for the purposes of language learning - but to behave inappropriately in this learning environment, and also follow advice on how to report abuse

And also when you choose to down vote the very inappropriate comments - that helps to moderate and regulate our environment. And also when you choose to up vote comments that are appropriate for language learning, or improving the learning environment we continually work on creating and maintaining.
.... When you act in honorable ways - you do have profound effects and affect on our environment.

So - I hope you will continue to bear with us as Duolingo continues to change and adapt and strive to improve.

And thank you, each of you who give so much to help others to learn languages, and learn how to act appropriately in a community. Those who choose to not interact with people who act inappropriately - yet will choose to appropriately report when abuse happens.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope for our future.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Borbotrincess
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You know, I'm somewhat new around here and my first impressions of the forum were along your lines. I did notice the weirdness around and many times felt not welcomed to post anything.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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Yes, there are some cliques on here that have gone out of their way to make the forums inhospitable to anyone who does not bow down to them. And they aren't new, they were here when I got here. The best thing to do is post anyway.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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Welcome to Duolingo Maria :-D
If you have a question - especially about something about language learning - this is a great place to ask it.

It is great to see you participating in various discussion.! And it is so appreciated that you are helping to keep the focus on language related learning. For that is what is at the heart of what Duolingo is about - your own language learning, and helping others in the community with their language learning, and helping others to use Duolingo - to help them focus on progress in their language learning.

You may also like to check out references such as :
[Guide] In which forum should I post my discussion?
and also guidelines

Feel free to also hop by and ask me anything on my Activity stream. I am - of course - not always here. I am a volunteer here. And I have an income, and family responsibilities - and also in there somewhere a life.

Thank you for choosing to be valued member of our language learning community !

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
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Hi Ephigenia, Thank you for having the courage to speak up about this issue, and addressing it in such a well-written and tactful manner. I did not know that the negative votes had a specific purpose (to remove or hide the comment or question?) But I did notice some negative votes that were responding to comments that seemed perfectly appropriate and so was wondering who are these persons giving negative votes for no good reason other than to make the person feel bad about participating. When I see this, I give a positive vote which only cancels out the negative and brings it back to zero.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Thank you too for your thoughtful response. Like you, if I see deliberate downvoting of valid questions I upvote them but as you say, iften this only brings it back to zero, or less if it has a lot of downvotes. Good to know the silent majority have a sense of fair play. :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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They don't. The 'I think you're talking rubbish/being rude/unreasonable' downvote was here long before they decided that a certain number of them should make a post invisible. Which is why people use it as it has always been used and as it is used elsewhere. Of course they do.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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True but it's not the 'I think you're talking rubbish/being rude/unreasonable' downvote that's the problem, it's the "I consider your reasonable and language related problem to be in the wrong forum" downvote, or the "Your question title looks relevant but I can't be bothered to read your post to find out and I don't want you to ask it" downvote that I take issue with and I do think there has been an increase in that kind of behaviour.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/creeptastica

It would be nice to know why a post is being downvoted. I've read the guidelines and I see posts (and had one) downvoted that did not violate the guidelines. This place is very confusing to newbies.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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G'day creeptastica,

Welcome to Duolingo. I hope you become more comfortable here over time. Our purpose is for language learning, and we encourage you to assist in making this a friendly and welcoming place to learn a language.

What you do here does matter. You do have the power to influence the world around you.
I hope you choose to use this power to make the world better for our entire community, and in line with our guidelines.

Thank you for choosing to learn another language, and I wish you all the best in this endeavor.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/39101
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If only I could type as much as you on this matter of which I have spoken of many times. Thank you for doing this.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idkhbtfm
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I think there's also spam down-voters that scroll through posts and downvote without going into the discussion.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Yes, I agree they are also a big problem but there's no point in appealing to their better nature .... they don't have one!

I think in this instance though it wasn't spam down-voters, as the upvotes on the moderator post were virtually one for one with the downvotes on the OP's.

No, it's a sad fact that certain people respond to novice mistakes aggressively and that is such a shame as it could put them off asking anything ever again, even in the correct forum. We live in very intolerant times I'm afraid. :-(

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lento_Rodriguez
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I agree Ifphigenia

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Thank you Lento. :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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How did you make this sun?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lento_Rodriguez
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It is just a small image, you can learn to post images here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9386889

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
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Thank you for the link, Lento_R., I also wanted this info. a lin got for you

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahK7174
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1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamingOdelia
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I have a great idea! Everyone could do what Lento does. He welcomes each new person he finds. This way they have a link to our community. I follow whatever Lento comments on because he is in the know ;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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The snag with that is time, I don't know how Lento manages it to be honest. :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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Because he is the sun. He naturally sneaks his light into all the dark cracks.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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That is a shining example of a bright answer Wild Sage. :-))

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamingOdelia
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Gena, That is why I follow everything that Lento does, since he is in the know of all things Duolingo. I do wish I could find new people myself.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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He does do a great job Odelia but I still don't know how he does it :-))

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamingOdelia
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What I really should have said is that is one of the reasons I follow Lento. There are many others smile I have told him that he is Duolingos official greeter.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamingOdelia
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He amazes me too!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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:-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QuadraticLingual

Some people have an easier time with that, like lindakanga, because (s)he has a lot of patience. I am not one of those people.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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Hang in there QuadraticLingual.
My first boss gave me a little art work from Hawaii, with the sage advice of:
Turn your face towards the sun and let the shadows fall behind you.

And also that life is only possible because things change.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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Les discussions ne devraient pouvoir être masquées que par un modérateur je trouve.

Par contre, dans le forum des questions, le fait de pouvoir masquer les questions ou les réponses farfelues a apporté beaucoup de clarté. Avant, c'était bien pire. Les modérateurs n'ont pas le temps de nettoyer tous ces forums, donc ça aide bien.

Je trouve que c'est un progrès, sauf pour les discussions qui sont ensuite totalement occultées et n'ont plus aucune chance d'être vues.

On va finir comme sur StackExchange si ça continue! Par exemple, sur ce site, quand tu poses une question de débutant, ou qui contient des erreurs ou qui a déjà été posé il y a 10 ans, tu te prends une pluie de downvotes, et plus personne ne te répond, eh bien ce serait super dommage de voir ça aussi ici. :-(

Donc il y a du pour et du contre... Comment faire? C'est un sujet délicat.... Je suis contre le harcèlement, mais je suis aussi pour le fait de pouvoir cacher automatiquement les posts. Sinon, ça devient invivable. Mais pour les sujets du forum général, quel est l'intérêt?

Il me semble que quand on donne des lingots, ça rend les discussions visibles (?), en tout cas, quand on donne des lingots à une réponse, la question reste visible sur les forums des questions par exemple.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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But I think the downvote function for discussions is primarily there precisely so the very worst stuff can get hidden without a moderator having had to intervene.

I agree it can help bring order in unwieldy sentence discussions, where there can be answers that are simply incorrect.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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Yes, I agree with you!

And I often downvote for "order" purpose, not because I want to be aggressive towards the person.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QuadraticLingual

You explained this better than I could have. As you said, I also don't downvote to make it seem like I hate the poster, I just try to help.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-BloomingStars-

I agree. Thank you for sharing this : )

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_Chava

Thank you so much for posting this! I absolutely agree with you.

I suppose I would be considered a "novice user" myself, as I've only had an account for just under two weeks so far. Nonetheless, however, since I joined I have already noted this sort of thing occurring on the forums, and it bothers me. I don't love the downvoting feature, and although I can certainly see its usage in some situations, I do feel as if it seems rather overused. If I see a post that is deliberate spamming, a direct violation of Duolingo's guidelines, or inappropriate (and by "inappropriate", please note, I do not mean an error made by a member accidentally posting something in an "inappropriate" forum for the question), I will downvote it. Otherwise, no. Ironically enough, some (from my point of view) uncalled for downvotes have lead to my upvoting posts which I otherwise would have remained neutral too, in an attempt to "cancel out" the downvote. However, I am only one user with one vote to cast, and, as others have noted, that can only do so much, particularly when there are multiple downvotes.

I suppose in a way I can understand the thinking behind the "censors" who are trying to oversee the forums and remove posts in the wrong forum, and it may be that they truly believe they are doing the best thing for the community as a whole, but I definitely agree that a bit more toleration and a bit less immediate downvoting for innocent mistakes seems like it would be in order here. Again, thank you for bringing this issue up. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Welcome Sarah, two weeks definitely qualifies you as a novice for the purpose of this conversation. I don't suppose you have yet learned everything about how the site works and it is people like you who should be able to ask their questions without being penalised.

I too can understand that the censors may feel they are being helpful but the result of their actions may be anything but and that makes newcomers feel unwelcome.

I hope that this post might help at least some of these users and perhaps make us all reflect a little more carefully before hitting the downvote button.

I hope you manage to get all your own questions answered without falling victim to the problem but if you are in doubt about how to go forward please feel free to ask me on my stream and if I can help you I will. :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_Chava

Thank you very much, Ifphigenia! Before posting at all on the forums I did do a fair amount of "research" (so to speak), looking through old discussion threads and such, and I was able to find answers to most of the initial questions I had. So, so far I actually don't have many specific questions to ask; of course, no doubt I'll develop a better understanding of the dynamic here with more experience, but that's something that comes with time, not instruction. But nevertheless, thank you for the kind words!

Exactly. I agree completely.

I hope so as well. If nothing else, hopefully people may be more self-aware of when and why they are downvoting posts. And just bringing up the subject, on your part, is definitely a step in the right direction. :)

Thanks for the offer! I'm afraid that I appear to be part of the not-so-lucky A/B testing group without many of the social features of Duolingo (although thankfully, I do have the discussions! :D), so I actually don't have access to anyone else's activity stream or even my own. Still, though, thank you; if I were able to, I'd follow up on your offer, and I definitely appreciate the support and welcome. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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My pleasure Sarah :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KidKawaii
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Agreed. I never knew the Duolingo community could be unfairly intolerable, until I made my first post. Only just recently I posted a favorable post in general forums, yet within 60+ comments, generated unlikely arguments from a simple question. I believe a moderator even posted if I'm not mistaken. Even a user who claimed to block me, chimed in his opinion. It seems most in the forum community are only attracted to likely heated discussions, rather than take the time to help someone.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeNolan6

I think there are really only a few people doing that, most of the people here seem to be fairly friendly and helpful.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CommeuneTexane

I wonder if part of the problem with downvotes is the lack of accountability? In in anonymous situation anyone can downvote with impunity and without their name attached to the action. What if you had to leave a comment in order to downvote or if your name appeared if moused over a downvote? I wonder if that would make people think twice? Frankly I have little use for the downvote function except to hide abusive or spam posts until a moderator can intervene.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lento_Rodriguez
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I only use the downvote for abuse too, sometimes spam if it's bad enough. I think those are the votes you don't want your name on, at least until they figure out how to forever ban people. You would have someone following you around trolling your every post.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CommeuneTexane

You have a very valid point there! Some people are quite vindictive...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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This idea gets tossed around from time to time but there are pretty strong reasons against it. There are people who will react badly to being downvoted and if they can see who did it will go on the attack against those people. And the thing is, more often than not it's exactly those people who make posts deserving off being downvoted.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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I agree with Theron, the idea of accountability is appealing but the possible effect of the law of unintended consequences, is probably not worth the risk. It would however, be helpful if staff could see the source of the votes, that way if someone suspected they were being targeted they could report it to abuse and some action could (I'm not saying would) be taken.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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I talked to a member of staff about that a while ago, I think staff actually do have the ability to see who is voting how on sentence discussions. At least they were able to see it in immersion. But I don't believe mods have that ability and apparently for staff either the time or the inclination is lacking to make dealing with vote trolls a high priority.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeNolan6

I have only been here for a few months, but I have wondered why some things seem to get downvoted quickly (and by whom). That's one of the flaws with a downvote system, some people tend to self-appoint themselves as censors.

I've seen one forum package in which people who continually downvote things without upvoting or posting comments that themselves are upvoted basically have their downvotes not counted, but i don't know how easy that would be to program.

Of course the reverse can also be true, folks can upvote everything under the theory that anything is fair game.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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The people who upvote themselves have multiple accounts. That is yet another problem but more one which relates to trolls, rather than the self-appointed censors.

It's sad but true that a small minority make life difficult for new users, who then feel unwelcome, sad because the majority of users are very helpful, welcoming and supportive, it is important that that message doesn't get lost.:-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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Are we sure that's true? I've seen people I talk to here declaring confidently that certain individuals' posts can only be being upvoted by the poster themselves - yet these are comments with which I have agreed and to which I have given the thumbs-up.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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There have been kids bragging about using multiple accounts to control posts (and getting encouraged by at least one mod to do so) so it definitely happens. However, the worst offender seems to have taken it as a cop out for when he knowingly posts things against the guidelines. He then claims the others are doing to him what he has bragged about doing. So while it does happen it has now become the cry of any kid who gets downvoted - to never take responsibility for having made a bad post and instead claim they are being bullied.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Yes, I'm fairly sure it's true of some accounts, because I've seen evidence to indicate which accounts are guilty but ironically, like you, the ones I have seen and frequently upvoted because I agreed do seem to attract an inordinate amount of spurious claims of having multiple accounts.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
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ok - lets try this one:
When the best of us stands up ... click here

Remember - you - each one of you - you make a difference !

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hughcparker
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The downvotes aren't a criticism of the person who's posted, or an insult. It's simply that as people scroll through a forum, they'll downvote stuff that's in the wrong place, because it makes the forum harder to navigate.

Sometimes that happens without anyone telling the new inexperienced user why, which is a bit unkind - I think it's a more welcoming experience when someone helps show a new person around.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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And what happens when the number of downvotes hides the post before the new user has a chance to see the replies and move it to the correct forum? I'll tell you, it hits the correct forum complete with downvotes and remains hidden, thus preventing any chance of them getting an answer. That is unfair, unkind and downright unwelcoming, just so that the general forum remains free for all the spam. What's more the general forum is the logical place for someone to post if they are unsure of where to put their question. We are too quick to downvote and too intolerant of innocent errors.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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As is posting snarky 'wrong forum' comments and not answering the (reasonable, non-trollish) question when you know the answer perfectly well, which we seem to be seeing a lot. What are we doing, penalising people who aren't used to navigating the internet for not having information by withholding information?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QuadraticLingual

Lay off hughcparker, both of you. I'm sorry that he's only human, and makes mistakes! You don't need to make him feel bad by trying to help, he's just letting users know where to post so they don't make that mistake next time.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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He's also old enough and capable of speaking for himself.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hughcparker
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I am indeed :)

...but QuadraticLingual is as entitled to join this conversation as anyone else.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

I need instruction on what the purpose of upvoting and downvoting is. Isn't an upvote something like saying you like the post and a downvote saying you found the post irrelevant or unhelpful or worse? Or is it more than that? If it is just that, why should we worry if one or two people vote us one way or another? But if a lot of people downvote us we need to take more notice. maybe we need to see the total upvotes and total downvotes to get a better picture, rather than the net total of votes. It could be more educational.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_Chava

First of all, theoretically, you're pretty much correct about the intent of upvotes and downvotes. An upvote is a signal of approval of the post, a downvote is disapproval. Because the rules for upvoting/downvoting perhaps aren't quite as clear-cut as they might be (and also largely because we're all different people, with different tastes and interpretations of the guidelines), some people are more prone to upvote or downvote than others, and the personal criteria used can vary largely from user to user. Personally, I try to refrain from downvoting something unless it seems abusive, inappropriate (and by "inappropriate", please note, I am not referring to an error in deciding which is the appropriate forum for a question to belong to), or like deliberate spamming. Occasionally I might also downvote a post for irrelevancy, I suppose, but only if it's bordering on spam - and I would not downvote a legitimate question, even if it seemed out of place on the forum it was posted in.

However, even aside from the difference in personal interpretations as mentioned above, there are also always users who will use the downvote as a method of "trolling" other users and their posts, even without any real reason, and so relying on the number of downvotes a post generates can be a bit unreliable at best.

I would agree with you - being able to see the number of downvotes and the number of upvotes a post has received independently from each other instead of them effectively canceling one another out and showing only the net total (the "bigger picture", as you say) seems like a good idea to me. But the fact is, downvotes and upvotes aren't only educational in nature on Duolingo and a way of expressing personal like or dislike of a post (misused or otherwise), they also have an actual effect on the posts of the display themselves.

If a post receives five downvotes, then it is "hidden" - meaning it is no longer visible in the list of discussions. It is still accessible (unless it was actually deleted, which I believe takes more than downvoting) through the direct URL to the discussion, but presumably very few people would have that URL. And so, if a post is undeservedly downvoted, the OP may lose their chance at receiving a response, since no one will be able to see their discussion. Aside from hiding posts, a smaller number of downvotes/upvotes also have some impact. In the responses to a discussion, the posts with the most upvotes are displayed at the top, and posts with fewer are in descending order in the thread of replies. Hence, when someone posts a new reply to an existing discussion, the response usually shows up at the bottom of the posts to the discussion - unless there are already comments with a negative net total of votes - because every comment starts out with 0 in either direction. So, yes, there is more to it than simply conveying a message of your opinion on the post; both downvotes and their counterparts, upvotes, do actually play out in practice and can make a substantial difference, particularly if a large number of people vote one way or another.

Hope this helps, and apologies for how long-winded this response is. :P

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

Thanks for your time and effort. Presumably you are talking about the net sum of down and upvotes, so that a post receiving 5 of each with net sum of 0 will stay where it is? or will this mean the post is hidden? If this is the case, I now understand.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah_Chava

Yes, that is correct - as far as I know, when calculating anything based on upvotes or downvotes, for better or worse, all that is really relevant is the net total. Glad to hear it! :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneduol1ngo

Thanks Sarah_chava.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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Hi @Anneduol1ngo, firstly welcome to Duo, despite my post I'm glad to say most people are very friendly and helpful but a vocal minority are producing an unwelcoming atmosphere.

In theory upvoting means that you agree with the comment or feel that the point is well made even if you disagree but downvoting is intended for use where comments are spam, abusive, obscene or encouraging dangerous or anti-social behaviour.

In practice the downvote is often used as a weapon by unscrupulous people such as trolls to attack individuals or even the forums themselves. Which is why downvotes don't always reflect the true value of a post.

To answer your question about why it matters if your post is downvoted, the reason is simple, once a post has more than 5 downvotes it is hidden. Once hidden it no longer appears in the list of posts, so any legitimate question which has been downvoted has no chance of being answered.

Personally, I only downvote real spam and abusive or offensive posts, not innocent errors . I don't believe in penalising people for their lack of knowledge.

I hope this has helped. :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hughcparker
Mod
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That's pretty much right, yes:

Upvote - anything that's useful, relevant, interesting, helpful, etc.

Downvote - anything that gets in the way of the smooth running of the forums - spam, abuse, nonsense, repeat posts, etc.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hughcparker
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It's true that the downvotes move with the post. That's why I think it's kinder to let people know where their post should be, and point to jrikhal's [Guide] In which forum should I post my discussion? - that way at least they know what's happened, and how to avoid it next time.

...and I do think it's legitimate to ask people to post in the right place. Different people want different things from these forums. Some people are only interested to take part in the discussion forum for the particular language they're studying. Some people are willing and able to help troubleshoot problems, and some people aren't. Some people have a general interest in language learning, and Duolingo's workings, and are interested to read the discussions in the main Duolingo forum.

Everyone reading the forums ought to be able to make a choice about which things they sign up to read, and that only works if things are posted in the right place.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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Maybe the thing to do is instead of telling them to move their post, tell them to delete it and create a new one?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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It think a better idea would be to answer when you can AND let them know about the correct forum.

That way they aren't getting penalized for being new and they will know where to post in the future.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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That would certainly be an improvement on the current system and as long as the forum newcomers aren't penalised and made to feel unwelcome I'm in favour of any solution. :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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Sure, if you know the answer and would answer if it was in the right forum, there's absolutely no reason to not answer because it's in the wrong forum.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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Or answer the question. And stop copy-pasting at us. Perhaps we should all have the right not to read the same three paragraphs on every thread we open.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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Look, hughparker's talking sense here. It's entirely legitimate to tell people where they should be posting their discussions. And by all means answer the question if you know the answer, but if you don't the best way to help is to send them to where there are the most people who do know the answer.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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If the people telling them which forum they should be in did that, I would be a lot less concerned about the impact.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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You have to consider the effect of differing time zones, by the time the OP reads the comment it could have been downvoted into oblivion and would not show up in the correct forum either. Asking them to delete it and repost in the right place would be much more helpful.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QuadraticLingual

Hello, Ifphigenia. You probably won't care about my two cents, but I'm throwing them in anyways.

Most of the time, I only downvote spam posts. I can't tell if a user is new or just trolling, I'm not omniscient! Also, I suck at explaining things to new users. Not every user's going to admit that they're new to the forums.

Also, don't you think the user would read the moderator's posts? People upvote the mod's comment(s) so that it shows first, and the user learns from their mistake. This way, the next time the user makes a post, they think to themselves, "Wait a second, maybe I should post this in this forum instead of that one."

...The downvotes go with (the post) and it could then be hidden on that forum meaning that they have no chance of getting a reply at all. Very unfair and very unkind!

I think that's to prevent spam and/or abuse. If a post's vote count was reset every time they moved the post, people could just move the posts endlessly, clogging up the forums.

P.S. Do you really think I care if people think I'm unkind? I'm working to be the most hated Duolingo user here, so what if other people call me "mean"? I don't care.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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I don't think anyone's suggesting resetting votes when the post is moved. I think the problem with that is pretty obvious to all of us.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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I'm sure they would read the moderator's posts but because of time zone differences it could be up to 12 hours before they read it and in the meantime the post is collecting downvotes. That is why I disagree with the present system. :-)

1 year ago
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