Activity Stream Announcement
Dear Duolingo Community,
Due to performance issues and only a small percentage of total user adoption, today we needed to remove Activity Streams from the Duolingo experience. We want to take a moment to explain why and what’s next for community interaction.
While we will miss many aspects of the Duolingo Activity Stream, it added a very large load on our infrastructure, has become unsustainable to maintain, and is written in old code—thus incompatible with our upcoming web rewrite. Duolingo’s performance was extremely slow (or down) today due to the stream, so we decided to remove it a little earlier than expected in order to make everyone’s current experience run smoothly.
Unfortunately, the Activity Stream was like a very old car that you have to spend lots of money and time to keep up. Instead, we decided to use that money towards saving up for a new car, which is coming soon.
A faster website, to begin with. We are also investing in rewriting the Duolingo Forum. This will not only make it faster, but also enable features that surface higher quality content and discourage pesky spam. In addition, we plan to incorporate better tools to communicate with other learners. We understand that social connections are essential, and we plan to expand social features and capabilities as soon as possible.
Thank you for your ongoing understanding as we work to provide free language education!
Will there be anything to take its place? And just how exactly are the moderators going to function? I don't really think duolingo is going to get any better, and there is hardly one thing left that attracted me and kept me here all this time. Luckily I'm about done with the Spanish tree.
I know this is going to get buried, but I really do hope this doesn't turn out like Immersion did. You know, with it being taken away "to make room for better things", but ultimately making people not want to come back. So far, I will remain hopeful that something better (and serving the same purpose) will come along, because if not, I may have to start looking for other platforms. One of the things that attracted me to Duolingo in the first place was how social it was, and how different it was from other sites. I have yet to find another place that lets you translate real-life articles and connect with other users. But ultimately, if Duolingo keeps taking away the features that make it unique, it will no longer be any different from those mediocre sites, which would be a shame.
@Magalie48 I am sorry to hear that let's hope that they will see this comment or JoThelan's forum post here in
Farsi فارسی https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22330252
@ lilyflower231 "I have yet to find another place that lets you translate real-life articles and connect with other users." In the golden times of Immersion, one could indeed upload a wide range of articles other than the Wikepedia things, which was wonderful. Whatever the changes on DL are going to be, I'm afraid that my feeling of distrust towards Duolingo will never disappear.
I am really sorry to lose the activity stream as it was one of the things that made duolingo so addictive. Without it I doubt that I would have become so obsessed with languages.
But without activity I would really like full access to the forums restored. Only new posts will scroll. I have no way to access individual forums except for the most recent six or so posts on each. I was relying on the activity stream to make me aware of interesting posts and now I feel very disconnected from the community that has been a big part of my life for very nearly three years. I will keep using duolingo because it works so well and I am well and truely hooked but please don't squander all the good will you have with long term users by taking our community away. I have stuck around through other negative changes, putting up with something is very different than approving it, which I think is what many of your A/B tests fail to show you.
This! Putting up with negative changes and using the site despite of them don't equal accepting. I've been wondering about this for a long time. Statistics can't tell you everything, so why does the staff seem to solely rely on them? Is the amount of new users really that important? Is growth the only thing that matters? Especially as it's clear that Duolingo can't handle more users. I really wonder about the staff member's prioritieson developing the site. My experience is that the site hasn't been improving at all during the almost two years I've been using it, but there has been a lot of changes for the worse.
Two days after Activity disappeared, my account changed to the new code and I started seeing ads on the website... for anti-wrinkle treatments. I think you may be correct!
@CharFyreTyger: Hey little tigress, some of us are still here with you! Hang in there; you've almost made it to 200 days!
That one being the new comments is the only one that seems to want to scroll, it has a spinning circle displayed, although no more posts are appearing. This is the way my activity stream had been behaving since they all went down that one week.
I use a kindle and so can't use a different browser as I don't own a computer.
I have a few questions. What about the current contacts and friends we've made? Will there be a way to continue to remain in touch once the "better tools to communicate with other users" are in place? Will we have seek each other out again? Will communication resemble the clubs?
Duolingo's Activity Stream was the only place where I could ask for help for Dutch not in the course (excluding the forum, as I didn't want to clutter it), now with the Activity Stream gone, I have no way of asking native speakers directly how certain things work :/
I love [the old] Duolingo, but at this point I'm a bit dismayed because of all this, the Activity Stream was extremely useful.
Hi Shan, What languages have you been working on? I signed up on Jo's site today. How will she be able to tell me if I have been verified? Also, would you and Anne please teach me how to use the site? I am so happy that I have not lost you two. ML signed up in January, I think. Lento signed up today. He said we will figure things out together. He started doing the French tree this year :) I will still be able to practice Spanish with him :) How's the weather in Jamaica? I believe Ifphigenia has helped Jo put the site together. I can hardly wait to start on this new adventure with our little group hugs and smiles
Mr Von Ahn, with all due respect, I see no harm in repeating what's already been said: Would it be so hard to notify users of this before it's done? We're not guinea pigs, but I, for one, feel like one right now.
Wouldn't it be better if you made a rude discussion saying "In the next two weeks, the activity stream will be removed and it'll be a while before we implement something like it. It just doesn't go with the new code intended for better performance." and locked it, instead of suddenly removing it and leaving us in confusion? People have made friends here and not everyone have alternatives to contact each other. In fact, most people don't.
This manner of staff-to-users communication, like what happened with Immersion, is insulting.
I can't use Discord or CT, though. What do people like me do when everyone else has left and we're all alone? All the best, smartest users use other sites. Eventually it's just going to be a handful of moderately good users and a bunch of new people who just want to spam, or redo the same three lessons for all time. (No offence meant to new users, I'm exaggerating to make a point. I'm certain most new users are lovely people, it's just that there might not be a lot of good new users if they keep taking the best things away.)
I miss those times, too. I've been unable to contact Jules, and I tried Khan Academy, but it would not let me get to any other user pages. For those not on CT, I miss you guys so much. I deeply hope we can meet again soon under better circumstances, but know I've been thinking of all of you.
Well hello mischievous sir! Do you know the whereabouts of a certain magical bush? If so, keep it safe ;) I ran into Aria on my discussion of 'My Dream Activity Stream' I had 2 wishes. 1. That we will be able to edit on the stream like we can on Discussions. My second wish was to have etiquette guidelines for the use of The Activity Stream. Poor Aria is so depressed. He said his only wish was for the Activity Stream to exist again. How is your leader board looking? Over half of the people on my list have left or hardly participate. I see that you are still going strong! Belated Congrats on your 200 day streak. Till we meet again...
To everyone who was caught unprepared and still would like to exchange contacts with their friends - as of now accounts that were able to post in activity streams appear to be still able to do so. The post cannot be seen after you refresh the page just as the whole stream cannot, but the recipient can reply to it via the link from his email notification. After you receive the link with his reply too, both of you can continue talking there.
An example: https://www.duolingo.com/event/9780292000
I expect them to disable it too, but for now it in fact can work as private messaging. This adds a very interesting angle to the top comment by Usagiboy7, which I completely agree with.
I'm sad to see it go, but I am confident that your team will be able to improve on the activity stream. I've been impressed with many of the new features introduced this year (Tinycards, bots, etc.)
I do hope you consult with users on what you the new social features to look like. The Activity features have been one of the best parts of my 2 and a half years here, and i'd be sad to see them change in worse ways.
Please keep these features:
-public conversations (not DMs. For safety. Also, lurkers need to lurk xD)
-a way to see achievements (Teenage_Polyglot leveled up!, etc). It was always fun to congratulate people on their achievements.
That said, there was definitely things that could be improved. A smaller tab within 'Activity' that separated conversations and achievements would be neat.
Finally: I would be willing to donate money to you guys. I'm fine with ads (in the language I'm learning is a plus). But when you take away one of the greatest features of this site, something needs to change. If you do it well, I don't think most users will care about monetization changes. Duolingo Plus is a good start, but please keep moving.
Thank you for all you do to keep this site running. I know this wasn't an easy decision.
I don't mean to argue with you here, but below, you commented "Keeping something up, even if it's not used very often...", and I'd like to make a statement opposing that.
The Duolingo Activity stream has been used every day be my friends and I, not to mention the thousands of other Duolingo users as an important way to communicate, share information concerning language learning, and encourage one another.
It's also a great way to mark your progress and show your friends that you've completed a skill, leveled up, or started learning a new language.
For so many years, it has been a useful and fun part of learning on Duolingo. If you had been planning to take it down, why not arrange for a substitute for users to utilize during construction for the new features? You left us hanging, and that's probably why so many users are upset with this situation, and opposed to any new features.
I understand that you're doing what's best for Duolingo, and that one can't always make everyone happy. We probably would have been much more open to the idea if you had notified us of this change in advance. I honestly believe that gesture like providing a temporary replacement for the Activity Stream would really reflect your genuine concern for the loyal fans of Duolingo.
Please don't get my intentions wrong. I'm simply trying to represent this situation from the users' end, in a less abrasive and argumentative way.
Thanks for your time, Lily
why not arrange for a substitute for users to utilize during construction for the new features?
But a gesture like providing a temporary replacement for the Activity Stream would really reflect your genuine concern for the loyal fans of Duolingo.
The problem would be the same: it would take anyway some time to implement them, so we'd still be without substitute/new features for some time.
Moreover, creating temporary substitute would take developers away from implementing the new features thus delaying even more the new features arrival.
No, the best (IMO), is that they ut all efforts in (creating then) releasing ASAP the announced "new features".
And about "why" not having put in place something to replace, Luis shared an explanation
we decided to remove it a little earlier than expected in order to make everyone’s current experience run smoothly.
they preferred to left users without activity stream over what they evaluated would be the consequences if they let it live.
The Duolingo Activity stream has been used every day be my friends and I, not to mention the thousands of other Duolingo users as an important way to communicate, share information concerning language learning, and encourage one another.
Yes, there were probably hundreds of thousands using them but it's not incoherent with the fact that (in average among all Duo users) it wasn't used very often.
Don't forget that the large majority of Duo users are app users (which don't have activity stream, I believe) and that among website users, many don't use the forums nor the activity stream, they just take their daily lesson and come back the next day.
Don't take me wrong, I'm not saying it's not impacting deeply the users that were using it(*), just saying that said users are likely to represent a very few percentage of all Duo users. Hence if activity stream was time/money/...-consuming in a proportion far larger than the global (in terms of all users") benefit, it make sense to prefer to develop a replacement.
(*) among which the moderators who needed it to explain why a discussion/comment had to be deleted
Thanks for taking the time to write me a response.
I really appreciate you explaining all this out to me, but it still doesn't solve the majority issue of, "What do we do now?". I hope that Luis will see this and understand that there may have been a better way to de-employ the Activity Stream that would benefit both Duolingo and its users. =)
but it still doesn't solve the majority issue
Because, it wasn't meant for that. ;)
I can't answer that nor do anything about that, I'm not a Duo employee/staff member.
The only answer I see to "What do we do now?" is "(Keep calm and) wait and see."
hope that Luis will see this and understand that there may have been a better way to de-employ the Activity Stream that would benefit both Duolingo and its users. =)
According to his comments, he was already seeing/knowing that but
What you could try to do is to turn on your notifications and write a message on a user's stream. The user won't see the message on the activity stream, but you would get an email notification. That way, you're still able to communicate. But please be careful about what you write since there's always a way to find your new "private communication".
I don't think this works for everyone...it doesn't for me and a few mods plus others have tried to help. When someone posts me direct I can reply and we have a conversation until the screen is refreshed. After that nothing. I have been on the new site I think since I joined Dec 25 when people were telling me it was due to my being on an AB test and that I would get full functionality as soon as the test ended. I have never had Activity! Also I am here in the forum, looking pointlessly to reply to a post in this discussion I just had a notification of, but there are far too many posts here for me to find it. The name is NoNoEsImposible and I think (s)he had a good comment about not quitting DL for minor things but also talking about the ability to let DL know, I think by the up- and downvoting system and I wanted to see the context of the post. Now where has the facility to click on 'view discussion' that used to take us to the post gone? With that gone a large discussion like this becomes impossible to navigate. The 'view discussion' is there but it takes me only to the OP and there is no search facility so it is hopeless!!!
(I already have the new site, but it sometimes switches between the old and new code as well, quite weird, but interesting to see)
It's due to the fact that some pages haven't yet been revamped.
For example all discussions pages (the forums' page and each discussion) are still under the old webversion. So even for the accounts that have been switched to the new version, they still have the old one for the pages that don't have a new version yet.
I know that this won't work for everyone. I didn't know that 2 weeks ago, though.
As for NoNoEsImposible, the account is deactivated. Search this thread for "Perhaps I don't understand" and you will find one of their posts (I found it because jrikhal directly referenced to this user).
Now where has the facility to click on 'view discussion' that used to take us to the post gone?
It's still easily accessible via the email notifications, or what do you mean?
I think that particular message was deleted for some reason. I wanted to reply to it too. Another thing that sometimes happens is that whole sections of a large discussion end up in a parallel dimension and while I still get notifications of the messages I can't see them on the site. Apparently it depends on what language you have chosen in the settings. For me Duolingo is in English so sometimes I just can't have a discussion with those who use the site in French for example.
The 'view discussion' is there but it takes me only to the OP
If the discussion has a lot of comments, wait for several seconds to see if it finally goes to the comment. If it still doesn't after several seconds (like, up to 10 seconds), this simply means (up to bugs) that the comment has been either hidden (due to downvotes) or deleted (by staff or mods) hence it's normal to not be displayed.
and there is no search facility so it is hopeless!!!
There is your browser search engine, so it's not hopeless!!!
If the page doesn't go directly to the comment, then the best case is that it's just hidden. Hence, you'll have to
- unhide ALL hidden comments (search "hidden" --- or the corresponding wording in your interface --- then click on every gray "hidden" button)
- copy from your mail notification a part of the comment you're looking for
- paste it in the search engine of your browser
- See if it finds it.
- If it doesn't, it means the comment has been deleted
looking pointlessly to reply to a post in this discussion I just had a notification of, but there are far too many posts here for me to find it. The name is NoNoEsImposible
The last message of the (now deactivated) mentioned account is still visible and the button in mail notification does bring to it (waiting few seconds after a first display of the OP). If even after waiting 10seconds after the OP is displayed you're still not sent onto the comment:
- Copy/paste "This is sort of separate" in your browser search engine
- If it doesn't work, then you can try to
- switch to another interface (=another source language) in case you're experiencing the bug described by chirelchirel.
- reload the page
@chirelchirel I noticed that too, but only during the last weeks. I assume that has something to do with the recoding of the site (I already have the new site, but it sometimes switches between the old and new code as well, quite weird, but interesting to see). I'm not sure, though.
Why would a good post be removed? If the account is deactivated posts are left as far as I can see because I have seen posts in discussions where it says 'deactivated user'.
Also it seems strange that NoNoEsImposible left having said only a couple of hours previously about not leaving, so are you sure?? I suppose you are or you wouldn't have said so but I just wonder what happened in the last couple of hours to cause this.
And this time the button did work OK to get me here.
"Why would a good post be removed?" Good posts aren't and won't be removed. What are you referring to?
"Also it seems strange that NoNoEsImposible left having said only a couple of hours previously about not leaving, so are you sure??" No idea what happened. All I told you is how to find a post of that user and all I see is that the account has been deactivated. I also don't know whether the user did it themselves or anybody else.
Long time user; on-again/off-again/on-again moderator.
Currently off-again user (as you can likely tell by my activity stream....oh...wait).
For the record, I wasn't privy to the email Duo sent out to moderators.
That's not really a surprise or disappointment to me anymore.
Do you remember the email I sent you November 4, 2013?
It was a reply to an email you sent me from your gmail account.
You likely don't have it anymore.
I still have mine.
It meant a lot to me.
Your unsolicited email to me read:
Hi XXXX, Just wanted to personally thank you for all your contributions to the Duolingo community. You're incredibly helpful to new language learners and always very eloquent when dealing with tricky community issues :) Thank you! --Luis
I replied and shared my personal story as to why I was desperate to learn German, and expressed my deep gratitude for the Duolingo website.
Thank you! I'm sharing this with the team, since this is what motivates us to do better!
I'm still eternally grateful for the website, and for how far it has allowed me to come with German. I honestly don't think I'd be at this level without Duolingo, despite having taken 3 university courses recently (with the exception of the speaking practice....the courses were almost pointless).
I still don't feel I've lived up to my promise to my grandfather (see email if you still have it), but my desire to carry on has waned recently because of my disgust? disappointment? with the Duolingo team and to some extent the "community" (which Duo has created or allowed to fester into what it is). It's obviously my own fault for depending so heavily on Duolingo, but it would be remiss of me to not share Duo's role in my lack of want these days.
In my email to you, I compared Duolingo to an "exercise book".
In recent days/months/maybe year(s)?, it has felt more like a colouring book.
The changes that you (the Royal you) make seem to consistently dumb down the courses. That's the nicest I can put it. If you don't know what I mean by that, and how things have been dumbed down, then you haven't spent enough time reading comments in the forums made by long time users (and possibly even course contributors). In particular, your app is not what it could be. Courses can be blasted through with 0 effort and 0 knowledge gained. Duo's direction seems to be aimed this way; make things easier so user retention is better. This is just like "no child left behind" mentality, and "everyone gets a trophy because we're all winners". Higher user retention doesn't mean your product is good.
The removal of immersion further pushed Duolingo forward into "no child left behind!" territory. I am sure that it was a tax on the system, and the writing was on the wall for the longest time as it seemed like nobody at Duo headquarters seemed to care to even look at immersion in the months/year(s) leading up to it being removed. The handling of it notwithstanding, it was something that Duo offered to help bring users to a higher level (even if the intention was simply to make money). Now that's gone. (For the record, I didn't use it much, but was grateful for it when I did use it)
The introduction of the schools feature was a great idea, and something I had hoped for and mentioned many years ago. Unfortunately, I don't think it was implemented very well. Now you have introduced an additional sub-group of users that don't want to learn a language to the website, where, for the most part, everyone else is here by choice. Other changes and efforts were made to accommodate these users. I can only wonder if some of the decision behind the activity stream removal was due to underage kids using it to harass one another etc. Throw in the mixing of adults and underage kids in one place, and you've got major issues. I wonder what percentage of the user base uses the schools feature and how much effort is going into that (and how it compares to immersion or the activity stream). I mean, if the percentage of users for the website as a whole is supposedly pretty low, then the subset of that percentage which are "schools" users must be pretty low. Right? That's neither here nor there though. I think I got distracted and started rambling. And I should really get back to work, so I'll conclude now...
In my aforementioned email back in 2013, I wrote (avert your eyes children):
I do bitch and complain about Duolingo’s short comings once in a while (especially about grammar education) but this should only be interpreted as caring, not disdain.
The "once in a while" is no longer "once in a while".
I'm still eternally grateful for everything you've done Luis (and everyone else at Duo).
However, if caring v.s. disdain was a best-of-7 NHL playoff series match-up, caring was ahead 3-0 in 2013. It's now 3-2 in the series, and it's overtime in game 6.
I'm hoping that caring holds strong, but disdain has a 2 minute powerplay.
Let's have some positive updates for a change, and put Duolingo back on track with language learning in mind instead of bubble-wrapped Babytown frolics. If money is what's holding you back, numerous quality suggestions have been made by your user base that would still allow you to provide the site for free to those that need it.
Hohenems (signed for posterity's sake should disdain take the series)
From my own tests (and similar previous cases), it has probably never been deleted.
It's just that(*) it happens that some comments (in some discussions) aren't displayed under one interface but are OK under other interfaces.
In the case of your comment (and the answers to it):
- it doesn't appear (to me) on the discussion under the interfaces: DE, EN
- it does appear (to me) on the discussion under the interfaces: AR, CS, EL, ES, FR, HI, HU, ID, IT, JA, KO, nl-NL, PL, PT, RO, RU, TR, UK, VI, zh-CN
Note that in other cases (for other discussions/comments), the above lists are different. For example, this discussion returns me 404-error under ES interface but works under the 21 other ones.
So it doesn't seem like a general pattern with this or that interface being buggy... Looks like a more complex mess.
@those_to_whom_hohenems'_comment_disappeared (or those receiving a mail notification but not seeing the comment:
Could you try to
- switch under English interface and reload the discussion and see if the comment is there
- switch under French interface and reload the discussion and see if the comment is there
- switch under Spanish interface and reload the discussion and see if the comment is there
- and/or to any other interface.
(*) I noticed it 2-3 days ago, but it may have been there for long...
EDIT: I completed the above with the exhaustive list of interface for which it's working for me and which it's not.
I couldn't see it with the English or German interface, but I can with the French.
EDIT: For the record, which languages work and which don't for me correspond with which work for Jrikhal, at least here. I haven't tried the linked discussion which works with everything other than Spanish for him yet.
I, too, feel I have lost friends. Much has been said about this, and I don't want to repeat that. I also don't want to repeat that I learned a lot from following other people with more knowledge. There are other points though.
We are only a few days into this, and I see already a few changes in behavior.
I often refrain from answering questions in the sentence discussions. Prior to the disappearing of activity
I could be sure that some of my followers were looking and could point out mistakes/typos if needed.
I was able to take a look myself a few hours later by clicking the link to see if I had made a mistake or wanted to add something.
Both is no longer possible, and often I do not answer a question just because of that. We all know that it is close to impossible to find what und where you've posted recently, especially with sentence discussions which may have been started years ago.
I'm also astonished about the way Duolingo communicates (not) with members. DL relies heavily on volunteers. Many of the language courses wouldn't exist without the course contributors who build a course without being paid, investing many many hours. From the outside it doesn't look like DL appreciates it:
They started the paid streak repair without informing the moderators.
They stopped immersion, again without informing the moderators (let alone users), and people didn't get a chance to save their work.
I think as long as DL wanted to make money with translations, it was okay to be secretive and do all sorts of A/B-tests. DL had an interest to make people learn a language as fast as possible.
But the financial goal has changed. They want to make money through the users directly, be it subscriptions or English tests. It would be sensible to change the way they treat users accordingly.
Would I pay money to a company that has proven several times to cut off important features any given time? No. I do not have trust in such a company. Just imagine you had paid money for Duolingo Plus because you find the activity stream so awesome and want to support the company who offers such a unique feature, and the next day that awesome feature has vanished. Sure, you haven't been promised it will stay, and you did "only" pay for an ad-free version, but would you be willing to renew your subscription? Probably not (I wouldn't).
I like the way I can learn languages here, I am grateful for the site and especially for the moderators, course contributors and helpers without an official status who are the soul of Duolingo, and I will continue. But I certainly "fell out of love", as someone else put it.
Please excuse any mistakes; I am not a native speaker.
As a Duolingo user who frequently checks (stalks) other people's activity streams for interesting discussion (when I'm not strengthening my skills), I feel very devastated about this update because 1/5th of the time that I am on Duolingo, I am on activity streams and discussions. I hope the new version will be more efficient for you and for us.
What about just keeping the messaging? Not everyone used it, but it was important to those of us who did. Also, people have said that Duolingo doesn't need Streams, because it's not a social site. I disagree. It is very much a social site, in the way that being part of a book club is different from just reading a book. I'll be anxiously hoping for a replacement :/
People could create a personal topic in the forum, and link to it from their profile as a workaround.
Edit: I suggest using one of the old abandoned skill forums for this, in order not to clutter the main forum. I hope staff will keep these running for a while. Please check my profile to see how it's done!
Lento, Levelling up is not going to be the same without the messages from you, DreamingOdelia and others... I am trying to give you Lingots for your Sunshine Distribution project involving newbies, but for some reason the system will not let me at the moment... will try again later.
Thank you Luchair! I loved the encouragement we could give each other on the activity stream, I hope we get something similar to use.
DreamingOdelia and I have just signed up at Jo's translation site https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22228863 I haven't really had a chance to try it out yet but come over there if you are not already.
Thanks for the lingots, I will be sure to hand them out.
Luchair, I do miss your sweet, gentle spirit on the Activity Stream. I fondly remember your Irish Tree Celebration. Do you know Aria? He finished his Irish Tree just days after we lost The Activity Stream. Sadly, no Irish Tree Celebration for Aria. It is difficult to round up Celebration Participants with just Discussions. When we get the Activity Stream back we should have one large Tree Celebration for all the trees that are finished during this Dark Time. Although I suspect we will have less than half of the finished trees than we would have had with the Activity Stream. I don't know how your Leader Board is looking but over half of the people on my Leader Board are at zero. As each week goes by there are more zeros. Are you continuing to strengthen your Irish Tree?
I assume that won't happen for now. Until the new features will be implemented, mods will probably able to see at least some little activity and I guess that's why the button hasn't disappeared yet. But I get your point that it's psychologically not nice to see the tab all day.
Luis, the basic Duolingo language teaching functionality is pure genius, and your passion to make language learning free to everyone in the world is commendable. I hope very sincerely you are successful in growing Duolingo, and nothing I am about to say changes any of that.
But 1) you are a language website, and you removed Immersion, the only truly "sandbox" feature of your gamified learning system. True, only a minority of users were using Immersion, but these are just the users you shouldn't want to lose: the committed, intermediate or advanced people who are passionate about language and making contributions to human knowledge.
2) You are a website designed to improve communication, yet you have just removed the functionality that made personalized communication possible. Why should we "follow" people now? Does it even mean anything anymore? Again, just because a minority of people used Activity streams, I would argue that those users are the very ones you don't want to turn away. And once you have allowed people to bond and form friendships on their activity streams, it is unkind and de-stabilizing to take that away. I think you have a certain responsibility to those users who depended on Activity, to replace it with something even better... and soon, before they become discouraged. Many who think of Duolingo as a "happy place" do so because they had friends here that they didn't have anywhere else.
3) Duolingo is a user-dependent, crowd-sourced website. So it only would make sense that Duolingo staff should be very transparent and proactive in communicating upcoming changes, and genuinely listen to user feedback. I am not confident that is happening. I hope I'm wrong. Just remember, people are so much more than their metric data.
I've been around a long time and been a part of many organizations that went through "growing pains" and a few that are now defunct. Removing primary features and not communicating effectively with the base are some major red flags of organizational trouble. Again, I hope I'm wrong. I'm rooting for you to make Duolingo even more accessible, with better community-building features, and maybe adding Latin in the next few years!
As you're overhauling the Discussion forum, I'd recommend you to talk to Casey, the site owner at Ravelry.com, which is a knitting and fiber arts website with social networking, messaging, and discussion features. I've often thought that it has developed a better interface for discussions and messaging than Duolingo, and it accommodates a diverse and international group of users quite nicely. Though I have no real knowledge of computer programming and the particular challenges Duolingo faces, I have to respect the way he grew his site from a small start to what it is today. Best wishes to you.
Actually, it only barely survived. I was there as a user and remember the chaos that ensued.
As the "upgraded" website kept falling over and the forums took an age to load when they did (and often they didn't) a huge number of power users from the forums migrated to Facebook and stayed there. The forums now are a mere ghost of what they were in the early days.
It took years for the badly-implemented "improvements" to be sorted out but by then it was too late. The forums have not recovered and the members and books-registered counters disappeared never to be seen again. Which, I suspect, tells its own tale.
I used the activity stream to follow the contributors and some of the more helpful native speakers of a language. I could read their helpful posts on the discussions every day. this was very useful to learning.
I don't really care about whether anyone else completed a skill, or the idle chatter, but the discussions about language and the subtleties of meaning is crucial to developing a feel for the language. Please provide a feature so we can follow these important conversations.
I understand that Duo is a company and that the website and the apps are products. I understand that we do not pay for these products. So I do not expect the Duo's decisions to be democratic. But the Duo yields money and yields due to the existence and number of users. In addition, these products are collaborative, and older users, who make use of these products, have made and contributed important contributions to Duo's development and growth. I feel there is a lack of consideration, or even respect, for making such decisions without early warning. It was extremely unfair to cancel the immersion without giving us the opportunity to download the texts that interested us. It was extremely unfair to cancel the activity panel without giving us the opportunity to make contact with the people with whom we just talked there. I still think that the Duo is a fantastic tool despite this, however I think it tends to lose value as a benchmark because of this way of acting. I will continue to use the Duo for now, but I will stop following it on social networks. It does not make more sense, since their communication policy does not care about the reception of who communicates.
For me, a very important part of the Duolingo experience has been the activity stream. The ability to follow people and be followed created a kind of mentorship program that contributed immensely to the value of the experience. I doubt I would have spent more than a few weeks here without it. And although I've been here for several years now, I'm not at all sure that I'll continue without that level of interaction being available.
When I first signed up, I was skeptical of a free online course because there was no apparent incentive for it to be of high quality or even reliable: I was afraid I would learn "wrong." That turned out to be a real danger at the time: the English to German course was still quite new, still had some errors in it, and there were exercises I simply did not understand, in spite of having some background already in the language. To my good fortune, a native German speaker began to follow me and not only answered my questions about possible errors in the program ("Is this translation right?") but also explained things I found confusing and told me when my translation was right, or wrong, and why, if Duolingo hadn't accepted it. That interaction not only corrected for bugs in the program, it added immensely to what was taught.
The lessons got better over time, but I have still benefited many, many times from other native speakers who have stepped up to help me, who were kind enough to follow me and answer my questions authoritatively. (Others are often willing to help, but I wouldn't want to rely, for example, on a non-native speaker saying "Gee, I think that ought to be OK.") I've also benefited by choosing specific native speakers who are willing to explain things often and well - and following them, so that I learned something by seeing what they had to say about exercises and issues that I hadn't encountered on my own. I've tried to return the favor, or rather pass it on, but without the activity stream the opportunity to do that is greatly diminished.
Eventually I found myself on the fringe of a little subcommunity within Duolingo, and the learning experience was greatly enhanced by conversations about aspects of the language - exploring regional differences in English as well as in German, for example, and discovering the diversity of dialects in German - and later in other languages, because the possibility had been suggested to me in those conversations about German and English. And, truth to tell, the little pat on the head my friends would give me when I finished a skill or leveled up was a nice extra bit of encouragement that sometimes kept me going.
I've recently started a new, recently released course, which - lacking the activity stream - I've decided not to continue with. Understandably for a recently released course, it has errors. It doesn't reflect as wide a range of possible translations as the older courses have developed; sometimes I can tell that my translation is probably fine, but other times I cannot without help. So I'm back to my original hesitation about Duolingo, that the course is not reliable in its own terms.
In losing the activity stream, we have lost an aspect of Duolingo that truly distinguished it from other programs available, and, to my mind, the single most valuable aspect of the program.
I used the hack, but then three days after Duolingo emailed me with the news that I was an alphatester.
And I'm using this account for the alphatest.
Strange that WaterPolyglot account (nor Espiraden) appears to contributors in the Incubator... usually, alpha-testers are.
Maybe alpha-testing of JA<-EN is different from all alpha-testing of all other courses...
sharing information and instructions about using Duolingo in a way that may impact the system, community, learning, data or experience in a negative or significant manner, your account and posts may be removed. Guidelines
Not sure that "hacking" the system(*) in order to access to a course that Duolingo hasn't released(**) would not fall under this part of the Guidelines...
(*) or sharing information about how to do so
(**) hence doesn't seem to want for users to access it yet
we decided to use that money towards saving up for a new car
It'd better be a Ferrari :P
we plan to incorporate better tools to communicate with other learners
Seems like you're already testing them as in the past 24 hours 3 different announcements were made by Duolingo staff huhuhu.
Ok, wow. It seems like the Duolingo staff knows nothing about communication. How on Earth didn't they think of announcing something like that beforehand 0.o This is again the same thing that has been mentioned on this thread many times. The lack of communication by the staff feels very disrespectful. I really hope someone will soon code another free language learning site where the users are actually respected.
Why is it that we are always losing really good features which, despite promises of shiny new gifts, are never replaced by anything of true worth? :(( Oh, and yes, I wish you would have had the guts to let everyone know what you were planning to do, in advance, instead of sneakily pulling the plug on our much loved "Activity", overnight.
Sorry, I don't believe in the "due to performance"....
I know Duolingo got big financial issues, it's obvious...
But I really suspect you want to kill the old site, and make a brand new one. Maybe because you don't believe the old one could survive.
But really, I'm under the impression you want to remove everything useful here. Maybe it will be made as a premium feature.
On Duolingo, the messaging system is already totally awful... I cannot get my messages, as I receive a lot, if I'm not connected on this site. Is it really normal? It's the first site I know on the Internet that have almost zero messaging system, just a kind of "live" messaging system. You're not here, you don't get your messages.
So, that's the point to remove the activity stream? Users will get zero possibilities to communicate with other users, except the global forum, that is not a place for private chat or private help demands....
That's totally crazy !!! Unless you plan to make it a paying feature, that I can understand if the site is about to die as it seems.
The activity stream, like the immersion, has too many flaws, it's harassing, because you are harassed without being able to choose what kind of things interest you to see. It's like a big spamming system... But as immersion wasn't perfect, why not saying the truth, and saying that is because of performance? I don't believe it.
I'm really afraid you will remove every useful things on this site. What's next? Removing the sentences forum?
I would better to study on Duolingo the more I can before it disappears or become another sites, without any human helps or human communication, only cold bots...
Anyway, I don't think you will read any of the comments on this page. So it's totally useless to protest... And even if you read, you are not interested in listening us. It's clear you have your own plan, including several big changes, and it's only the beginning of them...
Enjoy Duolingo the time it will survive!!! There's no much time now.
I've been here for three years, and to be honest, I'm extremely disappointed by the changes on here recently. Duolingo is fallling behind some of the other language learning websites, which has made me contemplate why I am still here. All the amazing features which made it great and MADE me come back everyday are gone. You must have something amazing up your sleeves if you decided on this decision.
I use Duolingo Classrooms as a teacher and the Activity Stream was the only way I could monitor whether my students were using the "test out" feature to skip skills.
The test out feature is easily exploited: you can cheat your way to success, and thereby skip a large swath of skills.
Please give educators a way to prevent students in Duolingo classrooms from accessing the test-out feature.
Check whether your notifications are turned on (https://www.duolingo.com/settings/notifications) and if they are and your mailbox is not full, try changing your email address in your settings to a different one. Once the email notifications begin to arrive to another address you can change it back. The only downside is that they will begin to arrive to both addresses for several days. I'm experiencing this right now.
I am sad that these features are not here now too. If Duo can't pay rent, then they have to down size. Duolingo has not made a profit in 5 years. The previous plan they had to raise money (Immersion) did not work out because of laws in the European Union. So, while they test new ways to raise money to help keep Duolingo existing at all, some things have to be scaled back during the budget squeeze in order to keep the project from going under. As some comments have pointed out, we the community preferred alternative ways of them to go about it, such as more timely communication. I am not in HQ with them. So, I cannot speak for why things happened as they did. But, I don't suspect anything nefarious. And, I know that staff can get stressed out too.
Duolingo is well known to change and change and change. Along with teaching languages, it's goal is innovation in education. It means constantly trying new things. Innovation is part of how it operates without paying for advertisement. News covers innovation, which spreads the word, which inspires more people to invest with venture capital. So, I don't see that changing during the squeeze. (I am not just saying this to you, I am saying it to anyone who is reading.)
Duolingo is doing what it can with what it has right now.
I know it sounds like a terrible excuse, but I myself am a computer programmer and I know that old code, especially code that is not well written, or in this case code that executes slowly, is not at all easy to maintain. Keep in mind that the servers that keep the Duolingo experience up are busy every time you post a comment, learn a lesson, click on the "Discussion" tab...
This, maybe. http://emoji.duolingo.com/ :rollingeyestoheavenemoticon:
[for the avoidance of doubt I'm assuming it was an April Fool that I missed but it's one of the first things that comes up when I put duolingo into a search engine, along with bots, and in the current climate it feels entirely appropriate - who has time for actual language when we can muck about with bots, animated owls and heaven knows what else?]
I saw someone link the 4/20 announcement earlier on the forums and it didn't even occur to me that that was the big surprise (despite the word "surprise" in the tweet). They have been building it for two months and it has been on the course list for a month or so, how is it a surprise now? Honestly, I will never understand the way the staff thinks.
Anyway, this tweet is for Luscinda https://twitter.com/duolingo/status/848097704869851136
Will there be a way of seeing our own posting activity? I can see not posting every time you complete a lesson, but I already miss being able to see where I've posted in the past recently if I wanted to check back with a post. I also quite liked being able to see that I'd leveled up in my stream even if not every single lesson.
This is stupid-why? because people that had already mastered everything on the trees now can't learn much because the forums are unreliable. And the DuoLingo lessons are inefficient because they don't teach you the rules. With the activity you could ask native or advanced speakers about it.
Hello. I've been a casual learner on here for a while, just doing a few lessons when I felt like it. However, what always kept bringing me back was the ability to communicate with fellow language learners, so that we are mutually encouraged and helped. Today, you took this away, with no warning at all. I'm afraid that, until this or a similar system is put in place, I will not use this website again. It's lost what's made it Duolingo.
I really liked too much seeing the activities of my friends, now it's impossible for me! That's a unpopular decision, if the activity will have a upgrade, that can't take long time. Keeping the social messaging function directly between users is very importante for us!
Thanks a lot by the post.
Do you have any plans to add or improve features or will you just continue to remove them? Also I would like to know if anything is being done about course abandonment in the incubator. Every time a new course comes out they are enthusiastic and plan to release it in two months then seven months later they are down to one contributor and nothing happens. I like seeing new languages frequently added but not if they will never be done.
As I am writing this your message is 7 months old. Still, we don't have an suitable communication facility with the people we are following. At this point, following someone has almost no point as you cannot collaborate with the people you follow, send them messages etc.
You had admitted that social connections had a big role in learning languages and you have promised to bring back those capabilities soon. Well, I think 7 months is a long enough to at least establish a rudimentary communication facility. Don't you think so?
There are currently people in a/b test groups who have more casual discussion feature access than others. I am in one such test group. So, Duolingo hasn't dropped the idea. But, like everything to come before, a/b results are king. When an idea fails, they have to try something new or new combinations, etc.
Would you please describe what this "more casual discussion feature" looks like and how it is used? How long has this been tested? Do you have an idea as to what Duolingo is looking for in an ideal Activity Stream? First of all, is it a stream that everyone is able to see?
Usagiboy, I now have a feature that 'acknowledges' a person for accomplishing certain tasks. One of the tasks is being 'friendly'. One must follow people to be considered 'friendly'. What is the point of following someone when there is no way to communicate without the discussions?
HI Lento! (huge smile) Do you have the feature that wants you to follow people to prove that you are friendly? What have you been working on lately?
Lately I have not been doing much XP's because I read the discussions for almost every sentence that I do. I am learning so much more now :) I am redoing the French tree and dabble with Spanish every now and then. Are you doing the opposite? ;)
I don't have that feature. I haven't been doing much at all lately I do read some Spanish at bed time and I have been listening to languagetransfer's French. He just released a new track.
I'm all finished with my mothers house though, except for a few small details so hopefully I can get back to a few Spanish courses I've been working on and maybe start duolingo's Japanese.
Yes I'm French. Sorry for my bad English. Ce site à été créé pour remplacer " les onglets immersion et activité que Duolingo à abandonné. De cette façon nous pouvons continuer à traduire et échanger, et poser des questions aux natifs, exactement comme sur Duolingo avant qu'ils suppriment tout. Vous y retrouverez sans aucun doute d'anciens amis.
Reading through the comments, Luis has said that:
Yes, there will be something to take its place.
Yes! We will have much better tools soon. I promise.
Although i am sad that the activity feature has been removed, I am excited for this much better tool that will take over this place :)
Okay, I understand. Thanks for taking the time to post this, although it would be nice if you could make these kinds of posts beforehand so we have some time to adjust.
Do you have any idea what the new messaging system will look like or when you think it will be ready by?
Even though I am disappointed in this (I learnt a lot actually from talking to others, and sometimes reading stuff I found but didn't participate in the conversation), but I do understand that these are choices that are being put towards a more functional website and I hope to see this put into place soon. Thank you Luis for relaying the message.
A quick question, though, how was the old code incompatible from the new Duolingo code? Was it just inefficient for the systems to process and therefore outdated, or was it negatively affecting other pieces of code? I can understand if you can't give any specifics but I am curious on how the coding for the website in general is being redone.
I can't say I am particularly pleased with this update. I understand that the activity stream would put some unwanted glitches in the system, and I hope that whatever you guys have in store for us next is really awesome! I will miss being able to chat with my added friends I have on Duolingo, but I am sure this is for the greater good. Please do not tarry in whatever you will put in place of the activity stream, Duolingo designers!
I'm going to miss the activity stream.
It provided an easy way e.g. to get to Jitengore's weekly incubator update postings.
When getting friend requests, I could have a look at their recent activity to get some idea of what they were doing, before accepting.
My own stream gave me a quick overview of what I had accomplished over the past month or so.
If someone made a comment I liked or found interesting, I'd go see what else they posted recently, and would sometimes find good discussions.
The feature was not as good as it could have been, but its total removal does not seem to add value from the user's perspective. :-(
'hope for your ongoing understanding' is a nice phrase, but I do not feel much understood by the yanking away first of immersion, and then activity streams. Leaving us no advance word of warning, nor redress so our work and network wasn't lost down the drain in the new programming... just, no.
If we had been able to retrieve our work and contacts, now THAT would be a model of mutual respect that would secure my unfading loyalty and collaboration. But being dissed when I'm hurting, no, that doesn't further my understanding.
And I say all this while being absolutely awed by the wonder that is Duolingo, and the vision, willpower and brainpower that it was built on.
I thank you Luis, but I am hurting, and until I hurt less, my capacity for understanding is less ample.
Here are my feedbacks, as a daily Duolingo user (not kidding, just see my streak):
I loved the Activity stream, it was good to see, how other learners work, I could chat with them, I could even send a link with some useful PDFs for further learning, etc. It did not do my duolingo slower at all. If my Duolingo was slow, the reason was the poor wifi connection of the train or bus, but not at home.
If I could have a wish, please bring it back or create something, where we can interact more. Because this "Clubs"-thing, which is available only on the apps, is a crap. You can't communicate with the other members.
Hm. A little sad about that, but totally understand. What I don't understand is how mean people can be with this. (I still see some people holding a grudge with immersion. ). Sometimes you have to remember that this is a website for language learning, and not just spam or littering, even though streams is a way of talking and chatting in another language or to talk directly to a person.
Looking on the twitter page, I'm thinking to myself, what is this new thing? I'm sure it's for the better. Thanks.
edit: Please see my comment bellow.
In my opinion, it's not really a matter of whether activity was or was not meant or used for language learning, it's a matter of the friendships formed here. Most people do not have alternatives to contact their friends, so they're all separated. Nobody likes that. If people were notified beforehand, they'd get in touch on other platforms. And as you know, they weren't.
Dang it, this will make finding the newest WIU a lot more difficult, now that I can't just go to jitengore's activity stream to locate it. I hope your forum revamp also includes better search tools to compensate this! (Ability to show the search results from newest to oldest would be a great start!)
Just tried this: the search with weekly incubator update april brought a random collection of threads about the WIU, but none of them from April and most of them not even the actual updates but discussions concerning the updates. The New tab under discussion only gives me about 20 threads, the last one from yesterday, so if there was an update before that, I would never know. I finally tried searching with Google and managed to find a thread from a week ago, so I assume there was no update yesterday. To be honest, without activity, this site is pretty close to useless.
Is there going to be something to replace the messaging part of the Activity Stream? I ask this because I used it a lot to ask questions about grammar instead of making many discussion posts about them. Also, is this just the profile Activity Stream? Because I feel like the main Activity Stream has a pretty important function for many, especially moderators. Personally and honestly, I don't like this change at all, but mainly because I'm so used to seeing the Home, Activity, and Discussion pages working fine, but I guess I'll get use to it :/
I am quite disappointed to hear this bit of news. Although I am not happy to hear this, I can understand the decision and the reasons behind it, though. I just hope the activity streams return with the rewritten website.
EDIT: Something came to mind after writing this: if there aren't activity streams, how would someone contact the moderators?
Luis, Thank you for a wonderful language learning tool. I really appreciated Activity because I could immediately see grammar advice given to others by Moderators and a few superb users I follow and do a quick review of their responses to questions in the areas that interested me. Hopefully something along these lines can be preserved. It was akin to opening a "Coles Notes" booklet :)
One more comment: As an adult using this site, having the Activity stream was a way of being connected on this journey. It provided a form of "classroom" dynamic though I was alone in my language journey. I could see the struggles and achievements of others. This morning, the Duolingo experience feels different. No feeling of outreach, sharing. I miss reviewing the sage advice of Sitesurf. Hello Sitesurf if you are still out there! I have read the comments of many saying that the site is being "dumbed down" and is turning its focus to youth with the Bots and TinyCards. I am hoping adult learning will be given as high a priority as classroom assistance.
It is disappointing that this functionality has been cut from the website. A lot of what made the Duolingo experience that much more special for me was the ability to chat with others, encourage each other and make friends. With those lines of connection now severed I can only look on at other people's profiles without a voice to congratulate them when they achieve something new.
Nonetheless I anticipate what will be coming in the future for Duolingo will replace/improve upon the current activity system. I do believe that it is a truly important feature for many though, and hope that it returns in some form.
Thanks for the update
I hope that you will allow us to follow some french experts with Duo in their comments because we do not always know what we need to consider. We don't even know the questions we should ask in exercises. Reading each discussion of each sentence in each exercises bogs learning down. What I want to do is follow experts'/moderator's comments to be sure I am getting the rules when my mind is fresh and open instead of after struggling through a lesson. That feature I did not find. Not being a computer person usually, I hope also there could be brief notes in the intro on what the symbols and options are. Then people of all ages can progress at their speed instead of just people who grew up using computers. I think Duo is wonderful and accessible for all ages but it could be richer for those not versed in computers if there are clearer explanations of options. I wish I had known 2 weeks ago I could follow the posts of Sitesurf, for instance, so that I can learn grammar in her practical and clear way. I need the details and examples. It would be like stepping into the classroom when I need to. Please make that possible at least for moderators and perhaps those with higher ratings or whose grammar posts get high ratings. Thanks so much tho for your work. Free language learning is so precious.
It doesn't just look empty, it's actually quite unpleasant to have the text "you are alone" there right now. They could at least change that into a short explanation and add a link to this discussion, so everyone who is used to checking their activity stream could easily find out what happened.
yep - you do have a point there Chirel.
Yet that is also an indication of how this has probably come upon us quicker than we hoped that it might happen.
I continue to be thankful that there is an ongoing plan that Duolingo has already commenced to action - that this situation was being noticed and that resources were already being put in place to deal with addressing this issue.
Thank you so much for your concern and pointing out this issue.
Thank you for choosing to be such a valued member of our language learning community for yourself, and the community of language learners that bring such hope to me for our world of the future.
I've stalled out on reading the comments. Many apologies if this has already been answered, but are we going to be able to see our own recent progress and accomplishments again? That was far more useful to me personally than communicating with other users. Now we have only the XP graphs from the past week, which is vastly inferior as a record. (XP doesn't say anything about forward movement, and it only covers 1 week.) Surely displaying this information alone, and privately to the user, could be done relatively easily? Especially if only recent progress is displayed and caching is employed to reduce calls to the database?
This is so not a good idea. Why not drop the fake fluency percentage. Or the page that tells me I'm all alone ! because I don't use Facebook. Quelle horreur! The activity stream was genuinely useful. It also gave a greater sense of community. I definitely sympathize with money problems. The no-ad payment approach will be more successful with a lower asking price.
That could be it. I looked through all the menu tabs when I started three plus months ago, could not have told you the name of the tab. I saw it a few times after that while looking for my profile, saw it but still didn't pay enough attention to avoid the page because it wasn't a major upset. Just odd. Good thing because when I finally saw the Activity stream I was pleased. Sometimes it's goofy what motivates people, but like an earlier poster I got extra motivation seeing the stream marker showing I'd leveled up to a new number. I've really enjoyed all I've seen you post, Theron. You're way too level-headed to be posting on forums. :)
Perhaps only some users did much with the activity stream, but for those of us who did, it offered a greater depth and value to Duolingo. It allowed us to form relationships with native speakers whom we could consult directly, follow people we found to be particularly helpful, and, on occasion, get into more complex conversations about some aspect of the language or usage.
In dropping it, Duolingo has abandoned a unique feature that distinguished it from other programs, and a resource that many of us valued. I don't imagine I'll drop out any time soon, but I will begin spending more time with other programs that will give me more value.
I totally understand the situation, but it would be great if we had a warning message or something like that telling us about the removal of the feature, instead of leaving us wondering while fiddling with our browser settings, clearing our caches or restarting our computers :) The "you don't have any friends" message really doesn't help with that.
I don't think so. Last time I said something in this thread I had concluded that it will be when pigs fly. Still the same situation.
Do you honestly think if Duo really wanted to come up with a solution it would do so within nearly 2 years since the original announcement?
I'll be dammed if we have a replacement when the opening post says 2 years which should be soon if I remember right. Currently it says 1 years when it is between 1-2 years. (April 8, 2019)
Ummm... excuse me? I don't mean to sound rude or anything, but I'd rather have a stream than a fast website. All of my time I have been using Duolingo, I have been part of the A/B test. So it would be nice to experience having a stream. I don't mean to sound rude or annoying or anything, but I also know a lot of people who were part of the A/B test, and they would like to experience having streams along with me.
If we don't have streams, people would blockade the discussion part of Duolingo. They would want to talk to friends on there, because they don't have streams. You can't delete comments for no good reason, and whenever they would post something on discussion, to talk to someone, the discussion would fill up, leaving that to be slow. So basically, It's pointless
X_Ravenclaw_X ,That is very concerning. I'm glad you blocked them. Are you able to message me that person's username (preferably a complete link to their profile if you don't mind)? Some people are still able to use my Activity stream to send me email notifications and I'd like to check into that person's Activity history.
Activity stream was a really, really motivating feature of Duolingo. When I saw that my friends and family had been working hard in a particular week, it made me want to work harder.
I feel ever more isolated as a language learner with the removal of this feature. What I do not need is more ways to chat with my friends and family.
Also, might it make sense to omit "Activity" from the nav bar then? It's pretty confusing that 1/3 of the nav bar items are non-functional.
While I am going to miss the activity feed, I can appreciate what is happening here. I used to do some HTML coding when I was a kid (12ish) and I recently decided to try making my own site with Wix (it's been over 10 years since my HTML days), on top of that, I'm a content editor on a site that uses Squarespace. Websites have definitely gotten much easier! So while I don't know what the specific change in coding is here, I am glad you guys are upgrading. For your sake and for ours! Keep doing what you do, it's working!
It's probably been mentioned already, but one reason I use the Activity Stream is for finding comments I've just made in the Android app, so that I can put them into the appropriate answer box, and then the person who asked the question at least knows they've had an answer (useful or otherwise). This is a facility we used to have on the Android app, but which disappeared a year ago, apparently due to a bug.
Secondly, I'm a native speaker English teacher, and I've made hundreds of comments on the English from Italian tree (amongst others), giving, I hope, informed help. But as I'm not wonderful at writing in Italian, it is really useful to be able to occasionally use the editing facility that the web site gives. (Even this comment needed a couple of edits). Without the Activity Stream, these comments will be somewhat difficult to find.
So I have a couple of requests. If the activity stream is to disappear, can we please have the feature back on Android that allows us to place comments in the appropriate place, not just add them at the end? And could we perhaps have an editing facility on Android? Nowadays I rarely use a PC, and prefer using the app, only going to the website (from a mobile device) when necessary. It would be great if this opportunity could be used to make the app really self-contained.
Looking at my activity I have always been motivated to see when I learned a new skill. Without being able to see how much I have already learned a lot of motivation is gone. I also really liked to see how far are my friends whom I am following. I would appreciate it very much if some new form of tracking would become available in the future.
There's a userscript that lets you do that, called Duolingo Stats. There's a link from the wiki: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Duolingo Userscripts
Hopefully it'll still work on the new version of the site.
I think a place like the old activity where you can chat to those you're following is necessary because it's like break during the school day when you can hang out with your friends ; it also takes away the atmosphere of a classroom so I hope the newer better version of activity will appear soon.
I agree totally with you Lento. Thanks to the Russian department we received a 6 day warning. How very sad that a plan was not in place to help people maintain their support systems as they attempt to work on their languages all by themselves. Are groups of users able to have a discussion forum in order to keep each other updated with their accomplishments and to ask each other questions about the trees that they are doing? I am grieving as if I have lost a group of supportive friends (because I have) However there is no wake or funeral to attend. There is no promise of Heaven. There is just shock and loss. I have gone through box of tissues.
Camilla, What I lost is the same thing each one of us has lost. We can no longer talk to more than one person at a time. We cannot problem solve together. We cannot congratulate each other when there are accomplishments. We cannot 'blow off steam' and have fun together. We no longer have a community.
"We understand that social connections are essential, and we plan to expand social features and capabilities as soon as possible." I see. I look forward to whatever new things you have in store, but I must ask, in the meantime, if we need or want to talk to contacts and / or moderators and admins, what do you propose we do?
I'm sure the majority of learners trust and support that you're doing what's best for the site, but it seems to be an emerging pattern that you spring these changes on people without warning, or giving us a chance to make alternative arrangements. Making an announcement about "what you're going to do" after you've already done it is, with the greatest respect (and I really do respect you and your wonderful platform) a very thoughtless and disrespectful way to treat your users.
@ElCoronelEsponja I can only fully agree with you. I have been on DL since 14/03/2014 and was very active on Immersion. We had formed a little group of translators and Activity was used by us to communicate. Not only did Immersion disappear and together with it all links to our translated texts, but now - without warning- it has become impossible to contact other members through Activity any longer. I really feel cheated by the DL team!
Thank you for your input Magalie.
I wish to reassure you that your voice is being heard.
I also have been sad to see the early closing down of the Activity stream, which became necessary due to stability issues that it was causing the system.
Well before it became necessary for the early closing down of the Activity stream, there has been planned to have other new features added to enhance our ability to communicate in Duolingo. I do not know what these plans are, and I, like you, am eagerly looking forward to their roll out.
I can though assure you some of the the few things that I see are now possible to be developed with the new rewrite - are very beneficial for our community. And I know we all appreciate your patience as we go through the pains of this development.
Thank you again for being such a valued member of our community.
Magalie, there is a forum called Community Translation (http://communitytranslation.freeforums.net/) which was set up by Duolingo learners who miss immersion. It is open for all to join, and you may well find that some of your contacts are there as well. From one depression sufferer to another, stay well :-)
Bonsoir Magalie, vous n'êtes pas seule. Il comme vous nous aimons traduire et échanger pour apprendre. Je serai très heureuse de vous accueillir sur les textes que je propose à la traduction sur le forum. Nous sommes une équipe sympathique et soudée. Ne baissez pas les bras, ce n'est jamais fini. Quand une porte se ferme une autre s'ouvre. La nôtre vous est grande ouverte. Prenez soin de vous.
Magalie, I also am a member of the group http://communitytranslation.freeforums.net/ .
It is run by a community of people that I have come to know well through Duolingo, and continue to be able to keep in contact with.
It is a guarded, moderated group, and is for people who wish to extend their language learning through translations.
In my personal capacity, and NOT in my role as a moderator, I do recommend this initiative, and the people who are running and co-coordinating this group. Please be aware this is NOT an endorsement by Duolingo.
I hope you still may find advantage during this time to continue to be motivated by Duolingo for your language learning. However what is most important is your own language learning journey. As even more importantly is your own health and care for yourself.
And as with so many others, I continue to look forward to the changes that will be coming through for Duolingo.
How do being "either very slow or entirely down from 2:30 to 3:30pm EST, and this was a direct result of the Activity Stream" and "only a small percentage of total user adoption (of the streams)" possibly correlate? One must be an untruth. Same goes for Immersion - if too few users utilised it then how did it tax the system?
It taxed the system in two ways:
Keeping something up, even if it's not used very often, requires programming effort. That's effort that could be used to develop new features that are used by many more people.
In the case of the Activity Stream, even though it wasn't used by many, there were ways to abuse it which caused a lot of load on our servers (think of a single user posting on thousands of peoples' streams).
Are there not ways to prevent spam and abuse of a system without taking the whole element of the site offline? Imagine if Facebook removed whole sections of the site because some people were abusing it, it would ultimately fail. I hope to see the return of the important social aspect of this site soon, but I understand the performance issues side of things
Re: "ways to abuse it which caused a lot of load on our servers (think of a single user posting on thousands of peoples' streams)" - would it help to limit the number of people a learner can follow? maybe if people had to think carefully about who they followed their posts would be more meaningful and some of the abuses would stop, as well as limiting the load? then maybe when the new system is established there would be room for a replacement for "Activity" which just covered things like direct communications between two friends, or notes of which discussion they had commented on (from which we learnt a lot), without making automatic posts of things like "UserX learnt a French skill" which must have used up a lot of space?
would it help to limit the number of people a learner can follow?
If just that, no. Indeed, in the Activity Stream as it was, you didn't need to follow someone to write on their stream while (according to Luis's comment) it's the "direct communication" part of the Activity stream that (mainly) was the issue, overloading the servers.
So one would need to allow only direct contact to people you follow then limit number of accounts you can follow.
But... it's in fact not a limit at all as one could:
- follow another account
- write a message on the account
- unfollow the account.
things like direct communications between two friends
I fear it may not be enough(*) and that even if Duolingo were to chose to go into that direction, that they would have to limit the number of direct messages per hour or minutes (or dozen of seconds, or 5sec...).
Duolingo may not want to enter into that kind of things. Plus, it would probably induce a lot of messages on forums each time two users chatting would reach the limitation "per period of time".
(*) some users were using the Activity stream as a sms discussion and/or a "direct messaging" software, with many many many messages quickly sent
without making automatic posts of things like "UserX learnt a French skill" which must have used up a lot of space?
They were likely a few percentages of the datas compared to all the direct messaging.
I don't know if you're open to suggestions for the future, but I can't help myself. I think that the activity stream and the messaging should be separate because it got tiring going through a bunch of people's "so and so learned a whatever skill" to get to my actual conversation. I wish that the bell for the discussion streams should work for the messaging, too. Also, I think that making advanced courses for after you complete the main ones is also a good idea (that one not originally my idea, but a good one). I love Duolingo by the way, thank you for making it! It's really helped me with both my Spanish and French. These aren't complaints or anything, just suggestions. Please let me know what you think about them.
Please keep social messaging public if you are planning to add it back in some form in the future. The ability to see what others were writing to each other helped boost safety in this mixed age environment.
For absolute clarity, I am against any sort of private messaging ability and no exceptions for moderator to contact general users. After all, there are no background checks for any of us.
Thanks for the communication!
I agree - there may be occasions when people find that they've got a lot in common, maybe even live in the same area, and want to exchange private contact details without everyone else seeing. Maybe allow private conversations only for people who are following each other so there's already that mutual connection. Or have a tick box, to 'allow/block private messages from this follower'...
That is exactly why Duolingo shouldn't and likely won't add private messaging. They don't want people to share private contact information like email and phone numbers.
In addition to Usagiboy7's remarks (with which I agree): it's also more efficient to use the form because, by writing in a staff member's activity stream, you were writing only to this staff member hence inefficient (as they could miss it, be in holidays or any other reason) while by using the report form, it sends an email to an address that all staff members can access and that several of them read daily.
for example in the link (on the word "here") in my above answer to bookgenius101....
Otherwise, in the Support Pages which are accessible from any Duo page from the dropdown menu when hovering over your username (in the top blue barmenu) then clicking on "Help".
If I recall, can't Moderators also oversee Personal Messages? Or at least, I know in my days of Forums and/or Gaia Online.com, PMs could be reported to MODs if they were offensive in any way. And/or there's always a block list that each user can block other users if supposing a user were to be harassing another user over PMs.
I also agree with you. That all messages must be able to be reviewed.
Even warnings by moderators, for a couple of reasons.
Is so that peer review can occur.
That it makes moderators at all times accountable to the community they serve.
There are no background checks on any of us - so we all do need to be held accountable, and visibly so.
Others learn from the warnings given. Thus also reducing the work load, and being able to better moderate the community in more peaceful and supportive way.
Yet that warnings can be given - and they do not remain "on file" and "up front" and as "public" as if warning are given only through the Discussion forums. To give people the chance to also learn from their behavior, and move on to more appropriate behavior. To allow people to grow and learn and change. It is also more embarrassing if the warning is given in the Discussion thread itself.
And it is not as effective to give people warnings in a discussion - and it can often cause the discussion to go off track for the points of the original post, and away from especially language learning goals. This is also why Activity provided such a great place to deal with these issues.
Also as it was harder for others to come in on a direct moderator to a person discussion. In a discussion - it is easier for people to make new sub threads in the discussion. This makes issuing warnings in a discussion much more difficult and more likely to be not as successful - to be taken off course and intent.
And also - Activity was beneficial due to the fact that the remarks disappeared into history over time. While in the Discussion forums - old sore points that cause distension are revisited and tried to be flamed to come back to flaring up to cause pain and distraction to our language learning community. This is much harder to occur, in the structure that was the Activity thread.
Activity also allowed and nurtures the development of friendships and commitment to community. Thus also encouraging people to volunteer their time to assisting in both the quality of the information and language learning potential, as well as politely assisting in the smooth running and community bonding of our international community.
I hope the new features to allow social connections will still be able to perform these functions. And to do so in a way that is safer for all of our community.
I would add that in moments of great frustration, when my mind structures were challenged and changing in world view, when "j'aime" meants to love and J'aime bien" means to like, we need to see the pattern of appreciation and courtesy and be forgiven for frustration and help each other through it. In those moments, clarity and empathy can keep a student coming back and change their world for the better.
Since I do not know what staff have in mind for allowing moderators to contact people, I would like everyone to know that you can document what a moderator writes to you by taking a screenshot. You can then save that as a picture, and email it to staff at Abuse@duolingo.com or upload it to http://www.imgur.com and give the link to two other moderators so they can follow up on the situation with staff and each other depending on the situation.
Screenshot Video Instructions for Windows. I apologize, this video has terrible captions.
Ok, found a video with better captions for Windows instruction Here. They both have slightly different information. But, they will both show you how to take a basic screenshot/screenprint and save it to a file, which you can send to Duolingo or upload to Imgur.
Screenshot Video Instructions for Mac. This one has much better captions/subtitles.
(In my opinion, if a moderator is dangerous for anyone, both staff and other moderators should be alerted. It might take staff time to get the message. Other moderators might get it sooner and be able to spread the word so we can keep an eye on that moderator while we wait for staff to get the message. I don't know how "keeping an eye on a moderator" will work under the new system. But, I'm mentioning it just in case that is possible.)
@elvper, I wish you hadn't removed your comment. It may have been tongue in cheek, but it was on point. We don't know anything about each other, except what we each selectively present through our words. Some of the most dangerous people are very skilled at making themselves appear safe to others.
Perhaps I don't understand, and perhaps elvper had the same question...you can report spam by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previously, moderators would have written messages, telling the user why what they posted was wrong. Suppose someone hasn't read the guidelines, posts personal information, and gets their post removed. How will the user find out how to improve and what he did wrong?
Please forgive me if I don't understand, I was just wondering. =)
Edit: I looked at your profile and saw there was still a
write to Usagiboy7 box. Does this mean mods still have communication privileges?
Hi NoNoEsImposible ,
How will the user find out how to improve and what he did wrong?
email@example.com sends email directly to staff's moderation team(*) who can send an email to the user if needed, in order to let the user find out.
(*) N.B.: forum moderators don't have access to those emails
Edit: I looked at your profile and saw there was still a write to Usagiboy7 box. Does this mean mods still have communication privileges?
No, this just means your account is still under the old version of the website. ;)
Internet harassment is a serious issue, an issue of safety. I won't negate that. And, I would like you to consider this: wherever children go, the people who want to find them follow. Duolingo is not an oasis on the internet.
If someone harasses you, block them. If they follow you to the discussion forum to harass, they will lose their ability to comment or create discussions. Yes, it is very easy to make new accounts and go back to harassing someone. That is an issue that needs to be addressed. Can we agree that the solution cannot be to compromise an existing approach that provides safety from other forms of danger? We need public messaging and ways to make it harder to respawn to continue harassment.
I think the compromise would be a better blocking system, as in the person you block cannot see anything you post or interact with you in any way. As in, it's like you don't exist to the person you blocked. But your point is totally valid. I also like the atmosphere, because you notice there's not much talking-behind-your-back on Duolingo.
Yes! this is exactly the kind of brainstorming we need to do! Let's keep working to troubleshoot these ideas?
Blocking people from seeing one's activity stream could be misused to hide dangerous communication. So, it takes us back to what wouldn't work about PMs. Already, people can also block moderators. Are you mainly worried about people getting harassed for contacting moderators? What can we do about that?
What if when someone contacts a moderator, they can click an option so that 1) it doesn't show up in that person's own [Activity replacement] and 2) their username doesn't show up to anyone but the moderator being contacted. But, 3) the message is visible to everyone viewing the moderators [Activity replacement], and 4) staff would be able to see that person's username?
Good day Sweet Bunny :-) I am smiling as I am writing to you. I just read your "reprimand" to someone. You are such a kind and caring "stickler of Duolingo rules". The "scolding" seemed more like a hug than "being sent to the corner".
I would love to know how to develop your skill to correct someone's behavior without them feeling spanked.
An admirer ... ( I guess it can't be secret ;)
Hmm, I have a tingle in my head telling me I'm missing some detail that makes that unviable. But, I've been working for several hours now and my brain gears are slowing. So, it is worth adding to the list of things to consider since I can't pinpoint anything immediate that would cross it out. (I mean, tech expenses to implement aside, but this is brainstorming! That is a consideration outside of what we are doing right now.) :)
Am I understanding this correctly that we are getting rid of the activity button forever? (Or at least for a long time.) I get the safety reasons, and that it would improve speed, but I'll miss it. But I'm alright with it, I would check the activity tab a few times a day but it wasn't really helping me learn it was a distraction. (A fun distraction!) And wow -47 dislikes that's harsh, I've had about -6 before but wow! :) Thanks for the updates Luis!
@Jrkhal I personally saw it at -999 but the following day, someone else (I forget who but no one I already knew) said they too had seen it drop from -999. I assumed it was true as the next time I looked, the post was still only around the -600s. My votes are also showing but there were a lot of hidden comments, so who knows what happened with them. Just for the record I did not downvote the post myself.
I disagree. If we give up our right to have privacy just because of a few bad seeds, then what's different than just revealing full name and address to everyone, make people identifiable over the internet and so on. It's sad that people are slowly but steadily forgetting what freedom means.
If we give up our right to have
Note that we hadn't privacy with Activity Stream.
Moreover, Duolingo not providing a way to communicate privately on its service doesn't mean you're prohibited to communicate privately (by other means).
then what's different than just revealing full name and address to everyone
Euh... how can you compare "not being given a way to communicate privately on Duolingo" with [Duolingo] "revealing full name and address to everyone"?
One isn't (even) a step towards the other.
I myself would be against public messaging. Personay, I'd favor a way where both ways are possible, but if either can be possible, then I'll prefer private chats. Privacy is a big issue for me, and I don't need to be spied upon. Removing any form of communication is bad, that is true, but it is bad too if it goes to the opposite end and ends up becomig spying.
I am concerned that you are writing messages that require so much privacy as to put it over people's safety in situations as I've explained above. I believe a place other than Duolingo would be more appropriate for the kinds of private conversations you want to have.
I hope Lrtward doesn't mind me quoting a comment they posted a while back, it is fitting here:
No, Duolingo does not have a private messaging system. Mostly because it is a learning site...Things that you discuss here might be interesting or helpful to other learners, and vice versa. If you don't want the public seeing it, you probably shouldn't be writing it here :)
There is not much need for private messages, but I also wouldn't say that it's completely useless. The one case I have in mind is that I may legitimately want to share my email address or Skype user name with some specific other person, but not make it publicly visible. I actually had this case a while ago and I could only have a (fully language related) voice chat with them because they were happy to post their user name publicly for a while before they removed it again.
Same here. A couple of people on here found me on facebook anyway. Others don't have it. I miss chatting with several people on here.
I would also like it more private since we chat about personal things. They are not about bad things, just things we do or like, which could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
I personally like chatting with people online and have made some great friends. One, well, we just hung out this weekend. We have stayed at eachothers houses for the weekend platonically. We have taught each other a lot. We take vacations together. He has actually become one of my best friends and hangs out with my friends and I hang out with his friends. People are too damn afraid and don't trust anyone these days.
Guidelines used to ban sharing both email and skype. It still bans email, so, another valid point made against private messaging here. As for skype, I recommend a throwaway skype if you need to add folks from a public group. Sharing skype etc is still a lower priority than the safety of others.
That thinking has not been lost to us mods. We have raised the same questions and I personally have asked staff to change "realname" to "nickname" or some such. Alas, mods are constrained to work with what we've been given. It's why we independently create Internet Safety Guides and ask folks to share them around when opportunity arises.
I am still getting email notification messages from some folks posting on my stream. You can run a test by messaging me if you prefer. I think my replies are getting through.
I hope this can very quickly change to a public messaging system once more. Please see my comment in this discussion about how to take a screenshot of what a moderator messages you.
Their account renders a 404. They shouldn't be able to message you now . If somehow they are, block them using these instructions https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11988550. Also, please don't call people out publicly. You should still be able to message me directly. If not, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this helps!
Luis, you've done so much good. I believe I can tell you something that maybe doesn't seem important to you. From the perspective of a faithful contributor to the community for 603 days in a row I tell you this: Having one's carefully crafted community pulled out from under you is traumatic. Not knowing what's going on adds uncertainty and angst. Being held in the dark about something so monumental is dismissive. My grandmother would not have approved of treating anyone this way. Fortunately I am fortunate that it had been rumored beforehand among some of my friends, and I got a hold of a few of my dear duolingo friends in the last few hours. But really, truly, I do not make my home in a world, where someone decides that it can go "pouff", and think that it was a fine decision. I miss my country, my world, my neighborhood. My family on duolingo.
I agree, specially on the "being held in the dark" part. I mean, I know this thread is informing, but it took me like two weeks to find it after googling "duolingo activity not showing". An informing message on the Activity page would be nice. It looks like a bug now. At first I tried clearing my cache, using other browsers etc.
that's so frustrating, and unneccessary! I'm glad you found this thread. You still can write to individual users on their activity stream. There's room for one message, and it may be cut short, but that way you can at least contact individual friends. They should get the message, if they have email notifications switched on. Best of luck, welcome back to the flock... albeit now the very quiet flock!
Are there any plans for features that would replace other functions of Activity (apart from the obvious chat/communication feature). I'm mainly talking about:
Being able to see your last comments on the forum and links to them. I've used the forum quite often and being able to go to my profile to find the discussions I wrote under recently was very helpful. Especially when I was helping other people learning my native language under the sentences on the Polish forum.
Being able to see other people's achievements and progress, level-ups, fiinished trees etc. I believe this was hugely encouraging for many people.
Of course the communication feature is the most important thing. What about exchanging materials/resources with other learners? Exchanging experiences, remarks, tips about courses, learning in general? Reporting to the moderators? I know the forum is also supposed to be a place for similar things. But it was evident that Activity could be used for a whole lot of things too small or too personal to be a reason to make a separate post.
If you keep removing the most useful features, each time quoting only some dubious "percentage", most of the old, dedicated learners who work here for days, reach the level 25 or finish many of the trees will soon be gone. I don't know if losing loyal users just to have more inactive accounts for the statistics is the goal of all this. I'm really disappointed with this decision.
I don't mean to be disrespectful. I love Duolingo and I feel gratitude and admiration for all the people who created it. I just don't like the way the users (especially long-time users) are being treated recently. The Immersion, information on the incubator courses, A/B tests without asking, no answer for countless feedback about the forum, like removing downvoting because of that downvoting plague; and now the Activity. Duolingo certainly wouldn't suffer from getting a bit more feedback-friendly.
What do they care about old dedicated users, Gerard? That mattered to them when they wanted us to translate stuff for them to sell. If they're bringing in adverts they will only ever care about footfall and large ostensible numbers of sign ups - doesn't matter whether they use the site or whether those who do learn anything from it.
This is sort of separate, but you mentioned that ideas in the forums are being ignored. I don't know how many have been ignored, but my personal opinion on the following idea
like removing downvoting because of that downvoting plague
I definitely agree with you, it is SO annoying when spammers hijack posts - especially good ones. But I'm sure moderators are extremely grateful for the downvote button. Spam is removed in five to ten minutes. Now that the streams are removed, five or more downvotes is effectively removing a post. We would need a lot more forum moderators without downvoting. It is my personal opinion that downvoting is a necessary part of all forums to avoid spam.
However, I do respect your point. I am just pointing out that a lot of the suggestions in the forums are not good ones. Also, if a member of the DL staff or a mod comments on an idea explaining why this might not be so great, the staff member may not feel like saying the exact same thing when a similar idea pops up. So it is possible that the staff are browsing the forums, looking for features to add.
I agree with the folks that probably you knew in advance that Activity stream was going away. It could be better communicated.
Secondly, some sort of site based chat functionality is needed or else the forums are going to be a lot more messy. Activity/stream profile allowed for such function. Even for administrative purposes, moderators use that function to communicate with users.
Better get some functionality back. Maybe you could have limited activity stream that goes only a day back. Would that relieve the site some load?
I like both these ideas. Keeping the activity stream comments visible for one day only would give us even more motivation to keep our streaks. And frankly, I never needed to know things such as "User X completed skill X," just direct comments between users and notations to comments they made in the forums.
Let me address a few things as a moderator.
First of all thank you for the kind of heads up that we received last week. Even though the information was sparse it is appreciated.
While I do appreciate that we receive some information, I would appreciate it a lot more if the information we receive is a bit clearer. I understand that with some contributors/moderators not being able to keep information to themselves it might not be desirable, but let's have a look at the message here:
- only a small percentage of total user adoption
Looking at the removal of immersion users could understand it a lot more when they were informed about how few people actually used it. In this case it probably would do the same.
- A faster website
- rewriting the Duolingo Forum
- better tools to communicate with other learners
- expand social features and capabilities as soon as possible
All great news. Though, while I understand you cannot tell exactly what it is that you are planning the main thing that bugs me is: as soon as possible. It's a great term, since nobody can come to you in a week, a month, a year and say ...but you told us we would have it by now. However, considering the removal of the activity stream, having some indication of when as soon as possible is would be nice, as this also affects how acceptable/bearable the removal will be.
Duolingo is not a social media platform and the forums are intended for discussions regarding (learning) languages and Duolingo. Though at the same time Duolingo has invested in social interaction with the activity stream and will do so providing "better tools to communicate with other learners" and by expanding "social features and capabilities". Either way, Duolingo seems to be in favour of social interaction between users, yet at the moment the only feature that is available on Duolingo at the moment that provides this opportunity is the forum.
It's fairly obvious that some users will (try to) use the forums as their "activity stream" for a chat etc.. What I would like is some clear communication on what you want moderators to do with people that use the forums to have a chat. Do what we have always done? Or turn a blind eye until you release a replacement for the activity stream?
Users have made friends on here, have always been told to not share personal information (although they could link their facebook profile) and have been able to communicate with each other through their streams. So in that regard you cannot blame them for wanting to use Duolingo to communicate with their friends. However, the forums are not meant for that and I would guess that plenty of users are not very keen on seeing loads of "chats" appearing.
Either way, I am expecting some frustration. Users will get frustrated that they are unable to communicate somewhere. Other users will get frustrated by the amount of posts that are irrelevant. Moderators will get frustrated because they already have enough spam to deal with and things haven't been made any easier for them.
Hence, some indication of what is expected of the moderators and the users would be helpful. Perhaps an indication on when as soon as possible is will do to since people will know if they'll have to be patient for a (few) week(s) or for much longer.
I will leave it at this. Send me an email if you are interested in any other concerns I have.
The business about 'don't share personal information' = don't tell anyone how old you are etc is a bad joke and we all know it. TPTB really must think we're all stupid. We can all tell, by and large, who is what sort of age - at least when reading people who are native speakers of our own language. We don't need to be told. The real problem oversharing is when people do exactly what the site prompts them to do and fill in the 'real name' and 'location' slots on the profile without thinking about what they are giving away about themselves - I suspected it and I checked on a couple of accounts (sorry, a/b test people, I'm not really stalking you) . It can take as little as one google search to be looking at someone's home address. And that's without the Facebook and LinkedIn buttons.
There's an important difference between "what sort of age" and "what age". If a creepy person knows that someone's a child, that means they can assume they're at school. If that creepy person knows exactly how old that child is, they know which school year they're in, and that's another piece of information they can use as part of that process you described of tracking someone down.
The margins for error multiply with age, though, don't they. I'm sure I might not know a 50 year old from 75 year old via posts here without a lot of interaction but I think most of us can tell an 11 year old from 15 year old from an adult with no difficulty at all. And frankly, knowing that floppywoppybunnydots is in year 9 is not going help anyone accost them in the street. Knowing that Violet Elizabeth Bott lives in Ottery St Mary or Truth or Consequences has rather different potential for those who are out to cause trouble.
The real problem oversharing is when people do exactly what the site prompts them to do and fill in the 'real name' and 'location' slots on the profile without thinking about what they are giving away about themselves...
And for those who added links to Facebook, removing such a link appears to be a very tough task.
Just to clear things up, staff didn't send that info out to all moderators. I only learned earlier today that several of us were supposed to have been included but weren't because of an accident.
Additionally, I would like to clarify that mods usually get very little news about incoming updates and most often we get none at all. So, I hope the forums will not think that mods always have behind the scenes info. And even more rare are any mentions of project timelines. And sometimes those projects get scrapped before implementation anyhow.
In that case let's be transparent and show that the moderators/contributors that did receive information still knew very little, hence me saying the information was sparse.
This is the information I received concerning the activity stream:
- "In the near future, Activity Streams will be removed from the Duolingo experience. Our team will announce the phase out to the community in the coming week."
In other words, I and at least some other people received information that the streams were on their way out. And that an announcement would be made soon enough.
The rest of the information was vague: near future and phase out. Which could be within a few days or in a month or so, plus there was no indication on how long the phase out would take.
The rest of the information on the new plans and the explanation why was similar as what was provided here.
Just to be clear
Some may have seen discussions in which people said they were informed by some moderator(s)/contributor(s) that the activity streams would disappear. Some may also have asked some moderators/contributors if this was true and they may have answered that they didn't know/don't comment on rumours etc..
The information I and some others received was internal communication. This means that we need to keep this information to ourselves and thus shouldn't share it with other people or discuss/comment on it.
Nobody asked me if the rumours were true, but if they had I only could have said that I was unable to confirm or deny any rumours.
- If I do know something, I'm not allowed to share the information. It's up to staff to make announcements and hence I cannot confirm or deny any rumours.
- If I don't know something, I cannot confirm or deny any rumours. In this case I did receive a head up that an announcement was going to be made. Though plenty of times in the past things have been announced without any prior knowledge. So if I don't know something, rumours might still be true.
So in the future if you want to ask a moderator/contributor if rumours are true: be aware that they cannot provide any information. Hence, don't expect moderators/contributors to confirm or deny any rumours.
This is such an important point that needs to be underlined. I was asked several times and replied with "I officially don't know" because I neither wanted to lie to users, nor did I want to share internal communication (that is also based on trust). The third possibility would have been not to react. I honestly feel sorry for the users, but our hands were tied here.
That would be as good as confirming it. Deliciae acted like El2theK above: "If I know something, then..." and we concluded we should be prepared, as she didn't have any reason not to deny the rumor if she didn't know anything. I'm grateful to her and Theron126 that I got in touch on other platforms before this.
@ Aria487 & jrikhal, guys, I think it's just a matter of putting it properly. No one can be sure about anything. The website can be down next week or month of who knows what else. If someone treasures conversations or explanations from his activity stream or wants to stay in touch with some friends, it's never too early to adivce having a backup plan even without confirming or denying anything.
P. S. Besides no one can be sure what might be added or removed next month. The only thing that is for sure is that changes will appear sooner or later.
@Zeitschleifer in reply to "@ Aria487 jrikhal...":
I didn't say otherwise. I'm not sure if I'll live to finish this comment. I agree with you completely, but when I contact, say, MultiLinguAlex regarding a thing that might happen in the next week, could he/she really tell me what you just said without having me believe he/she actually does know something? If it was two months ago, sure. But when some people are told about this...
I advise people be prepared in general. I will keep doing that regardless if something is coming or not. So, folks should know right now that if I say be prepared, it is not a confirmation or denial. Change is a constant on Duolingo. Preparation for change is advisable 100% of the time. Please, if/when making preparations to change how you interact socially on the internet, apply these internet safety strategies. I encourage all mods to standardize in encouraging people to be prepared for change, whether or not change is coming.
I advise people be prepared in general. I will keep doing that regardless if something is coming or not. So, folks should know right now that if I say be prepared, it is not a confirmation or denial. Change is a constant on Duolingo. Preparation for change is advisable 100% of the time. Please, if/when making preparations to change how you interact socially on the internet, apply these internet safety strategies. I encourage all mods to standardize in encouraging people to be prepared for change, whether or not change is coming.
Thank you! I support your take on this and respect how you keep standing by it! I know that these are not just words, because I saw your comment in this thread six days ago: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22118074
I will quote a part of it here:
I can't predict what the future of Duolingo will look like, except that it will change and change and change. So, whenever I like something a lot I try not to get attached. And whenever I don't like something at all, I wait it out. That said, always good to have a plan B. Those who dearly loved Immersion together had a backup plan. Just remember to Practice Internet Safety.
would it be possible to have staff publishing (soon, meaning today) the same announcement in the other general forums (for native speakers of another language than English)? At least for the languages spoken by (at least) on of staff members:
I don't think that only the English-speaking part of the community will be impacted by that change.
I read/know the decision has been taken suddenly, but it's now 8 hours this announcement has been released n English.
More generally, could this "posting in all forums" be done each time a so-"visibly-impacting"(*) change is done?
With staff members doing it on forums they speak the language of and, (only) for the other languages, asking for example the contributors.
(*) If in need of a "measure" of that, here some ideas:
- if a large number of forum messages about the "issue" is anticipated, then it can be considered a "visibly-impacting" change
- if after few hours the English version of the announcement went deeper than -10 votes, , then it can be considered a "visibly-impacting" change
Yes, it's how it'll be (slowly) dealt with probably.
But that's exactly my point: Duo should not (let think they) only care about English speakers and before publishing the English version of an important announcement, they should have it already being translated into other languages by their staff (not by contribs nor community) --- for the languages spoken by at least one of their staff members --- then release all the messages more or less at the same time (within 24hours).
Then for the languages no one at Duolingo speaks, they could nevertheless put the English version on the general forum of said language interface and ask the community if they could translate it (this request being each time the same template message written in said language).
@MultiLingualAlex, I take your point about priorities and the history of poor communication but frankly I still feel that it shows a huge lack of respect to non-English speakers and is in fact, downright rude.
Please don't take this as a criticism of you or the other mods, the responsibility lies squarely with Dr Van Ahn and his staff.
Again, I wholeheartedly agree. Communication is very important. I certainly understand that the staff has to prioritize because they are doing so many different projects at the same time - they have to carefully choose what they will do, to what extent and that's possibly why they only announce it in the English forums - but since they also have native speakers from multiple countries, they should put more emphasize on their communication channels in all important language forums. Either that or allow volunteers to translate that, but there is no consensus about it so far and that's the problem. To me, even though it would take a little time away for other projects, it is important to notify all users equally. On the other hand, communication was very bad in the past and has currently been improved, so I'm looking forward to how they will handle it in the future.
Immersion was understandable but this seems like a terrible decision. A huge part of learning languages here for many of us was the ability to interact with native speakers of our target languages in the activity. That's really the only reason I come back here, since my Russian is to a level where the tree doesn't have value anymore.
Besides conversing with natives, learners could also learn a tremendous amount by following people who are active in the forums - people like ShadyArc, mosfet07 and szeraja_zhaba in the Russian course. And for those people, Activity was often useful in seeing where help was needed. Without activity, some of those people who were active and helpful in the forums will leave, and those who remain will be less effective. What's going to be put in place to replace this, and when? If it's just the clubs or private messaging between users, that's not in any way a replacement.
Lastly - even if this decision was absolutely unavoidable, the way it's been handled is frankly appalling. You could and should have made an announcement a week or two in advance, so that people have time to save anything they want to save and make other arrangements to keep in touch with their friends. Even if a comparable replacement is in place soon, just cutting off activity without advance notice sends a very clear message that Duolingo doesn't care about its users. Immersion was the same way, and it's not like this wasn't discussed at the time.
Only commenting about
Activity was often useful in seeing where help was needed. [...] What's going to be put in place to replace this
I'm not sure how people trying to help others were assisted in finding where to help by having access to others stream? If you end up in someone's stream isn't that you already mainly found who/where to help?
Well, I may be missing something, but I never used stream to find who/where to help.
"Sentence" tab of courses' forum has always been the useful tool for me to find where I could help with language (together with following all discussions in courses forums in order to see future questions that could rise up). Said tab looks (to me) as a good "replacement" (again, only speaking about the aspect "seeing where help was needed").
The sentences tab only showed comments on sentences that hadn't previously been commented. There wasn't any good way to see recent comments in sentences where you hadn't followed the discussion.
If I'm in a discussion in the Russian course and I get out of my depth, someone like, say, zirkul might see that in activity and drop in to help out, and vice-versa in the English course. Or I can send a message to any of my Russian friends here and one or more will see that and come and offer input.
Or someone is going through the tree and asking questions on several sentences that previously have comments, but only a couple are on discussions you're following. You can go to their activity and go through and answer several at once, when some might easily get missed otherwise.
I'm sure different people have different methods and activity was more use for some than others, but it certainly did have value.
On thinking about this some more, I acually don't see why the activity stream would be expensive to maintain. I don't know what software you are moving to, but the data will continue to be gathered (levels reached, forum discussions entered) anyway. Obviously that's not all that's involved, but an interesting point is that this is the sort of unpopular move a new owner might prefer to take place before acquisition. Certainly the activity streams would be hard to monetize, and the advanced learning acquired though community interactions might possibly be replaced by a more profitable option. I can't wish anyone luck on that if the cost is pulling down a structure that actually builts community as well as knowledge. I'm not seeing any other point to it. If there is, then consider changing your software developers.
I acually don't see why the activity stream would be expensive to maintain.
According to Luis, it's (mainly) the "chat/direct communication" part of the Activity Stream that
caused a lot of load on our servers
hence that is "expensive" to maintain.
but the data will continue to be gathered (levels reached, forum discussions entered) anyway.
Given the above, no, the problematic data will not continue to be gathered.
By "gathered" I meant that levels I reach and forum posts are part of the database. The software can easily use pointers to put that information on an Activity page. I personally was not using the chat function. I've only been here something over three months. In the last weeks, since finding the user commentary on exercise sentences, I've seen some very informed posts. Making note of the writers, I then checked their Activity streams to find other posts by the same authors. That has helped deepen my learning curve. Just these uses alone are of value and could easily be kept. Chat functions are expensive in upgrades, but should be manageable without breaking the bank, but of course it's his call, his money.
By "gathered" I meant that levels I reach and forum posts are part of the database. The software can easily use pointers to put that information on an Activity page.
Yes, I got that. And didn't say that a new "Activity Stream" feature with only "actions made in lessons+forums" would be unsustainable (I can't know as Duo didn't shared much details).
I was just trying to answer your doubts (using few informations shared by staff) about why Activity Stream as it was implemented (hence with the direct chat part) was "expensive to maintain" and why not having anymore that Activity Stream (which includes direct messaging) is alleviating the servers.
This announcement was 15+ months ago and as of today (August 6, 2018):
1) There is still there is no way to monitor the progress of our friends like it was before.
2) There is no way to communicate with someone directly without polluting the forums.
Language learning is better if there you can connect with other people. As a software engineer myself I understand problems with systems that does not scale up but I cannot genuinely believe Duolingo was unable to find an solution in over a year!
It looks like we will get a solution when pigs fly!
That link was suggested to me before it does not solve my problem here.
If I had already established alternate means to communicate with the users prior to retiring of old scheme here, I can go on using that alternate mechanism but I was solely communicating with the majority of the people that follow me or I followed through the site messaging via profiles/activity stream.
Thus, I need to communicate with the other users on Duolingo platform even to suggest to shift the communication to another platform. Without messaging facilities, the followers scheme on Duolingo is practically useless and has been so for 15 months.
Good question. I said practically useless because the only thing that I see about them is the XP they have collected each week. So, it is not useless but nearly to that level.
Having seen their weekly progress, I cannot even praise them if they have collected a lot or encourage them to continue if they are slacking etc.
Unfortunately, the Activity Stream was like a very old car that you have to spend lots of money and time to keep up. Instead, we decided to use that money towards saving up for a new car, which is coming soon. In addition, we plan to incorporate better tools to communicate with other learners. We understand that social connections are essential, and we plan to expand social features and capabilities as soon as possible.
Two years later, and the promised replacement for the Activity Streams has still not been made. Was it Clubs where you could talk to other users? Of course not! Those are being removed. Was it Events? Of course not! You have to meet in person for those, and you also have to be of drinking age. Since when does language learning require that the learner drinks alcohol?
I don't know about other users, but I think that you are just measuring your users' tolerance of these unpleasant changes.
Since you could make a faster website, you can certainly make faster Activity Streams.
I don't know how to contact the designers of the Duo lingo program but I have a suggestion that I think would really help me and others. I am a four year user and paid for the past two years. I wish there were flash card just to learn verbs. I notice in my lessons I have started seeing some verb conjugation in the tips but I wish there was a whole section with flash cards on just verb conjugation. That is the hardest part about learning another language in my opinion. I know it's a daunting prospect but so far Duo seems to embrace every challenge to provide world class, top notch teaching methods. I am so grateful to Duolingo but would really love more help with the verbs. I love Duo and have recommended it to countless others. Nadine Wright
Hi Nadine, here is for you.
So, what are the better tools? I am a new user, have enjoyed "competition" with fellow users and took the site's encouragement to connect with people. So, now I find that not only do these people disappear after a week in the same league, but the I cannot "follow" the progress of them in any meaningful way. What a sad situation.
The post is stickied. so that other people can protest Really? I think Luis and everyone else gets the message, and beyond the lack of communication I don't think it was something that could be helped. They were planning to remove it sooner or later anyway and only removed it unexpectedly today because it was threatening to crash the whole site.
That presupposes that anyone looks at the 'popular' tab. I never do. It doesn't work (you can have threads with 40 upvotes that are 6 hours old and the popular tab is full of ancient stickies that are past their sell-by date and the meanderings of a couple of kids with 4 upvotes that have been there a day).
Activity was a way to communicate, since the messaging system doesn't work here and is awful. They remove everything bit by bit. They didn't want to remove immersion + the stream at the same time, so they do it bit by bit. But be sure than the removing fever won't stop there. I really fear for the sentence forum! I really think they want to replace all human communications here by bots communication!!
I wish I did not have to agree. I am mourning what has been lost. I also wish that I could communicate with friends who do not have their Emails on. I feel like we are trying to find loved ones after a natural disaster such as an earthquake. However, there was not anything that was natural about this huge loss. Why could we not have been given time to find our friends and make other arrangements to keep them in our lives? Even if there might be something great on the horizon, we might never find our friends again.
Thank you for the update, I'm sure that any future feature replacing this outgoing one would benefit the entire Duolingo community while boosting the user experience. Personally, I will not be missing the activity stream, but I am curious if eliminating it would affect other users' language-learning.
Do you want just an exemple of how it can affect this user's experience?
Short version: you have all the rights in the world to ask. And my answer is, that the friends I made on the Stream, made the difference between a well crafted course, and real life knowledge.
Long version: Six months ago, I could say Guten Tag, Danke sehr, Bitte schön, Ich bin, du bist, and that was pretty much all. Move on to today : I've completed both the French to German and the German to French trees. And boy was that useful: I can't get over the difference it made, suddenly things clicked, I was not afraid (terrified really) anymore to talk, to use that German, but actually eager to do it. And that is the part of the method.
I first began to help my fellow French learners with what I understood a little earlier than them, then I took up to do the same with the German, in German. And they understood me, thanked me! And I was flabbergasted. That's not all: a bigger miracle happened. People I respected from their comments, their will to help, started to talk to me. To correct my mistakes in their language, to seek my advice in mine. They were not a crowd, but they are such good people who became part of my life! And we chatted. Not mindlessly, but casually. And what are we supposed to do with a language? What do I do all day with my own? I chat casually. How do I know I speak English (do I?)? It's because I can chat casually whenever I want.
Now, do I speak good German? Not yet, not according to my criteria. But do I speak German? Very much yes. And that's the part of those I call friends, that I met on Activity Stream. Today, I may have lost any way of communication with some, — not all, cause one was foreseeing. And you can't begin to imagine how it pains me to lose friends. And who am I supposed to talk to, now, to improve on what they gave me?
Then again, I don't so much resent for the lost feature, but for the fact we were willingly kept in the dark. I choose for now to trust Mr von Ahn, whom I respect and thank so much. Something new will come, and it may even be better. But when? And I still can't get over the fact that they willingly kept us in the dark. Again.
Don't be mistaken: I'm in no way bitter against you, you asked a legit question. But here. Is the answer.
PS: Mes sincères félicitations pour le niveau 25 en Français. J'ai failli te proposer de bavarder avec moi sur nos murs :( :)
That's an absolutely fantastic response. For German, read Russian, and that sums up my experience too, and that of many others.
Reading through the comments here will give you other examples of how activity is useful too.
@Vabelle - you can also find some suggestions for how to keep in touch with your friends. E.g. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22228863
Thank you so much, Theron, I'm currently working on this :)
I've read this discussion through and through, and gave many an upvote :) Perhaps I will join CT if I'm welcome there (it would be on the other side of summer, though, or I could register but won't be active till then). I just love translation as a whole, have been that way most of my life. Plus it'd be good to practice that English, cause I've worked so hard on "thinking German", that I tend to write "Freutsch" and "Englman" now ;D
If you'd like to join my crew, I hear that we can still use what were our feeds to communicate by mail notification. Would you consider sending me an email adress that way, or an temporary alias to it? It's probably the way I'm going. I've noticed you here and there as a valuable person :)
I've also written a letter to our beloved leader, that needed a few touch ups when I was too exhausted to think anymore. Will appear here. And I've taken up the task to announce the sad news in the French forum. Our poor, dear, Duolingo…
You're so kind :) It's certainly true, if not wonderful, as it came straight from the heart. And that's not talking about the simple fact that when you had helped someone once, it was easy to check if they hadn't more unanswered questions. It was reassuring, before befriending someone, to have a look in case you smelled something fishy. It was easier to call for help on a particular point, when you knew a native or a more advanced learner. It was better, in my eyes, to thank (relatively) in private when I was complimented, or to nudge gently a willing or unwilling troublemaker without publicly shaming them. It was a way to share a particular ressource to somebody you thought would be interested… Dear, I miss it so much!
Then again, I deeply admire Dr Von Ahn, his purpose and his work. I'd like to thank him for all he's done for me and the millions "me" here. But what I was most grateful for, was this community, brimful of considerate, passionate, respectful, interesting people. And there I don't think he treated us right. All we needed was some sort of notice!
As I said on the French side today, let's prepare for the worst, let's hope for the better. Our leader can't let us down ;)
Je vois un niveau 25 : toutes mes félicitations. Si l'occasion se présente, n'hésite pas à bavarder un peu avec moi :)
I wish you the best of luck with everything you are doing for the Duo community. I do not understand why there is so much hate about this because although there were good things with the streams, I am looking forward to what will come next and I know it will be even better. Good luck!
I know it will be even better
That's the thing, we don't know it will be even better. What happened to Duels? Translation to target language? Activity? Some people's last words will be Immersion. All these things either improved your learning or connected you to other people, forming a community that enhanced your learning. What did we get? Bots with limited response pool to practice conversation (this will probably improve over time), Clubs where you can talk to each other in smilies, TinyCards to compete with 100 other flashcard companies, Fluency to make you confused, ads to make money (understandable), overpriced DL+ to make money, Gems and Health to... make money?, avatars to... well, I'm sure there's a reason, and so on. I know Luis will say "But metrics..." and I question more and more why I still come here.
He's always trying to make Duolingo better and although the very next thing he does to improve it might not be the best thing, in the long run Duolingo will be better because you can't improve in anything without first failing. You're completely right that other ideas haven't been the best, but I don't see why anyone should rule out the chance of the next one being different.
On the other hand, given that the consistent pattern is the opposite, I don't know why anyone should assume that the next one will be different. Sure, it might be great and wonderful again. We all accept that it's a possibility. But will it? We'll believe it when we see it.
And no matter how wonderful what comes next is, the way this has been handled will still leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
If it's to ask question you have about this or that point (of grammar, of vocabulary, etc..) about a language, YES.
If it's for example to have a private discussion, to chit-chat, etc. NO
P.S. : Please avoid to create several messages in a row.
Prefer using the "Edit" button to add more contents to your first one.
Will there be a new feature?
There is an answer in Luis' original post:
we plan to incorporate better tools to communicate with other learners.
In its current form, yes. But since the website has been recoded and rolled out to more and more users now, it'll be significantly easier for Duolingo to add new features to the website. Therefore, new features will be introduced after the rollout and we can assume that they somehow replace the streams. We're in a transition period right now, but that won't be forever!
@Lucinda Ahaha, people who are not familiar with French names of the flowers, always think my name is Perce and I'm a man. But it's not important. My avatar can be madame chouette ou monsieur hibou ^^
Percival, (en français Perceval), est un nom très chevaleresque. Round table chevalry is as much French than English by the way. Most of the tale was written in French and anglo-Norman French.
"In addition, we plan to incorporate better tools to communicate with other learners. We understand that social connections are essential, and we plan to expand social features and capabilities as soon as possible."
What kind of social features will be added to Duolingo? A chat-room like in Facebook? Private messages?
If you till see the Actvity tab/button (in the top blue barmenu), it means your account is still under the old version of the website.
In such case, don't worry, the button/tab will disappear (probably) soon: most users have been switched to the new version during the past 2 months (staff decided to switch users little by little), the remaining ones should logically be switched soon. When exactly? Only staff could know...
Yes, I know that and it is very useful but activity stream was much more than that.
With activity stream we could see when our friends have finished lessons and we could send and receive messages to our friends. Through duome.eu you have limited access to your friends' progress (depends what language they had selected and when the snapshot was taken).
Another function of activity streams were being ability to send and receive messages to our friends. The messages you sent appeared as a notification, it appeared on their activity stream and also they would get an email. Perhaps email was too much but that messaging service was indispensable. Again, duome.eu does not provide such messaging service.
In particular, lack of communication with our friends is the biggest issue at this moment which. Now, Duo users are getting hit yet another time with the announced closure of clubs as of May 19, 2019 in favor of leagues that provide no communication at all.
Paradoxically, Duo does not seem to want us to use our language skills with our friends in any interactive setup which is kind of against the sprint of language learning.