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  5. So someone just reported havi…


So someone just reported having all their lingots converted to gems in the iOS app...

Here's a screenshot (not mine of course):

Looks like another instance of making iOS users into guinea pigs.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

April 25, 2017



I'm in the Japanese alpha test, and my new account for it got this A/B test. The gems are used to buy streak freezes I think for about 400 gems, and they also have a new "health" feature that I think is the absolute worst. You basically have five bars of health, and every time you get a question wrong during a new lesson, you lose a bar. If you run out of bars, you can't continue the lesson you're in or do any new ones. You can regain bars by either doing a practice lesson per bar, buying a full refill for 350 gems, or waiting five hours for a bar to refill. I don't mind them trying to fix the lingot market, but the health feature is detrimental to learning.


Whoa. If you're on a real learning streak and mess up, having to wait five hours would be really discouraging. I thought the hearts were bad enough, having to start all over again. Gamification gone mad.


I disagree with the your statement that it's "gamification gone mad." Gamifying something means making it more fun so that people feel like it's more play than work. This update is the opposite of fun.


It's not fun, just enough to make me quit after learning 5 languages


You can continue your streak in practice


That sounds like a terrible idea!


Ontalor, hello. I hope you don't mind, but I copy/pasted your response to skelkingur's question to my comment. I did so because you summed everything up so well and also pointed out things that I myself was unaware of.

when I logged in my 870 hard earned lingots (no lingot begging, just my progress in Duplingo) were converted into a measly 1500 gems. Which is pretty horrid when -as you point out- a streak freeze now will cost 400 gems :/

Thanks again. Have a lovely day, TinDrum


Sympathise. Same thing happened to me. Now I have to spend ages. I don't have the time


I got 1000 from just 61 lingots! Duo's going mad...


I am glad to have finished all the lessons in German before this rolled out, in that case! Nonetheless, I am not happy about the conversion to gems.


I understand how you don’t approve to the health system, but I think it they made it so if kept on making the same mistakes, then you can learn your mistakes during practice


Oh for goodness sake, how much are they spending on changing the colour of the lingots?!


However, it appears that not only did the color change, but the amount increased? Plus, if there's new items, I'm all in! Of course, I don't have the phone one... :(


Well, the amount may have increased, but as soon as so much "free" currency starts floating around, you get inflation and apparently TPTB at Duolingo know that, because they have increased the prices of everything in the store – for example, with 99 lingots you could've bought 3 bonus skills (at 30 lingot each, IIRC), but they cost 1000 gems per skill under the gems system, so the equivalent 550 gems won't even buy you one. :P


Yay, more gem-begging!

On that note, can the contributors place the bonus skills to the end of the tree or is their place fixed?


The position is fixed.


I think gems won't be transferable.


I'm not sure (jrikhal would be better person to ask ;) ), as our course doesn't have any bonus skills and we've been told not to create them, as they don't really work for now, but I think it's fixed to the placement of checkpoints – checkpoints can be adjusted, but it's a manual process that requires Duostaff intervention.


Yes, I had this appear when I logged in earlier today. I am really not happy about it.


So what are the new items in store?


Ontalor above explains it in great detail: here is a copy/paste of what was said, and it is spot on. The new 'feature' is ridiculous in every way possible. Worst of all it is extremely detrimental to the learning process.

"The gems are used to buy streak freezes I think for about 400 gems, and they also have a new "health" feature that I think is the absolute worst. You basically have five bars of health, and every time you get a question wrong during a new lesson, you lose a bar. If you run out of bars, you can't continue the lesson you're in or do any new ones. You can regain bars by either doing a practice lesson per bar, buying a full refill for 350 gems, or waiting five hours for a bar to refill. I don't mind them trying to fix the lingot market, but the health feature is detrimental to learning."

I logged into the app yesterday and my 870 lingots were converted to a paltry 1500 gems. We all know how much work you have to do to collect lingots. They have gotten rid of the 'double or nothing' from the shop. So the only thing that you can really buy are Gems: 1000 for $7.99 2500 for $14.99 6000 for $30.99 That is what you can buy. Pretty crap huh?

I agree with Ontalor completely that the worst feature of the stupid health bar. OF COURSE you are going to get things wrong in the new lessons! It is what happens when you are learning something new. I think it will be incredibly discouraging and frustrating. (Although this is perhaps why they have added the gem-feature - you're meant to get frustrated and spend $)

Yesterday, after the new 'feature' appeared I already found myself being tense and not enjoying my lesson as I normally do. I was finding it hard to concentrate on what I was doing because I was afraid of stuffing up!

The only thing I can think of to "justify" this health-bar thing is that some people run through the whole language course and get nothing from it. It forces you to do a practise for each health bar you drop with each mistake (which in and of itself is super-excessive) but it goes into the realm of ridiculous when a lesson has 5-7 parts to it.

But WHO CARES? I really don't care what other people do with Duo or what they get from it. I want to learn a language, and I think that is what most of us are here for.

I understand that Duolingo is a free educational app. I also understand that these things require money to run. I would be MORE than happy to pay out-right to be able to use this on the tablet. I really think they have screwed up here. I have yet to read a single comment on any of the many threads that support this in any way. I think they have successfully alienated many iOS users.

I guess it is back to using it on my computer.

Sorry for the long rant, All the best, TinDrum


Interestingly my prices for gems are $1.99 for 400, $4.99 for 1200, $9.99 for 3000, $19.99 for 6500, $49.99 for 17000, and $99.99 for 35000.


Interesting! I am in the US as well and have only three gem options - $4.99 for 1000, $9.99 for 2500, and $19.99 for 6000.


Since yesterday my options have changed, and this is now what I have as well.


Wow, that is quite a difference. I am in Australia, perhaps that's why I am getting these prices. May I ask where you are?


U.S. so I guess you've got to multiply any price I list by 1.33 to yield a currency-neutral comparison (unless it's giving you prices in USD)


But I am also only being given only three options. Not that I will purchase any of them :) I will just switch back to using Duolingo on my PC. Which is a shame as the iOS version is much more enjoyable to use.


OK, I have worked out my plan of action: I will use iOS to practice (as the stupid health-feature doesn't appear when you are practicing skills - you still earn the silly gems for completing your daily goal) and I will use my PC to learn new skills as they have not buggered up the PC version. Done and done :)


hahaha sure hoping it doesn't come to PC


This is what I do to get around the health bar situation, too. Danish has great intro lesson information I can only see on the computer, so it also helps to focus on a computer for a new lesson. While I can do it on my app and "practice" to earn health, sometimes I just want to get through new lessons.


I have a question for you as I do not use the mobile version of Duo. I am a little confused by some things that you and others are saying. I'm breaking it off into a new thread because this one is so long.

But if you go to the link below, maybe you can help clear up some things for me. Thanks.



I can't find anything in the user data. Are you sure it was 1500, and not 1300? (Sorry to be a pain - it's just that they look similar)


I am assuming that you are asking me, yes? I double checked again just to make sure and yes my 870 lingots were converted to a measly 1500 gems :)


Yes, thanks for responding. 1500 kills my theory :-( I needed you to have 1300 for it to work.


This might be a dumb question but, what are gems?


This has happened to me for Spanish on iOS.


That says that every day to me, leaving me with infinite gems


I don't have it on my iOS nor on my Android. What does the heart with the arrows mean?


It is something they are A/B testing on a few people.

You can only do new lessons if you have enough health. You lose health if you make mistakes. You can buy health with Gems or wait for your health to repair itself (after some hours). You can also strengthen already completed skills - regardless of your health - not sure if that increases your health or just gives you Gems to buy health.


Strengthening existing skills does not give you any gems. Only meeting your daily XP goal and completing a lesson gives gems. If I try a new lesson and lose all of my health, I cannot pass that lesson (a pop up lets me know I can pay with gems to get more health or quit the entire lesson and lose progress). After quitting that lesson I could then go practice a skill I have mastered, get 10 XP (for practicing it), and get gems for meeting my XP goal. But I still couldn't get more health unless I buy it, wait, or do a practice session under the Health Menu. Strengthening a skill I have mastered does not give me more health, just more XP. I just completed this with a new lesson and lost 3 health (of my 5) and received 120 gems for completing the lesson. I then practiced the Basic 1 skill and got 10 XP, and did not earn any health back. It says I have 3 hours until my next health bar comes back. I can practice to gain +1, or refill for 350 gems. Hope that helps. :)



I think it was the "do a practice session under the Health Menu" that I had heard about. So it chooses a skill for you to strengthen and it then increases your health? If so, this makes more sense.


Yeah. It is more of a general practice session focusing on what is weak. It doesn't focus on the new lesson material. You can do all the practice in your tree that you want, but unless it is DL-guided (under the Health Menu) it doesn't add health. Glad that helped! :)


So, additional wrinkle I haven't seen mentioned yet: sometimes you get the chance to get a bar of health back by watching an ad (maybe about a 10 second one, at least the one I got). This happened for me when I was going to start a lesson with about two bars.

Also, having actually kept on until I ran out of strength for the first time, I highly appreciate how the price to refill strength is 450 gems when in the midst of a lesson (when you have progress in that lesson that you're primed to lose) vs. 350 otherwise.


UGH. Watching an ad while in language mode would be really frustrating and disruptive! I would rather pay gems then watch an ad! Unless the ad was in the language I was practicing, I suppose. I have yet to see this option pop up. Was this just once for you?


Just sayin' - but shouldn't the conversion robot be eating Lingots and pooping Gems. This seems like the wrong direction.


Just happened to me. My 3425 lingots (which could have bought e.g. 342 streak freezes) became 3900 gems, which are good for six streak freezes at the new price of 600 gems (and for me it is 600 gems; presumably this number is being A/B tested, accounting for different prices listed by others). Glad I've never been one to care about keeping a streak!

All this overpriced baloney just because Luis is constitutionally averse to implementing a sensible freemium model like Memrise where you can pay a reasonable subscription fee for actually useful additional features. Instead, they're just trying to make the app unusable without paying. Just wonder how long we've got until this insanity makes its way to the web.


I suppose things need to be tested. But to be honest, these different conversion rates are absolute madness.

  • piguy3: 3425 --> 3900= 1.13
  • vytah (screenshot): 99 --> 550 = 5.55
  • TinDrum: 870 --> 1500 = 1.72

Trying to fix the "lingot market" is one thing, but at least be reasonable with the conversion and how much you "charge" for something like a streak freeze. If people were to buy gems it seems that at the moment they value a streak freeze at about two to three USD.... I doubt there are many (hope there are not many) people that think it's worth to spend that amount of money on having a number on a screen.


I think plenty of people have been paying about that amount of money to get their streaks restored, but that is a much more salient matter.


Streak freezes were 10 lingots. That hardly broke the bank. Especially if you were canny and used the 'Double or Nothing', not to mention the feature of getting 1 lingot for every 10 days on a streak.


My shop lists it as 600 gems for a streak freeze. Which seems quite high. I just got 120 gems for completing a lesson (or 2 Lingots on the computer).


Possibly this is converting on a scale. So the more lingots you have the less they are worth each. This is one way to combat inflation and take a huge amount of virtual value out of the system I guess.


It's one thing to have a scale, though it's a huge leap from getting 5.5 gems per lingot to 1.7 gems per lingot or less. Especially if they want to charge people 400-600 gems for a streak freeze.

If they charge 400 gems for a streak freeze then right now someone with 99 lingots can buy 1 streak freeze (previously 9 so 1/9th) and someone with 870 lingots can buy 3 (previously 87 so 1/29th). That's more than just combating inflation.

Using the same conversion rate for someone with 870 lingots and using the same "inflation rate" for a streak freeze would still mean that they are only able to afford about 12 streak freezes. I don't think there's much need to decrease that number even more.


I'm not sure whether it's an anti-inflation scheme or the mere fact that no company likes to give "free" money as such – let's not forget, that if they converted 3425 lingots at 5.0 exchange rate, that would be 17 125 gems at market value of about $50, according to the prices for gems reported above. ;)

I mean, they could've easily convert lingots at the fixed rate, as with higher prices and fewer means of earning gems, the market would burn through that initial "excess" relatively quickly, but…
Assuming that average user have about 500 lingots, that would put us at 2500 gems per user at a market value of about $10. Last reliable count puts Duolingo at 170 million users, so the total "cost" of fixed rate exchange (at 5.0) would be something like 1.7 billion USD lost in future gem sales – obviously someone at Duolingo HQ decided that's a bit too much for their liking. ;)


Yeah, they want to make sure there aren't any more people with 700+ day streaks that can buy a streak freeze every day and still be back to even every week with their 70+ lingot allotment ;)


If you are using streak freezes then your streak doesn't increase and you don't get more Lingots for it. You would have to actually work ten days to make it to the next 'allotment' (though this 10 days could be spread out over a period of 17 days or whatever).


that is not 'combatting inflation' that is taking back 'rewards' that people earned.......so punishing long time users who actually followed the usage plans they encouraged......taking away the 'game rewards' - just another stick in the eye of long time users-- not only has this transition to crowns made the tree less useful for many of us by setting us back and removing many of the practice options we used, but now when they finally get around to update the lingot business, they will take away most of what we earned all along - I guess if they want to discourage long term use in favor of new learners that's one way to do it


I think it is much simpler than that. I couldn't find a separate Gem value in the user data, so I think that they (Lingots and Gems) must be two ways of expressing the same underlying value (rupees).

I believe the formula to be: round to the nearest 50 and add 450

Now it could be always be round up, as I haven't seen a round down yet.

Also the 450 doesn't seem to be fixed - TinDrum is the one exception so far. I am assuming this is controlled by ios_47_Initial_gems in the user data, and that TinDrum has a value of 650 (or 600 if it is always round up).

There are some other items related to Gems (and something called Midas) in the user data, do perhaps their are other variations as well.

For example: midas_gems_devaluation

Another data point for you:


I had 599 lingots and got 1050 gems for them


I had another, but I can't find it now


Not sure if it helps on your data points, but I currently have 51 Lingots and 1710 gems. My app and my computer have different currencies.


Argh! No, that us a big red mark against my formula.

Also (as per your other comment) if you got an additional 120 Gems shown as an additional 2 Lingots, then that implies an exchange rate of 60. But 51 times 60 is 3060, not 1710. Hmm.

It could be that you have a negative offset, but that seems bizarre, as one objective of this exercise must surely be a great socialist-style levelling of Lingot 'wealth' and instead a negative offset (with a large exchange rate) makes the Lingot 'wealth' gap even wider.

Do you know how to look at your user data?

I think if we can get some of the values we might be able to work it out.


Tell me how to look at my user data and I am happy to share the results with you :)

Also, I now have 63 Lingots and still 1710 gems. I was pretty sure it was an exchange rate of 60 given how much a streak freeze costs in each store (600 gems, 10 Lingots), but then my own data didn't support that theory. :(


Perhaps the 1710 is because the app hasn't refreshed it's data yet. Maybe try closing/re-opening the app. Or going into Clubs seems to cause it to refresh, or at least it does for me with other things.

The alternative is that Lingots and Gems are separate values, which would be a bit weird.

Regarding your user data - thanks for doing this! Sorry, it is so cumbersome . For some reason the A/B testing stuff is private :-/

Anyway, to see your user data, open the following link in a new tab: https://www.duolingo.com/users/Andrea164370

If it looks like a profile page of a user called USERS, this is a glitch, just refresh the page, and it should give you a dump of technical data. Don't post the whole thing as it is huge, and contains personal data like email address.

On the tab with the technical data, do a find within page for _gem

I have copy-pasted mine below, which is quite boring, as I am not in this A/B test. The ones in bold are the ones that I think might be important. The others you could ignore if you want.

It is a little bit fiddly, so best done on a desktop browser, and not an iPad browser etc.

Also, perhaps you could also try search for the number of Gems you have, in case they are stored as a separate value (I doubt this is the situation). So 1710 of whatever. I find it hard to believe that this would be private, given that Lingots isn't.

Anyway, here's me:














I am happy to help with your data crunching. :) Here's what I could find with "gems" as a search. Can you help translate some of it? :)











Also, it says "lingots":63 (which is accurate), but gems are not listed directly. And my gems are still 1710 even after opening/closing the app (and giving it a few hours). I hope this helps!



Not sure what to make of this - I think I was being naive - hoping that midas_gems_devaluation and ios_47_initial_gems would explain it all.

That it would be as simple as:

Gems = Lingots x midas_gems_devaluation + ios_47_initial_gems

Anyway, have some Lingots (or Gems!?) :-)

Edit: I was just thinking that the reason your Gems isn't budging is that the Lingots are being rounded. With other people I assumed this was to the nearest 50, but with you it could be 10. If you want I will give you another two Lingots (to push you to 70) and we can see if your Gems change.


Thank you for explaining and the Lingots! :) I wish it were that easy, too. I am happy to number crunch more with you!

I currently have 71 Lingots (+5 on the above comment, and + 3 for 30 day streak) and 1720 gems (+10 from my chest this morning for meeting my XP goal). The gems did not change even though my Lingots increased.


Hmm. From your description here - it really does look like they are separate values.

I will try again though. I will give you 4 Lingots - taking you to 75. If there is a rounding to the nearest 50, this should trigger it.


Hmmmm.... 1720 still. That didn't seem to do anything. I opened/closed my app and it still is the same. I will check it later today and see if there is just a lag between the computer and my app (sometimes there is) and keep you posted! (And thank you for the Lingots!)

--UPDATE-- I am still at 1720 hours later. So it doesn't seem to be that pushed it over the edge. Maybe someone else can assist with more data points on this one. I am giving you back your 4 Lingots. :) Let me know if there is more info I can provide on the gems. :)



It definitely looks like Gems and Lingots are separate values (at least for you anyway).

Because I can't see a Gems amount in the user data and because the Lingots didn't go down during the conversion for the other people, I thought that they were different expressions of the same underlying value.

Still trying to understand if you are different. I have some questions if that is OK... Are you new? I think you have been here a couple of weeks perhaps. Did you use the app or the web first? I am wondering if you ever had a conversion process like the others. (See picture at the top)


Hi! Yes, it does seem like they are different values, and I never had the conversion. For me, I have always had Lingots (website) and Gems (app). Yep, I am new. I started with the app and then used the website after about a week. (I didn't actually realize there was a website when I downloaded the app!) I hope that helps!


Please tell me this is not coming to the stabile (web) version.


It's a quid pro quo. If you have read any interviews with Luis Von Ahn, you cannot be unaware that he, as spokesperson for DL, has been very upfront about A—B testing and what it is for. The deal is that we millions of end-users of DL get free language lessons in exchange for inputting vocabulary, translations, and interpretations into the DL database. What the DL team gets is an extremely large sample group that can be divided into smaller groups in order to test different theories of how people learn.


Suddenly my app went from lingots to gems, and the hated health bars have appeared and begun to impose the new world order ... Why take a great app and downgrade it? I can no longer recommend this to fellow students...


Yes & I don't like this new system. Also a way to get you to buy stuff. I'm thinking of quitting. Hard to maintain enthusiasm under the new system. The ads I don't mind but the rest.. it's not fun anymore, just a chore. Why bother


Well I still have all my lingots on my iOS App.


Anyone know of any new items? Also, any information concerning this at all?


You can see pictures of the Gem store in the following: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19964966 https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20076467

Though you will only see these items, if you also have the avatar functionality.

(Ignore the fact it says Lingots, and not Gems - they hadn't renamed everything yet)


The new app needs to be deleted in order to send a clear message to the people responsible.


This happened and I stopped using the app on IOS and now this just happened on my Android phone, god I hate this I miss Lingots!


I still have lingots' but I really want gems! Please help meee.


well,lingots LOOK like gems, but really aren't.

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