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UPDATE: Staff now officially declare that lingot transfer posts are "spam"

Hi folks, I have an update from staff:

Previously, staff allowed moderators to decide on a case by case basis. Staff have now changed their position.

Now, all posts and comments created for the purpose of gaining, giving, or exchanging lingots, are spam.

Moderators can remove them with confidence.

It is safe to assume that Duolingo will not reimburse lingots.

So, if someone makes a post asking you to donate lingots in order to have a chance to win some back, you are likely to lose your lingots when their post is deleted by moderators.

Here is what the Community Guidelines say about spam:

Do not Spam the forum or people

Leaving a trail of irrelevant entries in forums or on people’s streams may get your account deleted. This includes not only creating posts without substance, but also any other type of spamming.

Please don't waste your time looking for loopholes; we will remove any content that violates the spirit of these guidelines and you will risk losing partial or full access to Duolingo without warning. By following these guidelines, we will all contribute to an interesting and helpful learning community.

Update (May 2017):

Do not use guidelines as means to publicly harass or shame users. Guidelines may be referred to to educate and/or gently remind users when they are stepping out of bounds. However, guidelines may not be used to harass, shame, or otherwise abuse users. If you can't decide whether the guidelines have been violated and/or a gentle reminder is warranted, please contact a moderator who can help.

Thanks for reading!

April 26, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Well, technically your post is about lingots, so did you just spam the forum? :O xD


Your comment made me chuckle. xD

The main point of the post was not to give, receive, nor exchange lingots. So, I think it should be ok. ;)


This change makes sense considering you can buy gems for real money now. If new users are allowed to beg for gems/lingots from veterans, who have more than enough, the newbies are less likely to buy them for cash.

I'm looking forward to see less lingot posts! (As a rule of thumb, you can downvote everything with the word 'lingot' in the title. Some are of course legit, but ~95% are spam.)


I had no idea that people could buy lingots/gems for money. That wasn't the inspiration for the change though. (Or, I highly doubt it was since I wrote the initial email to which they sent a reply.)

The announcement came about because we lost notes from a previous video conference with staff from a year or so ago. So, I asked for a re-issuance because some newer mods who weren't in attendance were nervous about removing lingot posts. So, staff replied to my email and clarified that we could do away with all such posts instead of trying to figure out which should stay and which should go. :)


What are gems? I can't update the app so I don't know what they are.


They are basically a replacement for lingots. To give you an idea of the value of a gem, I believe a streak freeze on iOS costs 1,000 gems. However, when old user's lingots were converted to gems, some even lost value. A lot of users are protesting against gems.


Veterans are much, much less likely to have more than enough gems. With my lingots I could buy e.g. hundreds of streak freezes, with the gem total it was converted to on the app: 6.


What was the conversion rate, out of interest? When I briefly had gems on the app, it gave me no gems at all (the next update removed the references to gems).


I remove my previous comment in favor of a link to El2theK's compilation: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22329531$comment_id=22345104


What about a post that is relevant to Duolingo but to which the posters adds a reward of lingots as extra motivation? For example, a request to translate something or a list of ways to say such-and-such, which also promises 'X lingots to the best answer' or similar—not contests, but offering lingots in return for something connected with language-learning.
Considering there is precious little to do with lingots beyond anonymously conveying approval of forum posts, I hope that the mere mention of them won't brand otherwise valid posts as spam. Duolingo invented them, after all!

I am delighted that 'Please give me lingots'-type posts can now be summarily deleted, however.


In that scenario, the main purpose is not to get, give, or exchange lingots. So, it should be fine. :)


That's awesome!!!, but what about the contests that give lingots as prizes?


Staff allow people to make one XP contest discussion per calendar month. This means that they cannot make another post to advertise it or to raise lingots for it.

Again, if a person violates that and their post gets removed, Duolingo will not reimburse the lingots anyone may have donated.

There are no official statements about contests other than XP contests (save that they must be "on topic" for the purpose of the forums. "On topic" being "directed discussions related to language and Duolingo". However, if a moderator gets the impression that lingot giving, getting, or exchanging is the main purpose of the contest, the moderator can delete the post.

If non-xp competitions become too numerous, staff will likely limit the number of posts to 1 per calendar month for those too.


Thanks for the answer.


I added some clarifying information. Thanks for your question! I am sure that others were wondering the same thing. :)


for all people combined or each person?


Spirit of the rule, not the letter. If each person in a contest makes a post for it, it hasn't solved the problem of xp contests flooding the forums. The spirit of the rule is to reduce the problem of xp contests flooding the forum. So, 1 post per contest. :)


I see you mentioned that we are not supposed to be "creating posts without substance." Does this include jokes, because if so I need to know so I can delete some posts. The reason I'm asking is because I don't want my account to be deleted. Thank you.


Yes that does include jokes. If you want to share jokes with people there are other websites that are (better) suited for just that.

Let me also state that if you are in danger of any action being taken against you, you generally get at least one warning and often more than one.


Does that mean I need to delete all jokes that I have posted in the past, or just not post anymore now?


Let's just start with not posting any new jokes and if you come across old jokes you posted remove them.

I see you have mainly been posting jokes on the sentence discussions. Just try to stay on topic. The sentence discussions are there to help people that have questions about the sentence, grammar etc.. If a bunch of people post jokes instead it is very hard to look through the discussion to see if there perhaps already is an answer to the question someone has.

Hence, a comical comment sometimes is not a big issue. Though making loads of jokes and unrelated comments soon becomes a big issue, since the discussions become cluttered. Try to keep that in mind before posting something.


Thank you, I'll try to remove any jokes I have posted in the past whenever I come across them, and I won't post anymore jokes in the future. I'll make sure that anything I post is purely about the sentence or the subject at hand.


Also, I noticed that you said that there are "other websites that are (better) suited" for just jokes. Do these sites use 'clean language', because if so I'd like to know the name of the sites.


Thank you for all you do to help this site get better! I have a quick question, does this apply for my Duo Avatar Shop that I opened? I earn Lingots and people have to give them to me. I hope this will not be a problem. Thanks! https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21514270


It doesn't. But don't advertise your posts.


It's relevant and provides clarification for the example if I had needed it. :)

I agree with El2theK, your shop is fine.


So why do staff not communicate this themselves? Why can't they be bothered to make a post instead of pawning it off to a moderator?


Staff could have done it but why waste the meager funds? It costs Duolingo somewhere between $40,000 and $45,000 a day to provide us with access to these free language courses. Here I am, a volunteer who is not asking for money. Makes sense for me to do it so they can focus their budget on other stuff that I am not able to do for free.

Additionally, with my extensive background being a Duolingo moderator, I can announce the updated interpretation and include additional information of interest to those tuning in.


Meager funds? What an excuse. How long did it take you to type the announcement? An employee could do just the same. It wouldn't take much time, or cost much money. It's the whole problem Pittsburgh has of absolutely refusing to communicate with users about anything. Even app updates say nothing - Duolingo is a horrible company when it comes to communication, and they lose a lot of respect from me as a result. You seem to be in contact with them; do they realize how awful they are at communicating with users, or don't they care? And as far as I'm concerned, policy should come from paid employees, not super-volunteers who exist in a higher ether than us plebes.

[deactivated user]

    Finally, folks asking for lingots can cut it out!


    It doesn't mean that lingot posts are prevented. It just means they're considered spam.

    And besides, what if the user's main purpose is to spam Duolingo Forums? That would mean that they would continuously put lingot posts until their account is deleted. Then they make a new account and continue.


    But what about the inevitable posts gaining, giving, or exchanging gems, since this decision presumably only comes about now that Duo's decided to foist that wretchedness of those on us and lingots are on their way out?

    As for things being "officially interpreted as harassment," I once reported a user for flat out telling another user they needed to see a mental health professional based on a disagreement about language usage, and the Duo powers that be wrote back that they didn't consider that harassment, so I don't really comprehend how something so minor as saying this or that violates the guidelines possibly can be.


    I've been a global moderator longer than most of the current staff have worked for Duolingo. Duo gets new staff members from time to time and, just like with mods, there is a learning curve.

    Using mental health accusations as a way to belittle someone is absolutely harassment. Plenty of people around the globe have illnesses and there is no shame in that. If you encounter that again, please feel welcome to contact me and I'll make sure it gets sorted out properly.


    Fair enough, thanks. How do we contact mods without activity streams? (granted, I can still write to people and it'll go to their e-mail assuming they have notifications on, but I still have the old website)


    Luis has mentioned that a new system is on its way. I have no timeline for this. :(

    So, while I strongly dislike being contacted off site by people wanting to report abuse, during this time, if someone is unable to contact me via Duolingo, they can PM me through Twitter regarding emergencies (porn, death threats, suspected inappropriate communication with children, and harassment.) Please, if it fits into these emergency categories, also send an email to Abuse@duolingo.com

    If I have a message bar on my profile here in Duolingo, it means you can still get an email notification to me through the old stream system and you should that. :)


    I do not use Twitter or Facebook. Is there another way I can contact you? I only use e-mail.

    Does the e-mail notification contain the entire content of the post?


    My email notifications contain a link that delivers me to the full content.

    Twitter, FB, and CT are the only off site options for now. There might be a Duo disqus group, but, I don't know anything about it.


    You can still write messages within Duolingo to moderators, by going to their Activity stream and reporting the issue. If you have your email turned on, then you can receive any response that the moderator responds with.
    So you can still report issues of concern to moderators.


    It's a little more complicated this way, of course! Something more direct is warranted.

    And also, for some reason, I am not getting everything posted to my stream in my email notifications; I have missed quite a few messages now.


    it's hard enough for mentally ill people already.


    I understand the gems have replaced lingots on the mobile site. Is that the plan for the stabile (web or desktop) site as well?


    Gems are going away now that Health has been removed.


    Does this mean XP contests are spams too? Because i've seen them everywhere.


    This has been a much-awaited addition!


    ARRGH!!! angrily throws lingots on table. Take my hard earned lingots.


    Is posting a streak considered spma?


    Not at this time.

    There are other factors that can make posting anything a form of spam. For instance, if someone posts it repeatedly again and again and again. :)


    I have done that before.


    If you are giving away Lingots, how is that spam? It is your choice...

    ((I have never posted asking for Lingots))


    Feel free to give your lingots to anyone you like, but please don't post about it in the forums. They are very busy as it is, and this type of post just generates even more "Give me lingots!" type posts, unfortunately.


    Seriously? I GIVE AWAY Lingots! Not trying to be rude or anything, but Duo is falling downhill. First with the streams, then the notifications, then you DON'T ALLOW FREEDOM OF SPEECH, Then you just... are... ARGH!

    Listen, if you don't want people to quit Duo, you need to do something. FAST.

    DO NOT. Think. I am being rude or anything, I am just saying.


    This has nothing to do with "freedom of speech". By that definition anyone can post any random stuff on the forums. If you want to do that you have to go to another website dedicated for doing just that.

    On Duolingo you'll have to follow the rules of Duolingo.

    Also don't blame Duolingo, staff or moderators. Blame all the people begging for lingots, scamming people and enabling people that beg for lingots.


    I blame the people who went around deleting sensible productive interesting conversations about different cultural experiences whilst actively encouraging the silly childish 'competitions' when they first appeared out of nowhere and we all went 'what are you playing at'. Because that's when this abuse of the word 'donate' was coined in relation to lingots and we started seeing this. It appears that nature really does abhor a vacuum and we have ended up with wall to wall spam.


    Before staff had made any decisions about lingots, sometimes we would get 10 lingot request posts in two pages of the forums. It was so bad it was driving people out of the forums. So, then staff allowed mods to remove some of them. That was fine for a while, but, they are starting to become a problem again.

    No one is keeping you from giving away lingots. Just, don't make a post to do it. There are plenty of great comments all over the place you can donate them to.

    Personally, I like a lot of the changes Duolingo has made over the years. So, for me, it isn't not all in a bad direction.

    As a long time community member, allow me to reflect on what I can quickly recall while sitting here: We now have check marks that help us figure out when we've reached our streak for the day. Our comment boxes are expandable for when we are typing. The color of the background is not as harsh on light sensitive eyes. (it's not perfect, but, ugh, it used to be migraine worthy!). We can also donate lingots to people who create discussions, instead of only people who create comments.

    There is now a discussion stream, so I don't have to click on each forum individually to see what is happening in them. And, it also means if I make a post in the Spanish etc forum, it won't be ignored. So, there is less temptation for folks to put every discussion in the general forum so it will get seen.

    Moderation tools have expanded, so y'all don't have 6 hours worth of hundreds of poop and porn posts produced by the same account while we wait for staff to log on for their shift. It no longer takes a team of two moderators 2 hours to clear 800 comments in a single Sentence Discussion. Our status as moderators is now easier for people to recognize. Our profiles stand out more and people can hover a mouse over our icon in the forum and the word "moderator" pops p.

    The Incubator now exists, so there are more courses than just English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and French. We now have a Words tab, Tiny Cards, and the Bots. There is now a Help page with lots of information and tips on Troubleshooting. There are also now Bonus Skills and features to help teachers use Duolingo in the Classroom. (Ok, that last one comes with some pros and cons in the opinion of some forum goers. Hopefully the pros of expanding multilingualism will outweigh those in the bigger picture though.)

    Folks on the website no longer have to deal with 3 strikes and you're out when it comes to the lessons. (In the past, if we made three mistakes, we had to start a lesson over again from the beginning.

    True, we no longer have Immersion or the Activity stream. Duolingo has added advertisements while offering us a way to remove them/a way to financially support this learning resource. A new communication method is headed our way. We don't know what that is yet, true. And, whatever it is will probably go through growing pains. What I want to emphasize though, is that it hasn't all been a downhill snowball.

    Oh, and our mascot Duo went through a redesign or two. When Duo got it's current design, some people left in protest. So, it's up to the individual whether or not to tack the current Duo next to Immersion and the Activity stream or not.


    Thank you for taking your time to write that. That has kinda made me understand more about what you guys do for us. Thanks for that :)


    Moderating is a labor of love towards the community. I'm glad it helped you understand. :)


    great points, how long did that take to write?


    I originally typed most of it up a few days ago. I kept it handy for where it might be relevant. I'm not sure how long it took me to type it up then. But, I'm a decently quick typer. I added a little to the beginning of it for this discussion :)


    Thanks for what you do as a moderator!


    Nobody is stopping you from giving away Lingots.

    I think the message is: don't create a post to do it (or respond to a post requesting them)


    So this means I cant post a discussion saying I will give away lingots? Mine are real .


    Ssignature00, you can still donate lingots using the "Donate" button on everyone's discussions and comment. :)


    Yes that means you cannot post any lingot giveaway "discussions". Even if it is real it ends up cluttering the forums which are intended to discuss topics related to Duolingo and/or (learning) languages. Keep in mind that this is not a social media platform.


    Hi , mod Usagiboy7!

    When I updated this post I saw the difference between "Spam" and "Dis". The everyday topic we read well known is "Spam". "Dis" for many useful topics then "LIKE" many topics "Spam". Duolingo is now. Duolingo is under maintenance so I do not need to say much. But at maintenance, it is "more terrible" than now. Please modify the error immediately, or it will turn into "disaster" it!


    Hi -Mii.

    I do not understand your message to me. What is "Dis"? And, what do you feel is more terrible right now? Are you saying there is more spam right now, while the website is under maintenance? I'm sorry that I'm not understanding you.

    [deactivated user]

      I am so sorry, I did’t know.


      It's ok. I think a lot of people don't. And that's why this post exists, so that people can learn. We've all been new here at some point or another and gone through the learning curve too. So long as people improve once they find out, that's what counts. :)


      I've been meaning to submit a bug report to the staff, just to request that posts involving lingots be explicitly addressed in the guidelines (they currently aren't, which leaves every user to their own interpretation of what falls under posts without substance, and whether that includes lingot posts). But I wonder if the request would take a higher priority (or be processed faster) when submitted by a moderator (so basically, I'm asking if you'd do it instead of me ;P). Also, your post isn't easy to find for new users unless an old-timer who happens to have saved it is there to link it.


      Arachnje, Unfortunately, there is a whole slew of official interpretations that aren't written down but that get passed from mod to mod during long-term mentoring. It is part of why it takes about 2-3 years for an active mod to season (I just realized that follows the timeline for a course! lol). It would make the Guidelines increadibly long. When staff made the ruling, this was the form it was presented in. I don't think there is much chance of it being in the guidelines since this post resulted from a discussion from staff, rather than an update to the Guidelines. What the community can do though, is warmly direct folks to this post and the Duolingo Wiki's page on Community and Discussion. Also, at the very top of the "Most Popular" tab, there is a post with this link inside of it. I know, our beloved forums are not super tidy when it comes to onboarding. We are working with some significant constraints.

      [deactivated user]

        Ok thanks for telling me!


        OMG! I did that! Sorry!


        Oh my. I am grateful someone reminded me of this. Or I would have no account.


        I found this post because I created an XP competition, and someone who saw it directed me here. Is it wrong to create a competition that you ask for donations or people have chances to win lingots?


        Yes, because people have "hosted competitions", collected the lingots, and never paid anything to the winners. Then the forums get full of angry users demanding their lingots back, and there is nothing we can do to help them.


        But what if you need lingots at the exact time you post because you need to buy a streak freeze or else you will lose your streak the next day?

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