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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xaghtaersis

A note of concern from a long time duolingo user.

Luis, the changes you have made to duolingo have been met with a lot of negative criticism from its users. Frustrated users are not good good pr duolingo. I have recommended duolingo to a lot of people in the past but I do not know if I keep on recommending duolingo if these negative changes persist.

I am especially concerned about the gems and health bar system. From what I have read it harms more than it does good and this negativity is more negativity on top of the negative pr from removing immersion and the activity stream. My biggest concern with the new gems and health bar system is that it could alienate many users. For example users with very little spare time like me. I do not have the time to wait five hours for my health bars to recharge. It also punishes laddering. I am currently planning to do the Russian for Turkish speakers course and I already know that I will make atleast 20 plus mistakes in some lessons and the health bar system could make it very very frustrating to get through hard lessons with new grammar. Thirdly and most importantly: Users from poor backgrounds who cannot afford the fees to buy gems. Luis, I thought your goal was to make language education accessible to everyone...... To people living in western countries and from more affluent backgrounds the fees for gems are not so high but for for example a rural worker in India it is massive. It can be the difference between food and no food for the day! In addition these users are also limited in time. They have to work long hours to get food on the table. Where do these people get the time to wait until they can do a lesson again?

Honestly, Luis, I am really concerned about the future of duolingo with all these negative changes.

Update: Wow! Thanks everyone for your overwhelming support! I really hope Luis listens to us.

April 26, 2017

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MacIomhair

Fully agree, the health and gems would probably make me look for another site.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/estudianteMTI3

Does anyone know, are these changes only in the iOS app for now or are they coming to android also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ionasky

i could not agree more. As a dyslexic i make huge numbers of mistakes but just keep going and eventually i get there. If thatbis going to result in health loss and inability to keep using the app and lewrning then my frustration levels wil, be such thatbi will quit, just as i did back in the bad old days with the three hearts.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wboka
  • 2371

If you use the web version I would recommend installing the Open Dyslexic font and replacing your browser's font with it. You can download it here: https://opendyslexic.org/ Let me know if you need any help. I'm not dyslexic so I can't vouch for it's usefulness but it appears to be developed with the help of dyslexics. Hopefully it helps your ability to read on the web.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duoliberty

Solid post, xaghtaersis. I was not aware of this element of Duolingo and it immediately reminded me of the days when Duolingo's mantra was that it will be "free forever."


2014:

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Duolingo: It doesn’t cost a cent. It’s free to download and, according to 34-year-old co-founder Luis von Ahn, it will be free forever. When von Ahn gushes about his creation, he’s less excited by the idea of yuppie professionals in Manhattan brushing up on their Italian and more enthused about folks in Latin America attempting to improve their socioeconomic status.

“The majority of people in the world who want to learn a language are learning English because it might get them a better job,” says von Ahn. “And learning a language usually requires money. You need to attend a good middle school that has a foreign languages department, or buy a program like Rosetta Stone that can cost hundreds of dollars.” Von Ahn himself grew up in Guatemala but went to a school with English classes. “I was one of the wealthy few,” he says.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/01/duolingo_the_free_language_learning_app_that_s_addictive_and_fun.html



https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

I already know that I will make atleast 20 plus mistakes in some lessons and the health bar system could make it very very frustrating to get through hard lessons with new grammar

is a health consumed when you try a lesson or when you complete one?
My few readings some months ago about that feature had me think it was the latter.
Could someone with the feature (dis)confirm?


Where do these people get the time to wait until they can do a lesson again?

Maybe Duo's A/B tests showed to them that it was "best"(*), in average(**) on all users, when users take only one lesson a day?
Maybe most users memorize things better at that speed? Even many that would say "I want to do more" if they were asked: what is best (for us) isn't necessarily what we'd say is best (for us).

Note : Not saying if the change is good or not. ;)

(*) what exact criteria is evaluated, we don't know
(**) for sure it'd anyway not be "best" for all, but for the majority


EDITION:

I changed

is a gem consumed when you try a lesson or when you complete one?

for

is a health consumed when you try a lesson or when you complete one?

in the above.
Thx burner0 for the correction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonFiore

My few readings some months ago about that feature had me think it was the latter.

Same. I can support the (original) idea of losing health after each completed lesson and getting back after practice or a reasonable amount of time, but not the idea of losing health after every mistake no matter what the regeneration rate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trisha1961

Xaghtaersis thank you for expressing that so well, which I totally agree with, but probably could not have expressed so well.


[deactivated user]

    This is how I use Duo. I start a new topic, and enter all the new words onto an excel spreadsheet, At this point I dont actually pay attention to what im doing, if I answer correctly or incorrectly, its a pure fluke. It sounds to me like I will not be able to do this anymore ( easily ) So I agree, a very negative and de motivating move. As I have mentioned in more than one post, I have zero interest in any of the numbers or lives or fluency etc etc, I just want to learn a new language in my own time in the way it works best for me. If these changes are an attempt to get money out of me, sorry but i will look elsewhere if necessary.


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