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https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22

You're alone...

Denny22
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I'm guessing there are not many who see this message on their 'Home Page' but everyday I read "You're alone, Denny22!" and my heart sinks.

I find it really depressing. I never read those words in reference to Duolingo, but always in the wider context as to all that has gone pear-shaped in my life, and the problems I am currently facing.

I quite understand why it is there. The Duo team obviously want the community to grow. They want me to spread the word, and I have done my bit, but this phrase remains like a wet fish in my face every day.

Not being a competitive soul I'm not interested in who's dust I am eating; I am instead grateful that the message boards are full of inspiration.

For me the phrase "You're alone..." is very depressing to read. I was just wondering if it could be perhaps changed to something more appealing or removed altogether?

4 years ago

52 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Thanks for sharing your feedback on this :/ We don't mean to make you feel sad / alone :( I'll bring your thoughts on this phrasing back to the rest of the team. Thanks, Denny22.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Many thanks

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SaylaMarz

I have the same reaction....it seems sad, dejected, and kind of childishly cute. I'm taking it as playful, but just wait til I have a bad day!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/acchan88

I usually feel the same about this phrase, so I understand you. :/ I try to convince two of my friends to use Duolingo, but they want to learn other languages (not German or Italian), so there will be no competiton at all... Besides, I do not want to "spam" Facebook with my DL activities. So being alone is fine, I think. (English is not my native language, so I'm sorry for the mistakes.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Thank you for understanding. It is interesting to discover that other solo flyers feel the same about the phrase. (Excellent English by the way) Something more welcoming like 'Great to see you again' or 'So glad you are there' would be much more cheering.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/acchan88

Yes, I think so. :) I get daily reminders, and my favourite one is "Keep the owl happy" with a very cute picture, so I think something similar greating would be nice. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CuriousAtanaa

'The owl is glad to see you', 'The owl is happy you're here' or 'the owl welcomes you' maybe.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daisy_glaze
daisy_glaze
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I also relate to this, and at times it bugs me too. I wish I was the type to make friends and be social but I know I'm not, and after years of trying and failing to adjust I've given up. Every time I see the Duolingo admonition I think, "Well, thanks for the reminder! I'd forgotten I was all alone here..."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Yes, there must be many who are made to feel uncomfortable by this phrase for so many different reasons. Like you it has bugged me for a while and it does indeed feel like an admonition. Thanks you for taking the trouble to share your thoughts and for reaching out with a supportive post daisy_glaze.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IAmJon
IAmJon
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I am probably in a somewhat similar position to you, Denny. I don't have any friends. In the past I was obsessed with my loneliness and ended up on very depressing forums on the internet which actually lead me to Duolingo. The point is, things shouldn't change for you. You are not special, no one is. It is just a phrase and you are being too sensitive. When you feel down, the smallest thing can depress you, I understand that. Just friend people, it isn't a big deal. This isn't a social networking site or anything like that, no one on here has real friends on their leaderboard unless they already know them in real life. You need to stop obsessing and try to focus on more postive things. A few months ago I could imagine myself writing a post such as this. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but you should try to change yourself rather than trying to change the website.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Celyia

I understand what you're saying, but something that points at and emphasizes someone's loneliness is a little much on a site that's supposed to be friendly and upbeat. It's not about asking the site to change because someone is being oversensitive, but to merely gentle a phrase that's kind of harsh and alienating to people who have yet to meet anyone here.

I'm really glad that you are making strides in battling your loneliness, but please keep in mind that we all carry different weights on our shoulders -- even when those weights share the same name. What worked for you may not work for someone else.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
BobbieL
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It's fair to say that things shouldn't just have to change to suit one person.

Here comes a huge HOWEVER...

The "You are alone" message doesn't offer any significant value, other than maybe trying to make people feel so rotten about themselves that they feel compelled to go nag friends to join. And um... is a sort of emotional arm-twisting really the right way to go here?

You could easily serve the same core function with a message that says something like "Language learning is more fun when we do it together!" without the... icky undertones.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Fair comment.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CecilieO.

or just friend someone? It's not a huge commitment, promise.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/acchan88

OK, let's give it a try. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wandering.Seeker
Wandering.Seeker
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...or some people like me, just befriend those who are friend in life as well, nothing personal. same goes to facebook, google+, etc. to each their own, then.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

I keep on reading it as "You're a loner, Chuckstarrrr", then nervously look around expecting to find cameras ! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Oh, this did make me laugh. I hadn't read it like that. Cue scary music!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

LOL, good :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sadika.koo

Lol...awesome!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
BobbieL
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For what it's worth, I remember the first time I saw that text when I logged into Duolingo and thinking something like "Wow, that's kinda needlessly mean." It never occurred to be to post anything about it, but I was taken aback that it was the phrase that was chosen for "You haven't added anyone to your Duolingo friends list yet."

I'm sure it wasn't meant that way, but it's kinda like exclaiming "Wow! You look like crap!!!" at someone, and insisting that the only sentiment is "Are you feeling all right?" They're kinda sorta equivalent, but the difference is significant.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Portofan
Portofan
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I see this message regularly, even though I have some people in my friends list (note that I don't say "I have some friends here ;). Some bug in the system.

And I think you're right, this phrase IS depressing! A better text would be "Your friends list is still empty.".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/J.DavidCR

Some of us use Duolingo to deal with that feel of "you're alone..." It is not nice to find such masseges while you're trying to make something good out of your "alone" part. Please Duolingo staff take seriously this kind of feedback from the community.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Megblue
Megblue
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To me, "would you like to add a friend" would accomplish the same thing but be much less negative.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CuriousAtanaa

Friend me if you like :) We don't have to compeate (I'm mostly focusing on Spanish anyway) but it would get rid of the annoying message.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Thank you for your kind suggestion.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems
Hohenems
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Vous pouvez me suivre si vous voulez. :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Merci beaucoup. Vous êtes très gentil.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nateVONgreat
nateVONgreat
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"like a wet fish in my face" oh...... ok....

I do not see the message

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Megblue
Megblue
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I thought the same thing. You are alone ( and nobody loves you)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bettyfish

lol!! i never even thought about that phrase even though i see it every day it's so interesting to see the other "take" on it

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kismet
Kismet
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Hey Denny22! You're definitely not alone! Not about this, anyway... :-)

I started noticing the "You're alone..." message shortly after I was switched to the new "improved" website. Like you, I was a bit taken aback by the negative tone of this statement. Unlike you, though, I'm not entirely clear on what Duolingo's intent was. If the intent was to push me into extolling the virtues of this site to my actual (real life) friends...well...it's failing miserably. I used to encourage friends to use this wonderful tool (and I still think it's a pretty impressive tool), but since the "upgrade" I find that I've stopped doing that (for a variety of reasons, including the "you're alone" message).

(On a side note...be glad you're not using the Android app which, instead of telling me "You're alone", tells me "You're all alone, Kismet". On a good day this seems just a bit mean and catty. On a bad day, it seems downright creepy...)

I've read through the comments that are currently in this thread and have noticed that there seem to be three main "camps". First, there are those who enjoy using social media sites and collecting "friends" (real or imaginary) and who find this to be motivating. That's great! I'm truly, genuinely, pleased that Duolingo has provided this means of motivation and validation for that subset of Duolingo users. (That doesn't come out well in print...it isn't meant as sarcasm. I really do understand how motivating this can be for some people).

Second, there are those like me (and I possibly like Denny22) who do not crave external validation and are here only for our own learning. We don't need (or even want) "friends" beyond our own real lives...but we DO want (sometimes CRAVE) the learning opportunities provided by tools such as Duolingo.

Third, but by no means last, there are those who have difficulties (for whatever reason, all equally valid) initiating or maintaining relationships in their own worlds, who find value in the communities made available to them through common interest by sites such as this. For some people, the opportunity to be part of a real community WITHOUT having to engage in fictitious "friendships" with actual strangers can be a hugely positive experience.

"So"...you're wondering..."What's her point?" Well...good question. I guess my real point is "What was Duolingo's point?" Until I saw someone else ask the question (Thank You Denny22 for being the pioneer!) I figured I was the only one who thought the "you're alone" message was a bit off. But really, Duo, I'm not twelve, I'm not a gamer, I'm not a social media addict. I'm just an adult, with a real life (and actual friends) with no interest in an imaginary social network, who would very much like to learn a new language and use that knowledge to help translate the web.

So please, Duo,...could you give me the option of turning off the reminder that I'm not connected with a huge network of strangers? Hmmm? Please? Could that be an option? Please? So that I have less of an impulse to say " Well **** you!" every time I open Duolingo? Because really...if my first impulse is to swear at my learning resource, well...that's probably not when I'll do my best learning, right?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/G.Amo

I just started adjects and had to read that two times today :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livsoccer02

What does it mean "your alone"?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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The phrase is 'you're alone' which is short for 'you are alone'. This might for others, as well as myself, carry negative undertones especially for someone feeling sad and lonely perhaps after something like a bereavement. A phrase such as 'Brilliant to see you!' might possibly be more welcoming and also inspiring. I'm just suggesting the possibility of a slight tweek for solo flyers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livsoccer02

Ohhhh....so you don't follow anyone....

You could follow me if ya like! I follow everybody back!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Thank you for your kind offer.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livsoccer02

You are welcome!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/suezq
suezq
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You are never alone-the owl is watching you! Enjoy your new language, it will broaden your life. : )

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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"La chouette vous regarde" wonderful thought! Great tag line. Thanks.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Angiebeeme

I also see this phrase every time but I have no friends who want to learn german as I am attempting. Perhaps Duo should do something like that other useful language site, Memrise, and allow you to follow other people on the same course. Memrise have a little league table of selected followers, which does help to spur you on I think.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Yes, it is nice to be spurred on sometimes. I'm familiar with Memrise and I think the Memrise league tables can spur you on.

I'm not too keen on being followed on Memrise though; and on Memrise once someone is following you you can't not have them following you. I would much prefer to have the option to be able to accept or refuse followers on that site, mainly as I find followers distracting.

I do agree though that a little league table can spur people on... except if you are the person at the bottom and feeling that day like Eeyore!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lovesalsa1

Denny22, we may seem alone but we never are...check out the law of attraction (then watch Oprah's and Will Smith's take on it) on YouTube and really listen. Life goes on within you and without you. Love yourself, you are not inferior like you may think you are, just unique and special, like all of us. It is a totally different and foreign way of thinking and being, but it sure beats depression and feelings of inferiority. It is hard to grasp, I'm still learning but the feelings of contentment that wash over you when you grasp a concept are worth it, honestly.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Thank you for your thoughts. Is this your first day here? If so welcome! Which language are you thinking of studying?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BettyBHancock

I haven't learned how to friend anyone here, but I'd be happy to accept. I'm getting started learning French. I'm not interested in competing either, but am glad to encourage and celebrate little victories along the way.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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To 'friend' someone simply click on their icon or name, then click on 'follow'.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JackedTortoise

I know how you feel. Me too I have a bit of trouble with loneliness. You can follow me back and message me if you want. ;)

Tu peux pratiquer ton français avec moi aussi :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Denny22
Denny22
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Many thanks.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Suijenae

For me it also a bit discouraging. My friends and I are older ones and do not use facebook (or twitter). I have recommended Duolingo to many others and really love learning Spanish at my own pace. This is a great site.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dienvay

Like Hello billy no mates :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Suijenae

seguramente, Sherlock ;D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lovesalsa1

Yes Denny I am pretty new here. I am doing Spanish and not too well at that hahaha! Keep on getting slapped on the hand for the stupid accent marks! seems ridiculous to have to worry about that so soon. But it's fun regardless.

4 years ago