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Interview with a moderator.

Excuse me for doing to posts to close together but I just thought of this and I am doing it. What is Duolingo like being a moderator? Why do you think Duolingo made you a moderator? Did you want to be a moderator? How did you feel when you became a moderator? All moderators please visit this post. Please answer my questions.

May 23, 2017


  • What is Duolingo like being a moderator? Part A Being a moderator is really stressful. But, also rewarding. Duolingo is an amazing place where people from all over the world are connecting. I'm more aware of what is happening in other countries because I now have friends all over. I want my government to treat those countries in ways that increase peace and reduce violence, both in terms of war but also things like human trafficking.

  • Why do you think Duolingo made you a moderator? I spent a lot of time in the forums helping people learn how to use the website. First gen mods weren't chosen because they had course building skills. There was no Incubator back then. They were chosen because they showed promise as forum moderators. Nearly all first gen mods were graduate students or already had degrees. (I have 2). Most of us had studied and interacted with diverse groups of people in university before we came to Duolingo. We arrived with some sort of understanding that a comment is not just a singular event. For those around, it is one event added to all events that have ever touched that person's life. So, we stay alert to things like racism, sexism, ablism, transphobia, and people harassing others for their religion and such that can find its way into the forums.

  • Did you want to be a moderator? I thought it would be cool, but, I didn't have any expectation that they would.

  • How did you feel when you became a moderator?/What is it like being a moderator part B I felt really excited and a little dizzy when I got the email invite. Honestly though, after getting my green ring, I had nightmares every night for at least a month that I would somehow mess up (no hyperbole, every. single. night.) Before becoming a moderator, I hadn't considered that I would be taking on a sizable task that went beyond just answering questions and removing the occasional comment or discussion. Moderators navigate a lot of grey area and unpublished precedent. There is a ton of pressure to make the right calls. When there were fewer people on Duolingo, I got compliments and thank you notes nearly every day from many different people. It offset the stress. The smaller size of the community bonded people more closely. We knew and cared about each other. Having grown so large, a lot of people in the community feel more anonymous and several use moderators as punching bags. They don't follow the guidelines and walk into consequences, they send hate mail to moderators. Staff does something they don't like, they take it out on the moderators. They get bored, they harass moderators. Staff removes their account, they make 30 more to bully moderators. New staff are hired, while seasoned staff retire and that messes with things. There are a lot of downsides. A lot of moderators have left, including nearly all first gen mods. I'm lucky that my blood pressure is naturally low. The dream of Duolingo is important though. For me, it goes way beyond language courses. Because it can be so stressful for those who put in a lot of time moderating, one of the things I do is mentor some of the incoming mods. The learning curve is even more daunting than it was when I started. As a mentor, I hope to help them learn how to moderate but also important side aspects like how to manage stress in healthy ways.

I'm still here, so, clearly I think it's all worth it. But, I don't recommend people trying to become a moderator because they think it will be fun. It's not a vacation. Being a moderator is a strenuous labor of love.

  • The Upside I get to work with people from all across the world. Like, really cool people! We talk about social impact, we hold each other accountable and do check-ins when our frustration starts to show in our comments, we help each other troubleshoot various situations that come up in the forums. I find myself regularly inspired by them. The team of moderators I work closest with is made up of mods who are all vastly different in personality and skill set. We disagree with each other regularly. The level of respect and admiration is so high for each other though that disagreements haven't weakened our bond as far as I can tell. We've managed to value and utilize our differences to create a strong, highly effective team. I have so much respect for these people. :)


Wow. Thanks for the answers. I didn't think it would be easy. It's already hard trying to control an XP contest! I think that Duolingo should appreciate moderators more. Do you know The moderators that left?


Many of them, yes. I was sad to see several of them go because they were friends. I managed to finally join facebook and connected with a few there. Still, it's not the same moderating without them. friendfully nudges FrankySka

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