I think DuoLingo may have tweaked the decay/strengthen/fluency algorithms again--quietly
In the last few days I've noticed that strengthening seems to be a bit faster and skill decay MIGHT be a little slower. I've also seen my 'fluency' go up 4 points although all I've been doing is refreshing some skills in the upper portion of the French tree.
I came on here to post the same topic, only in my case the change is much more noticeable, and I really like it!
When I started DuoLingo 55 days ago, I tested out on 20% fluency, which dropped fast and by day four it was 2%. Not really an encouraging way to start a course, but I soon learned from the forum that fluency was a broken feature, so I just ignored it. I tried to keep my tree golden, but as I progressed it got more difficult; in the last couple of weeks, I noticed it became nearly impossible. It got so bad, that at times even when I only had to fill one tab of the skill to make it gold, and made no mistakes in the test, it still stayed unstrengthened!
While I tried to ignore all that and just use DuoLingo for learning French, regardless of how well the algorithms worked, I did notice I got less and less motivated to really keep up and progress. It's rather annoying to watch all the skill orbs and then guess from the picture which skills really need strengthening, while knowing that even at a 100% score there's no improvement marked, and being stuck in "strengthening" the basics when testing from the main page.
And then..... day 53 happened!
In the morning I did the strengthen skills test from the main page, and my fluency percentage went up. (It had been stuck at 2% al this time.) I tested some more, and not only did the fluency shoot up at nearly every test I did, but sometimes several skills were strengthened at once too, and to gold status. I kept making tests, and gilded up my whole tree to the point where I'm in the course, while my fluency went up to 24%. Yesterday only two skills had dropped a bit, which was taken care of with one test, and then I could continue the lessons of a new skill orb. This morning my whole tree was still golden, fluency 29%.
I find it way more enjoyable to learn French on a medium that gives me the feeling I'm actually progressing. And I also enjoy the more complex sentences I get to practice now on the main page test to strengthen skills.
So I hope the owl takes note, this gives me a more enjoyable and more encouraging learning experience, which means I'm inclined to use this site more, not less.
And if they're after getting more active use of their page for advertising purposes, I could also suggest improving the "words" section, which is at the moment so jumbled, unrealistic and unusable that I never use it, while there is great potential there.
Sounds like a poorly implemented A/B test might have come to an end! Indeed, the fluency meter doesn't measure what it purports to, but it's supposed to go up and down in a somewhat cognizable manner in accord with practicing, learning new things, or lack thereof.
I'd briefly caution you, though, that it can be the case that even several strengthenings don't improve a skill's strength, particularly if it has gotten significantly decayed. And the Words tab is indeed something of a hopeless jumble. It's widely known to be buggy. Most languages don't even have it, and I think they're trying to get people to use TinyCards instead of the creaking flashcard implementation.