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Upcoming Forum Moderation Updates

This is a early heads up to let you know that after many requests and suggestions, we are revamping the Duolingo forum moderator system to improve communication, flow, and overall happiness. As we grow, we also want to scale and improve the moderation process to better support the moderators and the Duolingo community, and we thank you all for your support of Duolingo and the forum moderators.

We plan to roll out this program bit by bit in the coming months, so it is possible that you will not see huge and immediate changes. It is likely, however, that you notice the impact of some of these the changes trickling in.

Here's are the first planned tweaks that will affect forum moderators:

  • Improved communication, improving especially with moderators in non-EN forums
  • A clearer moderator structure (with this, names like “global moderator” will likely change)
  • A set number of active max-tier slots
  • More help for beginner moderators
  • A minimum number of active moderators in each forum
  • Streamlined application process (interested people will be required to apply here
  • Short surveys sent to moderators and community to measure community sentiment
  • Revised guidelines
  • ...and some extra tidbits we are hoping to do here and there :)

We do not have additional details to share yet, although we are sure you have questions! We welcome your ideas, so please comment and vote—or just share your general appreciation for the moderators. Thank you for your coolness.

July 14, 2017



Thank you, Vivisaurus (and all the good folks on the Duolingo staff)! You guys work very hard to make this a great place to learn. I hope you feel appreciated, because you are!!


Thanks for every little effort and hard work you've made to make Duolingo and its heartwarming community one of the greatest places! Everyone should respect the hard work both moderators and administrators do to keep the website and community a fair and welcoming place; it's amazing what these people can do! Duolingo has surely impacted my life, and from the beginning, I knew this wad undoubtedly be the most effective learning community and tool I have ever come across!


Anything that helps the forums work better will be appreciated.

Will you be adding any way for users to contact moderators when there is a need? There doesn't seem to be any way to do this now unless you reply to a comment by a moderator in a published post.


This is a great suggestion. Luis has said that staff will be working on communication tools, which is encouraging. Being able to find moderators without having to magically know who they are would make life easier!


Much as I appreciate that more moderators are needed, I certainly think that the people who most want to become moderators are unlikely to be the best candidates for the job (and, in some cases, might well be the worst candidates).

Rather than have a moderator application form, it would be much better to have a moderator nomination form (with self-nominations being disallowed). That way, you would have a pool of candidates filtered through the collective wisdom of the forums who, although none of them might have sought moderatorship, would be less likely to turn it down in the knowledge that they have the support of fellow forum-members.


I agree with the first part, the form might not be the best way to go about things. (At least as a first step in. Perhaps if they came to staff's attention, they could then fill out the form as a means of a second stage of process.)

But, I disagree with some of the second part. I've seen "nomination" discussion posts where people were hailed because they were popular, not because they had any of the skills a moderator needs to have...One of those people in fact stalked me and held at least 30 accounts (This is not exaggeration. It was at least 30 documented accounts.) with which they had used to harass others and send death threats to me and others. They even used some of their sock puppet accounts to nominate themself. Though, some of the nominations came from other people who were unaware of those 30 other accounts etc.

Edit because wow! Nerdy linguistic realization moment here:

"They even used some of their sock puppet accounts to nominate themself."

In a sentence when you have [Singular they] + [plural subjects] + [reflexive Singular they]:

("Themself" = sock puppets nominating one account. "Themselves" = multiple sock puppets being nominated")

If [Singular they] + [the one subject referred to via the preceeding Singular they] + [reflexive Singular They]: "themself" and "themselves" are both correct. Here, usage will depend on personal preference.


The sock puppet problem could easily be mitigated by requiring an older account (at least a few months) and a minimum level (say, 10) to nominate a user—perhaps even more stringent than that. I am not suggesting that moderator choice should be democratic, merely consultative with longstanding members of the Duolingo community.
You make a fair point that popular users could be unqualified. However, self-selected users can be equally unqualified, and staff will have to make decisions about whom to appoint on the basis of limited information that could be misleadingly presented in an application form. Having candidates first be nominated by other users would serve as an additional means of quality control. It would also save staff time looking through every application as those users with the most endorsements would be readily identifiable.

I only suggest this as something intermediate between the current process and one with an application form, considering that the current process is apparently resulting in too few moderators (and that staff do not appear to spend a great deal of time on the forums).


It is problematic to tell people that IF they are helpful and make good comments they are on the road to becoming a moderator.

I liked when you said one time, the line is long and filled with good candidates, or something like that.

Beware of those who want to rule others.


Beware of those who want to rule others.

You hit the nail on the head. Moderating is not about ruling. It's about guiding and supporting.


I hope there will be enough room in the community to include people who are not interested in being a moderator.


Re: edit: Dear me! If the Lord High Chancellor of 'singular they' can't get the rules right, it strikes me that they are obviously not idiomatic parts of the language... (If you were drunk, however, then I'd consider that an entirely acceptable defence.)


garpike, native speakers often use rules intuitively, but aren't necessarily able to articulate them. I used the reflexive correctly, then puzzled about it for a while, realizing I didn't know how to articulate it. So, I decided to figure out how to articulate it. ^_^

(I use "rules" lightly. I consider myself more towards the descriptivist side of the spectrum.)


I stand corrected! I didn't analyse the grammar when I read it the first time.
Interestingly, the OED says 'themself was the normal form to c. 1540, but disappeared c. 1570'. Forsooth, I cannot renay you that.


garpike, I didn't know that! Thanks for the info. :)


Also, just to hop by here,
Thanks for being part of our community garpike.

Being "drunk" is not be an acceptable defense for all sorts of behavior, and also actions.

Also we are a community that values deeper understanding about the way language is used. This includes supporting self questioning, and includes asking questions. And especially that we encourage people to be polite and supportive and respectful of others.

Positive discussion on issues of language are always welcome.


It is a perfectly acceptable defence to getting one's preferred form of grammar in a twist (or thinking so), which is why I whimsically suggested it. It was certainly not my intention to suggest that Usagiboy7 was actually drunk, which I considered the flippant nature of my post made quite clear.


I know you are a good member here garpike. Thank you also for clearing this issue up.

And I say again,
Thank you for being a member of our community and your valuable, and noticed, contributions which also advance the friendliness and inclusiveness and supportive character of our world wide community and focus on language learning.


Thank you so much for this! The moderators work so hard, I'm glad they are getting updates. They definitely deserve it. I appreciate all of the Duolingo team and the work you all are doing so much.


Looking forward to the beta release of these changes. ^_^


Quick question: Once you fill out an application, do you get an email saying "thanks for filling out an application, we'll look over it"

or is it a "if you're accepted, you get an email" kind of deal?



For now, it's the latter. The whole application process is one of the things that will be updated, so this will likely change. =]


So that last bit in the application form... Can any non-moderator honestly say they have a good idea of what the role entails????


Great point! The guidelines will be updated, and this information will be clearer (please consider this an early access to the form itself, although open to applications, the process is not yet fully implemented, but high on the priority list). As it is, new moderators will get the more info and be asked to confirm.


This post isn't stickied, isn't it? It took me quite some time to stumble upon it while scrolling through the discussion stream, but to me it seems to be an important announcement, so wouldn't it be worth to be stickied at least for a few days?
And this information is likely not to make it into every other language forum, at least not in full. Couldn't important announcements not at least be copied to or referenced in the other language forums in English language with a translation request to the community members? I can't disavow that my thoughts now point to all who miss the immersion feature very much, their help could ensure that not only English speaking community members know what is going on. And mods + staff might encounter some users who might be able and willing to contribute to the above mentioned changes...

[deactivated user]

    I am a pretty long time user who had to go away for a bit, but from what I remember we had great moderation and a poor system that lead to having to badger them personally when there was a picture not meant for student eyes or twelve year olds cussing at each other in the general forum. I hope that these new changes benefit the forum while easing the difficulties faced by the staff here that I have watched turn this place from a site that taught French, Spanish, and German with weird audio glitches to an internationally recognized education tool available to anyone with internet.


    Dear vivisaurus,

    could you please translate "A set number of active max-tier slots" into "simple English"? What does it mean, what does it entail?

    Thank you.

    And in particular, thank you for giving a heads up before implementing something. :-)


    Hi Langmut,

    At the moment, there are two tiers of moderators: global and general. If we were to call one of these a max (maximum/highest) tier, it would be the global moderators, because our consoles have the most abilities.

    Not all global moderators are active on the forums anymore. If staff continues to generate more global consoles for active moderators, more global accounts accumulate over time.

    At any time, all the inactive moderators with activated global accounts could come back, flooding the forum with too many moderators with global abilities.

    So, staff want to limit that possibility, by limiting the number of global consoles that can exist at any time. (Though, I thought that was already the case. Maybe they've moved away from it over time though.)



    Ah, ok, I get it. Thank you.


    What Usagiboy7 said^ The number is already limited, but we will review the number itself and favor active moderators to be in that tier over inactive ones.


    How long does it take for the gmail to come? I applied as a Mod 3 weeks ago but the gmail hadn't come. I also contributed for Korean for English speakers but so far nothing. Not even a gmail came. Is it an error on my computer or do I need to wait a bit?


    Applying to be a moderator, or a contributor is not like applying for a drivers licence. Putting your application in does not mean that you will gain a position as either a moderator or as a contributor.

    We are a global community. Last year Duo reported that we had 20 million users. I believe that number is now getting much higher than that, possibly even to 30 million. And I admire you, in that crowd, to be seeking to stand out. And you are standing out, because of the way you are interacting.

    If you have the ability and passion to become an Ambassador, then do not hesitate to show it.

    Continue to interact in positive ways with the community around you.

    Also to show your expertise in target languages. Assist people with language quandaries they have. Create language resources that could be useful for learners of your target language.
    Show and learn and know how Duolingo works. What all the resources are that are available. And assist the community to access these resources when you see them ask questions.

    Get to know about things such as "events" , "dictionaries" , "words" , the "trouble shooting" forums, especially about the resources in the "help" files. Also about "tiny cards".

    Continue to show your stuff and engage in the community in positive ways.

    And to do this over time.

    We are a global and large community. We are passionate about providing high quality language learning opportunities at no cost for the learners.

    Thank you for showing such keenness to be a part of this. And you are, by what you are doing.

    It is not the position that matters. It is what you do that matters.


    I see because applying will effect other people's education. And I truly want to become a Mod, helping others.


    I, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be an Ambassador on Duolingo.
    In so many ways, it is like the concept of flying as discussed in Peter Pan. It is something that can happen when you are thinking about other things.

    And - in the end - it is not the flying that matters, but all the other things you are doing that matters and are striving for, and has true worth.

    Have you read Peter Pan by JM Berry ? Not just watched movies and interpretations of it. But read the book ? I do recommend it.


    I hadn't read Peter Pan or watch it. I never got interested in fairy tale stuff. My childhood interest was in art and animals. I never had a lot of experience of disney of stuff like that long ago.

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