How to get language learners and native speakers into the same forum?
I've tried to use the "discuss sentence" feature when I didn't get a sentence or its translation, but I usually only get answers from learners who are just as confused as I am.
I think the main problem is that Duolingo separates the "language A" native speakers from the "language A" learners by giving both groups their own board/forum/discussion feed/whatever it's called.
Why not put all questions by users of the "German for English speakers" and "English for German speakers" into the same board so they see each other and can try to help each other to the extent of their abilities. And as a bonus it gives you as a learner an incentive to answer someone in your target language on a topic you actually know something about(your native language).
In general there are some native speakers around that can answer questions. However, it is not as simple as saying put all the sentence discussions in the same boards as not all sentences are the same for courses that uses the same languages, e.g. Spanish - English and English - Spanish. It more comes down to people realising that the discussions are not only for asking questions, but also to help others with questions they have.
Also I would like to note that not every native speaker is knowledgeable on topics involving grammar etc.. I've seen plenty of comments of natives making comments like "I don't know the rules, it's just the way it works" to plainly making wrong comments simply because they are unaware of the rules.
Well how can you help others, when you by default see only questions for a language you basically know nothing about?
I get that it's give and take. That's why I try to help people in the "German for English speakers" and "German for Spanish speakers" boards, because usually I can't help people with their questions in the "Spanish for English speakers" board/sentences.
But to do this I had to do the extra work of subscribing to those courses I have no interest in just so I can access those boards. This extra work segregates the people with questions about topic A from the people who are likely to be able to answer them.
Most boards have moderators that speak both languages fluently. They tend to help with questions. I'm not sure that having two groups of people, each of which only speaks one of the languages well, would be able to help each other.
I've never gotten an answer from a moderator on any question I posted to a sentence(but I gave up after 3 postings without answers. Maybe it was just bad luck - or just exceptionally dumb questions ;) )
You don't have to subscribe to a course to access their boards.
- Go to: https://www.duolingo.com/discussion
- On the right above the list of forums next to Your Subscriptions click edit
- Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the boards you (don't) want to be a part of
When someone asks a general question or a new question for a sentence discussion you can help them so that's a start.
Since the course should be easy for you if you know the language you can test out of skills and then every now and then randomly do a skill or practice to see if there are any other questions you can help with. Though if you have no interest in doing this then you can still help people with new questions.
I tried to subscribe the way you described. Before I joined the course the boards I was trying to subscribe to weren't listed there.
edit: I just tried it and for example the "German for French speakers" isn't listed there.
That's odd, all courses are listed for me, even the ones I never accessed. Just note that if you are in a from English course it will only show you the courses from English. So to access a from German course you have to switch to a from German course first.
Hum. OK merging a board of a course with the board of the reverse course may be troublesome.
What about automatically subscribing new members to the board of the reverse course? Or maybe ask the user to join after they've reached a certain level/experience in said language.
People usually like to help, but they don't actively seek situations where they can help.
I don't really think it's a bad thing that there be a bit of a hurdle (subscribing to an extra forum) in order to efficiently contribute by answering questions. Spanish is probably a difficult case, but the people answering questions for Russian, Hungarian, Dutch, Catalan are almost uniformly.exceptional at it. Far better to have one great answer than a slew of mediocre ones. New questions (is new discussion threads) about English from French, Spanish, Portuguese I have seen get good quality answers these days, but for older discussions, answers might be buried in a sea of detritus, and things are more hit and miss.