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The title of a discussion: How to guard your post against downvotes.

Fact: People will go on the discussions, downvote everything, and leave. Yes, not many, but this happens.

Fact 2: Some people will only downvote spam.

Fact 3: If the title of your discussion looks like spam, even if it's not, it will get downvoted.

This is why a discussion's title is so important. People will make the title ''Hi'', or their user name, or something like ''Good morning'' but inside they are asking a perfectly okay and guideline following question. They get downvoted, because the titles are too vague, and they do not seem related to language learning, and people assume that they are spamming, even though they are not. Don't judge a discussion by it's title.

If you have a question: Your title should be something like ''I have some questions about...'' or ''What is [something]'' or ''What is the difference between [object 1] and [object2]'' not ''Hi'' or ''[Username]'' or ''How are you doing?'' NOTE: Be sure to add a question mark at the end, or else your post sounds like a guide, and that is disappointing to people with the same question.

If you have a suggestion: Title it something a bit similar to ''Suggestions for Duo.'' I would not recommend titling it something like''What could be better'' or ''What staff/duo could improve/add'' because that sounds like you are complaining, and trust me, complaints will get downvoted, even posts that look like complaints on the outside.

If you are reporting a bug: Don't make a discussion, report it here.

If you aren't sure which forum to post your discussion in, view here.

Your title does NOT *have* to be similar to one of these. Make it unique, intriguing, descriptive, interesting, even funny, but don't make it look like spam.

Other tips for guarding against downvotes:

(1) Putting ''Please don't downvote'' or something similar does not work, speaking from personal experience, and after hearing many people say that it annoys them, and/or makes them **want** to downvote it.

(2) Use good grammar and punctuation. Yes, this actually helps.

(3) Make sure that your question has not already been asked, whether the same day, recently, or four years ago.

(4) Read the guidelines before posting.

(5)Don't ask for lingots. That is spam.

(6) Don't write in a different language unless you are in a Chat in that language for practice.

(7) Try not to post more than one discussion a day, and try not to post one every day of the week. The limit for the amount of discussions you can post a day is two, according to the Duolingo Wiki, but it annoys people if you post more than one, and if you post daily (Unless it's a Mod or an Admin.)

(8) Try not to make your title too generic. For instance, almost every suggestions' post is titled ''Suggestions.'' You should try to do something cool, like ''Awesome ideas for duolingo!'' Sorry, my creativity is asleep right now, but you get the idea.

(9) Any more? Comment below!

Most of this post is speaking from personal experience, and what is not based on my experience is based on the experience of others. I have watched what has been judged as spam, what has been downvoted, seen why it was downvoted, have downvoted and upvoted myself, asked about the downvote/upvote buttons, read the guidelines about spam, it's endless. All of this is true, it works (though some might work more or less than others) and I have proof of. I hope this helps!

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August 22, 2017



Good post Woof. The reason that "Hi" or "Good Morning" get downvoted is that the titles are too vague and it appears insufficiently related to learning languages. I agree that a more descriptive title would be better.

Another major reason that posts get downvoted is when various people ask the same exact question several times a day. Often, these questions could be answered with a quick google search. I do wish that duolingo had an FAQ on the website.


They have something similar on the help page but it doesnt cover a lot of them, i think what would be more helpful would be a reconfiguration of the search function to make it more useful. I am experianced with computers and even I find it almost impossible to use on anything other than the most simple searches


That's why I use Google to search rather than the in-house search function. Probably the only way Duolingo's search could be as good as google would be for them to use google for search site. However, that costs money. In the meantime, Google still works really well.


Thank you @Elizadeux! I have added that.


I don't believe there is anyone under your first category - if there are, they must have the most pathetic lives imaginable. Instead, what tends to happen when there are a huge number of downvotes at once is that someone was messing about on the forum, they got down-voted and then they took it badly and went-off to make a series of sock-puppet accounts and down-voted everything in sight. It's easy to see when this happens as rubbish is up-voted and everything remotely useful is down-voted.

Also, some users are unable to accept that their posts were downvoted by the community, so it must have been trolls who came and downvoted for the sake of it. It's not. When it's trolls (as mentioned above), it's easy to spot.

The main reason for down-voting is clutter, so contests tend to be down-voted quickly. It may be unfair, but when there's a relatively successful contest in the recent discussions, it doesn't take long to get four or five rip-offs appearing or supplemental discussions (sign-up thread, discussion thread, progress thread etc) and they swamp things rather quickly.

Posts will also get down-voted if someone other than a mod or staff-member takes to posting daily (or more frequently) or simply to publicise their social media presences or blogs.

The one thing to guarantee down-votes is a subject including "please do not downvote".


The one thing to guarantee down-votes is a subject including "please do not downvote".

I dislike "please do not downvote" (which I see more often in the text of the main post rather than in the title) and variations on it. It might be phrasing itself after a polite fashion, but if I hold to it then the phrase has eaten into my independence to choose to vote or not. Not that I inevitably downvote such posts, but it isn't the right of the author of the post to decide whether members of the community should downvote it or not. If it is good enough and relevant enough, it will generally not be downvoted.

I find it amusing when someone writes "Do not downvote this before you have read it." Because that to me implies I should downvote it after I have read it. Not that I inevitably downvote such posts by this logic. Sometimes this is more valid than "please do not downvote" because it is on a subject which is "always" downvoted, but the author has - or believes they have - a valid and worthwhile point to make on the subject, so they are trying to prevent people from downvoting it purely for the subject matter. (I have no insight to give to people who want to make posts on subject matter which they know runs a high risk of being downvoted.)

The reverse "Please upvote this" (perhaps with "if you like this") at least feels more like a request - "please do not downvote" can sometimes feel like a command prefaced with a superficial and empty politeness. But neither phrase is necessary - I feel posters should trust the members of the community to need no guidance in these matters.


Believe it or not, yes, there are a few people who do that. Not very many, thank goodness, but yes, they exist. Also, true, the ''Please do not downvote'' does guarantee downvotes, but I think most people know that, learning from their own mistakes (me) or learning from others' mistakes.


Re the good grammar and the use English ones...

Everyone makes grammatical errors at times as well as spelling errors and typos. The problem is when someone obviously just can't be bothered to write correctly, eg "Plzzzz give me sum linguts" or "Cld u hlp me?"

As for the language, when possible, write in either the "from" or the "to" language you are posting in. For example, if you are posting in the Klingon forum for people learning Klingon from English, write in English or Klingon, not in High Valyrian.

However, we should be a bit more lenient in the general Duolingo forum in English as some users of other base languages may feel they need to use the English one to get attention for a genuine problem.


I understand this. Also, sorry, what I wrote for the language thing was for native English speakers. If someone's native language is Spanish, and they feel more comfortable writing/speaking it, I'm fine with that, and I hope everyone else is. It's just when someone, like you said, does something like write in High Valyrian in the (future!) Klingon for English speakers forum that is a bit annoying.


Title it something a bit similar to ''Suggestions for Duo.''

I would also recommend that people not make the title too generic. If you have a suggestion then say a little bit about it in the title if you can. For example: "Suggestion for improved Tiny Cards interface."

The title has to be short, so it can't (really) be too specific. But too generic a title doesn't give any incentive to explore further, which means people who might have supported a post by giving it an upvote, instead don't even read it - a good title doesn't just avoid downvotes, it gives enough information to draw users in to read the contents, turning a glancer into a reader, and giving the opportunity for the reader to become an upvoter.


I addressed that problem. I wrote in my post:

''You don't HAVE to do something similar to my examples. Make your title unique, interesting, descriptive, intriguing, even funny, but not like spam.''


Another reason for posts being downvoted is posting to the wrong forum. Users post troubleshooting questions to one of the language forums. Or they post a language-specific question to a general Duolingo forum.


Added. Thank you!


You nicely titled your post, and look how many lingots and upvotes you have! You proved your own point. Good job, :)


Thanks so much Woof


Ya, I seen alot of titles being Hi, and it looks like spam even if it's not


Regarding #9, why would a super long post get downvoted?


It annoys many people. Are you a Korean Alpha tester??


It annoys many people.

I can understand that someone might go "hmm, this topic title looks interesting", click the topic and go "nah, I don't have time to read a post that long", and then press the back button.

However, I don't understand why anyone would downvote a topic—one which passes on tips #1~8 but fails only on #9—when that person didn't even read it. It just seems rather harsh that people would go to the effort of trying to get such a topic deleted by downvoting it to minus five, yet they wouldn't use any effort to read it fully first.

I often wonder how many unique interesting topics we've missed out on purely because five random people saw it and downvoted it for being a long post, meaning no one else could get the chance to read it.

Are you a Korean Alpha tester??

I essentially answered this question in my topic I spent about an hour writing, which would have taken maybe two or three entire minutes to read. It was a topic which passed tips #1-8, but it failed on tip #9. Thus it has been downvoted to minus five and no longer appears in the discussion listings...

I'm just having a go on the course on web, since I'm not a fan of the apps nor of waiting yet another three months. My comment has probably already broken tip #9, sadly, so I'd better not say anything more about it. ^^;


I meant extremely long posts, like, that are about nine or ten or larger long paragraphs.

Also, how do you access it on web? I decided just to wait instead of Alpha testing, but I saw on the course list today that it was still 97%, and I pressed it anyway, and I just got the ''Notify me when available'' button, not the ''Start course'' button.


Thanks Woof..... I'll keep in mind ☺


This post I see comes from experience!


2/3 of it does. The rest comes from the many, many, many unsuccessful posts around the forum with similar downfalls. Good observation.


thank you for posting this. It's been very helpful for me.

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