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Suggestion: Charge users a nominal amount of lingots to create a new forum thread

Just a thought, but since lingots are aplenty, why not charge users a nominal amount (1 or 2 or 5) of lingots to create a new forum post? This only applies to creation of new posts (as in new discussion threads). Replies to existing threads/posts (created by themselves or others) can still be free.

The idea is to try to encourage users to make forum posts of some substance, at least worth the lingots they are expending. And they should look through existing posts for common questions. Once they are out of lingots, they would need to do some exercises to earn them and post again. This acts as incentive to do the exercises or maintain streaks if they want to create a large number of threads. :)

For example: I'm a newbie and I have a "die, der, das" question in German, but no lingots. There are already about a few hundred threads on this topic. Instead of creating a brand new thread, I could respond to an existing thread and it wouldn't require or cost me lingots. If I really need to create a new thread, then it would cost some few lingots.

Update: Good point regarding newbies not having lingots when they start out. Duo could seed them with 10 or 20 lingots and advise them to use that wisely. Or let Level 1 users create posts for free. Or just allow people 5 free posts before they are charged lingots. Lots of ways to make this work.

August 23, 2017



I can understand your motivation, and I think I share the core of it.

But I'm afraid the system wouldn't work. There are just too many people asking questions or starting vacuous threads, and there are too few people who read threads that have already been posted (and that would answer their question, like "why did my fluency go down??", "what happpened to the acitivity stream?", "where is immersion??", "why are there no stories in German/French ...??").

According to my observation, there are not many people who ask several questions and thus would feel the penalty by losing lingots. It's the questions that reoccur, not the people (because they don't read in the forums; they just post their "ultra-urgent" questions when they arise).

These people would probably just pay the lingots, ask the question that has been asked on a daily basis for umpteen days/weeks/months, and walk off again.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts/opinion.


I wonder if an FAQ would help rather than the millions of stickies that people seem to miss. That way we could just point to the FAQ rather than having to look for stickies on Stories, fluency, immersion, activity stream, and so on. I try to be helpful but often many different people ask the very same question every day... several times a day.


There is a help section that has the answer to quite a few things



That would be good, but what about users that have no lingots, are just starting out, and need to have a bug troubleshooted?


Here's a suggestion for that: Duolingo should have an introductory guide for beginning users, showing them the features, the rules, explaining how duolingo works, shows them the help page, etc. There is a way to report bugs directly to Duolingo here. You're supposed to report bugs there, not on the discussions.


they already have these and I have read those and they explain some stuff but not everything and i was still very much missing knowledge unitl i came to to the forums, fact is Duolingo can't explain everything, hence why we are here


Most questions are asked by newbies who will not yet have many or any lingots. People with lots of lingots are less likely to have many questions.


I love that idea! It would stop some of the forum clogging, a lot of the spam (Especially lingot posts!) and like you said, it encourages users to make forum posts worth the lingots they are expending. This is a great idea!


I dont think it would stop spam, a spammer could do one lesson then make 2 posts. A new person who has an issue that prevants them from doing any lessons would not be able to post a discussion to get help, this is a very fundamental issue, it wouldnt stop spammers but would stop new people getting help potentially


Did you see the edit that satishvc added? And even if it didn't stop all spam, I feel like it would still stop a small portion of Lingot posts.


It's highly unlikely that this would be effective. If people need incentive to do exercises just so that they can post on the forum, then they are probably in the wrong place. Honestly, people are going to make posts that someone will find lacking substance no matter what Duolingo does.


This isn't primarily supposed to act as incentive to do exercises. That's just one minor aspect of it.

The idea is that people would stop creating posts without thinking (all the "hey" or "I'm bored" sort) because there is currently no penalty for doing so. They add no value to discussion and relate nothing to language learning or how the Duolingo site works. That will still be possible with what is suggested, but it would limit the chances of someone going overboard with doing that.

I do not think it's such a big deal or that users desperate for help would be prevented from getting it. They would/should search through the forums to find answers first instead of posting. Other simple and effective solutions have also been proposed to bootstrap them into the forums. Remember also that they can post in already existing posts, just not create new ones.


There are penalties for doing this, if they are seen by a mod doing this repeatedly then they can get banned from creating discussions or even have their entire account banned, which has happened before. Further more it would only prevent people with few lingots from creating many other these posts. I have a ton of lingots so if i were so inclined to I could create many of these without it affecting my slightly

The search function is essentially useless, I have tried to use it previously and found it almost impossible to find anything so I can imagine how difficult it would be for people less experianced in computers.


What if ur a mobile users like me?


Can you elaborate? How would it make any difference to mobile users?


The users on mobile don't have the discussions page for reasons unknown to everyone except Duolingo.


In which case mobile users don't need to worry about this post :)


Well, if you are a mobile user, you don't have the discussions page, so would it affect you so much? Maybe you could still use gems?


I'm really surprised at the number of upvotes and support for this idea. It is not a good idea to "charge" users of a free language learning resource to ask a question. The mature response to the Duolingo forums is to participate and/or upvote posts you find relevant and useful and to ignore posts you do not find useful or relevant. Full stop. If you feel strongly about a particular post, you can downvote it.

We were all beginners at one point, and part of the fun of learning is the social aspect of interacting with others, especially for users who do not have other access to a learning community. Part of interacting with others is participating in the forum. There are likely very few original questions a beginner has that haven't already been answered, but what is the fun in social interaction if all you do is scroll down through a list of hundreds of posts to try to find on that answers your question? That's not a socially interactive experience.


Part of interacting with others is participating in the forum.

I agree wholeheartedly.

There are likely very few original questions a beginner has that haven't already been answered, but what is the fun in social interaction if all you do is scroll down through a list of hundreds of posts to try to find on that answers your question? That's not a socially interactive experience.

I disagree. In my opinion, the socially interactive experience would be: Follow the discussions that already take place, acknowledge the contributions by others, and participate in the existing discussions.

Please believe me when I tell you that I'm not unusually intelligent. I'm definitely not.

But I have managed to ask a question only once, and after a few days of participating in the forums I was able to answer almost any Duolingo-related questions that have occurred.

Why did this happen? Because I read what was going on. "Social interaction" is not a one-way-road. I take great care in ensuring that I have done everything to find out myself before I bother others with my questions.

I rather reply to existing ones, and I've had very pleasant "social interactions" this way. But recently I've been inclined to avoid certain types of questions because I feel really impatient toward these topics that occur at least once a day -- and I fear that I might sound as impatient as I feel if I replied.

The search function is really awful. But on the occasion of my first and only question I learned from Pentaan that I should simply use google for the search: Just enter my search term, together with "duolingo". It works; I've solved many of my questions this way.


You raise some well thought out points. Your writing and thoughts suggest that you are intelligent, even if you say you are not.

I think it's unfortunate that you think you would "bother" people by asking questions on an open forum. People should be able to ask whatever questions they want, and if someone is not interested then they don't need to answer.

I agree that the search feature and keeping up with posts is not great. It would be nice if there were sub-forums for each language with "stickies" at the top of each sub-forum where reference materials could be posted. In that case it is fair to ask users to reference the "stickies" before making a post.

The overall, general point that I'm trying to make is that a forum should be an open, inclusive place that makes people feel welcome. In my experience with internet forums, some of them become so tightly controlled that they are no fun to use.

Here's an example. I am a fan of civil aviation, and many years ago I joined a civil aviation forum. I was excited to participate, and I asked a question about a plane I saw leaving the airport earlier that day. I was met with vicious replies that the topic had been discussed to death and that I should be banned for asking this type of question. Thankfully there were mature people on the forum who stepped in and said that people should welcome newcomers who had a shared interest in the hobby. I was young and had no idea about forum etiquette. I think we have the same situation on Duolingo.

Today that civil aviation forum has developed what I would call a culture of sensitivity. When some people start a new post, they first write a paragraph to try to prove they've searched for a similar topic, and then they leave a request for moderators to delete their post if it's already been discussed. They end their "intro" with an apology in advance if they are doing something wrong. It's a turn off for me, but based on my own experience I understand why some people behave this way.


You raise some well thought out points. Your writing and thoughts suggest that you are intelligent, even if you say you are not.

Thank you! Actually, I didn't say that I wasn't intelligent -- I just said that I wasn't "unusually intelligent"; I am intelligent indeed, and I'm coping well overall, but I'm definitely not a genius. ;-)

I think it's unfortunate that you think you would "bother" people by asking questions on an open forum.

Well, I wouldn't think that I "bother" people if I honestly assumed that my question was a new one.

But most of the questions that occurred to me just triggered the thought in me: Duolingo has existed for so many years -- there must be a reply to that question! And, with the exception of one case, I was always right.

I feel absolutely free and welcome to ask a question, and I think everybody should feel so. And I'm doing my best to contribute to a welcoming atmosphere. Nevertheless, there's also a responsibility on the side of those who have questions: Try to find out first. For me, this is an issue of politeness toward the other participants.

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