Update to classroom default settings
Are your discussions or events tabs gone? Check your Duolingo for Schools'/Progress Sharing settings.
There has been a change to the default privacy settings on Duolingo for Schools classrooms. We want students to be safe by default, with the teacher or parent determining if their students are mature enough to engage in online conversations. This means we are disabling all social interactions by default, including Forums, Events, and Mature vocabulary. This will affect any classroom that has not determined these settings in the past. So if you have never been in your settings and you are a Duolingo for Schools classroom teacher, those students will not be able to see participate in the forums unless you manually change the settings.
If you are a Duolingo for Schools teacher and you want to change your classroom's settings, you can go to "Classroom settings" —> "Privacy Settings" to update your classroom's preferences.
If you are a student, you can always leave a classroom by following these instructions. Your teacher will be notified.
Edit: This change unexpectedly affected old users, which has caused some confusion, rightly so. Please re-direct people who need help to this post or, if they lost access to discussions, to this help page. The relevant related Help Center pages have also been updated, and a special error page is now in place. The discussion link should be added back to the top bar (most users have it back already) Thank you and sorry for any trouble!
Updated Sep 13, 2017
That is exactly what happened to me. All the discussions disappeared and I was only able to find out what happened via Slack chat. I didn't even remember that I was in a classroom.
If I were a normal user, there would be no way for me to find out the problem or to signal others that I have a problem.
And I doubt that I would check FAQ, there must be an email announcement.
And if you did check the FAQ, the Educator section would be the last place you would think of looking, right?
Yes, an email would be ideal. Or not affecting existing classrooms. Or jrikhal's suggestion in the Incubator earlier, sending users to the FAQs rather than an error for a time, maybe 2 weeks or 1 month.
I don't think it would have occurred to me to go to the Educator section at all. tbh. On a day to day basis, I more or less forget it even exists; it certainly wouldn't have been my first port of call for forums disappearing, which I wouldn't have imagined would have anything at all to do with the educator part of the site.
Not one of Duo's finest moments!
(Actually, I probably would've eventually ended up on Reddit or maybe on one of the Facebook groups and asked there. But... I'm glad I didn't have to.)
I eventually signed out of my usual account and signed in as an account I use to occasionally see how much of a tree I can test out of in a given language, and which fortunately doesn't belong to any classrooms. I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't had that option.
Great! It might be worthwhile adding something to the Technical Problems section as well, if users don't realise they're in a classroom they're unlikely to check articles in the Educators section.
And as a side note, this article says "This post contains the original announcement and discussion. For updated instructions, go here." but the link for "here" is missing.
Edit: And now I'm just being nitpicky, but... "Mature vocabulary" isn't exactly "social interaction"...
Edit again: I should also add, thank you for communicating about this! All communication is much appreciated. :)
the thing is: most users struggling with not having the Discussions will never see the error page.
Why? Because they don't have anymore the "Discussion" button in the top-blue barmenu.
So they're just with no "Discussion" button, without a clue why it disappeared and without the possibility to click on it and access the error page.
I suggest to put back (for one or two months) the "Discussion" button to all users so also to users in a classroom with discussion disabled. When those suers will click they'll see the error page.
I have to rant about this change and unprofessional handling of these sort of changes in general.
Well, I had myself in the classroom that I've created (to tract my own progress in more detail) and all off a suddenly I lost access to forum and guess what! I did not see this announcement and I have no way to see it. I could see the threads when I was logged off but logging in to the site it gives a generic error page.
1) Such changes should be announced in advance, not the moment the change is made. I would suggest at least a week. People go on vacations or they get busy so they do not monitor changes daily.
2) Instead of a generic error page Duolingo needs to create a redirect page explaining that forum access is blocked by X Class Teacher. This alone would remove a lot of frustration and support requests.
3) If you are cutting access to the forums please do not only announce on the forums. Could you start A page of official announcements (not part of forums) to the changes done to Duolingo that affects the operations .
4) Consider sending an email to users. At least for classrooms stuff you can send email to classroom owners.
5) Also consider giving teachers the capability to give students access to sentence discussions. Because after the forum access is cut-off sentence discussions are also blocked and students can learn a lot from those discussions. The teacher should have the capability of blocking forum access in general or limit to just sentence discussions. Maybe even have the capability to allow read-only access.
6) Yesterday, the only thing I could do was submit the issue via the form on the site and as always it seems to have gone to bit bucket. No answer as always besides the auto generated reply. Absolutely frustrating!
Please respond to these support inquiries submitted via the form.
Believe me if Duolingo had done 2, 3 or 4 above you would probably not get many inquiries for support. The key is communicating appropriately and Duolingo could do much better in this! This is especially important if you are going to offer pay options.
So, I've just lucked on my own intuition as a software engineer regarding the change. I was still getting email updates on the threads I was participating and the threads were accessible when I was logged off so it just occurred to me that maybe there was a change in classroom settings. I expected the forum access would be managed via student administration button and could not find it there and I took myself from the classes I had put myself in and the forum access is back now.
I really want this site to succeed and not fall on its own wait. Doing 2 or 3 does not really cost Duolingo at all and would prevent a lot of agony in the future.
Could you start A page of official announcements (not part of forums) to the changes done to Duolingo that affects the operations .
There is actually already such "page": the "Updates -> News" section of the Support Pages.
Note1: Duo still needs to put in there very important informations like the one about this change of settings
Note2: Not saying putting it on this "page" would have been enough on its own for this case, just pointing it out as an "answer" to your point 3).
They should also (independently if this issue), promote the Support Pages in order for "going there first when having an issue" becoming the default behaviour of us all.
I did go to http://support.duolingo.com and to find the News section I had to scroll all the way bottom and guess what this change is not there. This should be at the top of the support page.
Secondly, the change about Duolingo schools is still not there in the news! I dont have a mental snapshot of the Duolingo support page to spot what has changed in the page. Please keep a log of changes in the news section and move it to the top! You can keep the top 3 or 5 news visible so it would not take an ever growing space. Ah, add date and time to the news please!
Also, I just found about about the status page which I did not know. It is kind of burried as well. It probably should move to the top of support page as a link that says Current Service status or something like that.
Also speaking of communicating with users, there is yet another possibility. Users could also get a notification on the upper right (bell) to direct them to the news on support page.
and guess what this change is not there
Secondly, the change about Duolingo schools is still not there in the news!
Indeed, cf. my "Note1" above.
And, as my "Note2" emphasize, my comment isn't to say they did it right but just answering about "they should create a page".
EDIT (1min later):
And, yes, many other things should have been done for this particular change (and various others in the past) like putting a top-bold-big-red text for 1-2 months saying something like
If you don't have access to the forums, click here
with a link to the article in Support Pages explaining how to solve the issue.
Again, not that it'd have been enough but nevertheless it's necessary, IMO.
EDIT2 (5min later):
I just found about about the status page which I did not know.
This shows (if it was necessary) that they must promote (far more) the Support Pages.
Maybe a pop up on every now and then saying there have been changes there or just in the notification bell. Not all users would open but at least it'd make user know more and more about the existence of the Support Pages.
Just a brief comment from a fan. I introduced DuoLingo to my classes last year for the first time. My best students tried to soar ahead of me. In the meantime I found myself in locked debate with the French mods over like and love. Then I realized that French is but a microcosm in the DL universe. How many debates in how many languages are these mods handling? All free of charge?! This year, I put myself in a classroom and discovered the forums barred. It took reading the error message to discover why. I took myself out, changed the settings, and proceeded to argue with love...as usual. I am so grateful for this service!
This is a good update. This is a sort-of verification for the forums, that only applies to students in a classroom. I'd like to see more verification, some form of email verification. Maybe that would stop or at least help stop dedicated trolls and spammers. I realize this has been requested a lot, but I think it's something Duolingo should really consider. On the other hand, though, I don't think there's been a lot of major spamming/trolling recently (it seems to come in spurts), but why not stop it before it begins? Keep up the good work :D
I don't think there's been a lot of major spamming/trolling recently
It's probably the school holidays in many places at the moment. A lot of spam comes from bored schoolchildren.
I don't think email verification will stop anyone determined to spam; it takes a few seconds to get a throwaway email address. Raising the minimum language level required to post in the general forum might help, however.
It's probably the school holidays in many places at the moment.
And I don't see as a coincidence that staff changes settings just before the end of holidays nor with the fact the partnership with Pearson just started: they want to minimize the impact of schools (and especially the start of the class-year) on the clutter on forums.
I don't think email verification will stop anyone determined to spam; it takes a few seconds to get a throwaway email address. Raising the minimum language level required to access the general forum might help, however.
Stop someone determined to spam, for sure No. But same for "level required": determined people will just take a shortcut. ;)
Help reducing (a little) the clutter, yes IMO.
The best would be a combination of:
- mail verification prohibiting email addresses from throwaway domains
- level required
can read from level 1 --- if other conditions fulfilled --- but can't post before level X
- active time since on Duolingo
can read from day 0 --- if other conditions fulfilled --- but can't post before X days of being "active" on Duo. "being active for X days" needs to be defined but would be here to avoid creating silent account then using it months later
- max number of post per 10seconds + max number of post per 10minutes
with number allowed increasing with number of levels and with "number of active days".
- probably other ideas.
but even all that wouldn't stop a determined spammer. ;)
I get your point: it's about frustrating the spammers. The spammers are probably genuinely bored. If limitations make spamming boring they won't care to continue spamming. Of course, that wouldn't account for people who are just really really angry at the world, but I think the majority of the spammers are in the "bored" category.
I don't know how it is on other forums, but on the one I read daily (English for Russians course) most spammers just want to try to leave some comments, they do it for a couple of days - leaving some nonsense everywhere, and then most of them stop both using Duolingo and spamming.
Previously it all happened in the first skills, now it happens a bit later due to the level requirements. If you increase level reqs more, they will move to later skills.
So, for me a solution would be creating better moderator tools.
Being able to see more of the user history (currently if the user is actively taking lessons, you'll see very few of his latest comments.
Being able to bulk delete user comments.
Being able to delete "deleted" comments, which now simply stay for every in the discussion.
Being able to hide all deleted comments, otherwise it takes too much scrolling each time to check the discussion. And the older the forum (and more users) the more scrolling you do.
But I guess all of that is pointless to suggest. We've been asking for better tools for years.
I wish Duolingo would stop and take a few months to all around improve the forums
@EpicPowerHero, as far as Duo said, they "are now focusing [their] attention on rewriting the Forum" (see "When I go to the Words or Discussion tab, the site behaves differently. Why?" section).
What a major mistake, It took me a few days to unlock discussions as there was no indication what happened.
It looked like the discussion part of the website was shutdown. the links to it have been completely stripped from the site. One link was left behind in the stories section of the labs. It failed to load with error message. took me a while to figure out how to change the setting.
UPDATE: You are correct that this should have been announced in advance. The change affecting all old users was unexpected. We have made sure our FAQ updates section has a warning, and now have a custom error page that explain to the user that their Discussions have been disabled. Hopefully this should help people who are still stuck without forums. Thanks for all your suggestions, together we make a better virtual place <3
Thank you vivisaurus! This is much improved. I would still recommend an email but at least it's a lot easier to find out what's going on than it was with only an article in the Educator section.
But I continue to protest using "social interaction" to describe the "mature vocabulary"... ;)
Just to clarify for others:
one doesn't need to delete (from their www.duolingo.com's settings) the classroom one is owner of..
One only needs to not be in any classroom where the settings is "no discussion". To ensure that, several ways (from the more "radical" to the smoothest, but slowest, one):
- delete all classrooms from your www.duolingo.com's settings
- delete, from your www.duolingo.com's settings, all classrooms you're not owner of and, if you're in a classroom that "belongs" to you, go to schools.duolingo.com and enable discussions (for your student) in Privacy settings there.
- For each of the classrooms you're student of, ask (and obtain) that the owner of the classroom enable discussions (for your student) in Privacy settings of schools.duolingo.com and, if you're in a classroom that "belongs" to you, go to schools.duolingo.com and enable discussions (for your student) in Privacy settings there.
I'm "owner" of several classrooms and can access the forums, so I checked: no need to quit (as a student) the classrooms you "own" just to set them up (as a teacher) in Privacy settings of schools.duolingo.com
I literally had to delete the classroom to make the settings change. I removed myself from them all and still didn't have discussions until I went and deleted the entire classroom, even though it showed up as having no one in it, not even me.
Had you reloaded the page after quitting (as a student) all classrooms (even those you were the teacher of)?
I just tested again:
- I disabled the discussions on the Privacy settings in schools.duolingo.com
- I reloaded the www.duolingo.com page
and I still have the discussions.
So being owner of a classroom doesn't prevent you from accessing the forums. Except, of course, if both you're also student of it and your Privacy settings are setup as "discussion disabled". - - EDIT (1min later):
I made the complementary tests:
I not only refreshed, I entirely signed out of the profile, because it was the only way I could get back to this discussion panel (to check what I was doing wrong) since they weren't available on my main profile. I left all available classrooms on my profile, signed out, signed into a different profile, signed out and then in to my main profile, and still had no discussions. I don't remember the exact order of events, since I was signing in and out repeatedly to check settings and to check this thread (yes, I could've left it open, but I was tired yesterday and it didn't occur to me), but I went back and forth several times to try and figure out what I'd missed (the first time I just assumed that signing out of the classrooms in the settings would fix it, but it didn't), so the pages got refreshed and reloaded multiple times without making a difference.
The discussions reappeared instantly once I deleted that classroom.
Your team at Duolingo does great work and provides an awesome public service. I'm a huge fan. I defend you in response to any unfair or unreasonable criticism I see in public forums. With that said...
I hereby present you with my Incredibly Bad Planning Award.
It would have been really, really, really helpful to have provided notification to your users that they might be about to lose access to the notification mechanism. Before they lost it.
Thanks, I'll let you get back to your normally very well run operations now.
"Incredibly Bad Planning Award" :))) My thought precisely, but unfortunately I should admit that Duo team has won it fair and square for the long term effort as well. That is not the first time when simply poor communication causes major confusion between users or incubator volunteers.
Maybe one day, something will change (team management?) and they will say - Let's admit it, we have a bad habit, we never manage to communicate changes in an effective way. Let's make it our priority and try to take into account ALL the consequences of our decisions, not just the obvious ones on the surface.
They are really great guys, they just have some bad habits, that's it, no one is perfect, right :))
I love Duolingo and I recommend it to all of my ESL students but this kind of heavy handed action on the part of the people running the app is very disappointing. Duolingo is successful because of a good system and because of loyal users. Don't alienate your users by treating them with this kind of "you don't need to know" attitude. If you make a huge change that affects users make sure you tell them instead of forcing them to dig around on the Internet trying to find out what is going on. There are many options you could have chosen for actually taking the user's experience into consideration here - an email, a notification on the main page of the app, a warning on the individual sentence bar with the flag and (for some unwitting users now mysteriously missing) discussion bubble, etc.
Initially, when someone could not see the Discussions, we just had a standard error page there (very confusing... sorry about that!). Since approximately Thursday afternoon, it explains what's going on and how to change that situation if it's not what the Teacher wants. The page looks like this: https://www.duolingo.com/errors/403_forum_disabled.html
Hopefully that page will clear up the confusion for many people and like @petemehegan mentioned above, will be able to quickly fix it if those aren't the settings they would like.
Sorry for the confusion!
Not perfect but it would help a lot for those that has lost access but have older threads active. Others, without active older threads might not get this page as you removed Forum from the menu. They need to be notified by some other means.
I see these as growing pains. Please invest time and plan how you are going to communicate this sort of things going forward for visibly and hopefully in advance. Maybe a frame that becomes visible the next time someone visit the site or a popup or a notice in notifications (although only 5 of them are visible which itself will mean problem as site notice can get lost).
@staff, strange behaviour with Privacy settings: not the same depending on the page rom which I access them.
Steps to reproduce:
- Go to schools.duolingo.com and access Privacy settings.
=> You can edit and save them. And it takes effects.
- Go to the "classroom_populator" page of one of your classroom ("schools.duolingo.com/classroom_populator/XXXX" where XXXX is the Id of your classroom) and access Privacy settings.
=> The 4 settings are on "disabled" (checkboxes all on "false"). you can check the checkboxes but the "save" button does nothing.
EDIT (1min later):
Note that changing settings from https://schools.duolingo.com/classroom/xxxx/settings (as mentioned in the Support Pages) works fine.
For anyone else with this problem who is not using duolingo schools the following might be helpful. I finally figured out that it was somehow counting one of my friends as a "student", perhaps because they invited me to a club on the android app. Because there was no classroom I couldn't change the privacy settings but unfollowing the friend resolved the issue for me.
Ha! I was in my own classroom, to check it out, so i got automatically locked out of discussions so could not see this damned post or instructions or be directed to them by anybody, three days in the wilderness. How stupid is that? Eventually i did some googling, and thought about the error message i was getting today ( but not previously) and decided classrooms was the probable problem - so I left my own class to see if that would help, nope, had to shut everything down and try to come in via duolingo for schools and hope this would jog the sytem into treating me like an adult again now I was no longer part of any classroom. Usual crap implementation duo - really outdoing yourselves as usual.
Are your discussions or events tabs gone? Check your Duolingo for Schools' settings.
- the students of classrooms may have their discussions or events tabs gone but students have no access to the Duolingo for Schools' settings of the classrooms they're student of.
On the other hand, they do have access to their www.duolingo.com's "Progress Sharing" settings instead of your Duolingo for Schools' settings. from where they can fix the "no discussion" issue.
- the educator/teachers have access to the Duolingo for Schools' settings of the classrooms they created but it'll not have them having their discussions or events tabs gone(*)
(*) Except if they are a student of their own classroom and their Privacy settings disables the discussions.
I see this has been addressed
Are your discussions or events tabs gone? Check your Duolingo for Schools'/Progress Sharing settings.
Then another suggestion to make life a little easier for those who achieved to have access to this discussion despite not having access to forums: add links on the "check" part.
Are your discussions or events tabs gone? Check your Progress Sharing settings and Duolingo for Schools' settings.
Update: it's tiny, but we are now putting the discussion link back up on the blue bar for all users, so everyone should be able to reach the error page. Moving this discussion temporarily to the Educator's forum in case some teachers still are now aware. Thanks for sharing your concerns all!
What do I do if I haven't got a classroom
If you're not in any classroom, then you don't need to do anything in order to have reading-access to the forums and, since you're more than level 2, nothing in order to have writing-access to the forums.
I cannot change my settings to enable discussion then!
Because there is no such settings within www.duolingo.com, it's normal.
Could someone help please?
Hard to tell without knowing what is your exact issue.
Could you describe your exact problem in accessing the forums?
Which forums you cannot access? And is it that you cannot read them or cannot write in them?
This does not help me at all!
It's normal: if you can answer it then it's that you can open the forums and that your discussion tab isn't gone. So the description here doesn't concern your issue with the discussions.
How do I get access to Discussions?
You have access to the forums. The proof: you've just posted on them.
I have tried to acces the Discussions for Swedish and French
What do you mean exactly (in details) by "I tried" ? What did you do?
For the community to be able to help you, you need to give a precise and detailed description of the issue.
and none of them works
What do you mean exactly (in details) by "not working" ? What "happened" exactly?
For the community to be able to help you, you need to give a precise and detailed description of the issue.
Please, give me a solution for this issue.
Please give us (=the community of Duo users) a precise and detailed description of the issue so we can help you.
Some example of information to share (the list is NOT exhaustive):
- since when it's not working anymore?
- what platform do you use?
- then what browser and what version of it?
- did you tried with another browser?
- an app?
- then which one and what version of it?
- share screenshots of what you "tried" and how it "didn't work".
I do not have access to "Discussions" that is below every lesson. There are, let's say, 39 comments, and I cannot access them. I am using Chrome version 61.0.3163.100.
By experience of reading similar complaints, this is usually either because the user doesn't see the new tab that is opened or because they have an option blocking the opening of new tab.
Check those two possibilities: the discussion opens in a new tab when you click on the button.