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An open letter to Luis from a web based user

Dear Luis, Thank you to you and your team for Duolingo. I have been a web user on and off for years and cannot say enough about how valuable a tool this program is to teach a language.
There have been decisions made over the years which have restricted some of the wonderful tools available to the web users such as Immersion and the Activity function. This has reduced the value of the site however it does still retain its objective. A large part of the current value to the program I am using (English to French), is in the work done by the volunteers in the form of Tips and Notes and responses to questions within each lesson. Without these grammar explanations and clarifications, the site would be an odd way of trying to learn a language through rote learning. It is also motivating to feel a belonging to a common community and seeing all this input and dialogue achieves this. As time passes, I sense a priority being given to the mobile app version of the program and a tendency to make decisions that favour this application over the web based program. As a result, I just wanted to say that I believe there is a very large, dedicated, mature and committed community who use this program on the web and appreciate highly the work of the volunteers and how they have greatly enhanced this learning experience. Please do not eliminate the Tips and Notes and Sentence Discussion forums for web based users.

September 27, 2017



If Luis has a heart, no doubt he will be moved by reading your letter.


I don't think they'd eliminate Tips and Notes; why would they remove the work the contributors spent so much effort and time on?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure you can still follow people. Of course, there's no point to it except to have people on your leaderboard, since the Activity Stream is gone.

Aside from that, I basically only use the web version of Duolingo since I don't have the official app, nor do I have any way of truly getting it (without spending money for an Android device or iPhone). So, I don't know how to compare the mobile version to the web version. But, since I keep hearing that the mobile is, for the most part, disfavored, then I guess I hope the web version doesn't fully turn into the app. Regardless, I will always love Duolingo, even if it did remove Immersion, which was a tool I heavily benefited from.

I sincerely hope the team can make up for things that were removed and not take away anymore that people find useful. ^ ^

Edit: So, we may not have the follow button after all. I just noticed that now, but I'm not sure if it is just an error or an actual removal.


I do have the follow button, so it may be an A/B test if some people don't.


I used an incorrect term, I meant the previous "Activity" feature.


I thought that might be the case. Yes, that has been removed. I'm hoping that new features being tested such as Stories will be continued and rolled out to other languages.


Actually, it returned for me.


What returned? Activity or just the follow button?


I meant the follow button. The activity has always been removed for awhile now.


There are social tools in Duolingo that I saw developing, as it is the Clubs and the open commenting inside them. I think that the community understands and takes advantage of this space. Clubs is a great tool for social learning. But they didn't still managed to be a real learning tool, as it is still based on XPs collection, so as the dialogue inside them is still limited, there is not enough documentation how-to, the comments are XPs oriented and not language oriented and there is not an easy way to invite friends from Duolingo to contest in learning and discuss language issues.

I hope a whole chapter in the discussion board will be created in the future. Yes, I believe it is a great tool, a space that can be developed and supported more.


I second everything in the letter. In my case I used mostly the iPad app until I discovered the Notes and Tips on the web based program. They are invaluable. Thank you.


Did you know that you posted this twice?


When one loses one's cat one sticks small posters all over the neighborhood.☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺


The founder of Duolingo and CAPTCHA.


Thank you for saying all of this :)

But... Luis Von Ahn confirmed that he rarely ever reads the discussions. Why? https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290664


I also posted on reddit which I have been advised he reads.


And, I hope his staff monitor the discussions and forward pertinent posts...


They do, which is good.


Oh, yeah, he does read that :D


Hello ShellMarg :-)

I share your opinion. I use the web version whenever I can for the reasons you stated, and the app is very useful when I'm not able to have my notebook with me.

Why do you think that the app versions are handled with a higher priority?

I think -- so far -- that the app versions are sometimes used as "pilots", for example for the Korean course. I'd really like to have Korean on the web version, too, but this will probably take some time. And it's better to have Korean on the app than not to have Korean at all.

Another "future" feature, Labs, is only available on the web version.

So, as far as I can see today, priority is given to whatever is more easily applicable at a given time for a specific feature. This can be app in one case, and web in the other.

(I moved this post from a duplicate discussion opened in another forum; I think each discussion should take place only once.)


Maybe the focus on the mobile app is because it reaches more people. There are a lot of people around the world who have a phone but may not have a computer. However, like everyone else on this thread, I do love the web version for all the reasons stated. I use the mobile app though if I am traveling, and also because i love the conversation bot feature - would love if that could be added to the web version!

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