Suggestion for new forum
Something I just thought of that would be pretty cool. I understand you guys have a lot on your plate, but for the future I'm throwing out an idea that I think could be really useful for people learning languages.
How about a "general chat" forum, where you can talk about anything you want to, but you have to write in your target language? For example: General Italian Chat: For English Speakers" would be one of them. So English speakers would post and talk about anything they want to in Italian. Favorite movies, what they did today, what they like to eat, etc... There could also be an option to "correct" other people's messages when they make a mistake so they can see their own mistakes and learn from them.
I think this would be a great way to have people actively communicate about their life with other people in the language they are learning, and it would exponentially increase their vocabulary. It would add a social aspect to the language learning, which is always very important.
Again I understand you guys have a lot to do, especially with Stories and the new trees, but this is just something to keep in mind later down the road at some point.
We already get a lot of low effort comments like "How are you?", or "What's your favorite color?", with nothing more than a title for the forum post and no material elsewhere.
If this forum were made, there'd need to be rules regarding what can and can't be posted. Else I feel like it'd end up being people asking one-sentence questions all day, and we'd wind up with a lot of spam.
Which makes me think that maybe a forum isn't the right setting for a feature like this. I'm not sure. It sounds like a good idea, but I don't think it could be executed properly due to the nature of a general talk forum.
Actually, this sounds like a wonderful idea. The activity stream allowed others to help each other in languages, but people usually used it to talk about casual things (which I'm not against; it just distracts people from learning languages). With what you suggested, people would be able to strengthen their written conversational skills and allow users to engage in casual talk. This, I feel, could potentially lower the amount of "let's chat!" posts in the discussions and allow people to have an outlet for their learning.
There is a site called Lang8, which resembles what you are talking about. Having this on Duolingo, however, would be very beneficial for users.
Thanks for posting this!