https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Which current Duolingo features started out as suggestions from the community?

owl smelling the flowers

I've read people expressing that our suggestions don't matter. But, they do. Our community submits so many great suggestions. However, staff can't implement all of them. There are millions! But, staff have implemented quite a few. The realization of that is often lost in the slipstream of time though. You see, every new idea staff is considering goes on a list full of other ideas, all of which must make their way through a gauntlet of various tests. It can be a year or a couple of years before suggestions go live. That far down the road, most people don't remember it was a community suggestion and sometimes the people who suggested them have moved beyond the basics of their language studies and aren't on Duolingo anymore. But, I wanted to highlight just a few of the great suggestions I've encountered in the forums that made it up the list and survived getting tested.

Here are just a few of them. Do you know of any I haven't listed?

  • Sticky: The ability for staff to pin announcements and course contributors to pin course tips to the top of the Popular tab.
  • Streak check mark: A green check mark so learners know they've met their streak goal for the day. Before, if someone lost track of whether today's streak number was the same as yesterday's, they wouldn't know if they'd extended their streak or not.
  • Expanding text box: Before, it was just a small box and you had to scroll all of the way up and down to proof read whatever you'd written. Now, we can click and expand the textbox. (Also, it's got more typing room without having to expand it now. :D)
  • Donate lingots to comments: Before, the only way to spend lingots was the lingot store.
  • Donate lingots to OP: We wanted to lingot both great comments and great posts. So, staff put it on the to do list and it got done. :)
  • Course switcher: Before, we had to go to settings every time we wanted to change between the courses we were learning. Now, we can hover over the language badge attached to our profile pictures.
  • Discussion stream: Before, the only way we could see discussions for French, Spanish, etc. was to click into those specific forums. Now, there is a discussion stream, a one stop spot for us to see updates from all of our subscribed forums.
  • Forum subscriptions: Before, we could only subscribe to courses we were taking courses for, and we couldn't unsubscribe either.
  • Help Center: Before the Help Center existed, we had to rely on each other so we created the 800+ page Duolingo Wiki. Now, we've got both resources and they are both awesome!
    (Updated May 23, 2018)
  • Split-system email verification. Once Duolingo determined that total-system email verification was causing a high drop-off rate among new users they dropped the idea. As a follow up, a community member (me) proposed split-system email verification, where people only had to verify to use the forums, not the courses. And, we now have it. People probably don't remember it was user-suggested because that was 4 years ago.
  • Easier block quoting. Previously, we had to do markup for a block quote, post it, then edit it and save the edit for it to work. Some days ago, that was fixed.
    (Updated Dec 12, 2018)
  • Streak Repair. People who lost their streaks asked in such high numbers to be allowed to pay to repair it, Duolingo finally conceded.
  • Weekend Amulet. People asked for a streak freeze that they could use to freeze their project over the weekend. (The option to use lingots to purchase a "Weekend Amulet", which was good for that weekend, popped up this year on the Android app when people met their goal on Friday.)
  • Text flare for Plus subscribers. (Staff gave Plus subscribers rings around their profile. The community complained that the ring was causing confusion about what role Plus subscribers played. People were getting them confused with staff members and volunteers. The community suggested text flares replace the Plus ring.)
  • Text flare for moderators and hover reveal text for Staff and Ambassadors. (People were getting confused because so many more people suddenly had rings. So, staff added hover-over reveal text and added text flare for moderators to indicate when they had moderating abilities in those forums. It's still a confusing system, but less so now. :P)
  • Skill levels (Which was implemented as the new Crown system.) People complained that the harder material had been removed from the course and they wanted more lessons available for each skill. Crowns brought back sentences that had a higher fail rate due to difficulty and slowly introduces them into the skills as the Crown level increases.

Staff tested out many other features our community suggested. However, not all of them had good results. (btw, cool fact. There are currently over 700 A/B test in progress!) The requested features that did test well were implemented. ^_^

Do you know of more Duolingo features thought up by the community that I didn't list?

October 19, 2017

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/KateVinee

::hugs the Course Switcher forever::

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor

I'm pretty sure the original three hearts system was replaced with the current system of just having to answer more questions was originally a request (which if I remember correctly, I was among those requesting it). The hearts system was extremely demotivating because you'd have to redo everything, and I was so excited when the new system was put in place.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/zanzaboonda

This is very true. I was an avid Duo user before. After those were implemented, I just... stopped - for like two years. Got back into things a while a go (however long ago my streak is). Love Duolingo just as much as I did before. But I'm super glad those hearts are gone. lol

October 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/scarcerer

A question: how old are these features you mentioned? I think all of them except the course switcher (around May 2017) and maybe the Help Centre were around when I moved to the website in September 2014.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Strandfloh

I would like to know that, too. The only new thing I noticed was the course switcher, and I've been here for 626 days now.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

Nice list.

But staff has missed to mark the orange streak flame blue, when a streak freeze is equipped.
If the flame changes from blue to normal orange again, you would know if the freeze has been used and you would need to re-buy.

"DuoTweak" does / did this nicely with the blue flame symbol on the user profile page, but not on the upper right main menu.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

If the flame changes from blue to normal orange again, you would know if the freeze has been used and you would need to re-buy.

YESSS! Genius! We so need this. Has anyone spelled it out so clearly in a request post? I would upvote that so fast.

October 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/FieryCat

Thank you for sharing these interesting facts!

There are currently over 700 A/B test in progress!

Calculating...
The experiments count: 711

October 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

FireyCat, looks like at least 3 have met the dustbin then. There were 714 two or so weeks ago.

October 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__

How does the Duolingo team track the success of an A/B test?

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/FieryCat

And in January 2017 there were only 325 experiments.

October 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamOfFlying

What is an A/B test?

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamOfFlying

Ok thanks.

October 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.

The Japanese course maybe? Before it came to duolingo, I don't remember a day when it was not requested.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Woof, I don't know if you meant that to be funny, but I thought it was hillarious, because it's painfully true. It got requested (nearly) every. single. day x'D

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/susanstory

About donating lingots to comments. I remember when you got a lingot for not losing any hearts and it was hearts, not lingots that were added to the comments. Later, they changed it to lingots instead of hearts that were added to the comments.

Before, if you lost all three hearts, it was your tough luck and you had to start all over. Then later they put the bar and you could get as many wrong as you wanted to. Even if it took you all day to do one exercise, you could do it.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Susanstory, I forgot that you could heart a comment before lingoting a comment became a thing!

I was not fond of the 3 hearts system (in the lessons) at all. Bleh. So glad they found something that tested better!

October 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/P-Code

Wow, thanks for sharing this. And thanks to all the people who suggested these! Duolingo wouldn't be what it is today without these features.

Of course, as always, the Duo team is awesome. :)

October 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Kevinguy19

I suggested the idea of course contributors being able to change the expected completion date before it was implemented, but I don't know if the staff actually got the idea from me.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SilverRoses3880

This is a great discussion! I can't wait to, well, discuss! I'll have to read the description, of course.....

October 19, 2017
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