There are so many messages on the forum of clueless and/or ignorant users that say nothing but "Hi!" or something about those lines. There are many messages with one line that's impossible to understand. It ruins the experience for those of us who want to get or give useful information.
Can DL put up a threshold for posting? Like, you can only post in a language group after you have 100xp for that language? This should weed out the clueless messages.
Hi! (I couldn't resist). However, I share your sentiments about the abundance of Discussion detritus, the empty and annoying squawks demanding attention. Unfortunately, unless Duolingo divides classroom and public users into two separate sites, I think the problem will continue to grow.
Duo does have a form of threshold posting. New users are only able to post to the Troubleshooting forum until their level is 2 or above. This allows them to seek help for technical problems but restricts the forums that spammers can attack. It’s not perfect (guess where all those “hi” messages go) and some of the worst offenders can be teachers trying to understand how their classrooms work. There is also the downvote system where we users can censor post like these by down voting them.
In the end though, there will always be users who simply want to say something, and this has increased with the growth of social networking among the younger users. I suspect we will just have to get used to it and use the only weapons we have.
Duolingo has a good set of guidelines for an internationally diverse crowd of learners. You've probably already seen them, but maybe some others who scroll past my comment haven't. So, I'll post them up here: http://www.duolingo.com/guidelines. You are right though, we cannot guarantee politeness or consideration.
I agree there should be more barriers to post creation, although I don't think your example would be effective. It's a one time thing.
At the moment it is far too easy to create a post - there should be multiple steps, perhaps showing the contents of the etiquette post, directions to search, and the wiki, and validation rules about title and post length... hopefully sheer laziness will suppress some low quality posts. No one barrier will prevent this stuff absolutely.. but a combination should make the experience boring for children that want to play.
Note: Staff and moderators/contributors should be able to skip the screens.
[Anyone who thinks this is too much overhead is obviously creating too many posts!]
See level 2 threshold. And, Duolingo has run other a/b tests as well (and is running some right now in fact.) So, they do care. And, they have several things they care about. So, it is a matter of having to set priority and then fit lower priority things into any excess time they find. So, it takes time.
I wouldn't report just a "hello", or even minor troll spamming. I recommend only reporting "emergency" situations, like porn (because we have minors), death threats, people encouraging each other to die, things like that. Those accounts need to go. Other posts can be down voted if people don't want to see them. ^_^
What is the threshold for acceptable meaningful content of a post? Unless that is clarified, I would never report comments just for their little content. I have reported comments that were either abusive or soliciting contact info from minors. That part I'm clear about! But I wouldn't be too certain about what constitutes "such comments" – not sure what you mean here.
Re the "Hi" and other short worded beginner posts: They are new here and that is their ice breaker. We can turn those discussions into an opportunity to welcome people to the community and link them to resources that will help them with their course of study and introduce them to how the forums work. I and the other moderators don't always have the chance to do so, and once others join and turn it into a chat, we generally have to go with the "please don't use Duolingo as a chatroom" thing. But, if everyone in the community pitched in, these folks could be warmly welcomed and politely initiated into the forums norms. ^_^
Duolingo already has a threshold of level 2 (60XP in a single course), which has reduced some of the spam and cyberbullying. Though, of course not all of it. And, we cannot put any threashold between them and Troubleshooting, because they might get stuck and not be able to reach 60XP.
I sincerely wish that once you blocked someone you would never get to see their nonsense again. Now that Activity Stream is gone, blocking does nothing at all.
The Forum has about 20% really great language stuff, lost in the disorganization of a chronological-only feed; 20% well-meaning but somewhat repetitive questions, that could be reduced if they had a Forum grouped by topic that could be more easily searched; 20% complaints, but at least topical and DL or language related; and 40% garbage from bored school kids forced to be here who clutter everything up.
Downvote such posts. Moderators would usually remove them within an hour, if not in minutes.
I use Stackoverflow, that doesn't have these clueless messages for three reasons.
users are software developers with previous experience using forums
You can only post replies if you have sufficient xp's, generated by asking questions. Generally, the more useful stuff you do on the forum, the higher your ranking, and the more priviliges you get. This also has the advantage that you can judge the value of a reply from the ranking of the poster.
There are tons of moderators who immediately remove off-topic and clueless messages.
Then, if a question does not meet the standard, an editor can edit the questions. This happens when a person posts who doesn't speak English very well. It all works very well, and I'd like to see DL start using something similar. Otherwise, I'll just ignore the forum from now on.
That Hi! thing is not just here on Duolingo. I get a dozen or so direct messages with them every day on social media (I have some large accounts). I think people spam the same "Hi!" to multiple places and see who replies back. Then they usually want to practice a language with you (for free) or have a question which they want answered in private (instead of where the public can see). Sometimes users are such a basic level that they don't know anything else or after I reply Hi back, they say "How are you?". Sometimes they just want to test a forum / direct message thing to see how it works and it is quick and easy just to put Hi. I have also found it is something very young people do, especially school kids that have been made to check out a certain site and are bored.
I was annoyed about these "hi", too (not here, but on social media). But then I started thinking it might be a cultural thing. I think there are cultures (like mine, European) where you start a conversation only when you've got something to say. But there are other cultures (like my Indian or a South American friend), where establishing contact is way more important than the content of a conversation. Of course, I hate getting a meaningless "hi" when I'm super busy. But I might as well be grateful that someone cares about me and wants to see whether I'm fine. It's their way of reaching out to others and showing a friendly gesture.