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Duolingo's future?

Hey gu-

Don't go ahead and say "leiferb why are u here boiiiiii your supossed 2 be on break from the forums!!". I know that I'm supposed to be on break from the forums, but this is a topic that I really want to discuss, as I have seen some very poor choices made by the Duo team, and I want to address them. And don't go ahead and downvote this just because you disagree with some of the things I will be saying. I know I say some very unpopular things, both on this site and irl (including that one time when I said that The Chainsmokers suck), but this is my honest opinion, and I think that if this gets seen site-wide, we can get some features back. Thank you.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming..

Hey guys,

Recently I have seen some very interesting choices made by Duolingo. One, the Chinese course. By popular demand, this course has been put into Duolingo. That's amazing, but then comes what happened next: Duolingo giving us new avatar rings for mods, and more recently (in fact, an hour ago), Duolingo Plus heart rings. These look really cool, but then the Duo team made a change to the strength bars, making them look more streamlined. These all look really cool, but then, a question hit me: why did Duolingo add these cool-looking features instead of patching all of these bugs made by the forums relaunch?

I tried to look for a good reason that didn't slap Duolingo in the face. I honestly tried. But I couldn't. So here goes...

Duolingo needs to re-prioritize.

Some people said that Duolingo's being lazy patching these bugs. But moderators and admins alike have stated multiple times that Duo's small team is hardworking. I can believe that. But never have I seen something along the lines of

Duolingo is working very hard to patch these bugs.

So I ask you, Duo team, ARE you patching these bugs, or are you adding courses that need more polish?

Actually, I just brung up another good point: Duolingo doesn't add much polish to new features.

A highlight from a very long discussion:

...the Swahili course that has no audio at all, the Guaraní course... appears to have not had a single additional answer added since it launched and now has no contributors at all listed in the incubator..

So I also ask you this as well, Duolingo, why do you think that you should release half-baked courses instead of waiting at least an extra month before you release the >insert language name< course so you can add some extra polish?

All in all, in my magical crystal ball, I can see two futures for Duolingo: The first future where things keep going as they are now, and the second future where Duolingo shapes up. Let's take a look at the first future. About a year into the future, I can see that Duo will keep putting off patching these bugs, and adding useless features to the site, eventually turning the site into abandonware, losing many faithful users. Now the second future. I can see that Duolingo will listen to the public, and instead of adding useless features that no-one will use, they patch the current bugs, make a new bug tracker, and add so much more polish to the site.

Do you want the first future or the second future, Duo?


Hoo boy, that was long! Upvote and comment if you agree!

November 30, 2017



or are you adding courses that need more polish?

There is only one course here that needs more Polish, am I right, guys?



This is funny because it's actually quite true.


LeiferB is hyping the Polish course big time! Let's go!


Oops, I couldn't hide the pun...


Duolingo needs to re-prioritize.

THIS so much. It's a lot of cosmetics and no bug-fixing. You even forgot the achievements in the profile in your list of things they did lately...

I sometimes suspect they won't fix the bugs in the discussions. Ever.
Unlike the rest of the website it's still on the old code and with the rewrite of the homepage, they also said they'd work on the discussions at a later date. Maybe they don't see it as necessary that we have a working discussions board until then...


So, Duo's 2-do list:

  1. Re-write forums code

  2. Make polished Chinese course

  3. Make polished Korean course

  4. Make polished Polish course

  5. Get LeiferB to stop making puns?

  6. Get Activity streams back

  7. Patch forums bugs

  8. Make LeiferB an admin

  9. Ban LeiferB for joking around in a really serious discussion



  1. Unban LeiferB for being awesome

  2. Add customer service for Plus members

  3. Push notifications on macOS Safari

  4. Bots on Web


not really. 1. why not take a real forum software instead of a costumer support software? 2. can't say 3. same 4. same 5. disagree, where's the fun then? 6. signed 7. signed 8. Why not sounds like fun 9. disagree, where's the fun after all? :-)


Oh goodness! hopefully not a ban on LeiferB. I haven't seen anything that would warrant one. O.O


Most of this is pretty jokey, especially the part with the ban, but NOT the part about me being an admin. That part is totally serious.


100000% agree. It makes me sad to see Duolingo announcing features these avatar rings nobody ever asked for and at the same time there are loyal Duolingo Plus customers not receiving the features that they were promised, yet Duolingo does little to nothing... Plus there is no formal place for complaints. Now that Duolingo has a paid service, they really need to reprioritize.


I'm not being sarcastic, so, please don't read that in my questions below. I am asking out of sincere curiosity.

What features are Plus customers not receiving that they were promised?

By complaints do you mean a way to report bugs?

Also, in case folks weren't aware that these existed, here are all of the Help Center's articles on Duolingo Plus.


Thank you for taking the time to link me to those idkhbtfm!

Yes, I am already aware of those sitautions. I misunderstood OmegaGmaster's comment to mean that there were Plus features advertised that didn't exist for customers at large. But, the features do exist and some people are experiencing tech problems.

Addressing Exhibits A-F: Heather was guided to the customer service pages that help to resolve these issues and that was the last of that. Exhibit C has a staff member in that department who answered directly and that was that. Exhibit E and F have plus badges, so, it looks like their problem was solved too. (Though, I've just messaged them to make sure.)

I wish I knew how many people have plus subscriptions, so we could see the percentage of people experiencing bugs in comparison to total number of Plus subscribers. We are bound to see people come and ask for assistance resolving them in greater number than those who come to say they love their Plus subscription. There is less impetus to do so.

I just checked the Android app store trying to find more information. It only tells me total number of Android app downloads (5,322,496), number of 5 star ratings (4,191,960 as of Dec 1 2017), the rest are distributed between 4, 3, 2, and 1 stars. Duolingo review screenshot December 1, 2017
Image source. Though, note that screenshot above from Dec 1, 2017.

These aren't reviews of Plus though. So, that's a bit frustrating. So, that's all the information I have. :(

PS I didn't look at the iOS app because I'm not quite sure how their page works. I looked there earlier for something else and got a bit turned around. If it is significantly different, please post it. It's not my intent to cook the books, so to speak.


First off Usagi, you can't really see the iOS store because Apple recently made the iOS store platform-exclusive, so go dish out $750 and buy yourself an iPad to see the reviews. And maybe download the Duolingo app as well.

Second off, this is a nerd thing, so if you want to get after me on this, go ahead! I am a huge nerd, and I don't give a crap about people telling me I'm a nerd! #nerdnation


December 1st marks the release of UKF Drum And Bass 2017 and UKF Dubstep 2017!! I am really pumped about these albums, as I LOVE UKF.

braces for the downvote trolls


You can still view the average rating for the latest and all versions and the last three comments in the US App Store here even without an iOS device (unless it's just Apple allowing me to see it with a Windows computer simply because I own an iOS device).


Plus users aren't receiving ad blocks, nor are they able to download lessons, and even if they can, they don't really.. um... er... work.


I'm guessing that making cosmetic changes is a considerably faster process than correcting bugs on something as complex as a user forum, and I don't think that working on one automatically means that they're not working on the other. That's not to say that the forum problems shouldn't be fixed, but there may be more going on behind the scenes than is apparent to us.

As far as launching "half-baked" courses, I'm not sure what you mean. Launches of this sort always have bugs (not just on Duolingo, but everywhere), but I've made a start on the Japanese, Korean and Chinese courses (and I believe I'm the first commenter here to have done so) and my experience has been very positive.


Of course it is not the same and one is more complex than the other, but they could at least announce that they are working on it and tell us about the progress. It worked before so fixing it shouldn't be as complicated as if they'd write those forum functions like the notification bell from scratch.

They could also use the time to help out the plus users they want to show off with the new rings that have none of the benefits they paid for. It's looking bad for them and pushes people actually away from supporting them with money.


I would totally get a Plus subscription if they launched an official Customer Service section on the site, since it gives potential customers (myself included) a message that Duolingo cares about customers. I feel if there were a section like that, more users would get subscriptions, which would lead to more money for Duolingo, which could potentially lead to hiring more coders to fix other problems on the site. If time went to developing a Customer Service section and some bugs on the site were neglected for a bit, I would understand.


Please see my comment above. I posted the customer service links in my comment. :)


Hi Usagiboy7,

Thanks for your answers. In my imho it would be great if the would be a sticky discussion about Duo Plus at least in the english forum. On one hand the users with question have a guide and on the other hand users who want to help can link to it.

Sorry I don't know who is able to create sticky discussions. Could you do it as a moderator?

I'm aware that people don't open a discussion to say 'hey works fine' in the most cases they start a discussion when there's a problem. In my opinion one problem is, there's no forum section for it (same with Tinycards) So they post their questions and complainings random anywhere. So it seems for the other users Duo Plus doesn't work well.

The other thing is that (in the post I read about Duo Plus. Maybe I had bad luck!) in that posts rarely mods or admins answer but users who of course can't help that much. So it seems they are left alone with their problems. I'd like to underline that it seems so not that this is the case.

So I think a sticky discussion guide would solve several problems.

Best regards Angel


Hi Angel,

I agree, it can be a bit tough to locate things around here. (At least, it was for me for a while.) I'm not able to Sticky in the in-house courses (the original courses before the Incubator existed). However, I do have a sticky a staff member gave me in the English General forum I can edit edit. It's the Duolingo Wiki & FAQ post. I'll add a link to the Plus member's Help Center articles. It's not a perfect solution. But, it's what is within my ability. So, thank you for the idea!


Ok, I've updated it Angel. I hope the rewrite is sufficient to draw more people's attention to where to go. :)

(It always terrifies me to update that thing. The "Lock" and "Delete" button are right next to each other. And the second delete button is right next to the "Edit" button. So, there's always a chance I'll accidentally delete it along with all of it's up votes. Wouldn't be the first time I've accidentally deleted one of my posts OO;)


Hi Usagiboy,

sorry I answer this way, no 'answer button' anymore.

WOW, that's really great! You are really fast and you not do things by halves. Yes I think this will lead more people to help.

Deleting important things? Sounds familiar so .txt became my best friend ^^

Duolingo Wiki & FAQ ist one of my favorite posts anyway!

Thanks for your quick reaction.

Best regards Angel


I do what I can. Sometimes I'm pulled between a lot of different Duolingo task-related tabs and can miss details or my responses are delayed. So, don't put me on too high of a pedastool ;)


Hi Usagiboy,

I'm not kind I'm honest ;-)

Best regards and N8 (good morning at 3am?) cu tomorrow Angel


I agree, I would like the forum community to be able to visit a "bug page" and get to see as bugs are crossed of of it.

As for the course launches, they come with tages that say "Beta". They used to have a small batch of Beta testers like there are for Alpha testers. But, the forums community asked Duolingo to open up beta testing to everyone on the platforms where Beta were ready to launch into testing.

Also, today four of my sentence report suggestions for Japanese were accepted. ^_^ (I made more suggestions than those, but, others reported them first so they got the emails for those.)


Hi LeiferB,

I agree with you and of course the second future is the better one. As Sue already wrote it should be more important to fix issues caused by the last maintenance than to create new rings. And as in other discussions already said it is of course a difference between frontend and backend work. But two month are enough to show good will at least and fix a few of the bugs. We are talking about fixing not new code or new functions from the scratch.

The thing with duo plus is another story imho. You can say 'hey it is for free so never look a gift horse in the maul' But these users are left alone here in the forum and now they get marked with a ring. Some will like it but I'm rather sure not all of them.

Many of the users here are accepting some glitches and bugs because it's for free. They love the opportunity to learn a language (or 2 or some learning 10 what' crazy enough) and having a forum to interact. But if the qualitiy goes down continually and there is no sign for change many will loose their fun on duolingo and move on to other learning programms. Not now, not immediately but it can happen if nothing changes. In German we say 'Der Krug geht solange zum Brunnen, bis er bricht' the english idiom is The pitcher goes often to the well, but is broken at last.

@ Robert It is easy to say then join the club and make it better. You say this to microsoft users or to apple customers, too? I don't think so and yes I know they pay and we don't. (most of us don't) But we are users and customers and we give response to the developers. I know that from my work that it is an important thing to get response. If nobody tells the cook (or at least the waiter/waitress) that his roast is crap he will serve it again and again. He can't improve. So response is vital for you when you work with the internet.

So my response is please less cosmetic features and more focus on the bugs and glitches. Not to be mean, not so be smart-alec but to give a feetback.

best regards Angel


As a side note, the English expression should be "...in the mouth". I get that the German version is "Maul" but that means something completely different in English, and horses aren't exactly known for handling (hoofling?) those kinds of tools.


Of course you are right I was sloppy. I'm sorry. Sometimes I mess things up and mix the languages. Thanks for correcting. Best regards Angel


i agree with everything in here, especially the part where you say the chainsmokers suck


Finally! I'm not the only one on the planet!!!


Don't go ahead and say "leiferb why are u here boiiiiii your supossed 2 be on break from the forums!!" Haha, I have to admit, that is the main reason I clicked on this discussion ;) Anyhow, I'm going to say what most other people have said; I agree with you on that, (and congrats on your upvotes) :D

Take care.


I have recently been using ‘hellochinese’ and found it to be 1000% superior. a completely stable app that let’s you toggle between hanzi and hanzi/pinyin in the middle of a lesson, as well as being able to choose from which language to learn chinese. I’m brushing up my french, but next lesson I could change my base language to german or japanese or english or several other languages. I fervently wish that ‘hello chinese’ would take their beautifully functioning program and expand it. it is a fantastic app.


I think Duolingo is going to the path of innovation. Because who does not innovate is doommed to disappear.

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