Lack of feedback on problems, bugs, etc.
As I look through the forums, I am struck by how many people report that they tell DL about things (bugs, mysteriously lost streaks, uncredited lingots, etc.), and they never hear a thing about it.
I realize this is a (mostly-) free website with a lot of users, and one can't expect a small company like DL to devote all their time to customer service, but I really wonder if they understand the risks involved in being completely oblivious to the concerns of their users.
It seems that people lose streaks of many hundreds of days, they report it somewhere on this surprisingly hard-to-navigate site, and that's it: no response, no fix, nothing.
What we do get are features of dubious merit (is anyone really excited about Achievements?) and "opportunities" to do work for them (moderate, create new languages).
I really enjoy Duolingo, I think it's a major advance in learning foreign languages, and I am grateful to everyone who works on it (whether paid or volunteer). But I question the viability of a company that so frequently ignores the issues brought up by their users.
I honestly think streaks and such are irrelevant (used to have a 500+ one), but agree that the customer service void at DL is a big issue. It was kind of a non-issue as a free site. But once you take people’s money, you need to have some sort of standard process for engagement. Volunteers simply aren’t enough when you swim in those waters.
You're right, and it's maybe because management has strayed from its original genius and come to prefer algorithms which tell it that 300,000 people will each do 30 more minutes if it introduces a new gimmick to grab the attention of those with a short attention span, whilst the people who protest at the loss of a feature dear to their heart will get over it if they are ignored. I guess we just have to be grateful for the good side of it - and hope that Discussions doesn't get axed so that the voice of the individual can still survive here!
Yes, I agree the interaction between the company and it's users leaves a bit to be desired... To me it makes Duolingo look like a small company in terms of work force (and probably it is...) and that its number of users have outgrown the company.
On the other hand I don't like to complain much since I contribute with exactly 0 Euros to the site and get a lot of stuff in return... even if some things could be better.
Achievements are not something to get one REALLY excited but they're nice to have... Little perks for you to get... but I think streaks are even less interesting. They're nice and all but they are an end in itself... they don't contribute at all to the learning experience. I think Duolingo created it to keep you coming to the site everyday... that's all. And it's also a play on the users mind by making them feel proud to sport a large streak next to their name... that's why so many people freak out upon losing it.
That said, I generally agree with your post.
I've had a problem with not receiving any notifications at all for several months now (despite all notifications being turned on), and nobody with a solution has responded to my threads that have been made. My latest post had six upvotes, meaning at least 6 people who viewed that forum had the same problem as me! But alas, no solution. Here's the link if anyone knows what the issue is: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25794751
Another issue I've had is with courses having tons of reports being sent to them about the same incorrect or incomplete sentences, and Duo never fixing them. I've reported some mistakes in the French for Spanish speakers and English for Spanish speakers, and even checked to see if others in the "Discussion" section of those phrases had the same problems. (dozens of them reported the same mistakes) However, Duo never found any way to fix those phrases, interestingly enough.