Suggestion to Duolingo: new achievements
I know the team is still fine-tuning the new “achievements,” but I hope someone is seriously reconsidering the targets for “Friendly” badges.
No doubt this badge was created to encourage getting to know our fellow learners - leaving smart comments, being visible in the Forums, helping others, creating clubs and the like. However, it has exponentially increased the endless posts saying “Please follow me! I NEED Followers” There are dozens of these posts a day to wade through, spurred on by a desire to get badges and keep up with others.
If the goal was to clog the Forum with increasingly loud attention-seekers, it has succeeded brilliantly. If not, well, you may want to give this one a second thought.
That. It's an excellent suggestion.
The "Big Spender" achievement also can trigger the lingot-begging behaviour, because in order to spend lingots - you first have to have them, and from what I've seen those kids are not as much into learning as they are into trying to "socialize".
People, kids especially, like achievements, it gives them something to strive for, even if it backfires. Why not use it to the site's advantage?
For example, an achievement for not posting spam even once (or rather, for not having a thread deleted because it was spam). Quite single-tier one, so maybe the 2nd and 3rd tiers would be time-related: 1st - in a month, 2nd - in 3 months, 3rd - in 6 months; or even longer. You break the rule - you loose the achievement, you need to start over. Just an off-hand thought ;)
Edit: maybe instead of "Big Spender" it could be "Big Earner" - earn 20, 50, 200 lingots by completing lessons yourself. It would actually promote learning and keep people busy.
Great points! The badges feel arbitrary and silly to me, but maybe they could be turned to a better use.
I don't really pay much attention to the achievements, but I was pretty confused about them when I joined (on app version). The "Friendly" one especially - I thought "so am I supposed to follow people, is it expected of me?". I see that it can create a presurre to "get popular", and teens fall easily for that. And the "you're all alone here, add some friends!" statement doesn't exactly help either...
I myself don't care much for the achievements, but the achievements are of such importance to some others that there's kids constantly spamming on the forum, I agree. (Although the same could be said for lingots)
Duolingo should stick to achievements related to the actual language learning process, not being active on the forums. That way, it would reduce spam and would encourage more users to use the language learning feature of Duolingo instead of collecting followers.
All the 'Friendly' badge says for me is 'Invite a friend to join you on Duolingo', which I presume relates to the 'Send Invite' button on the main page, and not to anything to do with followers (I have a number of those and I don't have the achievement). DL is just using a meaningless badge to drum up referrals.
Personally, I'd be happy to see all these badges done away with: they are arbitrary and pointless, and add nothing to the website (I already know if I've finished a course or have a 30-day streak, etc., for goodness sake, because DL tells me all this elsewhere regardless).
I've been contemplating writing this exact post. Achievements graduating from its A/B test has spawned so many of these messages on the forums.
I find most of the achievement badges to be useful and motivating. I simply have avoided the Friendly badge as I do not care for Facebook or other social media. I would add to this discussion that I do not see the point of the "Big Spender" achievement, I cannot find anything to spend my Lingots on anyway. I would suggest adding additional more challenging Skills and lessons that one could purchase with the Lingots.
I have another use for the lingots. Let them be used to open later lessons if people would like. It would be very interesting for me to open the spiritual or the political lesson now even though I have to wait 20 or so lessons down the line.