https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg

Just an idea (Revised Activity Streams)

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I’ve been reading recently several posts regarding the good old activity stream and I do wholeheartedly agree that clubs are by no mean a replacement. Maybe they were never meant to be a replacement, since no official statement came regarding that.

It would’ve been great if it was possible to create free clubs, that aren’t language exclusive. Bearing in mind, that clubs are a private way of communication, while sometimes we need to learn from other experienced users with no restrictions. I’m not her to talk about clubs, but again about streams.

Since activity streams caused a lot of issues, starting from trolls to spam. I propose a “simple” solution;

Same old activity stream, always visible for everyone to see what’s posted there, BUT only followers can post on your stream. Of course, in order to follow someone, you have to send a follow request that could be either confirmed or declined.

This way, you can choose who can follow you and post on your stream. If we want to make it a bit more sophisticated. The user can choose who can just follow them or who can follow and post on their streams, upon receiving requests. An only-follow request might be available for followers if they have no desire to interact with whom they follow. Following back isn’t mandatory.

Only mods, contributors and developers can post on any stream with no restrictions. I think this would decrease/eliminate spam. Discussion will be less cluttered accordingly, since users won’t need to make a post to ask a simple question, as long as they can ask other users directly. Needless to say such feature shall be only available for email-confirmed accounts with let’s say for example level 2 or 5 in a language.

Language is a system of communication and interaction. It doesn’t make any sense if I can’t interact with other users, especially natives who would NOT be joining the club of their native language, which I learn. Getting in touch with natives and exchanging knowledge is an essential process of understanding the language. It’s always more reliable to ask a native.

That’s just a constructive suggestion and it’s not meant to underestimate Duolingo. Finally, I’d like to thank Duolingo team, contributors, mods and users for making this learning tool as amazing as it’s always been.

P.S. I do understand that it’s not easy to implement such feature again and it would take time, before it sees the light, if it was ever considered. I just hope that my message would reach out Prof. von Ahn and the respected developers and take my suggestion in consideration for the future. :)

tl;dr Kindly refer just to the bold paragraph above.

10 months ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Raisinnoir
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Thanks for your suggestions on a revised Activity stream. It would be great to communicate with one's followers again. Indeed it should limited to language learning only. As a further suggestion, consideration might be given to bar any trolls or spammers from Duolingo.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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You’re welcome. Although it seems far-fetched that this will ever happen, but we’ll keep fingers crossed. If don’t mind, I’ve quoted your “revised activity streams” phrase in the title of this post. :)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ifphigenia
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I think this is a brilliant idea, it returns the activity streams for learning purposes but freezes out the trolls by restricting its use to accepted followers only. Great idea, you've got my vote. :-)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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Thank you, Gena, and thanks for everyone who shared their supportive and positive comments here.

You’re one of those who moderated here voluntarily, not only keeping this place a safe learning environment, but also spread happiness and helped others on personal level. Bless you, Gena! :)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/buck72
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One of the better ideas for replacing the Activity Stream. Let's hope for a lot of upvotes. :)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vabelie
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May you be heard…

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
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You oversimplify it. All the drama that resulted from activity stream was in part trolling and in part lots and lots of inappropriate on-stream communication, requiring lots of moderator time to monitor.

They are unwilling to devote moderator time to micro-monitoring social engagement - it’s that simple.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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@Dcarl1 Apparently you’re against streams and I respect your opinion. However my proposal was clear; there shall be no posts from non-followers whom you don’t confirm. Let’s say, you confirm 40 followers that means only 40 people can post on your stream, im addition to moderators. If one doesn’t follow you, they can’t post on your stream.

Any follower MUST be confirmed by you, you can simply check their profile and see if that person’s profile look genuine or not. You’re talking like I was proposing the old style of streams. How would there be any trolling, if you didn’t let them follow you?! That means less trolling, less spam, thererore less moderating. Im addition to that, account with confirmed email address had helped/will help big time.

Let’s face it, if I’m learning, for example Norwegian and I can’t communicate with a Norwegian native, to ask a question or take part in a short conversation, how would that improve my learning experience? What’s the point of learning a language without communication?! Will Norwegian natives join Norwegian clubs to talk wih learners?! Clearly I’m not oversimplifying anything!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
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I was - and am - a big fan of the activity stream. But the fact was that aside from any trolling it was a force multiplier for non-learning related drama. And it took a lot of time to monitor. They have said they don’t wish to devote resource time to monitor it again.

It would be nice if humans were calm, rational and sensible but mostly we are not.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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There’s nothing without side effects. I don’t deny that drama happened, but was the drama the prevalent theme of streams? I strongly doubt! Let’s not forget that streams prevented drama as well. For example, I knew a group of nice ladies who moderated here voluntarily and prevented some users from harming themselves. As I understood that those users weren’t attention-seekers, but genuine troubled people. I view streams here as a lifesaving tool. Those ladies are an example of how good we are as human beings.

Bear in mind, that many users and youngsters are joining clubs, that means that chances there’s a tremendous occult drama going on, that we aren’t aware of. It’s really absurd to smoothly assume that clubs are a safer learning environment than streams, just because we don’t see what’s going on there! Not witnessing the problem doesn’t prove its nonexistence.

We always see what we want to see. On the contrary, I always view and see the best of people, hence I always meet good people. Maybe this’s a philosophical argument, but I strongly believe that we live in a world where the good prevails, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to even live. It’s very unfair to assume that “mostly” we aren’t calm, rational and sensible. A little more faith and trust in humanity would help. :)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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They have said they don’t wish to devote resource time to monitor it again.

Who has said this? And where? I've certainly seen statements that it simplified things for global mod types (intuitively enough), but that's a different statement.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Mod
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There may have been other announcements regarding the manpower required to monitor activity streams, but for sure it was a resource drain.

Unfortunately, the Activity Stream was like a very old car that you have to spend lots of money and time to keep up. Instead, we decided to use that money towards saving up for a new car, which is coming soon.

Source: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22226909

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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I agree with piguy3, especially about clubs. I just don’t understand, how Duolingo tries to do their best to offer a safe learning environment, while promoting clubs, which’re more or less of closed chatrooms, where no one can moderate or at least see what’s going on there! A concealed problem is never a solved problem!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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I'd always taken that to be a statement about the technical burden on the software / hardware end, not about the manpower burden of ameliorating the problems people used the Activity streams to foment.

On some level they've shown themselves to not worry too much about such issues given that clubs now allow for arbitrary communication. There could be all sorts of misdeeds going on, with no possibility of a moderator eye ever falling on them.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle
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It appears we need a bunch of volunteer moderators for this to work. However I like your idea. If you don't like someone, you can remove them from your activity stream. We still need moderators for safety since there are a lot of kids here tho. Perhaps streams should only be for adults and kids need to have a stream with a adult moderator like in a classroom.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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Thank you! :) Sure thing, safety should be always taken in consideration. We need, of course, more moderators, which’s not a big deal. I’m sure that many are willing to volunteer, since many have used to moderate unofficially and helped a lot. What I know that in the past teachers could disable kids streams who user classrooms, which was a good feature. I think it’s safe to assume sure that most website users are adults, since children tend to prefer app over website. I can’t be sure though, but as that was managed in the past, it won’t be as hard as before with the revised streams. Since it restricts using the streams to a limited number of followers with confirmed accounts. I’m more concerned about clubs, where kids can join them without any restrictions, especially they’re an only app feature, while nobody can moderate or see what’s going on there. That’s crazy!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Corinnebelle
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On the other hand, perhaps children should have a icon only available for moderators to see. Some kids on here are very good contributors and serious learners who would benefit greatly from the discussion stream. They do need more oversight tho, especially the young ones. Some are very mature for their age.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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good idea but we all know it's not going to happen

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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Sadly, you’re probably right! :( However raising awareness about the effectivity and importance of streams, and about the dark aspects of clubs might get us somewhere.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jonathangrant00
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I love the idea! I just think you should read this article (It seems I've been passing it out a lot lately ever since seeing it on someone else's post.) [(https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290664)] see#14

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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Well that’s good to know. Thanks for sharing! :) Actually Luis is right, listening to everyone and getting false advices from minorities is terrible. However caring only about metrics is concerning. It’s his right to care about metrics, but numbers DO lie. Metrics doesn’t take in consideration who’re the serious learners or not. Serious learners would love to interact with other users. For example, there might be 2 million users who advance through trees absentmindedly without even learning anything, which will “improve” the metrics of the website. We’ve touched the effect of this a lot recently. Sessions had become easier with less learning value to attarct less serious learners and retain their progress, so the metrics would keep as good as intended. I’m not against satisfying the vast majority of customers, but am against depriving the website from the point of its existence in the first place, which’s learning! I’m glad that there’re new features taking that in consideration, like “skill levels”. However marginalising the human factor is actually catastrophic.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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There is no inherent reason why it's impossible to break out impacts of this or that change on different groups of learner types.

If something is reducing usage among the group who has finished several trees and previously did a couple hundred XP a day, that should be something that is of interest.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heidel.Berg
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I agree with you here again. However confounding bias does exist in the world of statistics. As well as measurement bias and procedure bias. I’m sure that Duolingo would take that in consideration, but sometimes you just can’t tell. Especially if there’s a huge number of people who seem to be serious learners, while they aren’t.

I’m pretty sure that many have progressed and got more motivated with easier lessons; because mistakes and difficulties are demotivating. That would even improve the meterics. While serious learners, would keep going as before or even practicing more; or maybe start focusing on reverse trees to compensate the deficit of the original trees, which would improve the metrics even more. That was an example of confounding bias.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jonathangrant00
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I totally agree with you and essentially said the same thing when I first saw it.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/buck72
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Interesting....thanks for posting the link to the article. A Lingot for you! :)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jonathangrant00
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You are welcome. And thank you.

10 months ago
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