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(Unofficial) New And Improved Crowns FAQ

Crowns FAQ

What are Crowns?
Crowns are a new feature based on a genuinely good idea we had to improve Duolingo by introducing a layer of depth to each skill, making them progressively more challenging the more you practice them.

In order to implement this design, we've decided to go with a "baby and bath water" approach by getting rid of everything else all at once with no concrete plan to deal with it. You can think of it like replacing a stove in your kitchen by ripping out not only the old stove but also the sink, fridge, benches and cupboards, then proudly installing the shiny new stove that now sparkles amongst the rubble.

I lost all of my progress!
You didn't, they're just not a shiny gold colour any more. Stop being such a baby.

We went one step further and actually used how many times you’ve seen the words in a skill and how many times you got those words right to determine whether to place you at Level 1, 2, or 3. But not 4 or 5. No matter how simple the skill it just would have been too hard for your tiny minds to comprehend. Also, any one who says that on some skills the questions and their difficulties on levels 4 and 5 are exactly the same as level 3, thus defeating the purpose of this whole thing, are liars and should be shunned and/or sacrificed to Apollo.

Will my progress decay over time?
No. Since Duolingo started the human brain has actually evolved to be able to better retain information so this is no longer necessary. Once you've achieved the top crown level it means it's scientifically proven to be stuck in your brain forever with no further practice.

Also, some people used to get cranky when their progress decayed because it made them feel like they were getting dumber so we wanted to make them feel better.

What about spaced repetition? How do I know what to practice next?
Yeh, we thought about that. We're trying to come up with something but we felt it was more important to roll out the new thing as quickly as possible rather than sort out all the things that might make it work all at once. New is always better.

In the meantime the practice button is always there, which takes your weakest words into account when choosing what you should practice. Speaking of which....

Does the “practice” button do anything?
No. LOL! Well obviously it still practices your weakest words, duh, it just has no effect on your measured skill levels. Meaning practicing won't advance your skills and unlock the harder versions of them so probably don't bother. No one liked having a variety of practice questions from multiple skills which still kept their tree golden anyway.

We want to replace this with something more satisfying in the future, but in the meantime we really needed to get that new stove plumbed in.

Will we have the option to use the old system?
No, that's not how the internet works. It's way too hard to run too many versions of the same site. Facebook doesn't let you opt out of their new features, and it's naive to think that will happen here. Suck it up. 62,400 repetitions make one truth so we'll just keep telling you you'll love it until you do.

Who has Crowns now? When will I get them?
Stop worrying about what everyone else has and focus on what you've got. Which is crowns! And if you don't, you will really soon.

Can I test out of Levels? It takes a really long time to get to Level 5.
If you've been using the site a long time or you're naturally gifted with learning languages, you're just going to have to deal with being shackled to a system geared towards the lowest common denominator that takes no account of the different abilities and speeds of a diverse group of people.

We're also sorry for conditioning you to respond to the meaningless sight of the gold colour like a bilingual Pavlov's dog. But that's just our modern world amiright? It's not like we're forcing you to get to level 5 so just don't do it. But if it means that much to you we're happy for you to spend more time with Duolingo open on your browser in order to achieve that goal. Because we both know you'll do it ;)

I miss being able to practice individual skills.
We didn’t remove skill practice; we rebranded it! By making you do every lesson within a skill round and round in sequence! Now if there's only a word or two you want to revise in a skill you are safe in the knowledge that you've double checked it really was the only thing you needed to revise by doing the whole thing again. Crowns!

In all honesty though we don't know how this happened. We think Gerald left his computer on one night and a cat got loose in the office, walking all over the keyboard and accidentally deleting a bunch of code that made this possible. Our bad, but what can you do?

I miss being able to see words in each lesson.
See above re: cat debacle.

I miss my fluency score.
It was dumb, inaccurate, and pointless. No one with any sense will miss it.

I can’t pick what lesson I want to do anymore.
We want to give the right balance of choice and guidance, so we've reduced both equally. So far, we haven’t been hearing complaints that content is too difficult. Which is good for us making people feel happy and sticking around on the site more. Less good if you're actively trying to push yourself to learn a language but if that's the case then go pay for some real lessons and stop hounding us for our free service you cheapskate.

My tree all looks the same now. I miss gold skills.
"It's different, I hate it, wah wah wah." That's what you sound like.

You said Crowns did really well in A/B testing. What exactly did it do?
We saw gains across the board: Provided the metrics of the board only involve how much time people spend on the site. Increasing the number of mindless repetitions a person does is great for that.

April 8, 2018



Can this be sticky please? It should go next to the official FAQ.


Satire at its very best. You just won the Internet for today. Your prize is a lingot, since I have no use for them whatsoever! Enjoy :)


This is a more useful post than the actual FAQ. Seriously, Duolingo, this is what you guys now sound like.


You have really nailed the Crown update!


I can't believe it took me 5 days to notice this post. It's the first time I've been on Duolingo since I got the crowns that I smiled and laughed instead of crying with frustration. Thank you, even if I have to quit Duolingo out of that frustration, this is a reminder of what a great community was built around the old version! Even more useless gems to you!


As a person who excels in satire, I love this. Have many useless jems.

Edit: We'll see if they fixed the lingot-giving bug...

Edit #2: Apparently they have. Well that's one gone, 999 to go...


Also has anyone noticed that Duo is very actively hiding this post? I thought it had been deleted already but managed to find it through my browsing history. It's not appearing anywhere in the Discussion. I'm seeing a lot of posts with only a handful of vote ups and no comments but this one is nowhere to be seen.

Duo, why the dictatorship? Why, instead of listening to your members, are you trying to silence us? Why is it impossible to get in touch with anyone from Duo who could give us a response? How can we know we're being heard?


I agree, no sign of this thread now .. we've beeen sent to Siberia! They zeroed the vote ups at least once too! They were on the way to 4 figures I've burned my streak deliberately as a protest and posted. You get voted down, but what else can one do, sending feedback gets no response. I've waited long enough for them to make DL work again, they were told very clearly a number of large failings and I think from what I remember of an old forum post, the beta testers had had plenty to say. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/27162832


I'm surprised they have not kicked it to the curb! Are they hiding it? I use the Discussion Search and search for "Crowns" when I want to get mad about something and I'm just now seeing it and it's a month old.


:) this is absolutely the best response to the crowns malarkey i've read so far.


I think it's funny how this post got magically downvoted and yet the responses don't seem to have...

See, this is why I now have a conspiracy theory that staff is downvoting posts.

Edit: Not to mention, you have (almost) 300 lingots.


It's very suspicious.... set to 0!!! Clicking results in a -1 as I already voted. Shame on them!


huh, then it got up very quickly again, it's at 65 + now. i'll just give some more lingots, they can't be taken away ;)


I think it's just another upvote glitch. Sometimes the amount of upvotes are different when you see a post in a forum vs. where you click on it. Never mind. False alarm, people!


No you obviously missed the action, this thread had over 500 upvotes and it was zeroed.


Yeah. It was a "glitch."

[deactivated user]

    Makes you wonder why the crowns announcement has 540 net upvotes? (DL staff posting as shill accounts)?


    540? That's not too many, considering that Duolingo has millions of users. There are some people who seem to like the change, at least at first sight...

    [deactivated user]

      But there are so many of us who oppose it, it should be in the negatives. They must've somehow inflated the vote count.

      • 2351

      May the gods of language bless you, you made my day! Here, have a ton of lingots!


      This is actually more helpful than the official FAQ, thank you! I now know that if I want to learn a new set of words I have to be ready with my notebook to write them down as I won't be able to repeat them without having to go through the entire skill set (correct me if I'm wrong). No more learning new words on a whim then. Thank you Duolingo for making learning languages with a learning disability even harder by getting rid of the ability to repeat specific lessons.


      Download lingodeer works like this used to


      Take my lingots your glorious human being.


      I quit Duolingo two days ago, but I ran across this post and had to log back into my account just to say... THANK YOU!!! I haven't giggled so hard in a long time. Well done monsieur.

      Have all my lingots! If I had the patience to sit here and click "Give lingot" over and over and over again (hmm... reminds me of Crowns) then I would. I don't need them, I'm not coming back.


      Have 5 meaningless lingots you magnificent so-and-so. This is the post I wanted to write!


      Started my daily lesson again and after three I am a boy you are a girl I shut it off. No idea how to proceed. What to do. I got an email saying I was 640 points from Level 15. Don't know what that means, what it references or where to go from here.


      The day before the Crowns took over and ruined Duo, I talked up Duo to a friend who is learning Norwegian. . This friend texted me the next day "I already have 600 XP!" And I shot back "XP? What the hell is XP?" He said "Experience Points!" I still didn't know how crapped up the website was till I got home..... The point is, someone who didn't know Duo before may think it's pretty grand, but really it's very much diminished. Sad.


      Not that I like Crowns, but XPs have been here forever - or at least for the past three years. They have nothing to do with the Crowns. XPs are actually a way of measuring effort spent on the course.


      Looking at https://duolingo.eu/UserName/progress it shows that crown levels are a very poor way to target, your effort.

      The charge that they undermine spaced repetition and efficient learning is undeniable! Just look at your own data!


      I would say that your level is even less telling. I am naturally bad at languages, so I have gotten to, what, level 23? I won't know till I post this-- thanks, Duo. Meanwhile I'm less than halfway through my tree. Tell me how that makes sense? Answer: it doesn't!

      • 1665

      Well said!!


      Have 6 lingots from me


      Hahahaha! Good man, take all my lingots now! Wow, amazing, last time I've heard so many trues was when my ex finished me, and broke my heart (more or less what DL is doing now).


      Brilliant! So spot on!


      LOL, I donated 5 or 6 lingots, I didn't count, who cares... :P


      Lol! Can't wait to see how long this post is allowed to remain! :D Have a whole lot of Lingots! (Coz they are just so useful!!)


      Hi Liam,

      thanking you for making my day :-)

      PS: I hope you did a backup of your text on a NAS/RAID5+ system, just in case this thread gets deleted, or words are filtered by their engine which would result in error 404?!?


      This is absolutely brilliant. First time something about the Crowns cheered me up!

      I was starting to get used to it while using tricks like duolingo.eu to access the bits that I couldn't through the main website. And now they're gone. One thing they should not have taken away is the list of words learnt in each lesson! It really is not that complicated. Duolingo, even if you won't let us practice the lesson we want, giving a simple list of words learnt is so simple!

      If you want to truly learn a language, using just Duolingo isn't enough. You need to read, listen, write and speak it with other people, and use whatever other tricks work for you. I write out all the words learnt in a skill and have my own vocabulary that I can use at any time, and I can revise on a train, in bed or even on a plane where I couldn't access Duolingo or Tinycards. It's much harder to make sure I got all the words without seeing the list! Sometimes Duo is trying to teach me a new word but I already know another translation so I'll just use that in ignorance until I see the new word on the list.

      Long story short - bring the new words lists back!


      Use https://duome.eu/kristija/progress Clicking on the lightbulbs gets you the tips and you can see which skills are weak, to guide your progress through levels


      So I managed to get to 5 crowns in all skills in Italian and French super-duper fast once they offered the "test out" function. That surely demonstrates lots of unnecessary repetition we are all complaining about. Now at the duome.eu site recommended above, I no longer see any skills except flirting that I need to strengthen. I miss the decay function. I can use the strengthen (barbell icon) now generically or for any of the skills I want to repeat. Still I would prefer a return of the decay so I don't have to guess where to repeat to retain competency.


      Ironically, when you reach 5 crowns in all, what do you want to do? Exactly!

      Allow in your cell settings to install from other sources, uninstall the (new) app of duo and install This signed version Voilá!


      HILARIOUS!!! And right on the button. My favorite part: "It's different, I hate it, wah wah wah. That's what you sound like." I gave you five, count-'em, FIVE lingots for the time and effort you put into this magnificent take-down of the roundly-hated (except for a few paid shills) Crowns system. Use them wisely!


      Thanks for that, have a lot of lingots.


      WHAT THE HECK??? Changing again???? My Spanish tree says it has been "improved", but it just looks like it has been messed up. A large percentage of my crown levels from the first half of the course have been reset to 0, when they were at 3 just yesterday. (they were all gold before the first version of crowns were introduced). I found I can "test out" of a section, but I can only seem to do that to get back to the first level again. You're messing with me guys! How about allowing us to test out for level 2 and 3 as well if you going to keep resetting crown levels?


      Good points.
      But you obviously choose the wrong thread Markspanis.

      You should write it into the offical big "Crowns FAQ" and/or "Upcoming Feature: Skill Levels!" thread(s) from DuoLingo staff, to complement the other >1000 unread comments :-)


      They've probably added new lessons, I've managed to earn 0 points in the last week; my Spanish & German has improved no end though as other apps work better than post-Crown DuoLingo!


      I like your name!


      You really deserve a high five from me right now.


      I have just polished off my Italian tree to "non-decaying" gold since the arrival of the test out function on the laptop version (still not available on my tablet) about a week ago. I have started to knock off my French tree too. I am a little worried that the 10,000+XP points I got the other day speeding through levels 4 and 5 via test out) will be used for marketing i.e. to substantiate to advertisers the extra time users spend on the site since the arrival of crowns. I actually spent very little time. The elevated point score reflects the redundancy in crowns. I could sometimes do the equivalent of 36 lessons representing the jump from level 4 to 5 in what is essentially a normal 10XP point single lesson. My objective was to get back Timed Practice so I can really do some meaningful learning. I loved Liam 315's satire. I do not love crowns. I do love the Duolingo original concept. I appreciate they are a business. I also wish we were listened to more and respected more.


      Thank you for this superb takedown of the gross vandalization that has been done to Duolingo by those in charge of it. You deserve all the lingots. It's annoying enough for me as someone who used to be passionate about Duolingo and who used it to learn several languages, but it's especially aggravating when I think of the expert volunteers who put so much effort and expertise into creating the courses, often for little-taught languages, only for them to be dumbed down into glorified classroom aids that are actively offputting to anyone who wants to learn a language properly and that have had their basic functionality hamstrung. The Polish, Czech, Russian, Hungarian and Dutch courses on Duolingo are (or were) absolutely outstanding and the "Crowns" overhaul has wrecked all courses' basic usability.


      If I were a course contributor, I added several good (longer, more difficult) sentences to words per skills by wasting my own time, why should I feel amazed that the DuoLingo backend code automatically rates sentences according to an "average error percentage" and may disable all of them without further asking the user or the course admin/contributor?

      Oh boy, would I be p***ed!

      Personally I would want to vote, that the Incubator gets an update, that contributors can self-rating the difficulty/complexity on a scale of 1-5 or 5+ to give sentences a good (first) DEFAULT, maybe further fine-tuned / tracked by the system later.

      Just show the contributors a sentence tracking list, what still matches and those sentences which do not on the 1-5 / 5+ difficulty scale.
      Otherwise we will end, that the DuoLingo system might still spit newly added (more complex) sentences to new learners at earily crowns L0-L1/L2, just because the backend system has not already received the average error rates and disabled/moves the sentences.

      This is even true for tree updates or new courses!

      I am the user.
      I am the learner.
      I want to tell the system, what it should do and when to show me new or reviewed sentences (when I have the nerves / time).

      There should be a 5+ practice user setting or starting button, to FORCE DuoLingo to give all (non-reported with obviously contained errors) sentences, which have been somehow magically self-rated and would have been hidden otherwise.

      I am very curious if this can still happen on crown levels 4+5, that added sentences can be completely be taken away, just because the backend system thinks it should do so?!?

      I never read about AnkiSRS - as a reference point - that the Windows application behaves like this.

      Somehow self-rating answer systems might often still be the better options?


      Please help to up-vote:
      "[FEATURE REQUEST]: The Incubator should provide a 1-5 / 5+ scale sentence DEFAULT difficulty rating": https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27146459


      This. Yes. Brilliant. I second (or third or whatever) the suggestion that this should be a sticky right next to the real garbage explanation Duo fed us.


      This post got me to log into Duolingo for the first time in 3 months just to upvote it. Ever since crowns made it basically useless for me. Thank you so much for this, the first time I have laughed about something to do with duolingo in a long time.


      I feel like I have stopped learning since this rolled out. I tried to give it a chance. Duolingo is no longer an "intelligent guide" to learning language. Its now a simple set of flashcards that you have to complete in some order with no help specified by the system. No guidance at all. Before, the system told me what I needed to learn and was quite good at it. Now I get no feedback. I'm all on my own. Now when I see a new word for the first time, I can't retain it because I won't see the word again until I choose to go back to it by getting the second crown and so on. I guess we get to see each word now 5 times, along with its conjugations and be expected retain it forever? Some words yes, but what about hard words? Some words I need to see 10 times before I retain it. I know I might be in the slow learner minority, but the previous version had be going back to hard words over and over again.

      There are tons of flashcard apps out there. What differentiated Duolingo is no longer there. I have already started spending more time on other resources than I do on Duolingo. In fact, now I create index card flash cards from Duolingo lessons because thats the only way I can have spaced repetition. I might as well just be using a dictionary.


      I agree, but you might tell this the CEO by commenting in this discussion


      Ok I started out lightly skimming, thinking this was a serious post, then I got to "Since Duolingo started the human brain has actually evolved to be able to better retain information so this is no longer necessary" and I almost spat my drink onto my computer screen. Have a bunch of lingots.


      Lingot given.


      How did I not see your post before? It's absolutely hilarious and spot on! Thanks for a great laugh, Liam :))) Here are some more useless lingots :p


      Correct. You win 3 lingots.


      Thank your for this refreshing post.


      Haha, this is genius, and completely summarized my thoughts about this f*cked-up nonsense called the Crowns System. Here, have 3 lingots!


      Independent traffic analysis appear to suggest that Duolingo's internet ranking has been declining steadily since the Crowns were introduced... https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/duolingo.com


      I love you! Most honest thing I have read all day.

      Duo staff should only be allowed to reply to us with the words that are in the Basics 1 unit.


      we did this because "I am a man"?


      No, it was because the boy eats the apple. Over and over and over again. If only it were the apple of knowledge instead of the apple of grinding boredom.


      Do they ever reply at all?

      [deactivated user]

        Did well in A/B testing= people freaking out and seeing their gold trees gone and burning themselves out. DL has to take another step backwards. In a few months time they will say Health/Gems did well in A/B to rationalise their decisions. DL also became more authoritarian because they have shill accounts to upvote their own announcements and downvote posts of people who disagree with the changes.


        Yes!!! Definitely some shill accounts here defending Crowns and demeaning anyone who objects. And they get so mad when you call them shills.


        "In order to implement this design, we've decided to go with a "baby and bath water" approach by getting rid of everything else all at once with no concrete plan to deal with it. You can think of it like replacing a stove in your kitchen by ripping out not only the old stove but also the sink, fridge, benches and cupboards, then proudly installing the shiny new stove that now sparkles amongst the rubble."

        I have to gift you lingots for that paragraph alone.


        Okay, the answer to "I miss my fluency score" was 100% accurate though


        No. My fluency score before it vanished was 51%, and I promise you, I was understanding exactly 51% of what was said in my favorite Swedish shows, and could read precisely 51% of simple Swedish news articles on 8Sidor. I was very happy with my progress and my fluency was extremely accurate! Now instead of that I have 80 frickin' Crowns whateverthehell they are!!!


        i remember i reached 81% in english, however i have 51% aprox in spanish (no, i am not, i have in duolingo) and the last time i made the portuguese tree i climbed from a 3% (three) to a 75% in 48hs... so, Such a reference!

        (Now, if you use Duolingo version 3.60 for android you still can see the fluency and all the system as used to be before crowns.)


        I don't do Duo on a phone app. It's too easy with the silly word bank. I agree that you could never get fluency using word bank which is basically Candy Crush played with words. I do my lessons on a big-boy computer.


        windows store, desktop app ;)


        My answer may be out here somewhere. But I can find it. As I work down my tree are other parts of the tree advanced as I go? example. if I am doing a lesson in a topic that is further up the tree possibly in an upper level as 3,4 or 5 will it adjust my level to a topic that is further down the tree that is possibly still at 1 or 2. I hope this is understandable. I dont know how to word it today?? :)


        Hello Dave. Sadly based only on my personal experience the answer is NO. Each skill advances independently of all others. When they migrated me to my third version of the French tree (I believe I have what is called the "staff tree" with City 2 in it), I was scored beginner (below level one) again on almost everything. I have no idea why I had a couple of level 5 gold crowns. I had completed the version that existed when I began DL in September of 2016. I then slogged through 5 levels of the crowns when that was forced on us in the spring. Then a few weeks ago they pulled the rug again. Thank goodness for the test out as that at least truncates the pain of useless repetition. I realize one cements learning via repetition. That is useful on more complex verb forms, but a time waste on the basics. You have a good idea though. If we were to ace the more complex stuff, it might make sense that the beginner elements might boost spontaneously. I suppose one could still be missing basics, but it is unlikely.

        I am still unhappy about tree three. Yes, there is a small amount of new material. If they migrate me to a new tree and make me start all over in Italian, which I have also topped out twice, I will cry.

        Some posters will chide that I still have what I learned so why whine, just give up on the gaming aspect of winning crowns. Why do I bother? Well the answer is to "win back"( in gamer terms)the privilege I had originally: using timed practice on any skill. It is the closest I can get to the pressure of actual speech, especially in Italian as I have no Italian speakers to practice with.


        my big advantage is I live in mostly an all spanish speaking area. The down side is if the person knows no english then it is all on me to figure out what it intended. On the positive side though if yhe other person at least understands a bit of english then conversation is great.


        I can't say I've read lots and lots of discussion posts, but never have I seen one with so many lingots. This is an excellent indication of user evaluation of Crowns nearly a year later. Thanks for the comic relief!


        This new system is damn annoying! Prior to this change, I used to go on duolingo easily but now it sucks! Thank you duolingo

        • 2371

        I rather agree with you. I find it no incentive to practice and have to argue with myself daily to do so. The former golden tree system was much more conducive to learning especially for someone like me with a learning disability. One of the most irritating issues is that it no longer highlights the new words for apparently we are meant to take our chances with a guess. And I really really loathe the leaderboard, I am not competitive so I care less what strangers are doing, it's not my business.


        This post is still as brilliant as it was 2 years ago!


        This crown feature stinks, nor is it made explicit how crowns are accumulated.


        I entirely disagree.

        You can pick up your lessons exactly as before, with the advantage that now they become more challenging. Much better then before, when you were getting bored to death to write "I eat an apple".

        You can visualize your weak spots exactly as before in the "weak words" list, and do "spaced repetition" exactly as before using the "practice button".

        The "fluency" score was horrible, as it did not say anything about real fluency. At least with crowns you get harder tests, that in the end is what matters (not just a meaningless number).

        Try to be more flexible and open guys, and you will realize soon that most changes are an improvement. I really admire how Duolingo keeps working to improve.


        You can pick up your lessons exactly as before

        You CANNOT. You can't select an individual lesson in a skill, only the skill as a whole (and it consists of 1-10 different lessons).

        Try to be more flexible and open guys, and you will realize soon that most changes are an improvement.

        We are still allowed to talk about those changes that are not. Hopefully.


        Who isn't flexible here? First, tge original post is have been written in such a good mood that you shouldn't answer that way.

        Second, you started really wrong, as alex already said, you can't pick a lesson as before, you can't pick a lesson.... at all.

        Second, the word list is not exactly the same as usual and is not even available in all languages.

        Try to start now a really hard language and come back to tell us how great crowns are.

        I use them, but they aren't a better nor fully substitute of a system that has (still has) its advantages respect the crowns... and they weren't implemented well, maybe that was the worst part.

        Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.