I have just been moved onto the new crown system with no warning whatsoever.
The majority of my skills are now no longer gold. I am slightly annoyed.
I know that this is a free site but a little consultation wouldn't go amiss.
Hello :-) There was some discussion before the system was rolled out, and it was tested in an A/B test over quite some time.
These are the FAQ explaining the Crowns system; I find them very helpful: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26739837
A few remarks from my side (I was switched two days ago):
You don't have to do the basic stuff if you don't want to. In this new set-up, you can complete the entire tree with only level 1 in each skill; you don't have to finish each skill (up to level 5) and make it "golden".
So you can learn any of the skills that have been unlocked so far, and you can unlock further skills by taking the previous ones to level 1.
I actually love the fact that I have a complete overview about the level I have reached in each of my skills. I ignore the more basic ones if I feel confident in them, and I focus on those skills that I find interesting. Mostly grammar -- I love it that it is all up to me. And when I feel that I've understood the previous skills sufficiently well, I move further ahead in the tree.
I also often just start a skill -- taking 2 out of 7 lessons, for example. The system remembers where I was, and I can continue with lesson 3 when I want.
Happy learning! :-)
(oh, I was slow -- cross-posted with two other participants)
I agree with Heike --- says it nicely! I was switched a couple of days ago with no warning. OK, a heads up that "you're about to be switched" might have been nice. But really, it doesn't take that much effort to figure out what happened, and there have been posts on the discussion board giving a general heads up that changes were coming.
My first reaction was what a lot of people are saying here in the discussions -- a "oh no what have they done." But instead of getting annoyed, I figured "let's see what it can do." And now that I've been playing with it and read a few posts, I get it and it's growing on me. As Heike notes, you don't have to do the repetitions again and again to get to level 5 if you don't want to. Move on to something else, and come back another day. I think there's a lot more flexibility and room for independent learning in the new version.