https://www.duolingo.com/SamohtSMA

An apology and afterthought regarding the update.

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Firstly, I apologize for my inappropriate language at the the height of my furor yesterday. Sorry to anyone I offered. I’m glad to see the posts are already deleted.

Having thought about the problems with the new update, and realizing it is a done deal, I ‘d still like to suggest what might have been a better option.

The biggest of the strengths of the tree ( for me anyways) up until now has been the natural framework for learning the grammar mixed in with basic vocabulary. The special vocabulary topics like sports, religion, etc are well organized in separate groups.

Most of the new material introduced in the new tree is vocabulary extension into new areas. Why couldn’t these situational vocabulary units have been treated as user chosen options to add to and personalize their tree.

They might have been organized by topic area: culinary arts, photography, various sciences, entertainment, shopping, etc. For instance there could have been more than one culinary arts icon in the pack, the home kitchen, the restaurant kitchen, describing ingredients,etc. Even regional grammatical structures like familiar 2nd person plural conjugations could have been been part of the system. The user would have been free to add topics of interest, similar to adding current “pick up lines” and holiday vocabulary optional units that have been offered for a long time. Hey, it would have been a new use for gems and lingots.

Had something like this been done, the course could continue to expand, serve the specific needs of users, and NOT leave users feeling like their long hours spent progressing and working on Duo, have been erased and discarded. As motivating as the game aspect of the program is, changing and disrupting existing progress measures that users set and earn for themselves is frustrating.

Again I apologize for my outbursts yesterday. These could have been suggestions are ment to be constructive.

7 months ago

50 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

I missed your 'outbursts', but I do empathise if you are getting frustrated with changes lately as I sometimes wonder what I'm doing here.

Users in Spanish (myself included) have spent endless hours getting the old material up to scratch by reporting alternatives through suggestions. This is predominantly for the benefit of those coming after us, and logically that hard work should really have been taken into account, valued, and aided the development of new material. However, I am finding far too often that the new material is as 'unfinished' as the old. Of course, I expected a few things to crop up, but this contains much of what was reported on and accepted in the old. I'm not talking about anything complex here: even simple things like the additions of feminine alternatives (el maestro/la maestra) are not being accepted, and some questions only seem to accept a single answer where other alternatives clearly exist.

I can't help feeling that much of this new stuff has been thrown out without pre-checks, that much of what has been done has not been valued as it should, and that the contributors have learned very little of the value of adding alternative answers.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruel-Stroud

Despite the fact that it was funny to get the english tree gold again, the new system is a mess, we can't work in our weakness choosing specific topics and repeating it, there are a lot of alternative translations that Duolingo is considering wrong and the spaced repetition was removed, the tree keep gold and we don't know when to revise it and who cares about crowns? There is no use for it is just a number.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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Do you mean fun?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlastairRae

The new stuff is definitely a bit rough. It is so frustrating to type a perfectly good sentence only to find it is not included in the correct answers. Ok, you can report it but the annoyance remains. When you get several in a row, you really do feel like quitting.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KaraT.
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I've had the same issue. It was getting better the further I went down the old tree, but now I'm back to reporting things that should be accepted constantly. Hopefully this will improve as it becomes less new.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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I count reporting errors as the price I pay for free Spanish lessons and as a courtesy to my fellow Duolingers.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmrab
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The tree looks like it is mostly new vocab, because of how it is labelled. But actually, once you get through the new lessons, you will find that there is a whole lot more grammar mixed in throughout, and that, overall, the quality of the Spanish is much better and more realistic than it used to be. I was really disappointed with the new tree at first, too. But there's a test-out function now, so that eliminates the repetition of truly beginner material.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aelise_627
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I have so much I need to learn and so much to review that I can't appreciate the update yet. Had I already completed the tree, maybe. However at this stage it was depressing to see so many of the skills I had worked on disappear, most likely melded into their "new" skills. I had intended to continue working on what I had already learned so I could strengthen my understanding and build it into memory, but now I don't know what I've done and haven't.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chefAllen

Aelise makes a great point. I lost a lot of "crowns", or points, or whatever duolingo is calling them this week. Now I feel I need to redo much of what I have already completed.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wolfpuppy1

You know, if one could use the crowns as "in game currency", I could see their value. But, other than seeing them increase as I progress, I am not sure what value they really have, other than being some sort of indicator. Now, if I could purchase a book or something with them. . . :-/

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mikemcdonald58
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I was surprised by the new update. But I like the test out option for,the lower levels. My focus is,on past tense verb forms, primarily simple past and copreterit. All,practice is helpful and Duo is one of several sources I use daily. I can't complain since I don't pay for it and I do appreciate the work,put into the platform.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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What is copreterit?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SamohtSMA
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Well, there is a way around the grammar limitation in a system where the student selects the topics. Just as travel is divided into 5 lessons at various intervals ( requiring more grammar knowledge ), a topic like vocabulary for a branch of Science could also consist of everal lessons. On your first run through the tree you could only access the new material at level 0 as you finished the material lower on the tree. After completing the tree you could access the material as you would any new lesson.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Xavi742556

The amount of XP you get when you 'test out' is insane. I have earned 2000xp just today which would have taken me a month otherwise. It undermines the level system when you can go from L15 to L16 in a day by testing out basic stuff. It's frustrating as the level/xp system was one of the few things which had been constant throughout updates.

(New material always appreciated however and it is a great website.)

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
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Quote: The biggest of the strengths of the tree ( for me anyways) up until now has been the natural framework for learning the grammar mixed in with basic vocabulary

I agree that I am trying to focus on that for my EN-PT forward and PT-DE reverse trees.

And even then, DuoLingo completely fails to an extent.
You are not allowed to freely choose those grammar skills, you are really interested in.
You can not focus on the ~26 verb tenses skills.

You first have to complete all previous "vocabulary skills" to unlock new skills.

I can remember that this was my impression after learning 3-4 months on DuoLingo.

It may not be the best concept to be FORCED to hammer 70 (7x10=70) new words into your head, before you are allowed to progress in your tree.

The Incubator is FIXED and DuoLingo is not really ready for a true dynamic system (what words have been 100% learned and practiced recently) and mixing in weak/difficult marked words in PRACTICE exercises from multiple (either random or personally selected) skills.

Quote: Why couldn’t these situational vocabulary units have been treated as user chosen options to add to and personalize their tree.

The limit might be IMHO the Incubator and how trees and skills are fixed in order and words and sentences taught in one lesson, heavily depend on previous skills.

You e.g are not allowed to choose freely an interesting topic in your tree.
You have to "unlock" skill by skill, from top to down.

Lesson by lesson.
.
.
There are only slots for three bonus skills.

There might have been organized by topic area: culinary arts, photography, various sciences, entertainment, shopping, etc. For instance there could have been more than one culinary arts icon in the pack, the home kitchen, the restaurant kitchen, describing ingredients,etc.

Even then the new EN-SP tree may fail in the case to additionally teach the Past tense in 3-4 new skills with multiple sentences as examples, and to see verbs being used in action, when:

Those skills come all BEFORE the Past grammar skill?!?

So you see sentence examples which you have not even read the "tips and notes" (conjugation tables, theory,...) before and "didactically learned" how to use the past tense?!?

There have already been threads created and those issues discussed for the relevant new skills.


Therefore the current system and DuoLingo code never has been designed for "modules", categories and optional skills in mind beyond the existing basic three bonus skills.

What you describe and request as a future change, probably is a completely different new world to DuoLingo staff and contributors!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sharon822547
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to pick and add more vocabulary that relates to one's lifestyle would be SUPER helpful... I'm just glad I can skip the 70 lessons of " the blue dress" with the key. I totally agree it would be fantastic to have additional vocab dealing with REAL day to day instances. - I still luv ya DUO!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SamohtSMA
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I’m testing out now, but I had never done it before. I had a full 4 Crown tree and was working on the 5 crowns the hard way up until now. Now I am bogged with level 0 junk. But then again, in every love affair there are bumps, jaja.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SamohtSMA
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Ok, I did it! I jumped from the iPad app to the safari based Duo. I started testing out and it is a workable alternative. I’m bringing everything to crown level 4 then I’ll go back on my usual practice of working through the 5 Crown tree in full. But for now, giving up hundreds of gems for a single lingot is just weird. Hehe

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Diana888898
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I’m using both versions, because there’s no discussion on questions in the iPad app and I like being able to get feedback. butI haven’t figured out how, if at all, lingots equate to gems.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Manjingirl

I don't understand why you would 'test out'. I thought it's about practising the language, or do some people just want the achievement?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sharon822547
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Why practice "la nina" 77x when I could be learning REAL LEARNING? If 77 repetitions of this are what you wanna work on, THAT'S GREAT that works for you. But I need a little more. That's how I learn. And I'm glad DUO gives us this CHOICE.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KaraT.
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When it's something that is simple enough that you've already learned, being forced through rote repetition of it a hundred times is a huge waste of time. It's like that old grade school punishment of being forced to write a sentence on the chalkboard 500 times. Being able to test out and move on to a level of learning that is appropriate to the level of the learner was the best part of the update. The difficulty is that there are many levels of learners here. For those that are very new, the update did nothing but provide more to practice, great! For those that are a lot further along, it muddled up what we were learning with repetitive basics. Hence the test-outs.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Craig77

Sam, no worries. I really like Duolingo and I think that the service they are providing is invaluable to a mixed up world. I've promoted Duolingo to everyone I know and will continue to do so. The simple fact that being able to speak to people allows free communications between the people of the planet, and I believe that once you can speak to someone, you can at a minimum learn to co-exist, hopefully it's more. All the best to you and yours, Craig

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SamohtSMA
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Right on. I’ve lived in Mexico since 2010 and speaking Spanish have enriched life here dramatically!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/oddballkay
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I didn't see what happened yesterday, but getting on Duolingo today on my phone made me realize I lost my golden owl...I'm kinda blindsided.... I guess, more learning for us all then.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruel-Stroud

I agree completely and I add a question were is our spaced repetition? Everyone knows the importance of spaced repetition in the study of languages.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KaraT.
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I was so hopeful that once I got everything to level 5 the "Practice" or "Strengthen" button would start to work for that again. I finally had the end in sight and then this update pushed it away! It'll take even more of a while for me to figure out if this will work going forward now. >_> Here's hoping!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruel-Stroud

Yeah me too, I insist in reclaim the spaced repetition in every topic related.

I'm 4 years in the language thing and I know that there isn't something as important as repetition.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryMendel1

It may help a little with everyones frustration to remember the initial reason for duolingo is to be able to translate the web some day. We all get to learn a language(or two) for free in order to help this become a reality. Because it's free I've never found myself getting upset(not saying others are wrong to feel that way!)over changes. I think the enormity of a challenge (to translate the web)has got to put limits of some kind on DL that we can't readily see. I'm doing this for fun and the challenge so naturally I will react differently than most. I hope we all stick with it to someday say "Hey, I was a part of that!".

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luke.Crowe

That's great - what about the Duolingo Plus members that are paying and supporting the platform!!! When do we get input on changes, and when do we mot get treated with the same level of disrespect from Duolingo as those that are getting a free service, on the premise that because it is free, you can't complain or be unhappy!?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

...the initial reason for duolingo is to be able to translate the web some day. We all get to learn a language(or two) for free in order to help this become a reality.

That's a very interesting comment and I never assumed that was part of the official agenda here. Could you share with me your references to DL's statements on this. I'd like to look into that more. Thanks

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daphne177862

Check out this TED Talk about Duolingo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ht4qiDRZE8

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

Thanks for that Daphne177862. Obviously, that's the first time I've heard of that and it answers a lot of questions for me. I've always said that Duolingo is not free and we're working for some ulterior purpose, and there it is. Van Ahn does like to opine his own self-righteousness while dressing all his money-making schemes up in idealistic visions. But transparency has never been his strongest point. Does he think that the poorest of the world lack the capacity for ethical consideration and that it's not everyone's right to know for what end they are working? Then everyone of them can judge for themselves whether they consider it a worthy cause or not and decide if they want to be a part of it.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveNewhouse

WOW explains a lot.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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That was initially part of the strategy, but it became clear fairly quickly that it failed for various reasons. Translation (aka immersion) was eliminated. They've moved on from that quite a while ago.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

Moved on to what though? What's next on the agenda? Any ideas anyone?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ginasem

So many complains. Just go with the flow. There is nothing that has happened that is worth stessing over. It’s a FREE service and it works. How the hell can so many people complain about things that are no big learn. They expanded some lessons. Consider yourself lucky that you weren’t already done and missed out. As for lingot and gems, they don’t even have to get you the stupid things so stop bitching about not having something to do with them. Your sound ridiculous. Your scores don’t matter. Remember the goal is to learn the language as best as you can. Learning the language in the important thing. Not your stupid scores. I just can’t get over how so many people cannot adjust to change in their lives. If your stressing now about this what are you going to do when a loved one gets cancer? You can’t even handle the change here. Again its I FREE service so please everyone just get a handle on yourself and regroup and move on. If you have to “drop back 10 and punt” the changes they made were based on the census and research of well educated people with PhDs in the subject. Do you really think you know more then they do? The goal is to learn the language and that’s what they are striving for. FREE, FREE, FREE, FREE

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/belle_wood
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While this is true, it's still frustrating, and people are allowed to air their grievances, even if it's just to get it off their chests. You are allowed not to read them if those grievances bother you. I'd progressed fairly well on the other tree, managed to develop some complexity in the language, and now I'm back to (as everyone says) the blue dress. I've just learned about the key thing, so I will try to go forward with that, but I can't pretend that it hasn't been disheartening. Also, DL still makes money from ads, so don't pretend that these are monks doing this for the good of communication--as is often said, if something is offered for free, then you are the product. I don't mind, because the ads aren't intrusive at all and it's worth it, but please let's be clear about what is going on here. Stop berating people for being concerned about scores, when scores are the method that DL use to encourage and motivate. You've come to a thread specifically set up to let people vent, and then complain about the venting. How about this: if you don't like it, set up a thread singing DL's praises. It's cool. There is a lot to love. But in this specific instance, people are feeling a little demotivated, and they are allowed to whinge.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wolfpuppy1

True. I might add another adage, which would be that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Ads are a revenue source, and the amount of the revenue is relative to the customer base. Don't believe that? Then look at Facebook. Free? Sure, but ads made Bezos the richest man in the world, and that is only because of the millions of people that use the service. Do you play any online MMO games? World of Tanks, War Thunder, etc.? These are free to play also, but the player base determines the value. You may not be paying out of your pocket with money, but you are paying with your time. Ever watch TV or listen to the radio? Of course you have, and you also suffered through countless commercials, and the more people who are watching or listening, the more the commercials cost. So, when you say "free", understand that it is with the caveat that you are still spending "time". To suggest that we shouldn't be concerned about spending our time here because we aren't paying with real money is to suggest that our time is worthless, and I totally reject that argument.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sharon822547
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It's free enough. It's not perfect-but what is? I'll gladly pay a few seconds of my time for hours of free learning

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wolfpuppy1

Can you tell me how you can compress hours of free learning into a few seconds of time? I would surely love to know how to do that!! Lol

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/belle_wood
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ON the other hand, there are some possible advantages: before, the tree was set up for you to be a life-long learner of Spanish, but wasn't set up so that you could use Spanish if you were, say, traveling on holiday next month. The new tree is set up so that basic Spanish that you would use for travel is at the beginning, and this is useful if you are trying to quickly learn phrases to speak on holiday. If you separate the life-long speaker aspect from the 'quick, get a few useful words' aspect, I can see the good points. Stick with it--the shock will smooth out, and we might find this slightly more natural--even if the loss of crowns is a p.i.t.a. (although, yes, I stand by my original statement that those are important for goal-oriented learners).

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sharon822547
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I think I love you, Ginasem. The world would be a better place if we had more level headed folks like you. ✌.

7 months ago

[deactivated user]

    Only been here for 47 days, but I love the system as is. I'm sorry for anyone who has had issues with the new system, but I absolutely love it. I've gone from knowing not a lick of spanish to being able to read a lot and even string some sentences together on my own, all in under two months. I will remain a duoLingo+ member for as long as I am here. DuoLingo brought me from a desire to learn Spanish to an absolute love and need to learn it. Thanks to everyone who makes this website possible.

    Ps. As regards whatever your outbursts were, We've all been there... 10 lingots for your thoughts from a newby my friend as you are not alone in your criticisms of the new system. Looking forward to the day when I have been here long enough to not be happy about changes to a system I have grown to love. And if I may be so bold, it's very clear that you guys loved the old system.

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ahmad559461

    I think that you are not considering the significant role of artificial intelligence in duolingo, words are smallest meaningful units of language, most of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms embed manifold of words on a many dimensional space named word vector space. words in this many dimensional space become clusterized naturally and by essence and functionality of interested language. The question in hand is to transfer those words to brains of humans in the most probably efficient way; in order to find such an algorithm, the AI itself has some test mechanisms to find best way of categorization, based on previous experiment it has had with the clients. I am not telling all these things to explain how duolingo works, I am not even sure if it is how duolingo is working right now, but my point is that instead of guessing what would be better, let us enjoy being first row of human being who are learning language in this amazingly facilitated way and let us be good lab rats for scientists doing this thing, because it is going to change the concept of communication and many human behaviors, consequently. Just enjoy it.

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/sjyoshida

    Terrific comment! Thanks for your insight.

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/MiekeKoopm

    This message is ment for SamohtSMA or shall I say Thomas from Amsterdam? I think you are very right in your comment. Just when I am thinking that I'm getting somewhere there suddenly is an update and everything changes. For me this now is for the third time! I wonder if you are on Facebook. Pure curiosity on my behalf. I live in the Netherlands and have to do the Spanish course in English. Perhaps I have made some typing errors and if so I apologize for that.

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ginasem

    No typing or english errors except one. Ment is meant. The first sentence. But other wise your write english very well.

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Q-Allat
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    I fully commiserate with your outburst. We have all invested a lot of time and effort in Duolingo only to see it go from great to utter crap. And that was my outburst

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/SamohtSMA
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    It took 10 weeks, I got the whole tree to 565, level 5 Crowns, all gold. I added the two available bonus crowns ( pick up lines were silly ) and will do the Christmas bonus in December. Now I’m back to doing 50 xp per day and a few extra points from comments in my club. I’m way more relaxed than I was three months ago when I started this discussion.

    This morning I had a great Spanish exchange with my cardiologist, getting all the paperwork needed for an insurance issue. Although she has expanded her great practice to include many Gringos, I discovered it was still easier to communicate, at least by email in Spanish. That way she, her staff, and I are all on the same page. Thanks Duo!

    4 months ago
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