Mar Plateado Spanish Immersion Team
The Mar Plateado Spanish Immersion Team is an informal group of native-English speakers who use the “Immersion” mechanism of Duolingo.com to support our study of Spanish. We believe that serious students should work with entire documents, not just isolated sentences, and we work together to produce complete translations.
We coordinate our work through a Duolingo discussion thread that lists documents we are currently focusing on. This is called the session message, and the member who keeps it up to date is the session owner. Ownership rotates twice a month.
Click here for the current session message.
Sponsoring a document
You sponsor a document by posting its name as a reply to the session message. That reply needs to include a hyperlink to the document in Duolingo’s Spanish Immersion section plus an optional sentence saying why you thought it was interesting. By posting it to the session message, you are committing to translate or at least review the entire thing. That is, you will eventually make it be “all green”. You are also committing to spend some time reviewing other members’ documents from the active list. It is not fair to expect others to review your translations if you don't review their work too.
When you post your document, the session owner will update the session message and list your document in the “IN-PROGRESS” section, showing you as the “sponsor.” That lets everyone else know that you’re working on it, so they can elect to join you. At this point, you have committed to finishing it.
Once your document is completely translated and you are ready for others to pay it serious attention, make a comment in the session message and the owner will move it to the bottom of the “ACTIVE” section. You may need to post a request on the session owner's Activity stream, just to be sure they see it. That's okay--we're all friends here.
No one can have more than one active document at a time, but you can have as many as you want in the "READY" section. If someone has multiple open documents and you have no active ones, you can sponsor one of theirs, if they're agreeable.
Reviewing a document
Selecting a document to review
Ideally, people pick documents from the top of the active list and then work their way down. In practice, people look until they see a document that interests them. Some even pick incomplete documents from the IN-PROGRESS list. It's all good. You don't need to add anything to the session message to say that you're working on someone else's document, but you can add something to the document's own discussion area, if you like.
To fully review a document, it should all show as either green or black to you. That is, you reviewed all the sentences that Duolingo flagged as needing review. If you're not the sponsor, there is no real need to do the entire document, although by all means do so if you liked it. Again, we believe you learn more by considering the entire document when you translate.
When you review a document, remember that the goal here is to learn by making complete translations. That means that if you edit someone else’s translation, you are trying to add value--not just score points. Include a comment that explains your change.
If a proper explanation would be too complex for a comment, use the document's discussion section. That is, just say “See Discussion” in the comment and then put a detailed comment in the discussion section.
As with the rest of Duolingo, the discussion section is where we actually learn new things about Spanish. We approach disagreements in a constructive way; we are all trying to translate the document and we are all trying to learn. Failing all else, we solicit feedback from native speakers of Spanish. We have learned a lot this way, and that's really the whole point.
Unless someone’s translation had serious errors, always remember to share credit when you edit it. And if you are making a purely cosmetic change, vote them up first and then share credit. You can put “CS” in the comment to indicate “credit shared” or “CS+” for “credit shared and I voted you up.” That can prevent a lot of hard feelings.
As a rule, though, it’s best to avoid cosmetic changes, since there is often no end to them, and they don't really teach us anything about Spanish. In the event of a conflict, ask the sponsor to decide. The sponsor has the most invested in the document, after all. If he/she says, "let this be final," then don't quarrel.
Finally, don't downvote your teammates. If someone's work seems really bad, talk to them about it offline, and be gentle.
Finishing a document
When Immersion shows that all sentences are translated and reviewed (and, ideally, the translation quality shows as “good” not just "medium.") then the sponsor reports to the session owner that the document is complete and he/she moves it into the "COMPLETED” section.
Congratulations! Now go grab another one!
Abandoning a document
Every now and then, we need to give up on a document. Legitimate reasons include things like the person who originally posted the document doesn’t want us editing it, the document turns out to contain large blocks of text that aren’t actually Spanish, or other users are incessantly editing bits of it (i.e. having an edit war) so the document can never be completed. Just explain why in the session message, and the session owner will adjust the list.
Any serious student who shares these goals is welcome to join us. To join, just sponsor a document that you intend to finish, or dive in and help review something from the list.
This is a very interesting initiative, I'm wondering just how many of these groups exist. Perhaps, for future learners it would be nice if there was a centralized Duolingo thread where all the existing groups for different languages are listed, as well a link to their "home page" thread, explaining their goals.
Another alternative might be to add a link to the groups' Duolingo thread in the duolingo.wikia.com. Just a thought.
At present, I think Mar Plateado is the only one. At least, I think it's the only one that's this formal--I'm sure there are informal groups. (There have to be; it's the only way for a translator to reach tier 10 or higher.)
Duolingo should approach us to offer suggestions--and to invite us to help beta test new Immersion software. :-)
I've only heard of 3 such groups, one in French, and one starting up in Dutch. I thought there would be more.
Well, it seems you guys are really an anomaly. For people to organize themselves in such a chaotic environment is really a remarkable feat. Well, I do agree that Duolingo should sometimes ask users for some thoughts, but I guess that in their eyes we are just a drop in an ocean. Considering that they have something like 50 million users, and 10 million or so active ones.
Unfortunately, according to Prof von Ahn, immersion only had 1 staff member allocated to it a couple of months ago. As such, I don't think they'll really implement any major or significant changes any time soon.
They should try to lure me out of retirement. :-) Can you show me a pointer to the French one?
Yes, that would really help them add some proper tools for newbies. The only group I saw was really starting up. The thread was this : https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2992602
Although a lot of people were enthusiastic about it, as evidenced by the comments. I think it lost steam because the organizer didn't follow through. Maybe they could use some mentoring from this experienced group. :)
Actually, thinking about it a bit more, I think the biggest difference is that Mar Plateado was pitched to serious students who wanted to work together to translate entire documents. That level of commitment probably made more difference than anything else.
Yes, I think you are right. This immersion group consists of serious learners. It seems that you guys are actually committed to learning and translating properly.
I believe the Italian section will benefit if you create such a group, and maybe you should start a "franchise". Mar plateado (Spanish), Mare Argento (Italian, Mar prateado (Portuguese), and so forth. Good luck... : )
It might help if they adopt the thread format that we used from the second thread forward....articles on top, so they're easy to find. The first thread, where we had to scroll around to find the articles, was definitely a pain. If there are only two articles buried deep within all the enthusiastic comments, it's going to be hard for people to find the articles, let alone get to the point of discussing/interacting/etc that we managed to achieve.
I would love to see someone like lrtward help a new group get started!
I'm not sure if they have a group or not, but I know at least two hardcore translators, Reequeen, and Luscinda. These individuals have extremely high Tier levels in French, and I'm 100% sure they know more people who are committed to learning and quality.
I think Revdolphin is/was very interested in learning Spanish seriously, and translated an English blog into Spanish.
There is another group - actually the first, and probably the most influential one. They call themselves "Immersion Community Guidelines", but maybe they would better call themselves the "Guidelines Community" - which would win my endorsement, for what it's worth..
Immersion Community guidelines isn't a translation group. They are simply guidelines created and endorsed by a group of people. It is just the name that became problematic to some. In hindsight maybe I should have selected a different one, since it is rather similar to Duolingo's "Community Guidelines". But the problem is that a lot of people already refer to it as the ICG.
If it was a group it would be simple to ask the group members to vote for a name change.
P.S.I think we've gone far off-topic. This is meant to be a discussion about the Mar plateado group.
I'm willing to delete all my posts here if the OP prefers it that way to keep it on topic, and reduce the clutter.
It is every bit as much a translation group as Mar Plateado is.
I finally understand, you see it as a group that took automatic ownership of all documents in immersion. I wasn't even aware that the ICG was really that popular.
Anyway, I see the ICG as a reference document that any group can use or adapt/customize to their needs. That's why I said it is not a group. It lacks any formal structure or any leadership, and I wouldn't even be able to label any team members. In fact, I'm the only person who's ever made any changes to it, although some people have always approved such changes.
I do however support the idea of many different groups with different goals in immersion.
It is every bit as much a translation group as Mar Plateado is. One difference is that the entire body of uploaded documents has been adopted by ICG, rather than a targeted list, and its interest in controlling those documents is permanent. Furthermore, ICG has lofty good intentions, which have helped it to gain supporters; and with their help and by some technical superiority, it has been masterfully organized and promoted. Its influence is felt everywhere, now.
However, Mar Plateado is every bit as much the Immersion Standards Community, as ICG is - it's targeted list is merely smaller. And, its interest in maintaining dominance over an article is short-lived, until retired by the sponsor. Some members may have a permanent interest in tracking the future of the article after goals have been achieved, but that is designedly not the case for the group.
I am quite willing also, Dessamator, to have this discussion deleted under your initial one. However, it is not off-topic. I want to see thousands of these groups. I want to see entire infra-structures arising through civil discourse.
And by the way, if excitement for this opportunity begins to rise, I hope to see interest decline in coercive ambitions over Duolingo or "the Community", to make this or that the permanent way that things are done for everybody (which could very well cause the end of all the freedom for you or for me or for anybody yet to come, to come up with better ideas than ICG, Mar Plateado, or Verdiepingshoekje )
Formality is a very difficult thing to accomplish in this environment. But we can come very close: as ICG has proven. In fact, I really doubt that the original idea for this group would have formed as early as it did without ICG having formed first.
I would like to see ICG (IGC) re-brand itself and keep antennae out for how the standard is being used. I would like to see it adopted voluntarily and expressly, and then withdrawn voluntarily and expressly. I would like to see certain provisions removed - (radically) narrowing the scope of the main body of Guidelines. And, I would like to see that same group offer other subordinate guidelines, which likewise can be temporarily adopted and removed at various stages in the course of a translation's evolution.
Kidding aside, I really hope there is no such top down development until the concept is much more thoroughly developed. There is so much more to experiment with, thanks to the present openness.
You could easy reach any tier without being part of a group. Tier 10 is only 1,000 up votes at 90% positive. There are loads of ways to do that.
I made edits to reflect the use of "IN-PROGRESS" to replace "OPEN (needs translation" and "READY" to replace "OPEN (needs review)".
Ok--I'm attempting to move the conversation about potential changes to group policy over here, as Joan will have quite enough to scroll through with just posts about articles.
Mark: I'm unclear about whether your frustration is only with the Immersion environment as a whole, or also with how our group has been operating. I feel like this group really has been working as a team and that we've been respectful to each other and to those we encounter in the articles, and that we do "act like [we] want to learn the language." If I'm wrong about that, perhaps you could cite some examples?
Here's how I see it: In our discussion threads the extent of your interaction has been to request that we add an article and everything else has been to suggest how the group or an individual can change to suit you. Context matters. If you're wondering why some feathers seem ruffled....from what I can see, you're approaching our group, which already provides some respite from the Immersion wilderness, as something in dire need of improvement even before you really give it try.
My apologies if I'm missing some context (have you been interacting with others in the group in article comments or discussion tabs?).
I think he's just trying to contribute, but that's easier to do when people have already worked with you on a doc or two. Four or five of us have worked fairly closely for months now, so we've built a lot of mututal trust. Any changes we propose are received as constructive because we expect to live with what we suggest. From an outsider, proposals for change always sound like criticisms.
I would like to see Mark sponsor a document or two. When I get back to Seattle, I'd be very happy to review his work. (As, I think, the rest of us would be.) I gather that he's in a bit of a quandry because, on the one hand, he doesn't like downvoting or reporting for abuse as a matter of principle, but, on the other hand, he's suffered a lot from other people's bad behavior. I can help with that, since I don't have his scruples. :-)
Here's a thought; what if we agreed to let the sponsor control the rules of engagement for a particular document? If he wants collaborators to follow a particular policy for downvotes in that document then we'd either agree or else avoid the document. Obviously if the sponsor is not the owner of the doc, there is potential for conflict, but, again, those negotiations should be the sponsor's responsibility; he/she speaks for us all on that one document. Then it's not very different from, say, when Aurelia says "use British spellings and date formats."
The idea of a sponsor controlling the rules for a document is a good one.
If Duolingo supported it, the owner of the document (i.e. the one who submitted it) would be able to assign one or more moderators, with all the authority that that implies (e.g. they could ban trolls, leeches, and mules). The moderators would have the responsibility for managing the complete translation of the document. That would replace the notion of sponsor.
I could imagine a notion of document moderator reputation which would become the most significant score anyone might have, based both on feedback from translators and from document owners (aka customers).
Duolingo does support it, by not prohibiting it. However, the key to acceptance by other users would be to concentrate this sort of activity, and to make it temporary. The group needs to withdraw interest in the document's future after its goals have been met, thereupon lifting the more restrictive requirements and giving the result back to the "Community". That final step, I call "Feeding the homeless".
Alternatively, make the document private and await its permanent deletion by the Duoletion bot.
What I'm talking about is an approach that we can create using the tools given to us now. What I'm speaking of is how things are - which isn't so bad, really, unless I thought it was something different.
It is not the "cleanest" approach. I'm sure it would be a great job, designing the tidiest scenario for building Duolingo's society, and letting you live in my little world, like a SIM, keeping you satisfied with Lingots and Tiers, feeding you with top-level sentence versions to keep your interest alive.
Or, the virtual worlds are yet capable of being wholly subject to all of us real people, to create and to destroy without harm or offense to anyone: in the interest of real world achievements. We are at the brink of deciding which we would rather have.
I think a cleaner solution is just to support multiple views of the document. You should be able to ignore someone and not see any of their edits for that document. For you, it would be as if they weren't there.
When a team works together on a document, they would share a common view of it--only their moderator could ignore someone. When they're ready to mark the document done, their view would ignore all future changes by anyone.
By the same token, if a team is working on a document and they're stomping on your edits (because they can't see them) then you could ignore the whole team.
Again, I would expect this to be strictly per-document. Anyone so bad that you want to ignore them on all documents is someone you should report for abuse. Besides, today's lousy translator may learn to do better over time.
I think it's clear why feathers are ruffled, when words like "dire need of improvement" are imported into comments that say something quite different.
Your group looks like a nice idea - I certainly like the goals. I've followed it from the beginning as I said, and whether you know or not, I've worked with the group many times.
Anyway, the context you're looking for does not need to be in comments and discussion tabs to be understandable, in my opinion. To open a conversation would be rather difficult, on those terms, I think. But as a matter of fact I have tried a few times to talk with some of you (including you, if you remember) about my difficulties in understanding the structure you've adopted. I understand it better now, and I see its advantages for your purposes.
Clearly, we're on a different track. That should be fine with everybody. It is with me.