Does Duolingo pay to Contributors?
Hi All, I have a question, does Duolingo pay to the Contributors for their contributions in their respective languages? Or is this considered as a voluntary act?
A voluntary act. Contributors aren't paid, neither are moderators. The only ones who are paid are the employees of Duolingo - the admins.
The other people who are looking to be paid are the venture capitalists, who provided venture capital. They are expecting 10x to 100x payouts on the money they put in after the IPO takes place. Which is why we are seeing the heavy push towards 'monetization' of duolingo (advertisements, hidden tracking, fees to regain your streak, etc). So we have very well paid duolingo staff and very richly rewarded venture capitalists profiting off the work of voluntary contributors and people who freely donate money to duolingo (subscribers) with zero financial return. Ask yourself who is being exploited in this scenario.
what comes to mind here are the founder's recent interviews touting "ai" as the means of customizing, maybe even developing, the course content.
ai that puts together courses is worth a lot more (or is less of a liability) than a bunch of unpaid volunteers doing work that would otherwise require qualified employees or contractors.
Yes, it's quite clear they're moving away from volunteer created courses. Looks to me like they now plan to create courses that tie in with existing pedagogical programs such as those from Pearson, who they have entered into a partnership with. I suspect that's why the volunteer created 3rd edition of the French tree was unceremoniously dumped and replaced with a new, in-house developed tree that doesn't seem very popular (going on forum feedback). Must have been a very disappointing experience for the volunteer French team who put years into the creation and refinement of that tree.
We should have been demanding that all volunteer created courses be released under a Creative Commons license so that the work done could be kept in the public domain after Duolingo decided to move on. The same with all user-sourced improvements to, and variations of, sentence translations.
Don't forget all the hard work users have put in reporting all those errors and shortcomings that have helped get the material up to scratch and make the platform a viably marketable commodity... and they say it's FREE?!
BTW, DL did bring an outside company during the development of the new material last year, and probably to make the platform appear more attractive/professional to the venturists. It did keep work to keep subscribers onboard, but it was hardly complete and the poor volunteer contributors will be cleaning up that material for years to come.
BTW, DL did bring an outside company during the development of the new material last year, and probably to make the platform appear more attractive/professional to the venturists.
I hadn't heard of this. What was the name of the company?
I don't know. But the last I heard from contributors here, the volunteers were locked out of the new material unable to add user suggestions or make corrections for quite some time after the launch. Judging by the stream of emails I'm now receiving, I guess that access has now been reinstated.
I believe anomalousjack is referring to the partnership with Pearson, which I mentioned above. Here is the forum thread with the announcement of the partnership and a lot of comments expressing frustration and disappointment from course contributors:
(See particularly the comment from German course contributor Christian).
I wasn't referring to Pearson, at least not as I understood it. I knew of Pearson's involvement and the frustration it caused. However, I was under the impression that DL got in a different organisation to develop the new material. The volunteers spoke of an outside source, but didn't suggest that it was Pearson so I presumed general users are using different material to the Pearson material. l may well be wrong on that. This related specifically to the Spanish courses.
As that post states:
For everyone else, the Duolingo experience is unaffected.
Though I think they had some issues at first. Regarding contributor frustration, I think a better post is Interference from the Pearson course by the same German course contributor.
It sounds like they were originally told there would be some overlap, but then the CEO responded that they'd fix it completely:
This is due to a bug that will be fixed soon! Sorry about this.
How is it exploitation?
Voluntary contributors don't HAVE to contribute, they aren't being coerced into it as far as I can tell, and they aren't being lied to about the prospect of future payment.
If Duolingo has built an exciting platform that people are willing to contribute to for free, Duolingo is hardly exploiting them.