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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adam452065

Why an XP Limit on testing out is a bad idea.

So, for those of you completely unaware, Duolingo has made the change that if you test out of a language, you get at most 20 exp rather than the 10 exp per lesson you tested out of as you would normally get 10 exp per lesson if you had done them individually.

Below I will list why this change is terrible and why the developers should change it back immediately.

  1. No one wants to sit through 100 additional lessons to get through one basic piece that only teaches you the same 5 words: This causes me to want to step away rather than "grinding" through useless lessons that teach me nothing.

  2. It destroys the "fluency" of learning the language: From an English speaker, it takes 150 hours to learn Esperanto, 480 hours to learn Spanish, 720 hours to learn Russian and so on. The problem with this new change is that now you are LIMITED to have to pretty much go one by one at a constant rate for all languages the adds to the hour when you're stuck doing the long basic lessons. I'll give you an example.

In Esperanto it's not going to take you 100 lessons to learn basic words because the language is easy and only needs 150 hours and in Russian, you go at your own pace to match the 720 hours needed. Unfortunately, if you are forced to do the lessons one at a time to eventually max out the experience of the language to 30,000 EXP it's going to take you an average of one hour a day for 600 days for ALL languages. Doesn't matter the ease or complexity, now you're stuck learning an easy language for two years if you stick here. Time to find a new website.

  1. It demotivates you from doing anything on this website anymore: The fun of this website was making this feel like a game and now it feels cheap. You mean to tell me that a person who practices the same 5 words gets more experience than someone who tests out of a whole lesson and learns at a much faster rate because they study and put time into it and actively engage and pay attention? Are you trying to promote a mindless droning of clicking and repeating on this site? Now people with millions of EXP will always be at the top and now people working hard are put lower than those mindlessly clicking. Good job, now I want to move to a different website.

  2. It destroys the community: I started one of the most popular Esperanto clubs on the mobile for this site and everyone loves to compare experience, love to test out to jump ahead and it pushes everyone. Now you expect us to see a 100 exp difference and try to get ahead when we all go at the same rate regardless of how well we know and learn the material? What's the point of the club? What's the point of talking to other people and pushing each other if it's all at the same rate? What's the challenge? Seems pointless to me and it seems pointless to all the other club members as well. We would have a much better time just chatting in an Esperanto server on Discord than on here.

  3. Prevents new learners: good luck new learners wishing to get ahead and max out a language. You know that language you should pick up in a few months? Yeah? Try a few years now when you're here. Doesn't matter who you talk with, doesn't matter how many friends you have to push yourself, doesn't matter how hard you try. To max out that skill tree, get access to learn new words and to learn new phrases and contexts is going to take years now.

If I don't see this going back then I don't think I'm going to be sticking around. Seems like this site is content with running away anyone new, punishing the veterans and running itself straight into the ground with the way they've handled past updates.

March 5, 2019

57 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

Prevents new learners: good luck new learners wishing to get ahead and max out a language.

That is a very interesting point.


Duolingo should allow skills to be completed in whatever order the user wants.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jamcjon

Part of the fun of this whole thing is competition. The more I compete, the more I learn in tandem. Also, as soon as I grasp the vocabulary and grammar rules a particular lesson is teaching, I want to be able to test out of it and move on to the next thing. It allows me to move at a pace that's truly my own without having to grind through the same tired lessons AND get proper credit for doing so.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alec851453

Exactly. Do the sections, study the tiny cards, read the supporting material and search the web until I get comfortable with the material in the unit. This includes learning the exceptions, the weird conjugations and various related nuance. Then if I'm lucky I was allowed to reward my self with a big XP boost.

This is soooooooooo disappointing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fedes16

Another point I'd add is that if it rewards testing out, it encourages learning from other sources.

Let's say you are both taking a regular course in real life, and using Duolingo. With what you learn in your course, you'll likely find much of Duolingo boring and redundant. Same goes for using a self study book, following video/audio lessons, etc.

This change rewards people that stick to this single resource, but doing that hurts the user. Dumb move if you ask me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Treyc7777

I completely agree. I've lost my motivation to test out.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DoctorDadd

I would advise boycotting Duolingo until this changes. Switch your daily maximum to only 10 points, do your perfunctory 10 minutes here, and then use Mondly or any of the other dozens of fun language apps out there, until Duolingo changes its policy.

This used to be the best site/app for language learning. I used to feel motivated to log in every morning and do my lessons. The ability to move ahead quickly was great motivation to come back every day. Now, this is just boring, and I feel like I've somehow been punished for having language skills.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ciliolindemberg

I feel the same thing, DoctorDadd; it's like being punished for having language skills. =\


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brittney179140

yup i just switched to casual for now


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devoln

As I know, it was done to prevent people from cheating on Leaderboard.

So, let's find another way to cheat! Not because we are cheaters, but just to show to developers that their methods don't work. Cheaters will always find a way to cheat. It is not a reason to punish normal users!

I have an idea how to get thousands of XP per hour without doing anything related to studying languages :-) I didn't try it yet, but I don't see any reason why it couldn't work.

I'm going to try this idea when I have more time, maybe next week. But I still hope that developers change their mind before I begin.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DTSFF
  • 1574

Has Duolingo made an official statement that it was done to prevent cheating ? I haven’t heard of cheating on leaderboards. Testing out because you don’t want to redo the same lessons many times is not cheating

I like testing out after reaching level 2 in a skill, this is really a demotivating change for me too !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grumpy700875

Even if they made, it wouldn't convince me, coming from a website, that makes streaks of 1.5 years and more disappear and then offers users to buy them back for - as officially admitted - financial reasons.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/15214047

As the optimistic dreamer I am I still hope it's just another bug and will be fixed. If you test out and keep your XP of the day and compare with your data record it will show that they have the right amount XP in your record.

Check your https://drive-thru.duolingo.com/

They'll tell you it might take 30 days to get the data but I got them about 2 hours later. You find the XP you should have in the Inventory file of your download.

You just got to stop gaining more XP after claiming the drive through of your data.

The bad internet experienced realist in me tells me it#s again just another step down from idealism to greed. This new setting is harvesting way more clicks and data which makes it utterly interesting for DL - well, at least until the day when the users had it and run.

Correction: Sorry, I gave a wrong link. Check your https://drive-thru.duolingo.com/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachyderm

Boosting this. I absolutely agree with the points made by Adam


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/splittongue

Bye bye Plus. Not anymore... With the risk of losing my 1118 days streak...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saalee04

100% agree. My fiancée would test out like mad to catch up to my XP, and I started testing out like mad to keep him at bay. I did multiple lessons to finish a section to earn the 50 gems for getting to the next level (which meant seeing multiple ads), and tolerated watching even more stupid ads to accumulate extra gems I needed to test out. Now we have both drastically reduced our use of Duo—he’s switched to Mango and I use Memrise more. I do the bare minimum in Duo to maintain my 800-plus day streak. I went from sitting through 5-6 ads a day in Duo to just one. I hope Duo is experiencing a huge loss in ad revenue now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MorganR2D2

I 100% second this. If anything I think the option to earn that massive amount of XP is one of the things that makes the app so fun. It's supposed to be a challenge that reaps real reward, because they are challenging. If anything make the tests more challenging, don't limit the XP!!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebotante

I can not reach the level I really have. Dou is boring now, if I need to repeat the same basic lesson 40 times...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CobaltOakTree

But, looking at it from Duolingo's perspective, those are 40 chances to click on an ad instead of just one!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Calvados17

You can just use adblock and that will be better!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NochAmLeben

That's the way to go! If duolingo is going to be so mean and stubborn, I just installed adblock. Might as well make duolingo a paid service. They ruined it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimothyAWiseman

Duolingo both needs and deserves support. If you want to avoid ads it is best to pay for Plus which removes them. Otherwise the ads are a truly tiny price to pay for the benefit duo supplies.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grumpy700875

Hi Wiseman, can't click any answer button to your later post, so I answer here.

As a wise man you know, that there is no thing like free service, if you get it for free, you become the product. To anwer your questions, please follow the bigger discussions about XP-Cap and also Luis van Ahn's postings in the discussions about lost streak, there are some great comments to be found to that issue. I am a bit under time pressure but will post the links to them if I find them back.

Update: found them

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/15214047

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/15196374

About the figures and DL being free I suggest to have a look here

https://www.inc.com/leigh-buchanan/duolingo-700-million-language-learning-startup-pittsburgh-2018-surge-cities.html

and here

https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/duolingo-gets-users-to-translate-buzzfeed-articles

Your argument That the service is free and anybody is free to leave DL when they are bothered by ads clashes with DL's claim, that DL strives to give free language education to everybody and worldwide.

People in underdeveloped countries or people in any country with income below the poverty line, who might need such service most, can't afford a paying service. They also can't afford large data traffic, caused by constantly having to load site content like ads, with every task and sentence in a lesson. This approach becomes elitaire and quite ignorant when it comes from a website with DL's claims and promises. Talking about fairness towards some leaderboard gamers and kids or offering Iphone users to buy lost streaks (and thus piles of lingots) back with dollars in order to hook users up to DL or forcing them with XP-cap to dig through every single lesson is just not honest or fair but plays the users for suckers. How the whole issue is communicated to the users - which is simply NOT is also not worthy for an enterprise, that whines about the high daily costs in order to get in the "daily cost for keeping up the site".

Do the math, daily 42k and a 2018 revenue of 40 million seems not to be the sign that we deal with Starvin Marvin.

I really liked DL and spent hours daily on the site. But I also like black sun dried olives, just only as long untill somebody comes and shoves them down my throat - with the pits.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grumpy700875

Looking at the figures, I doubt that DL really needs that support. But I have absolutely no doubt that DL would have gotten that support if they had communicate their intentions honest and straight.

By not doing so they shot into their own knee cap (pun intended).

What they implemented and the way they did it has nothing to do with fair business. It's the modern form of gold digging.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimothyAWiseman

Which figures are you looking at? And in what way have they failed to communications honestly?

Duo provides a valuable service which any user is free to stop using at any time. I think ads are a tiny price to pay for what they provide. For people who truly hate ads, there is a simple, if somewhat expensive, option to avoid them by pay for Plus.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/86M9cHre

Even if you pay you still have the same XP cap on testing out. It is not a solution to that problem unfortunately.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grumpy700875

I don't use the app, but i understand, that the ads pop up on every question, in a way that you have to click them away, means they at least are marked as seen. So it are not just chances, but you really click on them, all be it in order to get rid of them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew769921

I started using duolingo to learn Welsh.I then decided to better my German.When aked if i was a beginner i typed no.I have German.Not perfect as my wife tells me often enough.I found doing the courses one at a time very boring so i tested out.I made go progress.I still make mistakes but im learning from them.It was fun too.Now only recieving 20 xp points is really bad.Having knowledge of a language isnt cheating is it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/86M9cHre

To me Level shows a users Language Level (hence the name). If you can test out then you have demonstrated just that. Test out cap is only done because of the silly leaderboards. Much better to disqualify those who test out from these Boards. I have stoped Learning several Languages because of this change. I'm starting to lose hope that DL will listen


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MCroisant

From a language teacher's perspective: if you're actually looking to acquire the language (meaning you can use it rather than you know about it), the repetition itself is necessary. This change makes XP a mark of time spent with the language, which is ultimately going to be a better indicator of ability. Getting the answers right on a single test doesn't represent the same amount of learning as actually "grinding" the [x] separate repetitions to reach the next level, which is why it shouldn't yield the same XP.

If you're looking to compete on quantity of XP but feel like you're done with the unit, you can always test out and move on to the next one. Or you can practice, which integrates all of the units you've unlocked (and so requires you to recall from a broader set of material).

And I assume (but don't know) that having unlocked higher levels on a skill would result in more difficult questions showing up in practice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ursulias

@MCroisant: Having unlocked higher levels will give you the same questions as you have already answered on the lower levels. There is hardly any rise in difficulty - maybe more typing keyboard, less word bank. When you are done with level 1 - you can check that on duome.eu - you have had all vocabulary available on that skill. Before the crowns were introduced, you could repeat the unit in a skill that you wanted to, or you could use the practice button, which had a decay and individual mistake-rate function and only showed words and sentences that you either didn't practice in a long time or often had mistakes in. I found that very helpful. DL's aim now is no more the optimization of learning, but the maximization of profit. A change in philosophy.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alec851453

I've been ambivalent about all the other changes DL has made over the two years I've been here. This is the first one that's really pissed me off. I can't think of one good reason for doing this outside of being mean.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CobaltOakTree

Just a theory, but it could be that it means more clicks, more ads, more money for Luis and his employees.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grumpy700875

That's not a theory, it is a fact and not just more clicks, also more more time on the pages, more data and more ads popping up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bebatjof

I don't agree. The xp system for me is about how much you practice. So if you know something already, you practice less and you get less xp. If you get so much xp for testing out without practicing, I think THAT was unfair. People with less language knowledge are practicing very hard, to be surpassed by someone who tests out? Why is that fair? I thought that it is beautiful that Duo would encourage practice, not knowledge. Everyone who practices a lot, gets rewarded. If you had the privilege of a good education, you shouldn't get a headstart on Duolingo as well. You do a placement test, and test out of skills, but in the end, only your amount of effort counts, not your previous knowledge.

I do agree that the change is not fair. But I think the new system is more fair than the old system.

In short: yes, if you practice more, you get more practice points. If you test out, you get faster crowns and lingots.

I would like to hear what you think of this opinion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NKN.

bro insane isn't enough, i get like at least 250 everyday


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/montraydavis

I agree with every single point you have mentioned here.

I've been using Dou for years on and off. Mostly off because they're always introducing some new counter-intuitive feature which takes the fun out of Duolingo, and making me feel like I am taking another college course.

More specifically, I really agree with point 1.

I wonder what awesome feature Duolingo will take away from us next (and replace with someone horrible).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shabby762169

Everyone can see the top spot in all league is battled out by people grinding the same levels over and over again mindlessly to get points - a simple check of their crowns will reveal they've been on the same crowns for ages. I think this puts people on a level playing field, and actually encourages those who've been grinding the sane old level to move forward and learn something new.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrahamG1981

I understand the frustration! I miss the easy points awarded for testing out of a skill. My circumstance was that I was creating a new account with a different email and wanted to pick up my language where I'd left off, given I don't know how to transfer languages. Anyway, when I tested out, I received so few points that I was disappointed. I wish it would go back.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NochAmLeben

Completely agree with you. This update is so retarded. I was around level 15 at german on my previous user, because I got XP so fast from testing out. Now I only get 20XP for testing out which is absolute horsesh*t. It takes forever to go through it the regular way, it's super repetitive and tedious. You can earn 150XP+ for grinding through each one, but only 20XP for doing the whole set with less than 4 mistakes? That is so idiotic. Why did they do this? Hope they patch this, duolingo was way better before.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katina004

I'm afraid I don't quite get your point. What's the use of those exp anyway, except keeping up your streak? They say nothing about your skills, do they? Or is there anything else I can do with my exp that I haven't found out about yet?

Still, the problem is an interesting one. Makes me think about the psychology of motivation. Am I rather the "toward" or the "away from" motivation type? "Toward" as in "toward a reward" (exp) or "away from" as in "away from a punishment" (losing my streak). ;))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alec851453

I think you answered your own question. There are people who are motivated by competition and those who are not. Of course it's a spectrum with varying degrees.

This ability to jump forward with single test was a very cool part of the "gamifying" strategy that's made DL so fun (and popular). This action is changing the rules in mid game. Experience point scoring gets used within groups of friends to motivate and energize.

Honestly I'm really surprised how much this move on DLs part bothers me. I really hope they change it back to the way it was.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Randybvain

You miss one point: you can still test out skills and make your tree golden faster. You are simply not rewarded for it the same amount of points as if you went through a tree lesson after lesson.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alec851453

That's true, but that's not the point. That is not why people are upset. Its about getting a big reward for mastering a section early.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/D3XT3RY0NuT

Why do you care so much about that points? If you want to have harder exercises, just test out the levels and go on. Duolingo should implement a system where the crown level is shown next to the XP you have in a language. In this way, it will be quantified two things:

  1. The amount of knowledge you have in that language (crown levels)
  2. The amount of time you have invested into that language (XP levels)

I saw many users crying that they cannot have 20+ languages at level 25. Is this the aim of this site? Shouldn't that level show the months and months a learned studied that language and not a week of testing out? Do we really need to compete each other to show who is "better"? Didn't the old system help the learners who just delete their course and then test out again the same units to climb the leaderboards?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiaLanguages

I don't think that the XP level should show the amount of time invested in a language. Where is the point in that? Given that some people are fast learners and others slow learners, the amount of time spent learning doesn't really tell you much about someone's knowledge in that language.

Since the XP level is kind of the only thing that other people see of you (at least if you only look on Duolingo.com), I think it should try to reflect your command of a language, not how long you have spent learning it.

The new cap on testing out points puts people with previous knowledge of a language or those doing a reverse tree at a disadvantage. If the testing out is capped to 20 XP, it will be impossible for them to reach an XP level that reflects their abilities - unless they want to spend (waste) the time going through all the basic lessons that they have already mastered.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebotante

You have a point Mia. I would not complain if this changes could improve the courses, but it doesn't happen. This is only a way to start another competition, BUT, as you say, you are doomed to repeat the same, if you are interested in levels, that makes Duolingo annoying and boring.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/D3XT3RY0NuT

Remember that Duolingo is just for the beginners. If you already have some knowledge in that language, you should read books, watch TV shows, talk to natives etc.
As I said, the abilities someone has in the language should be reflected in the level of crowns, not in XP.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alec851453

Really, just for beginners? I don't think so. How about all those people who just want to use it as a daily practice to keep their head in the game, for some language they took classes in. I suspect there are lots of reasons people do DL besides beginner learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebotante

A) Where is written that Duo is for beginners??? That is only your perception. B) Duo is since the beginning a social net, that includes game-like resources, that is why lingots, levels and XP points exists, don't come now saying that Duo is just for new learners...

MORE: If this update could work for improve the courses, I would not complain, but it is not the case, and guess what? This update is for start another competition. The fact is they did not calculate the effects on LEVELS, they only saw XP point issues, and they didn't work to fix bugs, instead, they set up a limit, that makes Duo boring for us, who are interested not only in XP but in levels. I can say you, if you don't want to see people who play with Duo, DO that: go to read a book, watch TV, and those stuffs that you said.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/D3XT3RY0NuT

Duolingo can take you until A2 in writing and reading and to A1 for listening and speaking. You might think that this is not for beginners, but trust me, you really need to use other resources at some point in order to achieve greater levels of knowledge in your studied language.
When you will grow up, you will see that levels and XP do not matter so much. All it matters is the knowledge you have acquired using this app.
This is an update that is not absolutely bad or good. I agree with you it does not improve the learning material. Do not forget that there might be millions who dislike this update, but millions who love it. We will see if Duolingo will revert this change. Good luck in your learning journey!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RegeneRegetta

You said levels indicate a person's language influency. Then why can't I see my own levels? Is this feature also turned off?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grumpy700875

Hi, can you see the icons of the flags of the languages you learn? They are right next to your blue username above your comment. The number to the right of each flag shows the level that you reached so far in that language. You also find that feature on your profile page.

The skill levels you can find on the page where you chose the skill you want to learn. It's indicated in the little crown next to each skill's icon. You can master 5 skill levels on each skill. It just never shows the word level, just the number you reached already.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebotante

"Is this the aim of this site?": If it is not the aim of this site, why is it implemented? Duo has been a game-like resource since the beginning, do not tell me that this new rules are for a better learning, it is just to keep a game-like course but it makes the system boring by repeating even 40 times the same lesson and what's new? you receive nothing... Harder excercises? this is a big lie, the excercises are the same, sentences are the same until the gold level in every skill. BTW: Why don't they simple ignore my XP points during a week? why am I not worthy of gaing points for something that I know? Are not they who matters about points? Why don't they implement a better way to delete points when someone reset a tree?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachyderm

Points are an incredibly powerful motivator, and I think the importance of that should not be underestimated. I, for one think it's a total bummer that this change has been made.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AminJK

Duolingo is for those who don't enjoy study from an old-fashioned study method. We need some motivators like a game. A level system is kind of a motivator, especially for the young generation. I played Duo so hard because I wanted to reach Level 25 in every language. You don't understand what Duolingo is. It's not just for learning a language but also enjoying the learning process.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TJTitmus

Food for thought for many including myself, a lingot coming your way.

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