https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

An enquiry about the motivational messages on the app (and now the website).

This is not a post insulting the motivational messages. However, it may appear that way, but I in no way am deliberately trying to moan to Duolingo about them.

For some context, I have just read a post that asked if it was possible to switch off the motivational messages in the app. This reminded me that, of the many people who I have happened to discuss them with, I have never found someone who particularly appreciates them. Another point for clarification is that these are not a new feature- I have only recently remembered them since I strongly prefer the website, which doesn’t have them. I didn’t use the website at the time they were added, so I don’t know how many people expressed opinions for or against them at the time.

If you have not used the app, in almost every lesson or practice session there may be an instance of Duo popping up to say something like “Well done! You answered five questions correct in a row!”, whilst waving, smiling and jumping up and down. This is perfectly fine, and may encourage users. However, the odd part is how on making several mistakes in a row Duo will say something like “Don’t worry! Mistakes help you learn!”, whilst the same graphics of waving/ smiling/ jumping are shown. To be honest, I find this rather patronising, and I know that I am not the only one. An older relative of mine who was encouraged to use Duolingo asked me as to why they had been added, and a Club member told me that they made him swear at his pet and want to throw his device across the room.

However, as I said at the start, this is not meant to be a criticism post. What I want to know is the following: do you, or any users you know, specifically like this? If so, then I don’t mind, if anything it is helpful to know that Duolingo pays attention to a subsection of users. If not, it would seem like a rather peculiar idea that they should be included in the first place- it isn’t like Duolingo even benefit themselves significantly from them, as they aren’t exactly advertising space.

Note: If you are one of the various people who associate me with being one of the ‘complainers’ in the forum, please just comment what I am saying unclearly, and I can easily change it, rather then simply downvoting my post off the forum.

EDIT: Oh no, they’ve added them to the website, which is why the person I referenced earlier complained. I avoid the app for the partial reason that I am paranoid about making mistakes and getting one of those messages. I have changed my mind- I am actually now going to moan about this to Duolingo, so sorry to anyone who thought I was going to try to restrain my vexation. If anyone reading this is an official Duolingo representative, please could you explain why the change was implemented?

July 9, 2019

48 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/woa7dSD5

With you, I don't want to be a complainer; but I find them extremely annoying. It's fine if people like them, but I don't, and would like to know if there's a way to turn them off/block them.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/The_Ruiner

I don't care about being a complainer. I hate them and want to turn them off.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ThinkingThoughts

The setting to do that is available in the app, although not on the website, as far as I'm aware.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

Good honesty!

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jairapetyan

They neither bother me nor motivate me. I think it would be great if they were in the target language, and I agree that there should be a setting to be able to turn them off. Perhaps a setting to have them appear in your target language too, one that you pay for in lingots! Although they are "cute," I basically think they are a waste of money. Some engineer(s) got paid to create them. In general, I have to admit that I don't like the newest re-design, it makes it look like DL is catering to toddlers. Even though the gaming aspect is intrinsic, DL really caters to mature users.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/aplaice

The "motivational" messages have started appearing to me on the web version since, I think, yesterday. For example,

"Congrats! You're working hard and learning new words!"

Unfortunately, I don't find them motivational. They're mildly annoying and concentration/immersion-breaking.

If they had been in the target learning language (or in both languages), they might have been nice, if silly, gimmicks. However, even then an option to disable them would have been useful.

There's already the unnecessary message that you've won x bonus points, after each lesson...

(For the record, I think that Duo the owl is, in general, cute, but it's easy to overuse it (is Duo an it?).)

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruby360784

I would like them better if they were in the target language :-3

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveDubin

And I'd gladly pay lingots to customize them, and dress Duo in a blue and white plaid sport coat. "Mi loĝas en kamioneto apud la rivero!"

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells

I like them! Actually I don't really read them, I just think the animation is cute. It breaks of the monotomy, especially since there as no more illustrations above the sentences anymore. What would be nice if they were in target language perhaps (also if duo had more outfits)

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

Thank you for correcting me in thinking that people who appreciate them did not exist. I agree with your suggestions.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells

That said, I could do without guilt trip duo everytime I (intentionally) miss my streak.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

Me too! All of my apps, games, learning and otherwise, guilt trip me all the time lol.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruby360784

YES! PLEASE BRING BACK OUTFITS!!

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Little_Tatws

I think that it would be good to have the option to turn them off because not everyone appreciates them. I personally enjoy them because I love how adorable the little Duo animations are and it gives me a moment to breath and appreciate the encouragement. Despite my personal feelings, I can understand why someone would find them annoying or patronising.

Now, I'm not an official Duolingo representative, but my guess is that they've been brought to the web version for uniformity across the platforms? Duolingo tends to test things out on the app and then determine whether or not they want to remove a feature or add it to the web depending on reception.

On another note, I'd love it if I could have the option to get vaguely threatening motivational messages. I think this is because I love the memes about the notifications people apparently get when they break their streaks.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jamie574779

About your idea.. (vaguely threating motivational messages), that should be an option to turn on/off in the settings, otherwise, they could possibly scare young kids. Either way, I imagine some protective parents would be annoyed lol.

Some ideas:

  • You can do it! ... you wish
  • Almost there! Haha no.
  • Another mistake, no biggie!
  • You're doing well. no
July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Little_Tatws

That's why I'm thinking you could choose cheery, threatening, or off altogether.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

Threatening messages? Aha! Duolingo Push!

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Pamela909830

I don't want vaguely threatening messages either. I don't want a computer program trying to make me uncomfortable. LOL

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ThinkingThoughts

The option to turn them off is already available on the app, although not on the website.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/hanspersson

What is dislike the most with the (de)motivators is that they introduce a randomness in getting to the next question. Normally it's answer RET RET answer RET RET, then suddenly there's Duo needing an extra RET. Put the message on the same page as the response to the previous question and I'll be happy.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/zeta0134

I could agree with this. On the web version especially, there's screen real estate for Duo to pop up with his message and still be well out of the way of the UI for the next question. It's the interruption that bugs me most.

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

On a similar note, could Duolingo remove the “Look-forward-to-Game-of-Thrones-returning-learn-High-Valyrian” messages? I don’t watch the programme, but I am quite sure that the series/ season has finished.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gh0stwheel

[EN] Maybe they're trying to encourage the author to finish the books...
[IT] Forse cercano di incoraggiare l'autore a finire i libri

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Songve

Where are these messages on the website? Are they supposed to be on all languages? I would not prefer them if I saw them. I have trouble enough going through lessons with the mistake bar on top to determine how many extra XP's I get or don't get after a lesson.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

They pop up during lessons.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/alpha3099

As someone that has used the app almost exclusively, I think they have always been there for me. Or it seems like they have. They pop up twice a lesson, and maybe a third if I all of a sudden mentally cannot do anything right. It pops up, I don't bother reading it, just tap the screen and move on. I don't think I have actually taken in any information from them at all. The only one I can even think of right now says something about 10 in a row right. The rest, I couldn't even tell you what they even say, and I have seen it a few thousand times. Just white noise like the ads, only quicker to get rid of.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Brandy.N.Duenas

Thats how i feel. I dont even think about them

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Chickenator1944

They don't motivate me, but it is funny to see Duo jumping up and down. That usually makes me smile.

I guess diffrent people have diffrent reactions to the motivational messages. I don't think this is that big of a deal though.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jamie574779

I think they're just there to encourage learners who have only just begun learning a language because it's always tough from the beginning. I don't mind them, but sometimes it can become a bit irratating and it is quite odd how the messages still show up after you get a few mistakes in a row. There should be an option to turn them off in settings. MissSpells also mentioned how the illustrations are gone, I hope they come back because they were nice but I mean, no biggie.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/NameyMcNam

Not that an option to turn them off would be bad, but I really like the messages... The owl is cute, and overall they give the app a positive vibe. I even appreciate the "mistakes help you learn" message... I've tried a bunch of other language apps and IMO the biggest benefit of Duolingo, and why it's been the only one I could stick with, is that it doesn't penalize mistakes and doesn't feel like taking an exam. So that message is on point.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GeneralDis1

I just saw them on the web site. I'm not a big fan. It knocked me right out of my zone as I was moving along.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/dlhgl

I don't use the app anymore because it doesn't work on my current phone, but as long as I used the app there was a setting to turn off the motivational messages.

Hopefully Duolingo will add such a setting to the web version, soon.

I am not able to do the normal lessons with these "motivational interruptions", so in the meantime my workaround is:

  • Do timed practice instead of the normal lessons (hopefully the motivational messages will not appear there as it wouldn't make any sense to interrupt a timed practice)
  • Use other resources to continue to learn the languages
July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/E-chan.

I'm using the website and the app. I've seen them on the app a long time ago and immediately switched them off. Now they've appeared on the web as well. The only difference is that I can't find the way to switch them off here which brought me to this topic. So here is my experience with this "motivational" messages:
- they're annoying. They don't motivate me in any way. I'm not 5 years old. They irritate me.
- they're very distracting. Every time this thing appears in the middle of the lesson I start making a lot of mistakes.
- they're time-consuming because they slow me down a lot.
- the only thing they motivate me to do is to switch from the web to the app. Honestly. The website is the way better than the app, but at least nothing distracts me there.

I really hope somebody from the developers will read this comment because it's an honest opinion. Please let us turn them off!

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Pamela909830

I use the computer, not my phone. July 10, 2019 those weird green owls suddenly started praising me for 5 in a row. It is totally unnecessary. It feels like a child's computer game instead of serious study. Please make a way to turn them off.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiyomice

I like them. I find them cute. I know Duolingo isn't real, but I like to imagine that he is, and it's somewhat comforting having this little owl who is encouraging you alone the way.

However, knowing that some people do not like these messages, I do think there should be an option to disable them.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KinnonM

Those messages should appear on the corner as a part of the next question/slide. They shouldn't have their own dedicated slide. I think that's the best compromise in this situation.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Linda7Italian

I'm all for the motivational messages, they're fun and give you time to take a breath. It is rather sad to be paranoid about making a mistake and seeing one of the messages, they're totally harmless, like the owl. Better to just concentrate on the learning, perhaps.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

Yes, it is just odd that they include (as I perceive them) demotivational messages disguised as supportative messages when laughing about your failure. After all, how often would it be seen as helpful in real life if you were asked a question, got it wrong, and everyone smiled and said ‘Mistakes help you learn!’? Perhaps that might seem pleasant, but it verges on being patronising.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Linda7Italian

But this is not face to face real life, and the messages are there as an attempt to appeal to all ages, from kiddies to biggies. I never read them, just move on. It's really not too much to worry about considering all that Duo gives you.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ben429172

They are silly yes, and don’t actually motivate me but the Duo character is fun and it’s nice to have him jump in every once in a while. It’s really just harmless fun, as I see it.

July 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TARDISTalk

I interpret it being slightly patronizing, but that only makes it funny to me. I suspect it's good encouragement for younger learners, especially those who may take the game too seriously and think of wrong answers as "losing". These messages are friendly reminders that dedication pays off and even incorrect answers are part of the learning process.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/belstar128

Well i don't really notice them they are gone in less than a second.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/yuuago

The pictures/animations are cute, but the actual messages are a little bit annoying.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ThinkingThoughts

I enjoy the messages, and the one you get when you mess up too many times in a row just helps motivate me, but I can see how it could be considered patronizing. Maybe a different animation would help? You can turn the messages off in settings, though, if you don't like them.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/A_Sesquipedalian

I have checked in settings and cannot find that option. Please explain further.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ThinkingThoughts

I just checked again, and it appears the option is only available in the app, not on the website. It's under the "General" category and labeled, "motivational messages".

July 11, 2019
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