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

Can you restrict your posts in 'sentences' to actual questions? Please.

Is there any chance that learners could restrict their comments on the sentences to actual questions? Ones where they want help or don't understand something.

It's not that I want to come across as any kind of a nag but there are a few people on these forums who come here regularly in order to try to help out new learners and to answer questions In the sentences section. I am not an expert but I can answer basic questions from true beginners so the real experts on this forum can concentrate on the tricky stuff, however 75% of my efforts to help out are a total waste of my time. Why? Because there is no easy way to tell whether a post on a given sentence is a question or merely a meaningless comment or little joke as opposed to a genuine request for assistance in understanding which means we have to spend time opening every single new comment – approximately 80% of the time there is no question to be answered, however it still takes up what time we have available to help out and so lots of actual questions languish for a long time not being answered.

There is also no way of marking whether a question has been looked at by a more experienced person, and so the next helper who comes along will have to open the same comment, notice that it's not something that anyone needs actual assistance with, close it and move on. My guess is that that same futile and useless activity can take place seven or eight times.

I tried down voting comments that went to non-questions as a way to signal to the other more experienced people that they did not need to bother looking at that comment but people decided that was somehow 'rude' and immediately upvoted them, putting things right back where they were. Once you've done three or four hours of this you soon decide that it's not worth the time and effort involved and don't bother anymore. And I think that's a pity since helping each other out is what esperanto is all about.

Anyway – end of minor complaint and over to the other learners to work out how to make the most of what is probably one of the most helpful and responsive language forums on duolingo.

I hope raising this issue as a potential problem does not result in a sudden rush of juvenile silly comments designed to exacerbate things... if it does I appologise to the other people on this forum who try to help out but it was either just quietly leave again to focus 100% on my own learning, leaving all the questions for other people to answer, or try and address the issue so that people really trying to learn the language could get what they need to improve their understanding, when they need it, not weeks or months later.

Ĝis poste!

July 12, 2019

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicolasGat19

Well, I respectfully disagree. It is fun to read a joke while learning Esperanto and working on the sentences. That's also the entertaining part. People seem to like it, as the upvotes for the first comment of this post show :): https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27526923 Now, I get the point from your post, so maybe a middle ground would be an additional feature in the "comment" box, to allow users to flag their comments as questions, so we can have both the fun and the serious questions.


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

I respectfully suggest that you answer your own d@mn questions then, if you have trouble learning. It doesn't make sense that you can simultaneously get the point and disagree. This "additional feature" doesn't exist.


https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28512022?comment_id=34065570


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicolasGat19

You are right, it does not as of today, but it could be developed in the future by Duolingo. I have read the community guidelines, they do not prohibit such posts. Well actually it depends on what you put behind the word “irrelevant”. Oh and yes, thanks for your answer in this post!


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

I have read the community guidelines, they do not prohibit such posts.

Nor do they require people like ionasky to answer learners' questions. She even said please.


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

Sorry if any of the unhelpful comments were mine. If I come across them again, I might delete them to help this cause, because it is more important than smartassery. Thank you, helpers!


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

Deleting the comments now doesn't help.

  • To Ionasky's point, the thread will still be there and the helpers will still have to click on it to see that your comment has been deleted.
  • To my own point elsewhere in this thread, I've already received the notification email and I still have to sort through that folder.

Edit: A plausible counter-argument (raised by Rafa) is that "funny" comments invite additional funny comments. For my part, I still feel like I'd rather see the comment than click around wondering why Duolingo isn't showing me all the comments (as often happens.) As with so many things - Your Mileage May Vary.


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

Ionasky,

Thank you so much for this post. I hope a few people will catch on and see that it's important not to clutter the forum with "cute" responses - and that doing so not only makes it harder for others to learn, but makes it harder for others to help.

there are a few people on these forums who come here regularly in order to try to help out new learners and to answer questions In the sentences section

A big THANK YOU to the helpers. I still find questions that have been waiting a month or more for an answer - but a lot less than there used to be, and that's because of people like you who know what they're doing - and can answer questions clearly - and know when they don't know the answer as well. I am very glad you are here.

I tried down voting comments that went to non-questions as a way to signal to the other more experienced people that they did not need to bother looking at that comment

I notice a lot of threads get voted down and I do vote them back up to zero because it seems to me that there's nothing wrong with the thread - just with individual comments in the thread. I also - when I have time - go in and "follow" all threads - even the ones with "cute" comments, because we never know when someone new will come along and ask a question in a new thread.

I have the same problem multiplied by 100 or 1000. I have literally hundreds of unopened notifications right now and by the time I'm done opening them to see if they contain a legitimate question, I don't have time to actually answer the questions... so the whole problem of "cute" or "funny" comments is compounded in other sections as well.

Personal side note: I have written some blog posts with detailed (and hopefully clear) answers to the common questions I see on this forum. Some learners have taken to complaining about or downvoting the links. If you don't think a link-answer is helpful, don't click on it. Maybe someone else will come along. Furthermore, if someone in an answer isn't clear or doesn't make sense to you - ask a question before downvoting it.


Edit: Additional thought here:

Because there is no easy way to tell whether a post on a given sentence is a question or merely a meaningless comment or little joke as opposed to a genuine request for assistance in understanding which means we have to spend time opening every single new comment

I would put comments about why their answer was actually right in the "meaningless comment" category. None of us were there watching what you did. Basically nobody (especially percentage-wise) reading the comment has any power to change the course. That's what the "report a problem" button is for. If you've reported it, that's enough. Anything else just generates clutter.


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

I posted a related thread today... and while it received several lingots, it's at 6 downvotes (net) at this time. People apparently don't like being reminded to stay on topic.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/34719105


But of course, the following thread is a "sticky" in the main forum and basically says the same thing that Ionasky says above. The sentence tabs are for asking and answering questions about sentences.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/12159900


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

It would also be ok, to find a witty remark here and there. What, I wonder, might those Esperanto kongresoj look like?


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

The trouble is that not everybody is as funny as they think they are. Chances are pretty good - dear reader - that you are one of them. Even funny jokes get old . I mean if I have to read "I am not feeling well Mr Stark" on the Esperanto forum one more time! It's just not as clever as people think.


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

Indeed love a good joke in the right place and witty bantering is a source of constant delight ...but the people making them are rarely the ones spending hours a week trawling through them trying to find the ones where some poor new learner has not understood a less than obvious use of the accusative or something and actually needs some help.

As for kongresoj... i'll let you know in 2021 if i manage to get to the one in Dublin. ;-).... ( or maybe Belfast... Somewhere on the Emerald Isle anyway) lol.


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

If you're going to write off-topic comments, at least put them in Esperanto. It's good writing practice for you, and good reading practice for other learners.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dalingo8

That is a good idea, but what about those who don't know their learning language that much so they could write it, but have a good pun/joke on the topic?


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

This hadn't occurred to me before reading this post. I know I've been guilty of the cute comment sin more than once. Now I know better. Apologies.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jorge.R.Nogueras

That is a really good point. The time people can devote to help others with their questions is limited, and it is frustrating to have to go through several new threads that do not have actual questions (or have unclear questions). It would improve everyone's experience if the forums were a place for asking questions related to a specific sentence, where future learners can go to see useful discussions that will help them, too.

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