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


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.

July 17, 2019

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.

July 12, 2019

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

July 12, 2019

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.

July 14, 2019


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.

July 14, 2019

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!

July 12, 2019

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.

July 14, 2019
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