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

"Duolingo rarely informs users of changes, they have to discover them for themselves" TRUE OR FALSE?

That's not my quote but something I pulled from a message of a veteran user trying to answer another user's question. I've also seen similar quotes in threads about leagues, XP's, the number of lessons being decreased, along with a whole host of other topics.

For an organization in the business of language and communication, DL certainly seems to keep many of its users in the dark about how things work around here. Maybe management does it deliberately to create mystery and generate excitement? Who knows?

I'd suggest a "What's New!" button displayed somewhere on the page, as well as a "Change History" along the bottom. It might cut down on some of the confusion as well as many of the repetitive posts.

August 31, 2019

39 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwbrand1

Duolingo makes extensive use of A/B testing, so not everyone gets the same changes at the same time. In addition, if the users were notified of their particular A/B trial, it could alter the way they use Duolingo.

I'm not a big fan of constantly being used as a Duolingo Guinea Pig, but I believe it's one of the reasons Duolingo still provides a non-paid version of their product. By being a so-called "Free" app, Duolingo does not have the same accountability to their customer base for adding/removing new features and publishing a public set of release notes. This provides them the freedom to pretty much do whatever they want.

Duolingo makes it's profits by displaying ads to their customers for as long as they can. To that end, the A/B tests help the Duolingo designers to develop the features that motivate people to remain on the website and display as many ads as possible without driving them away. I found the following article very helpful in my understanding of why Duolingo does what it does:
https://econsultancy.com/six-a-b-tests-used-by-duolingo-to-tap-into-habit-forming-behaviour/

The article is a bit dated, but the general concepts still apply.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan139433

MWB: Thanks for the article. I bookmarked it to save it as a reminder of Duo's approach. Job 1 is keeping users on the site. That probably means that Duo is concluding that leagues are successful, given number of users racking up many thousands of points. Clubs had minimal engagement and were more bother than they were worth with trolls, privacy issues, and stalking of children. Job 2 is quality of language learning. That's a secondary goal. So always analyze any A/B test as an experiment to see how this change will increase or maintain traffic.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Biocin1

I wonder if I got ANY CREDIT for the three months I spent memorizing words on Tiny Card???

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katja-z

As long as you learned something there really is no need to worry about any credit, stars, crowns, streaks or anything similar.

The same way that all the credit, streaks, crowns and so on, are absolutely irrelevant if someone does not actually learn and retain the information.

I would just concentrate on the learning part. :)

September 1, 2019

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

Then use something that works better. E.g. Immersion, youtube videos-- the only reason we're here is the gamification.

September 2, 2019

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

Great explanation! Thanks. Upvote for you!

August 31, 2019

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

It would certainly cut down on repetitive posts. Often when something new is implemented there's a flood of new posts asking what's going on.

August 31, 2019

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

I think that by ignoring its users and keeping them in the dark, Duolingo is making itself increasingly vulnerable to competitors and fostering ill will among current and former users. Eventually another competitor will appear, maybe even a non-profit, that is free and listens to its users and Duolingo may become the Myspace of language learning sites.

August 31, 2019

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

I noticed people in the past saying they would leave Duolingo, but I would see them post later on in the future (I won't name names, but yes, I definitely recognize them from their harsh/disgruntled posts).

The thing is, Duolingo is hard to beat since it's free, so even if people hate it, they seem to almost always come back. Also, even if it's not the best, it still works, as I still know a lot more than I did before Duolingo. And what you said about a competitor to Duolingo, I don't see one coming anytime soon with similar features for free, so Duolingo is still a great choice for many.

August 31, 2019

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

i still use myspace, what happened to myspace? :D

August 31, 2019

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

It used to be the largest social network site in the web and in 2006 was the most visited website in the U.S. Now it is ranked 4,841 by total web traffick and 1,657 in the U.S.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myspace

August 31, 2019

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

it was a joke joyce

August 31, 2019

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

Someone is being disingenuous. That smiley face (the “:D”) wasn’t there when I wrote my reply. There was no way to tell you were joking.

September 1, 2019

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

I really hate it when people edit things and don't say they've edited them-- I want one of those "(edited)" things like on yt or other social media so people can't do this. It's one thing if it's a grammar thing, but changing something to make it look like the other person's being stupid is really harmful and straight up 1984. I wrote a whole post on this but it got downvoted into oblivion.

EDIT: (SEE HOW EASY THAT WOULD BE anyways,) I'm not intending to imply that merkavar was intending to make you look dumb, I just know lots of times when people have edited or deleted their posts to make me look like the bad guy.

September 2, 2019

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

and listens to its users

why do you think it doesnt listen?

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LICA98

well almost everybody hates health but instead of removing it they're spreading it to android as well

August 31, 2019

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

Holy crap man! How do you keep up with all those languages!?

August 31, 2019

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

why do you think it doesnt listen?

Because of this interview with founder Luis von Ahn called “Why This Founder Says the Worst Advice He Ever Got Was to Listen to His Users”: https://www.entrepreneur.com/amphtml/290664

We have a forum on our website where people can talk about language, but they often ask about features. I have found that listening to people in the forums is a terrible idea.

August 31, 2019

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

I think some people in the thread may be mixing two separate issues: (1) keeping users informed, and (2) responding to user feedback. This post was about the first -- keeping users informed, especially about changes and how things work.

As far as the quote above, I read the entire article. DL does pay attention to users. However, what users DO is more important to them than what users SAY. It's an organization driven almost entirely by metrics.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwbrand1

However, what users DO is more important to them than what users SAY. It's an organization driven almost entirely by metrics.

Well said. That sums it up rather nicely.

August 31, 2019

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

That article from my understanding shows that they do listen.

They just don't listen to the vocal minority that complain about every change or lack of change on duolingo.

They listen to the metrics and data gathered from ALL users.

Which I for one am glad they do. You can't make changes to an app based on the posts of 20 people when there are 20 million users who mostly don't use the forums.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mz147

The A/B testing are all about seeing "who stays more on Duolingo". They collect data about using the app from all users and see colletively how the change is doing.

BUT, they don't measure "better language learning experience", just 'time'. So let's make exercises easier, because that makes more people stay on the app. No matter if they are learning better or not...

September 3, 2019

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

This is 100% true. I would love a "what's new" button, and DEFINITELY change history.

Duolingo also needs to warn its users in advance when features are going to be removed. The only time that this has ever happened was the removal of clubs. Leaderboards were presented as an improvement, when in reality they serve no purpose whatsoever.

August 31, 2019

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

"an organization in the business of language and communication"

An organization that empowers anonymous downvoters to hide student's work. This says it all.

August 31, 2019

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

I like surprises but Duolingo should make these updates known to others. I was upset over the amount of lessons being changed.

August 31, 2019

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

I think this is mostly true. I've been on this website since 2013.

New languages - usually reported by a random user, THEN a stickied Duolingo post hours later.

New features on mobile apps - almost always reported through random users, not staff members. Leagues, New league levels, and cracked skills were always addressed by members recently.

The last time I can remember a feature being announced before a user found out about it was Tinycards and Stories, or I might be misremembering.

September 1, 2019

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

I look at it like surprise gifts.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RelakS2

I don't like such surprises when it turns out, Duolingo did not save my progress...

August 31, 2019

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

that also happened to me before, so frustrating, but DL is free so I guess we should just appreciate the "free but bumpy highway" LOL

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan139433

Surprise gift. Like the proverbial coal in your sock at Christmas.

August 31, 2019

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

I mean, sure, if it's the thought that counts lol

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DouglasHuf1

Please reinstate levels. I don't know how I am progressing!

September 2, 2019

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

True.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/charlyfarly3

I would love a 'what's new' post, i'm always interested in what new things there are available/changed and if i'm not told about them I may not even find out about them.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ry-Ry07

yea the people at duolingo never infrorm us of changes

September 2, 2019

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

very true

September 2, 2019

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

Agree!

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jonas-_

True true

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gyeol11

whooo

September 2, 2019
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