True Confessions from someone who's OCD

Okay, this will be a little weird but I truly wanted to share this experience just in case anyone else could relate.

I feel like I'm in one of those anonymous meetings (not that I have ever been to one LOL) where you begin by saying "Hi, I'm _ and I'm a _" and everyone responds, "Hi _"

Then you go on to share what you battle or success is. Well here goes, "Hi, I'm perfectenglish and I'm OCD" (everyone goes, "Hi, PE") I then continue....

I started using Duolingo back in Feb of this year. I have earned and lost streaks but recently I was on a nearly 80 day streak when disaster hit. I have struggled with the fact that Duo introduced the "leagues" and I have hated them from day one. They were/are a constant source of distraction for me and began to derail my learning as I was only trying now not to get demoted instead of learning language.

I pushed for a few weeks and managed to get into the Ruby league and there I sat. I had finally come up with a workable solution where I could start my learning again and not be bothered by the leagues when leagues appeared. Suddenly I was overwhelmed because just when I had found a solution, now a new issue to contend with appeared.

I began to use my streak freeze option, (how else can you use up useless lingots?)...and at the same time I could finally earn the big spender badge..okay win-win. So I started to do that but then miscalculated and somehow lost my nearly 80 day streak. Oh, I nearly forgot I had also stumbled upon a new plan.

In the past I would jump into a league when the first day hit. Remember I was keeping my streak going...but when I lost my streak I discovered that if you wait, you get placed in a less active league and have a better chance of moving up. I was hit once again with the "compete in the league" drive which I had just overcome. Somehow in all this madness I lost sight of why I had come to Duo in the first learn language not compete in useless leagues.

Just the other morning I woke up and realized, I needed to do two things, first I needed to get back to my original plan of learning and forget about the stupid leagues. This would be hard because the stupid league box is right there...and even though someone has posted a "fix" for it I'm not sure I can do it. (I'm really not a computer person), second, I needed to admit I am really more OCD than I ever thought and maybe I should deal with that issue, however, Duo is not the place for OCD fact it may be just the opposite and stressing me more. (Duo management people can't you just give us a simple OPT OUT feature...hmmmm?)

I desire to go back to a time before leagues when my focus was doing about 80 xps a day (more or less) and I was doing practice and learning a new lesson. I would do a new lesson in Chinese, then do my English-Chinese tree, and I had even added Russian. I would do about 4 to 8 lessons total in a day and that was plenty. I was learning at a steady doable pace for me. However, once the leagues began and once I got to became all consuming just staying out of the demotion pit of hell. (I'm not even sure what happens there and I really don't want to find out). I lost track of learning and just did repeated practice lessons to stay afloat. I was no longer having fun or even making progress.

To conclude...I am now at a zero streak. I have not done a lesson in over 5 days and this week I have not even joined a league and plan to maybe forego it. I am making a choice today to either give up and try to ignore the league box on my screen (if that is even possible for me), struggle to try to figure out the fix that was posted, or leave Duo for good...I really don't know about the last choice.

I share this for anyone else who is OCD and bothered by the league plague. For some people here this may read like the rantings of a lunatic...but for those who can relate then you understand my situation. I want to learn, I am trying to deal with the distraction that is derailing my learning. I struggle with it. I am being very (as we say in the anonymous world..) transparent. I expect some not to understand this, but for the rest...take heart you are not alone. I plan to make a choice today as to what to do. Part of me is pushing to just go back to my old learning strategy, part of me wants to quit. I am not sure which part will win out.

Thanks for listening... (then everyone in the group says, "Thank you PE for sharing")

September 7, 2019


Hello, remember that you have given yourself a more difficult task than other English-speakers on Duolingo who are primarily learning languages that are more related to English than either Chinese or Russian. On the Clozemaster site, for example, any English speaker can easily guess certain correct answers written in related languages, but no one who only knows English alone could just guess the meanings of most Chinese or Russian sentences. You are also memorizing rules for Russian cases that don't exist in English and that apply differently to different parts of speech and genders.

Next, many of the most popular language trees were restructured, causing learners' crown levels to go back down. There are new grammar tips in different orders than before, with new sentences to read, and opportunities to work back to advanced topics. These learners love languages just like you, but they will be flying fast (with easy low-crown "click a choice" answers) compared to someone going through the whole Chinese or Russian tree for the first time.

The easiest thing to achieve here on Duolingo would be to study a little bit per day and get your streak growing back, if you would like, but it would be best to not compete for XP or crowns with other people who aren't studying what you are -- whether or not you can see League data. And even if they were studying the same languages, what if they had the advantage of prior knowledge of a related language or just have more free time than you do?

Good luck with your studies, PE, wherever you learn. Maybe someday you'll even give yourself a chance to relax by changing your name from Perfect to something easier to reach every day, like Joyful English, but either way, please stay in touch, if you would like, with the Discussion community using whatever account name you would like as a public posting one. Thank you for your story. I would like to hear from you again.

September 8, 2019

Dear 2Learn... name is the company I work for...I'm far from perfect...LOL I once lived in Kazakhstan so I know some Russian and just want to try not to lose it. The Chinese is because I live in China (12 years and finally I'm trying to learn some of the language). I know both are difficult but I didn't pick them for that reason. I had a plan in place but the leagues completely derailed it. I am still thinking about what to do. Thanks for you kind words.

September 8, 2019

It is very impressive to hear that you have actually lived and still live somewhere where they speak a different language than you! That shows so much courage, determination, and confidence to move somewhere and live daily in a place with another culture and language!

September 8, 2019

Dear 2 Learning...

It really didn't take much was a job and I am a teacher. I didn't plan to be in China for 12 years...actually it was only going to be 1 year, but then 1 became 2 and 2 became 3 and so on. Now I feel like this is home. While I don't really speak Chinese, I do manage and having Duo was a good thing until the leagues and then chaos. I hope maybe this week I can come back and just do my learning again and not be bothered. I have considered doing my own patch that covers the space where the leagues are on my screen...LOL I get distracted easily...and I am still trying to see if I can figure out that other fix that was suggested. I learned today that if you don't practice or participate in a league (which means you aren't even learning) you can stay put in the league you're in...but that's not a solution. I just wish we could have a way to OPT out and just focus on learning like when I first began here. Some people are good at ignoring stuff but I get too easily distracted that's just a part of my OCD problem. I am an order freak..LOL I can laugh at myself...but it's very hard to have this problem sometimes. Thanks for the kind words once again.

September 9, 2019

I do not have like real OCD, but those leagues drive me crazy too. Like I have to go on another level instead of taking it at my own pace. I wish so much that there were an option to quit leagues. Learning is not a competition, why make it so?

September 8, 2019

Dear Anarore:

Thank you for understanding...

September 8, 2019

Anarore_Kriptih - There are options to avoid the leagues. Check out my post at or go directly to Algarve11's original post at

September 9, 2019

Dear PerfectEng,

Please consider reading my post at or go directly to Algarve11's original post at

I think you might find something useful to combat the problem of the league plague.

September 9, 2019

PerfectEnglish - Please do not quit. I along with many others understand the need for a peaceful learning routine free from distraction. You might be able to have this in Duolingo if you check out the posts at the links I sent in a previous reply. Please try one of the three options before deciding what your next step should be.

September 9, 2019

Dear Msanjose:

I have seen your post which is what prompted me to write my own. I am really not a computer person so I am not sure if I have to "block" a feature if it will be easy or if I will make it worse. I am still unsure but will decide very soon. Thanks so much for your concern.

September 9, 2019

PE - I understand. However, you don't need to be a computer person as Algarve wrote the instructions well. Try the first option that he gave. That is the simplest option.

I wish you luck in whatever decision you make, but I encourage you to try something before you quit. Don't let the leagues take this learning opportunity away from you without trying to fight back.

September 9, 2019
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