https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

Duo, please announce significant updates

Hi Duo,

Around half a year ago my french learning tree changed en mass without prior notice; suddenly I lost a big part of my progress. A week ago the number of lessons per skill on higher levels were reduced without prior notice.

In both cases I was totally surprised and confused. I had to search for an explanation and found it. In the first case it was a major alignment with the CEFR-system described in this blog post: https://making.duolingo.com/how-are-duolingo-courses-evolving. In the second case it was a change described by this forum post: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33937433.

My request: please notify us before any significant changes like the ones described above. I propose that you use a popup in the app to inform about coming changes. Actually you did this when removing the clubs and introducing the leader boards. This was perfect so why don't you use the same system for all changes?

Thanks for an excellent language learning app, I am a big fan!

/Björn

September 17, 2019

32 Comments


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

A simple "What's New!" link at the bottom of the front page shouldn't be that hard for DL to manage.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

Yes, agree, something simple like that, or something that pops up when starting the app.

September 17, 2019

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

Some of us don't use the app, so I want to add my voice to having the same thing on the website for desktop users!

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

Yes, such a mechanism should be implemented in all clients, agree!

September 18, 2019

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

The problem is, Duolingo like to do A/B tests and what may be a huge update for one person may not even be experienced by another person.

I agree it is like cold water in the face when you log in and find major changes.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

Yes, I have been thinking about those A/B tests, and I understand the purpose and that transparency could reveal too much information. Anyway, if you as a user notice a change (which I think most users do) it would be nice to have a place where you could go and get some kind of information. This should be a personal place somewhere in the app where you could read a personal change log (personal since some users get a change while others not due to A/B tests). Duolingo does not have to be super specific about the purpose of the change, but they could at least write the obvious (the visible change to the user). This would save a lot of time for many users and also take a way the need for tons of speculative threads in the forum.

This became a long reply :-) basically what I am trying to say is that users will notice changes and it is better with official information on some basic level than user confusion/frustration.

September 17, 2019

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

A personal change log is a great idea.

September 18, 2019

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

There could be an announcement before the A/B test begins...

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanD18

But then if it was a good/interesting test, people would be disappointed when half of the people or less get it, and the others don’t.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/b05aplmun.ca

And, more to the point, it might bias the results of the test.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

I think that not understanding a change may affect the results as well. In my opinion it's better to tell about the change to avoid confusion. It can be a vague description, something like "Today we are changing the number of lessons per skill to improve the learning results".

September 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giorgio182480

But... in an A/B test, the system necessarily knows which users use which version. It should be very simple to only display update news to users that will get the new version (if you even want to warn in advance; otherwise you simply inform the users that have just now gotten a new version).

September 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

We are on the same page. I totally agree.

September 26, 2019

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

Seems like a reasonable request.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

Björn, good thinking. Have a lingot;-)

September 17, 2019

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

I do not know why you were downvoted. I have upvoted you and given you a lingot.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/miaou-meow

♡ wow! good thinking, totally agree +++

September 17, 2019

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

If we're lucky, they wait until after a change has been made before announcing it. Many times, they don't even make an announcement at all.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gh0stwheel

@Bjrn487481

Hi Björn,
If you follow the following link from your comment:
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33937433
You can see this has been brought to Admin (Duo employee) attention.

That discussion has so many comments that it is hard to search and easy to miss one.
The same please_announce_changes wish was brought up by StevenWath:

I know that you started testing this a while ago because people were posting about it in the forums because they were really confused by the change.

It would be really helpful if you notified people when you were making changes so they don't freak out about it. And I mean notify them promptly instead of waiting a week or two to announce it.

It was answered by HelpfulDuo:
(Admin / employee of Duo)

Thank you for this note, this is something we'll definitely take into account!


Just thought you'd like to know that Duo is now aware of this being an issue.
Will they eventually decide to announce more of the changes in advance?
We can hope.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

@Gh0stwheel

Thanks for the update. Good that others are pushing for this as well. Let's hope that Duo will act on it.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/The9

You are writing like you expect an answer from Duolingo. Forget about it, they never answer users' concerns in the forum.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

Then I hope they at least read it and take the proposal under consideration.

September 17, 2019

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

Luis has explicitly stated that he actively avoids listening to the suggestions on the forum.

I have found that listening to people in the forums is a terrible idea.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290664

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BryanMelvi2

I agree wholeheartedly with this suggestion. Notification of any changes is very important to me.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Penny536559

Agreed - I too have been totally confused by significant changes for which there is absolutely no prior notice. Please can I appeal for advance notice and explanation. Thank you.

September 19, 2019

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

Duo does extensive A/B testing on all changes they make and that does not work with pre-announcing changes.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexios197172

Its taken. a. long time for someone to speak up a about this my φίλος. I hope more people like you say these things. Props to you man. Have a lingo, heck, have them all.

September 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ethan424181

intrested i am new so i did not know that

September 19, 2019

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

I like the work Duolingo is doing. I like changes to not bother me, I was finished the French course new tree came out.... has a lot of work to do again, more work keeps me learning.

September 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bjrn487481

I totally agree, I am a big fan of Duolingo. I also took the changed tree as an opportunity to practice more. Anyway, I would prefer to be informed up front, because then I know and then I can continue without annoying questions.

September 17, 2019

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

I agree, I hate when that happens #firstworldproblems

September 19, 2019

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

I donut agree

September 18, 2019

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