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Karma points replacing translations?

Alright, I'm a little confused - I've been working on translations quite a bit and enjoying it greatly. I've been trying to be competitive, yet accurate, and climb to the top of my little group of those members who I follow...and now suddenly it's all switched to the number of 'Karma points' I've received.

So, in essence I am now ranked not according to my own personal progress in my language of study, but according to how others like the questions I've asked, or insights I've posted, or how many times my translations have been ranked as 'Good'.

I really don't like this system for one big reason: A friend of mine who joined later than myself, has done 52 translations and only used Duolingo for the span of less than a week has almost twice the Karma points I do.

This is not an accurate system of monitoring your own language-training progress on this website.

This is my opinion - feel free to help me improve my Karma :/

July 25, 2012



I'm guessing the karma addition is an attempt to help develop community interaction. Anyway, that aside I'm finding the 'karma face' really creepy. I'm sure it won't be long until its viridian visage turns up in my dreams murmuring menacing-sounding French which however much I struggle to discern the meaning I can never quite...


Thanks for these comments. We're actually just testing the idea of karma points (so not every user is seeing them). What we want to achieve with them is encourage people to do good things on the site. Our feeling is that "sentences translated" is more a reflection of quantity than quality.


Yay! +1 florala, I'm not alone here - let me help out your Karma...and then together we'll rise to the top! In all honesty I just didn't see what was 'broken' about the old system that had to be 'fixed' - why not just add the Karma points instead of replacing the old system. Perhaps the logic path was - "We had two before, how on earth can we add a third without making the site look ungainly? I know, delete the old one!" I could see the two systems operating in conjunction with one another, let's say that you only receive a point for the translation once somebody else approves of it - but I honestly don't think this approach of receiving countless numbers of +1s for a small amount of effort will engage learners to do a large number of translations, and isn't that the end goal of this venture? Oh well, we'll see if this turns around in the next little while. I don't mean to harp on about it, but I honestly dropped from 2nd/18 to 10th/18 on my list. Dagnabbit!


@Gigbrinus Yes, this thread has been heard loud and clear :) Later today we're actually going to start testing this only with new users (and all of you will go back to having "sentences translated").


I agree i really liked the way it was before...


for me Karma points are pointless, however do we use duolingo for increasing our skill in languages or just for points? i guess for the first reason


@szarlataneria - I agree with you of course, however you have to ask yourself then why go through the trouble of 'Gamifying' (talk about ungainly) a website in this way. Also, Duolingo is meant to crowd-source large numbers of translations in order to provide excellent translated documents in many languages. The act of adding the point system should inspire members to help them in this process, so therefore the old system makes a bit more sense to display to the end user, they can keep the Karma to themselves in order to establish which translations are best for the document in question. Again my $0.02 CAD.


I don't really get it. And why do they make changes like this without at least posting about it in their blog?

Now you can no longer down vote questions/insights, so things can't have a negative value.

I think the number of translations was an interesting number to see. Karma points are the same across all languages? Doesn't make sense.

Also agree, the face is weird. Plus calling it "karma" is clearly a rip-off of reddit.

@OskaLingo: yeah I realized after posting this that I actually have a lot of karma points. I'm not necessarily against the system, I just have no idea what it is. I'm assuming it's just based on the upvotes you receive. I'm not even sure how I got so many upvotes, but it largely has to do with how many translations you do. I've done a fair amount of translations in every language available. However, a lot of my translations are just short one word sentences (or sentences that don't require translation), as opposed to full sentences. Yet, it seems the same weight is given to both. There isn't a huge points difference between translating more complicated sentences, and presumably one up-vote is one karma point, regardless of the complexity of the translation.


Only problem I have is I have no idea how these karma points are calculated.


I agree. This seems like a pointless, confusing, and irritating change.


@Luis, I understand entirely, but user feedback should motivate behavior, and I don't think anyone learning a language would intentionally create poor translations, so the best thing to do is to inspire activity, is it not? In addition, as has been spoken of in past posts, poor translators may 'upvote' translations similar to their own. Perhaps the upvoting should only be able to take place once a minimum threshold of translations have been met...possibly then the option should only be available to those who meet a minimum 80% agreement. As a member, I can only say that this new system does not inspire me to work on translations - but simply to go through my lessons. I understand the need for quality, and please let us know what this new model bears out. I certainly hope it guides user behavior in the way you suppose!


Quantity is also significant. I'd also like to regain the option to downvote poor or misleading answers, even if you don't want to give negative karma.


Finally, I think there are problems with the algorithm. I've posted details in the other Karma thread. http://duolingo.com/#/comment/34495


Additionally, the karma points will make users not want to translate new articles, which won't generate as much karma as the popular articles everybody translates and rates.


Heh, +1 to you OskaLingo, I feel the same way - it leaves you with only a foreboding feeling. It's both the eyes and the smile - they're certainly too close together, but also both very...um...joyless I suppose (particularly in the smaller icon which appears below our account images in these thread responses). I agree that the community building aspect is good, but I think it could be 'in addition to', instead of replacing the old puzzle piece translation count we all enjoyed. Oh well... @Shim - Well you're certainly killing it, Karma point-wise. I agree, the first thing I did was check the blog for some reasoning...to no avail. Gone are the days of voting down nonsense posts I guess :)


It seems odd to me that I may get karma points for writing this sentence here, in English, without any attempt to think in or about another language. And I think the scary karma face should be changed to an owl face.


I don't see why there can't be both.


Oh, so these karma points are new? I'd only done a few translations since joining the site a week ago and figured when I saw karma points tonight that I had crossed some sort of threshold. Translation points are now gone? Well, I hadn't seen enough of them to know if their loss matters, I suppose.


@Shim - actually you have more karma than Luis - I follow you both and you are at the top of the list :) And if we're going to get into a patent dispute on 'giving website users happy feeling by giving them karma points' then the prior art goes back to Slashdot in 1997, way before reddit. (Of course, software patents are harmful and idiotic so this is just academic.) Yes, I agree that translation work seems to contribute strongly to one's karma score. I imagine they won't make the actual formula public to prevent people gaming it (and also so they can adjust it from time to time). Finally, with simple one word translations I made the decision to skip over them early on. You don't have to do every translation task on the page.


Previously, the points were given for working hard, but they did not take into consideration the quality of translation. So here the new karma is better. But now it takes into consideration the networking effort as well and this could easily eclipse the contribution of the quality of translation.

Cheers, Karma for Everyone!


I agree with em11. If that is the case, then why use 'karma points' across the board? Just leave it for the translations, because if not, everything just gets mixed up and it doesn't really show how accurate someones translations are.


Looks like they restored the number of translations to it's original place. But I think Karma points still exists.

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