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"My answer should not be accepted"

Picking this up from the middle of another discussion.

While it's annoying to be marked wrong for a simple typo in an English answer (my favourite is being wrong for typing "Normal" in mistake for "Norman"), the opposite situation is potentially more serious in real terms. I have noticed that quite a lot of the time I was getting away with absolute howlers which were simply flagged as typos.

Often, and I mean a lot, I would type "Tha" when I should have typed either "Bha" or Cha". I think I would have benefited from being marked wrong and made to do it again and get it right, but that didn't happen. Hence I am still not paying proper attention to this.

That's just one example, there are others. Missing an h in a word that should be lenited is also usually forgiven, even if that might be the actual point of the question. I also notice quite evident mistakes in spelling again being dismissed as typos.

The report feature has a checkbox for "My answer should not be accepted" and I have used it a couple of times today. I don't want to annoy or overload the mods though, and I would welcome some advice about this. If we see an obvious wrong answer being flagged as a mere typo, do you want us to report it or not?

February 3, 2020



Unfortunately, the course contributors can't control what is and isn't marked as a typo, that's done by an algorithm. So when it's marked as a typo, unless it's actually the correct answer and the answer given is the one with a typo, reporting that it shouldn't be accepted doesn't really help with anything, since the only people who see it are those who can't do anything about it. It's different when a wrong answer is marked as completely correct, of course.


Oh well, if it's not going to do any good I won't report these incidents then. I thought perhaps the existence of that particular report function meant that it was possible for contributors to go in and manually bar certain howlers from being accepted as typos. If you can't do anything about it though, I guess that's that.

As a general point, I'm not clear what's to be gained in letting through anything with an error in the lenguage being learned. It's different in the student's own language, where the odd letter error is indeed likely to be a typo, but it's strange for a language course to let through any mis-spellings in the language that is being learned.

If it's Duolingo's decision then obviously you can't change it, but it seems a very strange decision overall.


Unfortunately not, we wish we could!

A lot of people complain about Memrise not recognising typos, so there's people who prefer it both ways, probably mostly because there are a lot of things that are just typos (eg. informatoin instead of information) and they're very easy to make, especially on phones. Also, the determination of what's a typo is done by language, rather than course (it makes a lot more sense to use the same thing for English for all the many courses that use it, for example), and that language could be either the source language or the target language.

Personally I wish Duo were strict about capitalisation, punctuation, and spelling, with exceptions defined by the contributors, but I'm afraid that's probably never going to happen.


I have the same "problem" in other languages. I'd be happy if there was a button, where we could choose that we want to mark our answer as wrong, so it will be repeated at the end of a lesson. I don't know if that's difficult to implement, and I don't know if contributors can suggest such things to the deciding staff. But I wanted to mention it, just in case.....


I suspect that's not very feasible, at least right now, but it would be nice! This is an issue most of the courses have, for any language that isn't one of the "in-house" languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese) which have better handling of this kind of thing (and many other things too).


Regarding the "in house" languages, I see what you mean. I've started the German course (which is ridiculously easy) and I just carelessly typed "einem" instead of "einen" (which is probably slighly less dire a mistake than "tha" for "bha" but it's in the same ballpark) and promptly (and justly) got marked wrong for it.

Oh, I do wish the Gaelic course was like that.


Just a thought, if anyone is still reading this. I wonder how feasible it is to give individual users the ability simply to swich off the "typo" free passes entirely? I'd put up with being dinged for the odd fat-finger moment in an English answer to have my Gaelic answers marked strictly. Is there any place where I could make this suggestion?

The more I revise the more I realise this is a real problem for me. I simply don't take on board that I've made a really basic error when the software doesn't force me to go back and do it again.


I'm pretty sure the suggestion has been made before, if you do a quick search on the General Duolingo forum you may find a discussion where you can vote and comment to voice your support of the idea. If you don't find something, go ahead and make a post in that forum suggesting it.

I doubt it will happen anytime soon, but it's good for staff to know there's interest in it. :)


OK, will do. Thanks.


Well, what is can't be helped. I do wish it wouldn't accept Tha for Bha or Cha because it isn't forcing me to get the right tense. Or the missing h in the vocative and so on. Yes I can see it when it marks the typo, but it doesn't force me to do it again and get it right, which would be a big help actually.

But I'll just have to be more careful. I mainly wanted to know whether you wanted us to report these occurrences or not, and the answer is obviously not if you can't do anything about it.


I don't really know where to post about this. I reported an answer of mine as "should not be accepted", which had a typo in it. However it wasn't the typo I was referring to.

I carelessly typed "Cò as a tha thu, a thidseir?" (mis-spelling "thidseir" but let's ignore that). I think that shouldn't have been accepted because you wouldn't be addressing your teacher as "thu", and indeed the correct answer as seen at the top of the comments page was "Cò as a tha sibh, a thidseir?"

Unfortunately there's no way to clarify a report.

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