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Social Networks

This is a question specifically aimed at Luis and Kristine, but anyone's welcome to respond.

In regards to Duolingo and social networking, this is a question of company policy- if not principle. The resources available concerning Duolingo as well as what is demonstrated on this side of the fence have made several principles evident:

  1. Learning a language can be made into a competitive team isport.

  2. The eventual profitability of this company is ultimately dependent upon the quality of student divided by the length of training time.

  3. The longevity of the company is based the ability to retain masters- be they internally or externally educated.

Since we are all engaged in the emergent web-sport of Duolingo, we are all a team- which has already formed into a number of smaller teams, and sub-teams, and so on. A lot of these teams use various social networks to communicate to one another- Facebook, phones, and whatnot.

However, this is very limiting for new users- especially those with no friends here. Also, some of us users are older people who don't do all that kind of fancy stuff. They can feel left out- and end up posting stuff on the board with lots of negative votes.

The site/experiment is still new, and is a learning and growing experience for all of us involved- from Luis and Co. to Mr. level one, 'How Did I Land Here from a Google Search'. Therefor I submit that if there is a fundamental company principle that precludes adding private messaging and other such basic Social Networking tools to the site it may be time to reconsider. Developing that aspect of this competitive community would be a tremendous boon to both longevity and profitability.



July 6, 2013



I agree. We'll add the ability to send private messages at some point soon!


I heard rumours the NSA is trying to make the use of quotation marks around the word "private" mandatory...


Excellent! Another aspect would be 'private channels'- a channel that a 'team leader' can create and add team members to. It would broadcast only to that specific team. This can be further expanded into team links and competitive inter-team translating events.



I don't know how this would be implemented, but I love the idea of teams. It makes me think of Luis' TED talk where he was asking "how do you get 100 million people to translate the web". I think you have to have accountability and oversight, and that can be a process. The most experienced translators would be at the top and the least experienced at the bottom, with a hierarchical tree-like structure. Every "branch" is accountable to it's "sub-branch", and as long as the branches are learning something from their superiors, you can keep it "free" or at least very low cost. I think Duolingo has made a great curriculum, but it needs teachers...perhaps tutors...or team leaders?


My sentiments exactly, k3nd0. There is already a 'team system' in place through the following/friending aspects of the program. It has it's limitations but the principle is still the same. As more depth, channels and methods of communication are added- along with moderation and admin- more opportunities for team growth are reached. For example, tenured translators might be able to establish their own sub-board without being actual moderators... perhaps as a reward for getting gold owls in two languages or more or something like that. These team leaders could then begin to build a competitive team to kick the brass booty out of any team that thinks they can translate Immersion faster or better. This type of iteam communication is very common in MUD's and Forums and is actually quite easy to manage from an admin or mod perspective, who become more like referees- putting the brackets together. I've played MUDs where even the contests and bracket management is completely automated- no constant supervision required. I dunno how that would be programmed here but since I've seen it done elsewhere I'll presume that it is at least possible.



What if you had a team of novice translators working on a document. They complete their translation and then it passes to a more experienced team who reads the original and the translation and then makes revisions as necessary. The revised draft is sent back to the team that translated it (with explanations for revisions so they learn!) and to another team to proof and/or make revisions. The process repeats itself until no revisions are made and the document is considered properly translated. This implementation could be completely automated based on people's achievements with the learning software. You wouldn't even need teams per se, it would be more like a web than a pyramid. Certain people would be able to choose from certain documents based on their level of understanding of that language.


It has been a year. When will private messages be added?


I'm gonna make it my goal to pass you, Theognome.


I only get one or two lessons a day (except Sundays and holidays, when I might have more time) so you should be able to reach your goal... if you persist.



What about forming a team with others by sending a request to their e-mail, and have a weekly, monthly, and yearly tournament, that awards trophies for the champs. Making it a goal to knock of the champs would be fun

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