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Reporting sentences in courses


I'm a native Czech speaker and I've been trying to help improve the Czech course here on Duolingo since it has been released on beta one or two months ago.

I have to say that the course has made an amazing progress over these two months and I really like the direction it is heading. There are less sentences to report, mostly it is the alternative translations that are missing. The contributors have made an amazing job and I can feel everyday, that the course is getting better and better.

However, the thing that worries me a bit is the fact, that I cannot report sentences effectively. And hence I'm writing here. I believe that it is a problem not only for Czech course, but for all the other courses as well.

Let me give you some examples.

1) I enter a translation (a sentence), that the system does not know yet and it is marked red as a mistake. I hit report button and 6 options to report appear. In this situation I'm usually able to tick the one box that I want to report. Awesome! :)

2) Unfortunately, when I have a multiple choice question, I have to translate a single word, I make a typo, etc.; the ammount of options I can report is hugely limited. Why is that? I want all available "report" options for all sentences. Not always is a typo a typo and still it does not let me report. For example English "they" can translate in Czech as "oni", "ony", "ona" (depending on a gender).

3) For single word translations, the discussion is completely missing, so there's no way we can report a single issue there. I can usually report audio or describe my problem (2 options). But I won't report audio, if I was about to report alternative translation, it would make no sense.

4) The option "describe a problem in your own words" would be perfect in this situation, but it does not work. Actually, it never works.

5) If I report a sentence and a translation is accepted, I get a notification. But if I report and nothing happens, I have no idea if an alternative translation was rejected or if it is still awaiting decision. If it is rejected, I'd love to know that, so I can come back and ask in the discussion why it was rejected (if I did not do it yet).

I'm sorry, it is a bit long, but thank you all for reading and giving your thoughts about this. :)

I'd also like to point out that I'm really grateful for all the work everyone does for Duolingo and I appreciate it a lot! I do not want this post to be negative in any way, I'm just trying to give suggestions for improvement.

Best wishes,

December 15, 2014



I can't comment on your own language but my experience with Italian and German is that the reports are read and changes made if you are correct but, you get no feedback from the reports, only from feedback you send via support. They can both take a long time, which I imagine is just pressure of work on the team but they do take notice. The only ways in which you will know whether or not the changes have been implemented are either to keep trying your "wrong" answer until one day you find it is suddenly "correct" ... or, if you're really lucky, it will suddenly show up as a possible alternative when you use the "approved" answer. Good luck!


Thank you for a reply Cartagena!

My point in this post was to emphasise the fact, that reporting sentences in courses is not working properly (not only in Czech course, in every course). There are different aspects to every single sentence that can be evaluated (pronunciation; if a sentence is natural and grammatically correct in original language & in target language; "my answer is correct option"; if hints on hover are included; etc.). For quite a lot of sentences most of these options are missing. And the last option "have a different problem, explain it" does not work at all. I have described it in my post.

The last part about not getting the emails when a sentence is rejected (it is more a suggestion than troubleshooting), I have just included it, since I believe it would be beneficial for learning as well and both issues are closely related. I do not want anyone to post explanations, that's what discussions are for (a link to that particular discussion would be useful in the email though).

Unfortunately, I cannot fully agree with this part: "The only ways in which you will know whether or not the changes have been implemented are either to keep trying your "wrong" answer until one day you find it is suddenly "correct"" - I get an email everytime my answer is approved. I never get an email if a sentence is rejected. I remember getting 10-15 emails a day, if I reported a lot (lately it is less than that, of course). :)


Thank you for your reply too Jamie,

I can see what you mean, I didn't really intend my reply as an explanation but having re read it, I agree that's exactly what it looks like ... sorry ! No, my point was that I have never received an e-mail reply to a report made via the course, although I have seen suggestions which I (and probably many, many others) have made appearing later in revised answers. However, I have always received replies to (accepted) suggestions/reports sent via e-mail through support feedback. Like you I have never received a reply if my suggestion was not adopted, irrespective of the reporting method used and I agree that it would be helpful to know if it had actually been rejected and if so why, or if in fact it had not yet been rejected but was still waiting for consideration. I imagine the reason that we don't get told about our rejects is purely down to the numbers involved but I'm only guessing. I suspect you may have received more feedback overall because you have been helping to test a new course but my experience with the "established " courses is as described. I also suspect that as a Beta tester, you will have submitted considerably more reports than I have :-) I realise that your main argument relates to the problems inherent in the reporting system generally and I fully agree with the point you are making. Again, like you, I think that the Duolingo team do a great job and I don't want to sound at all negative but only wish to help to improve the system. You are quite right, the current reporting system is faulty and the full range of reporting options should be available every time for every question whatever the subject matter . Assuming that it is sheer volume of work which prevents the Duolingo team from sending rejection notifications and details, maybe a good compromise would be for every question to carry the full reporting capabilities as you suggest , together with an automated reply system to notify the reporter whether or not their suggestion had been accepted or rejected. I realise that this would be far from ideal, as we still wouldn't know why the suggestion was rejected and therefore, couldn't follow it up in discussion but at least we would know whether or not a decision had been reached. (I know the rejection notification wasn't your main point but it does tie in with it) Finally, whilst the Duolingo team do a fantastic job with minimal resources , people like you are equally important. There is no substitute for a native speaker to explain how a language is actually used, as opposed to the way it appears in grammar books and dictionaries. Thank you for YOUR feedback and fingers crossed for an improved system. :-)) P.s. Congratulations on your excellent English :-)

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