Suggestion: Active Sentences Discussion Tab
Currently the language specific discussion tabs are these: "Popular", "New", "Sentences" and "Top All Time". I notice there is just enough room to add a new one (at least as displayed in my browser). Could I suggest one called something like "Active".
What I mean by "Active" are discussions about sentences that have recently received a new comment. At the moment if you ask a question about a sentence which has not been discussed before, there is a good chance your question will be answered because it appears near the top of the "Sentences" list. On the other hand if the sentence has been discussed in the past, then only the contributors to the discussion will be alerted and, if those people have left Duolingo or are away for an extended period, the discussion is effectively orphaned and nobody will see the question or comment and thus it will never be answered or read. I know the follower system mitigates this to a degree, but not everyone has followers, even if they do, the followers may not be able to answer the question or benefit from the comment.
What I have in mind is simply this: when a new comment is made in an old discussion, a link to that discussion immediately appears at the top of the "Active" list. As time goes on and as other discussions are activated with new comments (and therefore take their place at the top) it will slide down the list until it eventually fades from view, but as soon as it receives a new comment it will bob back to the top again.
Does this sound like a good idea? If I've missed a previous proposal for something like this, I apologize and perhaps you can take this post as simply an endorsement of that suggestion.
Great idea. There are many improvements that could be done (and a number of them are probably already being planned for the near future), and this would definitely reduce how many questions get repeated as well as compile more suggestions and responses in one place, for everybody's benefit.
There are so many good ideas in the Duolingo community. Maybe a feature suggestion area that works in the same way would be handy too -- where we could read feature suggestions, comment and vote on them (pretty much how forums usually do it). Then we would know if this suggestion has already been made, for example. =)
That is an interesting way to organize the discussions. I think it's a good idea.
Hear hear to that. This would be very helpful. Most anything that can be done to improve the usability (especially the seachability) of discussions, in particular those where you are a participant, would be a great thing. Although there are many things that make Duo superior to Rosetta Stone and traditional language classes, both of which I have several failed experiences (e.g., the gamification, cloud-based, decent mobile apps, more fun, free, etc.), the discussion forums are by far and away the thing that makes the biggest difference. Anything Duo can do to improve the discussion forum experience is a good thing. On that note, the single biggest thing missing from the mobile apps and the reason I still use the web version on my iPad and not the native iPad app, is that the discussions are missing from the app. I also have an Android phone, but rarely use Duo on it for the same reason. The discussions rock!
I just wanted to add that I don't propose this idea to replace the "Sentences" tab. When a sentence receives its first question or comment it should still appear only there and not in the "Active" list. At least that arrangement seems most sensible to me because the first time sentences are discussed they will probably receive further comments quickly, and thus will stay near the top, crowding out older discussions. Maybe a single sentence list based on the "Active" list idea would work though.
At the moment all sentence discussions are in the "Sentences" list. The ones at the top are new and easy to find, but unless you are incredibly patient you'll get fed up listing older ones, and that's the whole idea, to pick out certain sentences, not near the top, for more attention. To make this work effectively the sentence needs to be a certain "age" before it is considered worth making a second entry in the "Active" list.
I say "age"; the threshold could be based either on the length of time since the sentence discussion received its first comment or it could be based simply on its current position in the "Sentences" list.
Hey Davu! You asked me for some ideas earlier, and this reply will include a bunch.
I agree that it is a shame that only new threads are on top. What do you think of the thread with the most recent reply (as opposed to creation date, which is the current system) being moved to the top of the active area?
Duolingo Search. If the search results page was a little clearer, (right now you can't tell if it is a discussion title, who the user who posted is, or if it is a comment in a thread that you are looking at) I think we could find answers more easily. Have I missed the "back to search results" link? Because it seems like I have to re-search every time I am looking for something and go back to look at the other results. Additionally, it would be helpful to single out unanswered questions, because people are usually willing to help, but not scroll and click through all the threads to find an unresolved issue.
A more advanced feature for the future would also be to allow people to mark if a conversation or thread successfully answered their initial question. That could greatly improve the relevance of search results. Say I search for "isso and isto" in the Portuguese forum; I could click on each result and find out if it offers the help I need. If it does, I can give it a star or something. It is simple, and the search could then present this as a recommended answer to anyone else searching for "isso" or "isto" for example.
The up and down vote currently being used doesn't do that job exactly, because it is individual, and although comments get those if they are helpful, many irrelevant comments gets those because people like the comment (it's not necessarily a helpful comment). Although, a system where you could search among the most voted responses throughout the site, related to a particular keyword could work too. There are just many ways of improving the help/search system, as we can see. =)
Back to my recommended answers, maybe those stars (or recommendations) could also push the thread to the top of the "active" area you are suggesting, as soon as they happen, so people don't feel like they need to say something in text in order to make the relevant message more visible (the famous bump). =D
Dear Vivisaurus, I think you should work for Duolingo!
Unless I'm missing something, which is quite possible, your second paragraph manages to compress my entire post into a single sentence. :-)
I wholeheartedly agree that the search process needs an overhaul. As you say there is no easy way back to the search results if you accidentally click a link in the search window. I resort to opening a tab/window for each result, but it would be so much better if I was be able to iterate through them with "next" and "previous" links.
I have not thought as deeply as you have about the voting process. Just as you envisage it could be a very useful extra feature of searching though, giving the ability to list discussions in order of "most useful" (based on stars or up-votes or whatever). Even if the discussions at the top of the ranking are not going to solve a current issue you may have, you know they contain information other people thought excellent and therefore you should probably know about it too. Even if the ranking was as coarse as "answered"/"not answered" it would still be worthwhile.
I also feel there should be one extra step before a discussion is created. The originator should class their query in some way, in terms of urgency for example, with lowest to highest class chosen by ticking an option:
- "1. This is a humorous remark or something I wanted to get off my chest"
- "2. I think my sentence should be accepted"
- "3. The original sentence or its translation doesn't work"
- "4. None of the above"
Options 2 and 3 should have a follow up question: "Are you sure you want to comment and not just hit the report problem button (and save us all some time)?" :-)
On the face of it, the most interesting questions would be in class 4 and they should receive attention first. Of course, as a discussion progresses its importance could change: even a humorous remark can initiate a meaningful and helpful discussion.
I like the "bump" idea provided it is used responsibly.
Just another random thought: discussions with a comment count of zero, that is one where all comments have been deleted (usually because the originator changed their mind) should be eliminated from the lists (they currently stick around) and treated like other sentences without comments.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.