https://www.duolingo.com/rmcode

Getting into the incubator, creating a new language course.

  • 1593

It's very frustrating not knowing what criteria are applied to decide which language courses are selected for the incubator.

It's also very frustrating not knowing when, or even if, the new language course you and your team are supporting, in our case Welsh, will be selected for a course.

Wouldn't it be so useful if the criteria for choosing a language were made available to potential teams.

Wouldn't it also be useful if some sort of timescale was expressed, ie such and such language can be started in 3 months, another in 6 months etc.

There would be huge advantages of this since any team knowing they were starting at some future time could prepare the vocabulary lists and grammar forms necessary for quick completion.

February 28, 2015

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

This would be an awesome idea! Well needed and useful

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CallumRoy

I doubt Duolingo HQ can make too much of a forecast at any one time, and it is just as problematic to make lots of potentially false promises to people.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

I think it would actually be helpful for some people if Duo was just to say "we really don't know when/if this language will be added" if necessary, so they weren't waiting round hoping. Stuff like, we don't know, we hope to add it eventually, or we hope to add language X within 18 months might be disappointing, but it's surely better than applying, continually hoping, and never knowing whether it's just a matter of time or if you might as well stop wishing.

I agree that it would be bad to give concrete promises and then have to break them, but I think even "we are sorry, we've no immediate plans to add this language, but maybe we will one day and we will keep your details on file" would be better than having no idea.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CallumRoy

I see your point on that last note. I still think you can be fairly sure they are prioritising getting things to actually move forward, even if we don't know the details (yet).

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

Yes, I'm sure - the team doesn't seem like the kind that would just go oh, stuff it, we aren't adding any more languages, we can't be arsed ;) however, I do think that "We have no immediate plans" would be helpful to some people, for the languages that are on the backburner! :)

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jdfromdublin

I agree with you. I already have some ideas for the Filipino tree and I would like to purchase books but I won't until I hear back from them.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

It would be nice to teams to have some idea of a timescale nods I imagine that in some cases, Duolingo don't know, but then again, that in itself might be useful for would be course creators to know.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GraceKlara

I agree, bye! Ps. Your profile photo looks like my old one! It was a white cat with the same expression on it's face!

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mundgeirr

I totally support your idea. Being a fan of "not so pupular european languages" one never knows if any of the languages that I'd like to learn will be added in short or middle term. It's also very useful for you guys when planning to develop a duolingo course. I hope you're lucky and start doing the Welsh course soon, I'll start learning as soon as it is released in beta. Good luck!

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/-Feodor-

Support.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/soedori
  1. There is not guarantee that an applicant will be selected.
  2. Duo is a private company and has the authority to all of their decisions. They make decisions that they seem will be the most benificial for them.
February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcode
  • 1593

I think it's in Duolingo's interests to be continuously expanding the number of courses available while working on ways of monetizing the subscribers. If language teams aren't given some hope of eventually developing their course they will lose interest and drift away from Duolingo and look for another platfrom.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/soedori

Yeah, I see your point, but my problem is potential contributors don't know if you are part of that lanaguage team right before the course starts as of now. Duo picks 2 people out of the hundreds of the people that applied, and when they feel like it is time to start the course, they do so and inform the people (who in my experience, have a decent week's amount of time to plan). Duo has hundreds of lanaguages and applicants and limited team members, and choosing many them ahead of time without certainty of the course in the future (considering resources, etc.) wouldn't help.

I am not trying to be negative here. If you would like a more detailed explanation on how Duolingo contacts and selects members, feel free to contact me on my stream.

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

Both true, but neither precludes the idea that Duo could give people some idea whether a language they've offered to help build has a chance of being in the incubator. I don't see how wanting to know if you're going to get to build a course and DL not guaranteeing a language will get built/deciding which courses are in their best interests are mutually exclusive.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/soedori

Honestly, that might lead to false promises , etc (I know because Duo has made, well, at least in my opinion, MANY false promises that I encountered while working in the Incubator).

I don't see how wanting to know if you're going to get to build a course and DL not guaranteeing a language will get built/deciding which courses are in their best interests are mutually exclusive.

They are, if Duo decides building a langauge is in their best interests, they pick the people and inform.

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

How can saying "We don't have plans to put this language in the incubator right now, but we'll keep your details, and if we decide to at a later date, we will consider you for the team" possibly lead to false promises?

Or, "We are considering putting this language in the incubator sometime soon, but have no concrete date. When we decide to do so, we will consider your application."

I'm not by any stretch suggesting that Duolingo can or should always provide a date or give people guarantees of whether they'll be part of the team or not. I'm just saying that giving some indication of whether there's any hope would be kind of nice! For example:

"We do intend to put this language in the incubator within the next year/18 months, and will let you know at that time if your application to join the team has been successful."

"We hope to eventually put this language in the incubator, but have no immediate plans. We will however keep your information on file" blah blah blah

or

"We do not currently plan to put this language in the incubator. However, we will keep your details on file" blah blah blah.

Heck, even having an impersonal message somewhere with languages sorted into those kinds of categories would just help people know where they stood. Nothing is guaranteed, but it would be a start!

No one (well no one with an ounce of sense) is expecting Duolingo to give exact dates: things are way too unpredictable for that. Witness the Polish apparently stalled, and the recently added Norwegian course speeding ahead at a rate of knots.

However, it would be nice to give potential course moderators some idea of whether their language was in a queue of languages Duolingo was actively planning to incubate, or whether they might as well be attempting to put together resources elsewhere without any reference to DL.

Teams start off small, but it's clear from the incubator that they often expand, and I know there are people who've contributed in an indirect manner to courses, even if they aren't officially team members. Even if a given individual doesn't 'make the cut', it doesn't mean they won't have opportunities for input.

It would just be nice for potential team members to have some idea of whether or not their chance to contribute directly or indirectly to a given course was a reasonable hope or a total pipe dream. And I really really don't see how that interferes with DL's prerogative to allow creation of the courses they want to create, when they want to create them, using the people they want to use.

Duolingo is providing an excellent service for free, but the people who create the sources are the main reason they can do so, and they work hard at it.

Giving even a rough ballpark figure to people, or simply confirming that for language X there IS no ballpark figure, would help people know where they stood. It doesn't, to me, seem unreasonable to try and keep those folks somewhat in the loop as to whether there's a chance such and such a language will go into the incubator soon, not soon, or probably never/at some future date so far distant that it's pointless for them to think about it right now. At the moment, people not only don't know if they've made the team (something I suspect is inevitable), but don't even know if a team is going to be formed, ever. That, to me, just seems a bit silly. DL clearly has some languages they are actively planning to add (from staff comments), and probably has some that aren't likely to be added in the foreseeable future, even if they have applicants coming out of their ears. It would be nice if people knew which side of that divide they stood on, and be able to plan/act accordingly.

Don't get me wrong, I think DL is great, and I'm grateful for it, but it wouldn't be possible without the volunteers. Treating the volunteers and potential volunteers well seems like a necessary part of their business plan...

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/soedori

_How can saying "We don't have plans to put this language in the incubator right now, but we'll keep your details, and if we decide to at a later date, we will consider you for the team" possibly lead to false promises?

Or, "We are considering putting this language in the incubator sometime soon, but have no concrete date. When we decide to do so, we will consider your application."_

I believe that is what Duo sends to people who apply for some languages

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

I feel like I waffled a LOT but I think probably my earlier and more succinct post got down to the grist of it:

I think it would actually be helpful for some people if Duo was just to say "we really don't know when/if this language will be added" if necessary, so they weren't waiting round hoping. Stuff like, we don't know, we hope to add it eventually, or we hope to add language X within 18 months might be disappointing, but it's surely better than applying, continually hoping, and never knowing whether it's just a matter of time or if you might as well stop wishing.

(Obviously not everyone will get to be a team member, however I'm sure that most people who want to see a given language in the incubator are more invested in 'seeing language X in the incubator' than in 'me being on the team for language X' - or at least, that would be how I'd feel, and that's the impression I get from the vast majority of those who have talked about having applied. As it is, it's just a blank, and people have no idea where they stand. I think a lot of frustration would be avoided by just saying honestly if language X isn't expected to appear for months and months. Disappointment is easier to deal with than frustration and uncertainty, imo.)

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/soedori

But you have to consider the resources that Duolngo has. I mean, adding lanaguge X in the incubator is like making a promise, and honestly, Duo doesn't have the resources to keep up with all of them or know what they are going to do with them.

Honestly, I don't even think Duolnigo has a plan set for new courses in the future. Anything can change, and that can potentially affect the courses offered, so can estimates.

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcode
  • 1593

On the issue of teams being set up, people interested in establishing a particular language course can network outside of Duolingo, eg those of us interested in establishing a Welsh course are linked with a Facebook group.

In a way maybe what's needed is to have a pre-incubator stage. Those interested in a particular language are told to network outside Duolingo and be required to complete the content needed for a course before being considered for accessing the incubator.

I think one answer to the issue of resources is to require language teams to raise a financial contribution before being considered for the incubator. Given the availability of kickstarter etc it shouldn't be impossible to raise a few thousand dollars.

In terms of the monetization of Duolingo, I can think of many private language schools who might be interested in advertising. As long as Duolingo itself is free, this shouldn't cause ethical dilemmas.

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

Are you the S Park that is part of the Korean course?

March 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/soedori

Why do you ask?

(and Yes, I am S_Park. that is part of team Korean)

March 2, 2015
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