https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Bolster the Defenses of this Forum for the Good of Humanity

The troll situation on Duolingo has grown out of control. It is a systemic anomaly which if left unchecked could threaten the existence of the entire communication branch of this site (a.k.a. the Discussion Forums). As someone who regularly browses the forums for any and all interesting posts of the day, I am growing exceedingly tired of how tedious it is becoming to simply scroll through the new posts.

I propose that the staff add more Moderators to combat the growing influx of children who have nothing better to do than take a perfectly streamlined system, and bog it down with useless characters, snyde comments and ridiculous rhetoric. There are many benevolent users who could fulfill their destiny to do good in this world by taking on such a role against this digital filth. If it would please the staff to provide some names, there are several whom at the time of this posting I can personally vouch for.

Friends and allies of the Duosphere, let us unite as one in response to this festering wound on our beloved language forum! It may not change anything, but if only one potential spammer sees this and changes course toward a more productive use of their life, we will have saved ourselves from dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of potential future spam posts.

March 12, 2015

134 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

This probably won't be a popular opinion, but here it goes anyway.

I find Duo's reliance upon a handful of generous unpaid volunteer moderators for this sort of thing to be pretty obnoxious. This is especially true given the limited tools with which they're provided to do their "jobs" and the sparse numbers of moderator positions to share the work load. When you consider the amount of time that moderator duties consumes for many of the volunteers, it's obscene. They're free labor, and so dealing with the messes that spammers create on the forums doesn't really cost Duolingo anything. It will never be a priority for them to fix it until it does cost them their own time. The best thing the moderators can do to help this happen is to stop giving away their labor and force Duolingo handle their own business.

cGlua29kb3Vn

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

100% to the point. Duo is essentially treating volunteer work as a free and inexhaustible positive externality. I'm pretty sure we would have a lot more efficient moderating tools if they actually had to pay somebody to do the work. They wouldn't waste the time of paid workers the way they do with volunteer time. (The same is true for the Incubator, BTW).

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I just wanted to add on this that Duo never responds until a big fuss is raised. And then they just leave it alone and let it sit until someone raises it again. That's been especially true with how they've responded to the calls for a new voice in the Irish course, after demonstrated incompetence on the behalf of the current one. There's just so much lack of communication between Duo and their users.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Artilex

Actually, I've reported some stuff before, and a couple days later, I noticed it would be fixed. But I still agree that there needs to be a little more communication, maybe update the blog. But, then again, there are over 80 million users on Duolingo.

March 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I mean, I'd be happy with a short two sentence progress report on stuff. Just like 'This is what we're doing, this is what we've done.' Especially if it's stuff people have complained about.

March 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Hi Wataya- this is absolutely not true. You're misinformed. We are creating new tools. We've been working with moderators to define the best tool set and they're getting created.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

Sorry Kristine, but I don't think you can say that it is "absolutely not true".

In November, Alexis and I had to lock down the forums because of heavy spamming. By locking down I mean that we had to lock discussions and tell people to stop creating discussions as they could potentially fall prey to spammers. The spamming ended around 3 AM for me and from the e-mail traffic afterwards I could make out that several more moderators had been involved in cleaning the different forums that were affected. It was then that we urged for more tools. Your response was that the whole team had had a meeting and that you were taking things very seriously.

A couple of days ago I got an email saying that some moderators had come up with a list with tools that would improve the ability to moderate. They would then have a meeting with the team to talk about those requests.

I was surprised to notice that this list was made up of pretty much the same things we asked for in November. So Usagi might have had the impression that the moderators were allowed to share their thoughts while in reality the team was just picking up on something that was ignored for four months.

It is great to hear that tools are in development, but wataya is right in saying that the response hasn't been very swift. I also have my doubts about the suggestion that the team has been working with moderators to develop these tools. That statement would have been true if there was a direct response in November or if the recent meeting was the first on this subject. As it wasn't the first, the steps that were made during that meeting seem rather symbolic.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

I have not seen your list, but if I'd have to make a guess, I'd think it wouldn't be too different from the things Hohenems and I asked for two (or maybe rather one) years earlier :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Hi wataya and lenkvist- these are tools that have definitely been in the works. What would make you happy to hear? I'd love to jump on skype and hear more of your feedback if you're open to it.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

@kristinemc: As I'm no longer moderating, I guess I'm not the right person to talk to about (maybe) future tools.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

Hi Kristine, I take your not having these tools already at hand (while this is an ongoing issue here for at least 2 years) as essentially confirming my observation.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Hi wataya- we do have abuse tools. We are working on more that extend beyond staff to the mods.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

Moderators basically have the same tools now they had two years ago, despite constant promises to improve the situation.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

Man, the more I think about this, the more upset it makes me!

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Aliciaftw

Not that our mods aren't good, but as you said, I have felt that they're basically taken advantage of. To make matters worse, the forums aren't well equipped for dealing with spam. We can't easily report or get ahold of a mod. We don't know when whoever is on. We can't even privately message to be a bit more confidential about an issue we have. If the forums were better then our generous mods would have an easier time.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CaspervanZyl

Good point. Finding a way to report spam as a normal user of Duolingo is almost impossible. There is no report button, no list of mods for a specific forum nor any way of knowing whether they are online or not. A system for reporting spam activity needs to be implemented as a matter of course these days - I can't believe that Duolingo has gone more than two years without such a system.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Artilex

There is the possibility of a flag button. However, that is most likely going to get spammed.

March 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

It's been said by Kristine that there are tools that are going to be integrated for users, but the extent (and availability) are still to be determined, as far as I know.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CaspervanZyl

I also thought about something like that, but - like you said - very liable to abuse.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

I agree, no matter how you look at this, the problem will never solve. If you just keep the system like now, moderators will be too busy. And if you do self reporting or automatic system deactivations, spammers will spam it.

March 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems

You've captured much of why I don't moderate anymore.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lemelisk

That being said, if they paid the moderaters, they would also have to pay all of the course contributors (who also put in a ton of unpaid work) Last I heard duolingo wasn't even making a profit yet (although that may have changed) Paying all mods/contributers would probably double or triple their costs, and force them to scale back improvements and stop adding as many new languages

Also, if all of the mods would stop moderating for free, there are hundreds of people who would gladly take their place.

In my view the entire business platform of duolingo relies on volunteer work, and would not be feasible/sustainable without it.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that they pay the moderators. In theory, I think that volunteerism is a great idea for Duolingo, but in practice, the manner in which Duolingo is using these volunteers is a bit disrespectful if not exploitative. I'm saying that because they have what they perceive to be , as wataya says, a virtually inexhaustible supply of would-be free labor, the hours upon hours of work imposed upon the moderators by spammers doesn't affect Duolingo at all.

They can happily ignore the problem because it causes them no pain. Most of the spam problems can be mitigated by some relatively easy to implement tools, but they have no motivation to devote their resources to developing them. The minute they're forced to redirect the attention of some of their paid staff to address the problem, that changes. Implementing features that make it harder to spam and better moderation tools for the volunteers will suddenly be worth their effort.

If Duo is going to rely upon volunteers, as they clearly need to do, they need to be respectful of the contributions that those volunteers are making. Wasting volunteers' time by refusing to provide necessary tools or to address long-standing problems in both the forums and the incubator shows contempt for the volunteers, not appreciation.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lemelisk

Ah, ok, I completely misunderstood what your point was. I totally agree that they shouldn't just view mods as an inexhaustible supply of free labour, and should focus on building tools to help lessen the work on moderators.

Thanks for clearing it up for me :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

pinkodoug That is not how we prioritize feature creation. We are a small team doing a lot. We do take abuse seriously, and we're working on a better system for the community and moderators. I'm glad this was mentioned because it further shows the need for these tools :) I'd like to just reiterate that we do not view any Duolingo volunteers as "free labor" - that is not how this team views the incredible people helping build this language learning community.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

Forgive me, Kristine, but this has been an issue for too long for me to believe that it's of any great importance to your staff. You, Luis and I all had an exchange about this 6+ months ago, and the problem is worse than it's ever been. I'll believe that it's a priority when I see evidence to support that claim. Now, I certainly understand that you're a small team that's spread thin. I understand why the forums aren't necessarily a priority - a small percentage of Duo's users use the web, and a tinier percentage still use the forums. I see that you said in another post that some tools are on the way, and I hope that's true. Again though, this is something I'll believe only when I see it.

As for how to describe the volunteer mods and contributors, I appreciate and respect their choices to give so freely of their valuable time. The fact is, however, that you've externalized a significant cost (one that would probably render your company's mission unattainable) to these volunteers. Regardless of how you view it, they are free labor - you'd likely be stuck moderating the forums as the community manager. If that were the case, as Wataya said elsewhere, I imagine that this issue wouldn't have gone unaddressed for as long as it has. Instead, you have the luxury of largely ignoring the community until it's time to sweep in and put out a fire like in this thread (of course that touches on our old conversation about communication and unfulfilled promises).

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

After having helped out two years as a moderator, half a year as a course contributor and my experiences during that time, I beg to differ with your statement.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Interesting viewpoint! What you are suggesting seems a bit radical (which I like; I'm all for shaking the system up a bit in order improve things), but I don't know how realistic it is. It's like asking all the employees in a company to go on strike. If only one or two do it, the company will not really be affected and things will go on, business as usual.

It would take all the moderators to simultaneously quit in order for it to really make a statement to the staff. Even then, there will always be droves of other people willing to volunteer their time and effort and become moderators themselves.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

Even then, there will always be droves of other people willing to volunteer their time and effort and become moderators themselves.

That's what I meant with "inexhaustible positive externality". They clearly seem to view it that way, but I think they are mistaken. If the current moderator team gives up, there surely will be a second or even third row to take over. But I'm equally convinced that the number of people willing to do what Usagi and AlexisLinguist are currently doing is finite and not incredibly huge. This resource is finite.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/pont

This resource is finite.

I agree. There's some subset of forum users who want to be moderators; there's a significantly smaller subset who actually have the skill, time, and incredible reserves of patience required to do the job. The intersection between these two sets is, I suspect, rather limited. Every time I peruse a mod's activity feed I am astounded that anyone would volunteer for the job.

There's another side-effect to the Duolingo forum management policy of "leave the trash out to fester till the mods come and pick it up": constructive and helpful users eventually start to abandon the forums. This, of course, further increases the proportion of abusive users and feeds a vicious downward cycle.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Perhaps. Your conjecture seems plausible, and I do not wish to denigrate any of the lovely people here who keep these forums as clean as possible. However, this being a free learning platform, I do not doubt that they would keep choosing "random" people to moderate if need be just to maintain some level of order.

I imagine there to be many correlations between being a great moderator and being a saint. Mainly infinite patience, and no expectations in return for all the love and effort that one puts into their cause.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

To your first point, Ryan, wataya isn't talking about random people, but those who have specifically been observed to be capable of being the type of moderator that Duolingo desires.

I wouldn't go so far as saint, but it does take more than some believe, and that's why Duolingo is pretty careful of who they choose as moderators. Obviously, everyone won't be happy-go-lucky, balance is required, but at the end of the day, the moderators chosen fit their roles well, and that's what Duolingo wants. :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Artilex

@AlexisLinguist Are you saying that Duolingo admins (/mods?) are observing users to possibly become mods?

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

Staff certainly doesn't spin around then throw a dart, Pixel. :P

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Artilex

@ALexisLinguist (Again, lol) That may be fun. Put the names of the 60 million Duolingo users on a dartboard and blindfold Duo and let the owl throw a dart. :P

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

Great chance it'll land on an inactive user.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

And while all that is happening, the serious language learners here will give up on Duolingo and migrate to the next destined-to-be-big language learning tool.

My experience, and I've been on the web since 2005 (20 years!), is that once a forum or website loses its users to a rival, it never recovers. Never.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

I agree, if Duo loses the rapport with its community (and it is much, much closer to doing so than staff is willing to realize) it will be dead.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ilovescience

Eureka! I know the key to stopping spam! Currently Duolingo uses the G-mail kind of spam stopping strategy. What if you made comment that go like "jshadkhlkefl" automatically delete? You could also make comments with curse words automatically delete. Source-https://codex.wordpress.org/Combating_Comment_Spam

March 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

I think there's a sort of critical mass where message boards implode.

March 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

Agreed

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

Agreed!

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

Someone had a bad day. Stop downvoting these comments.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/truelefty

School-kids-team is my theory

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RescueCopter

I disagree. Duolingo is fun and free. There are those who despise this freedom and would like to insinuate themselves into positions of influence. These are the threat.

I have noticed a different problem on these discussion forums. The willingness of a large percentage of users to deputize themselves spam police or some other nonsense. Rampant tattle-taleing...

Did you know that there are people who would denounce their neighbors and fellow users to appear useful and helpful to authority figures? These people are more dangerous than kids. Let the kids play, they will get bored. Remember how much you pay for the services you receive here. There are more tightly controlled environments that perhaps you would be more comfortable with.

More rules and more tattle-taleing is not the answer.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FairyArielle

You are absolutely right. I think many people get caught up in complaining and they forget that Duolingo is a free service. To me, spam isn't even a problem, it's never stopped me from learning :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

It's not "fun" when creepy or offensive posts hang around for hours and hours. I'll never forget the half day a guy pretending to be Hitler and his nasty posts hung around. Then there are the racist and homophobic ones, and other varieties of offense. Seems like there are plenty of potential solutions to avoid us all being exposed to such filth.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CryingBanshee

"being exposed to such filth".... welcome to the internet.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

Welcome to Duolingo, a website where people come to learn languages. The opportunity to exchange knowledge with others is an important part of that learning experience. It is for that reason that people are expected to treat each other in a friendly and reasonable fashion. Negative remarks get in the way of communication and that's why they should be avoided.

People are also expected to be reasonable as the main intention of a discussion should be getting to the through. Your comment "welcome to the internet" doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion, because you are confusing an effect with a cause. The fact that you notice that there is filth on the internet, does not imply that the internet naturally gravitates to being filthy. It is similar to having a debate about the negative impact of climate change and saying "welcome to earth".

By suggesting that it's a natural thing, you are attempting to cut off any potential discussion we could have about improving the situation. It is okay if you are not interested in having a discussion, but please allow others to make their comments without trying to derail the conversation.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

I am soo glad right now that you are a member of Team Duolingo! The chaos that some of these people are suggesting this site degenerate into would completely lower the standard of communication expected from this place when someone logs on. I'm all for free speech, but there has to be a level of decency and relevance on these forums, or else it would be impossible to sift through all the unrelated opinions and biases that people post.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CrazyDentist44

I think they are reacting to the hysteria...

No one suggested that there should be no moderation. Yet that is the the tangent that some of these 'do-gooders' are on here. There will never be a shortage of people trying to convince others that there is a big problem that they can fix for a fee or for something.

One day the internet will be tightly controlled and many thousands of government employees will make their livings censoring it. But before than happens more people must be convinced that there is a big problem or some chaos that must be averted. Hysteria.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

wild applause Great post, Lenkvist, thank you!

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lernhase

welcome to the internet.

Just because there is filth on the internet, does not mean that every web site on the Internet including Duolingo also needs to be full of spam, filth, and so on.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

You do realize forums can be moderated?

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CryingBanshee

Please, I think people like you would be bored if there was no more drama in the discussion :P

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lernhase

I, for one, can do without the "give me lingotz", "IM SO BOOORED" and "i hat e you @ll" messages.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/oscart182

So, by extension, you are saying you are fine with people promoting Hitler, racism, and homophobia. Good job, CryingBanshee, good job.

I also think you're using some kind of proxy to heavily downvote tnel1 and heavily upvote yourself.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

Let's not accuse without proof, Oscar. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Thanks.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/oscart182

Sorry. He has the right to his opinion, but I have the right to mine. Although you're right - I suppose I should have been less harsh.

By the way, please just call me Oscar.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CryingBanshee

You have completely misunderstood me (and I don't know what a proxy is). I didn't downvote them because I support hilter or something. I'm against people trying to create stricter rules for the discussion. I think its fine the way it is.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Artilex

While I agree that trying to create stricter rules isn't necessary, it doesn't mean that there isn't a problem. I don't know how much time moderators spend on the forums, or what type of "tools" they have, but I think that adding more mods (Not too many, just a few like 5-6) will help with getting spam off the forums faster.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/oscart182

Ok then. Leisurely sit around while the moderators spend hours and hours of work moderating a forum with a very poor set of tools.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/truelefty

Why are your comments unvoted? WTF

Maybe a school-kids-team came here? idk

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

Yes, it does seem excessive. :D As do the upvotes for some comments. Hard to believe. I hope it is not reflective of a change in the community, but I'll just have to wait and see. :) But, we should also keep in mind that whoever is downvoting is not writing anything. I think that actually says a lot. ;) Thanks for your kindness and making this a friendly place! :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CryingBanshee

Yeah. Some people are just desperate to dictate and control the behavior of others.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Hi all - Everyone will be happy to hear that we are updating moderator tools. Should be done in a few weeks! These tools will tackle some of the issues mentioned. We've been getting some great feedback from Duolingo moderators. A few weeks ago, we sent out a survey to understand the top needs of mods, so that we could better design tools for their needs. If you see abuse remember to report it to abuse@duolingo.com. Improvements are on the way.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Thank you so much Kristine! Looking forward to seeing these new tools implemented. There are so many people here that really love this community, and look forward to reading new and interesting posts each day while they learn languages.

You guys are the best! Keep up the good work :D

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

EnigmaticTiger I love this community too and so does the rest of the staff. Thanks :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lernhase

Everyone will be happy to hear that we are updating moderator tools.

Thanks kristinemc for letting us know.

I think that the moderators do a very fine job. If they will have better tools at hand in the not so long future, all the better!

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/swntzu

If you unfollow Duolingo in English you instantly cut out 99% of the spam. It's not a huge loss since there aren't many interesting threads being posted any more. In fact I only recently resubscribed just to see if anything had changed but obviously it's exactly the same as it was before.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/thenoblesunfish

This is the practical answer in the short term (unfortunately). Better to just follow some commenters you like and see when they comment on something from this forum. That's how I see the incubator updates and so forth.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/thenoblesunfish

The children seem to mostly be interested in lingots, so perhaps it's time for an A/B test of deactivating lingots entirely :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Teenage_Polyglot

" There are many benevolent users who could fulfill their destiny to do good in this world by taking on such a role against this digital filth. If it would please the staff to provide some names, there are several whom at the time of this posting I can personally vouch for."

My list: Lrtward, Enigmatic Tiger jackElliot, GeniusJack, several more who seem great, but I have not seen enough to make an educated post.

I feel like almost anyone could see that these users, and several more, are great users, and am surprised that Duo staff has not noticed. The only reason I can think of is that Duo staff does not spend enough time here to notice that. That may also be why spam is growing out of control: they simply have no idea, because they do not look HERE! THis is a problem on both ends, both the users, and Duo staff's, that needs to be dealt with.

Duo, i have spent 158 days with you, everyone that has been worthwhile. If things continue like this, i doubt the next 158 will be this enjoyable, if I make it 158 more days. .

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lernhase

Or push the bonus skills further down the tree, when one has lingots to spend on these anyhow.

Alternatively disable the option of giving lingots away in the forums. (But I somewhat like the mechanism of highlighting particularly good forum posts with a lingot or two).

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

Perhaps they should come immediately after the last check point in each tree.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

Good idea!

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Teenage_Polyglot

I would be all for that. They throw random, good for (almost) nothing tests at us, that most do not even like, yet when there is a real issue, they fail to do anything.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/thenoblesunfish

To be a bit cynical, this is not a "real" issue. Most users are not affected by this - as others have commented, this message board is designed to be for language discussions and announcements, to scroll away and be forgotten. Most people just look at the highly rated posts, or post their own question and move along. Only those of us bored enough to look at the "new" tab are even aware of this issue. I'm sure the Duolingo staff care, but I'm also sure that they have literally thousands of more important things to deal with.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

During noon (or five hours ago), I saw a tremendous amount of spam posted by trolls. I didn't even know if anyone was on Duolingo anymore because those spam posts made it look like Duolingo was a ghost town.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

I liberally accept almost all of the relevant comments posted by users, but that was a veritable wave of spam that occurred earlier, which was what prompted me to write this post. The comments weren't even remotely related to language learning, or beneficial to anybody in the least. The problem is deep, the opinions varied, but luckily, as Kristine has just informed us, there are changes on the horizon.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

While they're at it, they should censor profanity and racial slurs.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

Amen. Racial slurs have no place here

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/territrades

Two ideas:

  1. Have restricted accounts for children. This won't stop the trolls, but most of the children who are "forced" to use Duolingo by school and complain about things or just want to know how to cheat the system.

  2. Each new thread = 10 lingots. Most active users have hundreds or thousands of lingots, while or the trolls have only very few. Answering should be free.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

Kids who are here because they are required to be so by their teachers don't need to have access to the forums at all. Any language-related questions should be directed to their teacher who is paid to actually teach them the language. For everything else they are just a ruddy nuisance, getting in the way of independent learners.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Olbapz

Number 2. is certainly a unique idea, I for one think it could be effective. Plain and simple there needs to be discussion on the subject, changes made, and the most effective way of solving this problem at the root while avoiding the unintended consequences of harming the free flow of communication and healthy community here on duolingo is of course empowering users in some shape or form to take up the full responsibility. We all see it's a problem and we all want it solved, and if given the right tools we can all take responsibility for it by taking action accordingly. I was a teacher for a number of years, and I can say that this is only a natural progression as users are "forced" onto duolingo, it just means that we have to set a good example...and perhaps some students will begin to feel inspired to make language learning a life-choice. It can't be forced on someone, they have to take command of their own learning. We will all have to just grow up together on here.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

And they couldn't start a thread begging for lingots without having 10 lingots to start the thread.

I like it :)

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TatianaBoshenka

10 lingots to post a new thread is a great idea!

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Gement

I think a new thread costing 1 lingot would actually go a long way without putting a brake on legitimate discussion. It does not take much to earn 1 lingot, but especially when starting out, it definitely is enough to make you stop and think before starting a thread. And the people who are not the type to stop and think, well, they will run out of lingots fast.

March 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Maurice314

I don't think that is necessarily the best solution. You can only get a certain number of good mods without paying for them. I think we need a more automated method of troll removal. For example, make posting in discussion an unlockable feature. Lets say you need to get to the first check point in at least one tree to unlock posting privileges or maybe pay 10 lingots to get access. That being said, viewing discussion should always be available to use. However in order for this tactic to work we would need to make FQA sticky for each section. This system will discourage trolls who are just looking for a quick spam, by making that inconvenient.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lernhase

While I agree with you I think this would need to be carefully balanced as not to frustrate new users that have legitimate questions/forum posts. But maybe having a requirement to earn at least 1 XP could already make a difference.

I also think maybe one should push the bonus lessons to a later point in the three, when people have enough lingots to pay for them anyhow.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Yes, this is a really good idea in the sense that it would solve a lot of the spam issues, but it would also make it more difficult for new users, who generally have the most questions that need answering. What a complicated situation this is! :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

I think I know of a tool that can help moderators filter out spam. When they are on, they could have a tab labled "Discussion Monitor" and there will be two subsections labled "Recent Comments" and "Recent Posts". In the recent comments section, the moderator can see every single comment that has been posted up to the moment the moderator clicked the tab and they can scroll down to see if any spam was posted. The same goes for the "Recent Posts" section.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

We already have a tab that combines those. Not enough.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

Looks like the tools you guys have are a little better than I expected it to be.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/frankenstein724

meh. At any given point in the day, after not being on for a few hours, even -with- all the spam, it takes me all of about 1 minute to get through all the posts. That is, there really aren't all that many posts in general to have to get through.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

wataya I'm not sure where this is all coming from, but I definitely am not happy to hear about your experience volunteering. There are many people that have had great experiences.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya

There are many people that have had great experiences

I suppose that's true. But I do also note that I'm not the only oneā€¦

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems

Seconded.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Wataya, I never intended this post to be a springboard for complaints against the Duolingo staff. I want to apologize to Kristine and the rest of the staff if I have caused you guys unnecessary trouble by posting this discussion. :(

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42

What exactly would these benevolent users do to fight the digital filth.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

I stated this in paragraph 2: "I propose that the staff add more Moderators...". We need round the clock Mod support here, especially now that the Duolingo for Schools feature has exposed us to thousands of young new Duolingoans, many of which are using this site simply to fulfill a grade requirement and have no actual desire to learn a language or share meaningful information with others over a network.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

The only real digital filth I've ever seen on this site was imported to immersion by duobot...

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

Let's not forget how Duobot is politically active within Duolingo. He rejected my upload of Margaret Thatcher.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LinZiyin

I never knew how degenerate I was for liking p*ncakes, either. With maple syrup. From Vermont...

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

Not from Scunthorpe?

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

Haha... wait seriously? Why did he reject it?

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/susanstory

I vote for Enigmatic Tiger to be a moderator.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Teenage_Polyglot

Absolutely. I believe he said that he does not want to be one, he is to busy (saw this while being a lurker on his profile : ) I hope he gets something cleared up, and wishes to become one, and Duo staff notices his awesomeness, and gives him mod status. Along with Genius Jack, jackelliot, Lrtward...

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RunningFrog

Lrtward is one of my favorite users on here. Not to mention Teenage_Polyglot...

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward

BLUSH Thank you. Teenage_Polyglot is a real star, I agree, and Connorhay, and writchie4, and EnigmaticTiger... there are lots of amazing folks floating around.

I have to admit I've given over to a fair amount of copy-and-paste recently, because the same questions get asked over and over and over. I figure if the question is new to the asker, then so is my tired, canned answer.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RunningFrog

I thought your responses were looking a little similar :). I also think your giraffe is ridiculously cute. I agree, there are plenty of users I wouldn't mind seeing as moderators.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger

Thank you Susan. I would be glad to take on such a role in defiance of all the non-helpful posts! I don't know how much time I would be able to devote to it though, as much as I love this community and want to help better it. My life schedule is subject to pretty drastic change right now. Also, I know that there are a lot of really qualified people that could do it, a couple of which Teenage Polyglot has already mentioned.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/truelefty

That is the bad part of "Duo for schools", that if teachers don't control their students (sometimes they can't, I know that) they don't learn any language, and only spam the forums.

It has to be controled at schools where Duolingo is used, but it's really difficult to tell every teacher to do that, and to control that a student is doing the right thing...

You'll have to bear it, and me too, and, well, everyone else. Although it's getting a bit better as the time passes. The spamming-feber will end soon, [hoffe ich].

:/

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

The teacher should be able to receive the list of comments their students make to each other and on them forums. If they see any bad things, they should get detention, but I don't know how the discipline system works because Duolingo is outside of school and they could just create another account if they wanted to spam without being noticed.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward

If the teacher "follows" their students then all they need to is read through their activity stream to see what the students have been up to. You're right, the kids could just create a bunch of accounts on the side and wreak havoc if they wanted to. I'm thinking, though, that a student wouldn't bother using the alternate accounts if they were in class and knew the teacher was going to be monitoring their "official" account for productive activity. And I would sure hope that outside of class they have more interesting things to do than spam Duolingo forums.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

Perhaps if teachers fail to control their classes on DL, the school's access should be suspended, say for a month or maybe a term for more serious issues. If the teacher and the school wish to continue to use DL they are then forced to deal with the problems caused by the kids they bring here.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

You make a great point, though I despair of the powers that be ever taking this issue seriously. Seems like it would be very do-able to train/add more Moderators.

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

And they definitely need more powers to handle the problems around here!

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrandApple

Who is downvoting your comments?

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

I dunno. But it seems pretty extreme, eh? :D

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

Yes, pretty. Glad to see you grinning, anonymous arrows are nothing. :)

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1

:) Zen is ever helpful. And you are also a good example! :D

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42

On further thought, it does seem a little weird that Duolingo, created by Luis does not use Captcha, is there any reason for that?

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

I also see racist and sexist comments on several posts in the forum which I find absolutely rude. These types of comments don't belong on Duolingo.

Sometimes someone asks a perfectly legitimate question and they get so many downvotes it is unbelievable. My advice: Do not downvote before you read*

As the forum gets filled with so many inappropriate comments I seriously begin to consider leaving Duolingo

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ComradEddie

This was a powerful comment, but the sad reality is that cyber-bullying is a ubiquitous phenomenon. In other words when people colloquially refer to "trolling", what they are essentially talking about is behavior that involves bullying, plain and simple. On the Duosphere, this trolling might take place on the psychological level, but it is up to the individual being victimized to discern the "troll", and to put a stop to it; the way this vicious cycle is terminated is quite simple: do not feed the trolls, ignore them - allow them to dissipate into oblivion.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

I think much of the time 'trolling' is actually used to mean 'spamming' here, and a fair amount of what is lambasted as spam here would not be considered as such on any other board.

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/remoonline

Well said!

March 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

a perfectly streamlined system

I'm not sure I would describe DL or its forums as a perfectly streamlined system. From what I can see they seem to be held together with chewing gum and odd bits of string.

March 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MusingThoughts

That was hilarious!

May I ask what exactly led you to this conclusion?

March 21, 2015
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