https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

Word strength decay issue (?)

I've mentioned this issue in passing with Tatou in another thread, but I thought it's deserving of a separate discussion. It's on my mind today because I logged on to find a few dozen words affected by this.

Since the bug fix a few months ago that corrected the issue of words not degrading properly, I've noticed that I often have words that remain a full 4-bar strength until their "last practiced" date reaches 2 months. At this point, they instantly degrade to 1-bar. Shouldn't there be a more natural degradation over time rather than instantly going from 4-bar to 1-bar?

Edit to add:

These two screenshots illustrate what I'm talking about. The first one was taken just before midnight CDT last night (6 Sept.), and the second was taken a little after 5pm CDT today (7 Sept.). Both images are of my vocabulary list sorted by "last practiced" from oldest date to the newest. These screenshots show 16 words that degraded from full strength to 1-bar overnight, but the reality is that this happened to over 100 words from when one screenshot was taken to the next.

http://i.imgur.com/uOvLxav.png

http://i.imgur.com/BPIkjc4.png

September 6, 2013

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Tosh72

I see this same thing happening. Just in the last few days, my tree has gone from all gold, to mostly gold, to now practically NO gold. It's hard to move on to new material and keep up practicing weakened skills.

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/tatou

Hi all, we're aware of word strength problem and plan to fix it as soon as we can!

September 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

Thanks, Tatou!

September 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyarra
  • 2245

With my word strength, they go from 3 to 1 - they skip 2. But, it's better than when they didn't degrade at all.

September 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

Yes, it's definitely better than them not degrading at all, but I'd prefer to see them gradually degrade so they can be practiced as needed rather than just dropping en masse.

September 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyarra
  • 2245

I totally agree.

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

These two screenshots illustrate what I'm talking about. The first one was taken just before midnight CDT last night (6 Sept.), and the second was taken a little after 5pm CDT today (7 Sept.). Both images are of my vocabulary list sorted by "last practiced" from oldest date to the newest. These screenshots show 16 words that degraded from full strength to 1-bar overnight, but the reality is that this happened to over 100 words from when one screenshot was taken to the next.

http://i.imgur.com/uOvLxav.png

http://i.imgur.com/BPIkjc4.png

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/clyde_the_camel

I find it amazing that I have a bachelor's degree in Spanish, lived in Spain, and use it on a pretty much daily basis, and tested out of everything to win the Golden Hooter from a Saturday to a Tuesday, and my skills tree is starting to look like a wool suit hosting a moth party already — holes everywhere.

I've been speaking, reading, and writing it for a long time now, longer than many of you have been alive. I think that if someone wants to and can test out of a given skill set that it should affect the rate at which DL supposes that skills deteriorate. What about the idea of some sort of a diagnostic before people begin the program?

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Cheryl1

Well that explains why you're so fluent in Spanish! I'm all for some type of diagnostic before beginning. I'd also like to see some type of level tests along the learning path. My sense is that Duo is trying really hard not to distinguish the various DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) levels. I'm sure other languages have the same type of language governing as well. I would be helpful, say in applying for a job, to be able to at least have some semblance of what level you're at even though it wouldn't be ''official''.

btw...the whole word decay algorithm is really flawed, something you already know. I don't even bother with the practice your weakest words function. I think I've got rojo down pat now:)

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/clyde_the_camel

Yeah, I did the Spanish as a bit of a lark and to take measure of DL's potential. I find myself spending most of my time now over on the Spanish-native side dispensing what I hope is good poop about English grammar and usage.

Did I mention that the Saturday to which I was referring was two Saturdays ago?

..

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_

The algorithm that governs word strength decay is dependent upon a bit of user history that it can use to gauge how well you know any given word. Since you skipped most of the content by using the "keyhole" shortcuts or the "test out" options in later lessons, it doesn't have a lot of history (e.g. how often you've seen a word, how many times you've missed a word, how many times you've peaked at a word's mouse-over hints, etc.) upon which it can base decisions. Perhaps DL should credit users that can pass the shortcut tests with a bit more vocabulary strength, but the system isn't really intended for measuring how well someone that's already an expert in the language is doing - it's to teach those of us that are just learning. Take a look at Luis von Ahn's tree - he's Guatemalan and his tree is far from golden, but it doesn't matter because he's fluent regardless.

Also, congratulations on being old :) My first exposure to Spanish was 40+ years ago watching Luis sing songs in Spanish on Sesame Street when I was a kid. I wish I'd paid more attention and gotten into learning the language back then haha.

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/clyde_the_camel

There's no truth to the rumor that they stand by with a fire hose at my birthday parties. At least not yet.

September 7, 2013
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