Tackling the lingot economy
Hi Duolingo Community!
Many of you have sent us feedback on the lingot system, and we too have been thinking about how earning and spending lingots can be improved. We agree! There are definitely improvements to be made. We want to address this carefully. There is unfortunately no one, easy solution when it comes to dealing with a whole virtual economy. This means that any great "fix" would have to happen in increments, but we are thrilled to tell you that we are now taking the first necessary steps to improve the lingot economy!
Some of you may notice a change in how you earn lingots, and we just want you to be aware of it. We have an inflation issue that is not beneficial to anyone, no matter how many or few lingots we each have. We are therefore starting by testing a feature that will address this. No need to worry, you won't lose any precious red gems from your account. :]
We've been impressed by the creative uses and suggestions you've shared for lingots so far, and more are always welcome, so please continue to share your economic ideas with us!
Thank you for all your support, and we hope Duolingo is helping you on your language learning adventures. <3
I see from this post that solutions to the inflation problem seem to be in the works. I haven't noticed any solutions yet. All I have noticed are new ways to earn lingots, which hardly seems like a "solution" to the inflation problem. Did the update get canceled, or am I just missing something?
The change is a bit unfortunate. It happened on my "10 days", so I guess I didn't get any lingots for reaching 660 days.
It won't affect the way I give out lingots (i stopped buying things in the store a long time ago), but receiving lingots is a big motivator for me keeping my streak. This may seem silly, but that doesn't make it less true.
If I ever do lose my streak, I probably wouldn't try to build it up again if this change remains in place.
Wazzie, my favorite thing about lingots is giving them away. I'm always excited when the 10 day mark comes around. What you say makes sense to me. If people have a lot and complain, I'm surprised they don't just give them to someone else. I look forward to giving them away more than I look forward to buying things in the Lingot store. :)
I'm with you 100%.
I'm sitting at 69 Lingots at the moment, so if I continue to give them out the way I do, I won't be able to do that for very long.
I haven't even bought all of the bonus skills for the languages I'm learning yet, haha.
I feel the exact same way about my streak.
Yes, if you have a streak of 70+ days, your Lingot income will be more than halved that way.
But, how many Lingots are created that way? What will such an exponential growth do to the Duolingo economy? How much time is a single Lingot actually worth?
On the one hand, Duolingo can raise the prices of consumables (tests, heart refills, streak-freezes, etc.) so that the value in time remains constant, proportional to the number of Lingots in circulation, but that would make the people with an enormous streak at a huge advantage of keeping that streak, whilst the people who've just started, can barely get them selves a single streak-freeze.
On the other hand, they can try to make the value of the Lingot remain proportional to the amount time put in, by making the playing field more level.
There's sound reasoning behind this decision.
Thanks for saying this Wazzie, and I agree. Lingots are a huge motivator for me keeping up my streak (though I haven't been at it as long as you have), and the best part of getting lingots is being able to give them away to people who post helpful information. I'm not part of the trial (afaik, I just hit a 10-day streak yesterday) - but I'm starting to feel a sense of panic, and the need to hoard lingots.
What baffles me is... why does DL care if their is Lingot inflation? I'm not sure if there's an official name for this "economy", but there's so little to buy - and no way to buy things directly from another person (unlike an online game), "inflation" seems meaningless.
In games, inflation becomes a problem because you can buy things from other players. If I could buy a language skill from another person here, and they could set the price... then inflation would become a problem (because as more people got more lingots, the costs of skills could rise, leaving newer participants unable to afford to buy anything).
But that can't happen here. There's nothing I can buy from any other player, and no way for the prices to reflect inflation by increasing. Really, there's not a whole lot you can do with lingots in the store either... the benefits of lingots are twofold:
- Acting like points (I find lingot-acquisition more rewarding than points/levels, not sure why)
- Being able to give something "tangible" to people who are helpful.
This change seems like it will be de-motivating, and also anti-community in the sense that with less lingots, there's less likelihood of sharing them to thank people who post good information :-(
You did well so far and as reality showed, there was no reason to worry ;-)
There is a story about a guy who sold good food and one day the son told his father. "Save up, because times will get harder!", so the father bought cheaper food and sold smaller portions to save for a rainy day.
His customers then turned away from him, so he said to his son:
"yes, son, you were right - times are getting tougher."
So much for the law of attraction - we become what we gear towards whether it is positive or negative.
Have my last lingot - I know more will come :-)
This isn't an actual economy with supply and demand forces acting upon it, though. The supply (bonus courses, streak extensions, doubling wagers, etc.) is infinite, and are at a fixed cost. The amount of outstanding lingots has no effect upon this because, unlike an actual economy, having more cash in circulation has zero impact upon the "market." The spending power of an individual lingot remains the same.
The biggest issue I can see is that in recent months, Duolingo has removed the single most accessible method for a user to gain lingots: completing an exercise without errors. While doing so once earned a user a bonus lingot, users now get nothing. It's become harder for new users to accumulate lingots as a consequence. If they're going to muck about with the lingot supply, that's the place they should start.
I feel like most of what I've seen is people complaining that they have lots of lingots and nothing to spend them on. Or, correction: I also see people with no activity begging for lingots. But I don't see too many people who are actually trying to earn lingots and struggling to get them.
There's also the act of giving someone lingots for a post you like. I know initially I'd give 1 but when I went over 1000 lingots I started giving 5 for each post I liked. Maybe, if they want to remove lingots from the total pool, they should start taxing people giving others lingots. Want to give someone a lingot? Fine, but we'll take 5 for each one you give thanks. :D
Will there be more things to buy as far as learning languages? For instance, instead of just Flirting, idioms, and tests, maybe some more things. Such as hard phrases, or even ordered vocab lists ( I think they're are already some for Italian, I don't remember). I know that this may not happen, but I want to possibly help make suggestions. Thank you Duolingo team.
I've been thinking while I can agree users like me probably earn too many lingots, I think putting a cap on how many you earn per 10 days may work better.
This means that the system will work as it always has, 1 for 10 days, 2 for 20, etc, until you get to 10 for 100. At this point for each next set of 10 days, you only earn 10 lingots. 110 days, 10 lingots. 120 days, 10 lingots. etc.
I think this would be a good middle ground that rewards keeping a long streak while keeping the numbers of lingots somewhat in control.
Better solution than neutering streaks: Ever play Civilization 2? Remember when your people loved you, you could upgrade your throne room, one item at a time? Something like that, but with lingots. For example, if we went with the same idea of a throne room, a simple chair could be 5 lingots, a La-Z-Boy recliner 30 lingots, a simple gilded throne 80 lingots, and a throne of swords (GoT anyone?) could be 500 lingots. You start with plain dirt walls, you can paint them for 8 lingots, add wallpaper for 20, velvet for 300, gold paneling for 1000. Worthless stuff that looks cool at insane prices — problem solved!
I love the way how you always put things as if they were only great and wouldn't have disadvantages. Honestly, you'd be good politicians. Hopefully you can handle with our currency at least slightly better.
I do agree that an inflation isn't good for anyone but I don't think that removing the streak-award is helpful in any way.
The streak award is the main lingot 'income' for most of us and removing this will first of all reduce the motivation to keep up your streak. Why is this important? I think that I can speak for many users when I say that maintaining the streak is at bad days and -more important- at those times, where our motivation decreases because our language journey gets more complex and difficult (these times exist, we can't deny it), the only thing that keeps us coming back everyday and progressing slowly, passing the hard times until there's new motivation in us.
Also, a danger (a danger, nothing that will necessarily happen) is that we might become greedy. (Especially at these times the last thing we need is our community to become greedy.) I mean, have you ever seen someone in real life throwing around with money as soon as someone is kind or helpful? Probably not. But the community does kindly give away lingots to helpful or kind comments. Receiving lingots from users is, although lingots don't have that much value, a really nice gesture and tells you that people really appreciate your help (especially in sentence discussion where people don't want to clutter these with "Thank you" posts) and kind of makes you want to spend another few hours answering people's questions. Not because of the lingots, of course, but because it's just human to aim for being appreciated and being hold in esteem.
That being said I find it really great that you consider the community's feedback. And since you do, here are some ideas:
First of all: To prevent/stop an inflation (in Duolingo) all you have to do is having the same amount of lingots that:
go back to the server
Obviously, the amount of lingots that people earn is much higher. So the things that can be done about that are:
decrease the amount of lingots users earn
increase the amount of lingots users spend
Obvious so far, right? And now, what's kind of obvious, too is, that we, users, would prefer the second way.
That would probably take a lot more time but in a long term perspective (something that A/B test can't necessarily predict) it would be much more fun and much more addicting, which would result in users staying at Duolingo longer and users telling their friends about Duo and forcing them to use it until they're addicted themselves - a sort of advertisement Duolingo relies on if they currently aren't in the media.
To finally come to the point:
Right now users give a lot of lingots away, which is quality in my opinion.
[I've read a similar idea in the discussion area, can't find the link, sorry]
So what about making a suggestion forum where users could vote for ideas with lingots? The idea which has the most lingots gets seen by you (staff) first.
We would be able to spend our lingots on something we want and you would be able to see what the forum users (the users that the most loyal and will stay for a longer time and are the most willing to invest a lot of time to improve Duolingo with the best of their ability) label a priority.
That's just my opinion and I know that especially the first part was (probably too) provocating but thanks for considering it anyway.
Personally, I thought the existing system was fine; maintaining a long streak is hard work that relatively few have been able to accomplish, so I think that the way it was before rewarded people in a proportionate manner related to their dedication.
This, on the other hand, makes it considerably more difficult to earn them at all. I think we should have kept it the way it was, while developing new things to spend these lingots on. Those progress tests in the store were a step in the right direction, but at 25 lingots a pop, people are going to be taking them a lot less frequently, and I don't think that's an improvement.
Thanks, vivi. It's great that the team considers this issue something worth addressing.
I really think you're overstating the difficulty of fixing the lingot economy though. The biggest problem to me is that anyone with a lengthy streak quickly acquires far more lingots than they could ever hope to spend. A simple change to make each streak of 10 days worth 1 lingot instead of the current system (1 for 10 days, 2 for 20 days, etc) would fix 90% of the problem.
Of course, other things that require more work would be necessary to "fix" that final 10%, including having more items to buy. But those things can be introduced in time. There's no need to put off a small change that would have a massive effect while deliberating over all the details that make up the 10%.
It's a balancing act, but I'd hardly consider lesser rewards for streaks to be a "punishment". The truth is, Duolingo could take away 95% of my lingots this instant and I'd still be able to buy everything I wanted from the shop - that's insane.
The problem goes beyond adding more items to the shop. If I started buying/taking progress quizzes right now, and bought 1 every single 30 minutes all day long without pausing to sleep/eat/pee/learn, I could continue for almost 4 days before running out of lingots. No matter what they add to the shop, they're not going to fix that problem without adjusting the speed at which lingots can be earned.
You might not consider it a punishment to have lingots removed or the earning patterns altered but I would see it negatively. No one has to spend the lingots they have if they don't want. Taking them away as a motivator (for those of us who see it that way) is detrimental to the concept of persistent learning. To each their own.
The number of lingots that YOU have is far more than average or even way above average.
Also I never considered it a problem, let alone one that needed fixing. Sounds a lot like government fixing something that isn't broken to me. We all know how that goes.
Streak is the most important indication of persistence in language learning. Persistence is the most important factor in language learning, it doesn't matter how good your method is, you can not cram 1000 words into your long term memory in 1 day.
Streak is also hard to maintain due to personal schedule and Internet accessability.
Statistically, how many of Duo users have made the effort of persistently practice for 100 days? I don't think that they are the majority, out of 30+ millions users, are 90% of them suffering from too much lingots coming from streak reward? Maybe you are experiencing this problem personally by accumulating more than you can spend and you want to get rid of your lingots, but it seems like you belong to the minority of superior users than the mass, there should be a Lingot Bin for you to dump your excess, giving me perhaps? I promise I will put it into good use once I can convince Duo to outsource the lingots store (in my other comment) ;)
To sum it up again, reward for streak should not be reduced but increased and differentiate in other ways like badge or owl statue, these kind of vanity items should also be available for sale so we can spend more lingots. .
I also would suggest to have different reward for different XP goal, 1 XP per day definitely should receive less lingots reward than 50 XP per day.
Yes, but if you are very busy during the day and intend to do Duo later on, you might easily forget it is already past midnight.
And streak freeze should be extended longer with higher prize, it may come as a surprise for you, but many places on Earth still don't have Internet or even electricity at all or only very limited, unstable access to it.
If I take a vacation to the countryside or go hiking in the mountain, my streak is sure gone.
One of the most addictive feature of game is competition and reward, if you are a gamer you would understand, even they are virtual useless items or soulless pixels. One of the most addictive feature of Duo is its gamification including streak.
Streak also nuture our bond with Duo aka language learning, many come back every day in spite of time limit, laziness, exhaustion or whatever because of it.
I'm pretty sure people with longer streak tend to finish their trees, reach higher level, invest more time in Duo than others, since I have observed that in people I follow since I joined Duo.
To get streak reward of 100 days streak, we need to overcome tons of our inner reluctance and outer obstacles. Many succeed in doing so but are they the majority? I don't think so. Even both of us are not. I'm at 67 days and I already have more than 500 lingots. I can buy everything in the store very early on like one month into Duo. How could that be the fault in streak reward? It is more like we have nothing more to buy. That's why I suggested to crowdsource the lingots store for user to sell their own lessons and buy from other users. Please read my other comment for reference if you can.
bemk92 and I were just having a similar conversation. You mentioned that if you go to the countryside or some other remote land, there goes your streak. I live the traveling life and this is one of the things that makes it stressful especially if I am at the airport for over seven hours straight without a good connection. As he says "the struggle is real." As much truth as that holds, don't get me wrong, I do like traveling but it has its share of things you have to deal with
Yes, I agree that it is one of the thing we have to deal with, how we live our life is not to blame on Duo. But Duo is for learning and its main goal is to engage learners and keep them coming back everyday to review and renew their knowledge. For that, streak works well for many user, or at least for me personally.
On the other hand, the streak reward is not the main problem in lingots inflation to be targeted, many users have suggested many ways to spend lingots.
Still, discipline is one of the hardest thing in life. If we set clear goal and work for it every day, we are already all excellent students. But I guess the majority of Duolinguists are not so persistent to get such high reward. The top users can be very vocal and visible here in the forum with their awesome 100+ streak, but since I joined Duo, I have only added about 300+ people with really long streak compared to 30 millions+ people who supposedly are using Duo. My personal statistic is of course not official, but it gives me a rough assessment at least.
Besides, longer streak freeze is one of the simplest option to integrate since we already have 1 day freeze option. In theory we can freeze it for as long as we still have lingots in our account, just that we have to login everyday which is a nuisance for traveling and non-Internet land so it is like we can work hard and save for the rainy days, Duo just need to lend us a hand to facilitate it.
@moodyKitty, yes, longer streak freezes sounds like a good idea, but they need to be implemented well, as it is the streak (and it's reward 1*) that keeps us coming back, especially in the beginning.
By making people indicate how many days of streak-freeze they want to buy, they both have control over their Lingot wallet (and have their streaks expire at will) and have to actually plan their freezes in order to keep the streak going.
I personally think having 10 lingots subtracted for each day you're inactive would be a poor way to implement it, but having people able to buy 5 streak-freezes or so, manually, in one go, be a much better approach.
@gymnastical You can purchase a streak-freeze and just let it sit until you need it. So, actually, a streak-freeze works quite well for that.
The problem with them though is that when I for example go on a hike through the Alps or so, I won't have internet for days, so it's impossible to get to the streak-freeze, so being able to buy up to 7 and just have them sit until you need them, would really solve a lot for people like that.
MoodyKitty, I do not disagree with you. All of your points are true and while yes discipline does need to be facilitated, sometimes you actually do need some sort of help and when you need help it's nice when someone can sympathise with you. I didn't plan to be stuck in the airport until after midnight and normally I exceed my daily goal so I think that instead of the streak freeze, Duo should try to recognize that there are people that do put in a lot of effort but sometimes have things get in the way and add to the streak for making an effort.
Well, if I were to lose my streak now, it would hurt in my lingot income. So I'd then have to build up again, whereas if I were to have a lapse in my internet connectivity or interest for a while, with a simple 1 lingot awarded every 10th day of the streak, there'd be nothing to build up.
That said, I wouldn't miss the streak awarding, because I use the wager, which I stop accepting when going abroad.
If this sort of thing takes your fancy though, Extra Credits did a video on this: https://youtu.be/W39TtF14i8I
Their video is about MMO's but a lot seems to apply to Duo as well. There's already consumables in the system, such as the streak-freeze or the heart refill in the app.
Maybe we could add a system where people can make different backgrounds and then sell them, with a "tax" being put on the price of that background so that a bit of money flows away.
I'd love to see what the Duo community can come up with to control the flow of lingots and what the devs are willing to implement :)
Well, it looks like they may be thinking along the same lines as you ... there is a new (as far as I'm aware) A/B test titled "no_lingot_streak_reward". Which I would assume means you wouldn't get any kind of lingot reward for streaks, but I can't say for sure (and I am not in the test group for it).
Unfortunately, there's no "easy" way to figure out the names of the tests. It's just observation and guesswork based off of the test names.
That's interesting, thanks for the info. It's definitely new to me. My value is true for that test, but I didn't notice not getting lingots yesterday for 570. I guess that goes to show how much the current system needs a makeover if I didn't notice not getting 57 lingots, haha :)
Edit: Not sure that no reward is the right way to go, but it's probably better than the current system.
In looking at the text in the Lingot Store, it appears that I'm in the test group (if that's what it is) that no longer gets lingots for our streaks. This makes me really bummed since I use my every-ten-day-lingot award as a great incentive for me and as gifts/rewards for others. In three days, I was looking forward to another lingot shower. Now I feel like someone's just thrown cold water on me instead.
I'm perplexed. Duo's top priority is the lingot economy? There are far more pressing needs given your limited resources. I'm here to learn languages not earn useless ''red gems''. I've given up trying to understand what Duolingo's direction and goals are. Starting to feel like a social engineering lab rat.
Duolingo is language learning through gamification. Experience points, lingots and streaks have no real-word significance in and of themselves. However humans are fickle creatures, our minds respond positively to little rewards like that. That's part of what makes real video games compelling, and Farmville-style games so addictive. Duolingo takes this knowledge, and rewards you as a by-product of learning a language. The "useless red gems" represent your progress towards learning a language or two.
I've noticed that DuoLingo has taken away the ability to gain lingots for ten-day units. Since you are a part of DuoLingo, could you possibly let them know that tons of users, including me, are dissatisfied at this change? I would like it if they brought back this tremendous motivator. Thank you.
I'm not a frequent commenter on threads like this... but I wanted to put in my two cents.
I don't know what the point of an A/B test on this really is going to be. What is it going to show?
I have a 720+ day streak, and am in the group that is no longer getting the streak bonus. I'm not going to stop practicing daily over the bonus going away - that'd be stupid and self-defeating. And I suspect that the bulk of the users who are offended at losing the bonus, who are racking up decent streaks of their own, are going to do the same thing.
I would posit that regardless of what group people are in, Duo is not going to see a noticeable change of behavior, and the staff will assume that removing the streak bonus is an 'okay' thing. Which to me makes it a poor test, if you can't prove the change alters behavior.
If I could offer a suggestion - there's been more than a few suggestions to simply put a cap on how many lingots you can get as a bonus for each 10 day streak. Why not cap it at 10, 15, 20 per 10 days, or lengthen the interval (1 lingot on the monthly anniversary of your streak's beginning, times the number of months)? That might help with the 'inflation' issue, and satisfy most of the critics.
..." I'm not going to stop practicing daily over the bonus going away - that'd be stupid and self-defeating...Duo is not going to see a noticeable change of behavior, and the staff will assume that removing the streak bonus is an 'okay' thing. Which to me makes it a poor test, if you can't prove the change alters behavior...."
tjcinmaryland, this is so true! I seriously considered cutting back to the bare minimum for a few days, but then considered, as you noted, that such an act would only hurt my learning in the long run. Well said, and have a lingot.
I am a very busy person, and sometimes I just can't find the time to do my 30 points to maintain my streak before midnight. I rely on streak freeze heavily to keep it going, and streak freeze being 10 lingots, the streak bonus lingots is pretty much the only way to fund it. Please don't take this away from us streak addicts!
Dear Duolingo Management Since this is a free site i suppose i should not be surprised that you do not understand economics. Hey, our executive and legislative branches do not understand economics, so why should I expect any more of my beloved DL creators and perpetuators. (though we seem to having a bit of a lovers' spat at the moment)
At least you are only proposing to reduce my standard of giving lingots as opposed to the more pernicious reduction of our standard of living by the government. "Inflation" by definition is the reduction in value of a currency due to oversupply. This takes place when governments or quasi-official organizations like the federal reserve print money, in effect making it out of thin air with nothing to back it up. Yes, you can define "inflation" simply as an increase in number, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Using that definition I don't think we would worry about an inflation of DL users, an inflation of clean water supplies, or an inflation of medical professionals in third world countries. The inflation that concerns us is one that results in a decrease in value of something we rely on for sustenance or happiness. Since lingots basically have no intrinsic value, there is no danger or downside to greater number of lingots in the DL "economy". Your statement "We have an inflation issue that is not beneficial to anyone" is in error. The overwhelming majority of DL users have no problem with an increasing number of lingots in the economy, see no danger at all from this so-called "inflation,." and want to keep receiving lingots for streaks or from any other source that we are used to getting them from. You, like the federal reserve, can make them out of thin air, so there is no production cost to DL. It is mind boggling that you claim to be "thrilled" by the steps you are now taking to reduce the number of lingots awarded in the future, that you wouldn't have perceived in advance the level of displeasure this would give rise to. I think the best solution at the moment would be to rescind the new policy and award every single DL user 10 Lingots for your lack of foresight and ticking us off.
What a pity! It's such a little thing, but I was really looking forward to my six lingots yesterday--I was disappointed when I didn't get them. I'm trying to save up to buy the bonus skills when the Esperanto course goes live...which, I mean, yeah, is pretty silly as a life goal, but it was keeping me motivated to come back every day and study. I think this was a misstep.
You can't get lingots for perfection on lessons any more. Now you can't get them for streaks. You can't get any past level 25. You can't get any for completing lessons once you complete a tree. So how does one earn lingots apart from the 5 per week? What if I want to buy a 25-lingot practice test every so often? This is a BAD decision. For many people, including me, despite the silliness of it, the lingots were a major motivation for maintaining streaks. As people have said countless times before, gamification is a or the major feature of this site that helps to motivate people to stay consistent here.
Before I stopped getting my streak lingots around day 180, I had never (since my first few days on DL, on a travel day) missed a day. Since then, I have missed three days (and spent 10 lingots for the streak freeze to preserve my streak). This is anecdotal evidence that the streak lingots are a "gamification" motivator to keep me coming back to the site consistently.
Six months, no missed days. Six weeks, three missed days.
I just noticed in the lingot store at the bottom, where it lists the ways to earn lingots, that the old message has returned, saying that you can earn lingots for maintaining a streak:
"Earn 1 lingot for every 10 days on a streak (1 for 10, 2 for 20, etc)"
Can anyone, who previously was not getting streak lingots, verify that you are now getting them again?
If the A/B test has failed and we are now getting streak lingots again, I wonder: Will DL refund me 147 lingots for my 180-, 190-, 200-, 210-, 220-, 230-, and 240-day streak milestones that I passed when I was on the wrong side of this A/B test?
I was in the same boat (see this discussion) and can confirm I also see the welcome return on this blurb to the bottom of the store.
While I eventually stopped using Duolingo two months ago, I had quite a streak at the time and I’d also love to see the "missing" lingots show up, but given how miserable this unscientific, unfair, and ill-conceived experiment has been from the beginning, I have no faith that would happen.
Thanks for the info, AlanHogan. I got a lot of responses at a new discussion, here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9331188$comment_id=9333937. I think I will also get definite confirmations when people start to receive their streak lingots again.
Duolingo is free, fun and educational. Thanks to all. I like rewarding good posts with lingots so here you are!
I do not know how good an A/B test would be, in this case. If one group of people get lingots in some particular fashion, and others don't won't that be slightly demotivating?
The result of the A/B test would, in that case, suggest that you should go back to giving lingots for 10 day streaks. But in fact, it could be that the better solution might have been to remove that for everyone (until of course there are more ways to spend lingots).
So, I think that one can not blindly use A/B tests, where it is just a decision that is required.
But personally, I think removing the 10 day streak reward is a bad move, as it is a good motivator.
The result of the A/B test would, in that case, suggest that you should go back to giving lingots for 10 day streaks. But in fact, it could be that the better solution might have been to remove that for everyone (until of course there are more ways to spend lingots).
They would probably be looking at metrics like user engagement, course progress, new user signups, etc during the test phase. If they see this not being impacted with the change, they will roll it out to the rest of the users. If they find a negative impact (beyond their thresholds) on the factors being considered by them, they are most likely to roll-back the change. Thus AB testing helps them safely push in a change without impacting their whole user base.
Well, one of the negatives of AB testing is it can be very granular. So, the ambiguity shouldn't be there. In fact, a very disparate report is an easy report. It's usually the close ones which cause problems. And in this case, a close report would be enough reason to do away with the feature for all users if they actually want to get rid of it to.
I am curious about your mention of looking at new user signups as one of the metrics during the A/B test. But the new sign-up does not yet know which group s/he is about to be in, and the fraction of lingot streak losers among the new users is an input parameter, not something to track as a result. So you must have meant something else.
There may be some new-ish users who notice that they get no streak lingots, and if they believe it is important for them to work on having that motivation while Duo ponders what to do, may decide to be reborn with the "right" A/B parameter(s). The new user abandonment this will produce could well be observable in the metrics. Is this what you were thinking?
Not exactly sign-ups, as that may not be directly affected. But, user engagement and performance may be taken into account. Say, for new users in the control group, who get streak lingots, they may have found 10% of users practicing daily and making 5% progress. New users, in the test group, are not aware that they can get streak lingots. But still if from this group as well, they could see the same 10% of users practicing daily making 5% progress, it can be surmised that the provision of giving extra lingots for maintaining streak didn't actually make any difference.
The problem is not the awarding of lingots but with the lack of available items with which to spend them on.
In my humble opinion, they should be concentrating on the Lingot store items and not on reducing awarding lingots. From browsing the board (in my short time here ) I think this is what the majority of people have been asking to be done, not diminish awarding lingots. EDIT: As has been proposed by multiple people in this thread and others. I didn't see some of the answers before I posted but I agree wholeheartedly.
Personally I think the more ways you have to spend lingots, the more students will strive to earn them.
Lingots for streak are quite incentivating, specially when you have where to spend them. Some people certainly work more just to get some lingots, and they end up learning more too.
As far as I can see, a lingot inflation is not a real problem. Perhaps lowering the prize would be better than just no prize.
I totally understand customization is far away from language teaching, but perhaps it could be a good way to wither Lingot Economy. Very simple stuff that would add no extra maintenance effort like a background image might be a very good start, and it would make users happier. (You could even try helpers to send you images, some of them might enjoy participating)
Now, a few suggestions about how to spend lingots:
- Add a button in practice exercices to "change to multi-choice exercise" (this would turn the typing exercise into a select the right option one, if the student thinks that sentence is too hard). - Sounds like cheating, but the more they do it, the less lingots they will have.
- Add a button in practice exercices to "show 3 first words of the translation", click again: "4".
- 10 lingots for a "sound only" lesson
- 10 lingots for a "desired language to known language translations only" lesson
- 10 lingots for a "known language to desired language translations only" lesson
Sounds like a barmy idea. Yes there is a certain inflation with stored lingots - rather like the old soviet system where quite a few folk had lots of roubles but with little/nothing to spend them on. But by just removing this "gamification", particularly after you have completed the tree, I can see no game incentive at all to return every day. After all, what will you lose? Nothing. So I think I'll tend to move away from DL and search out other language resources.
I'm glad to have found this discussion page, thanks to Sitesurf who sent me a link after being badgered by me about not getting my streak bonus lingots. Now, I understand why. And I've given away 16 lingots to posts in this discussion. Giving them away to helpful comments is what I like to do with them.
I think it's really silly to worry about lingot inflation. If many of us are hoarding them, so what? As commenters have said, keeping a streak going is not always easy. One week ago, my son called me in the wee hours of the morning to tell me that his wife was in labor, and to ask me to come right away to watch after their 2-year-old son. Even on that morning, I took time to do a Duo exercise! I often do something exercise-related very early in the morning -- bike rides, triathlons, road races -- and I make time to get in at least one Duo exercise even on those mornings. Rewarding followers with bonus lingots is a practice that keeps many of us on our streaks, and daily practice is essential in learning a language. Please reinstate this system.
Virtual pin-badges? For example, you make a set with the capital city of each course and one with a national food, and artificially make the sushi badge 2,000 lingots while the escargot badge is only 20.
That way, people would have something ephemeral to spend their lingots on. It wouldn't interrupt learning (users can ignore the feature without barring them from skills). They would be new targets to make accumulating lingots worthwhile and very motivating to a certain sort of user. And it would get a lot of lingots out of the economy but users would still have the "status symbol" of a particularly rare badge to show that they have had a lot of lingots over time.
This is the sort of thing I expected to find in the lingot store, and lost interest in it when i found there was not. The power-ups are of no interest to me - I don't consider my streak important, as some days I practice my Swedish with a newspaper or a different source. And I'm not advanced enough to make the practice quizzes relevant to me.
It would be great to have more interesting ways to "spend" lingots. Some people have suggested extra vocabulary, irregular verb, or case ending modules - all these would be very helpful.
I would like to make another request: if it is possible, what about a bonus unit on idioms where you have to learn BOTH the literal translation and the corresponding stock expression (and more of them, please!). People are always arguing about which type of answer should be accepted or not. For those of us who really dig language and the way the pieces fit together, it would be cool to have access to both, with some multi-level questions: Part A: what do the words mean literally ==> Part B: how would you normally convey this idea.
For example, "no master (craftsman) falls out of the sky" is quite an image and much more memorable than "practice makes perfect".
I was just thinking of something that would be an amazing thing to be able to buy with lingots. Well, for me it would be amazing.
Suppose (just suppose!) that there's a user out there who just ruins your day every time they type something. You've blocked them, but that just keeps them from posting on your stream. When you post and they throw their two cents in the comments, you just want to delete the whole conversation.
(Suppose further that this person doesn't do anything quite awful enough to get in trouble, so they're not going anywhere, but that doesn't mean they don't make you want to start eating your own limbs.)
What if you could buy the ability to stop a specific user from commenting on one of your posts? I'd drop a huge wad of lingots to be able to do that.
It's not remotely essential to language learning (unless that person is making you so uncomfortable you can't use the forums to get information you need) - you can do your tree (or hold your nose and keep using the forums, maybe) without ever buying this feature, so I don't see a problem with charging for it.
I realize: seriously unlikely. But I can dream.
that's actually an amazing idea - I recently had to block someone (probably a child) on here because they kept re-following me (by this I mean, they were unfollowing and then following me again), & I'd get an email notification every time which was extremely annoying after the first couple of times (& I won't change my settings, since emails help me to not miss people, since the notification tab only shows the 5 most recent happenings). I had no idea this person could still interact with me on other parts of the site - I'd pay 100 lingots or more to block them entirely, if it were to become an issue.
I think a "bonus tree" for advanced skills would be a good way to keep users engaged in any one language, & if the cost was say 200 lingots or something high like that, it would give power users something to sink all their lingots into - not to mention give newbies a goal to aim for. It could even come with a "2nd tier" owl trophy to add to our collections, and hey, if you're looking for more ways for us to spend lingots, you could offer a "trophy room" for display on our profiles that could cost a pretty penny (I don't know, say 100 lingots or more)... it's just a dream of mine, but I'd like to go back to the spanish/french/italian/portuguese trees and learn advanced topics / conversational skills / etc :D
At any rate, I'm THRILLED that I'm not in the test group (I did receive my 35 lingots for reaching day 350 in my streak), but very very bummed for those users who are not so lucky - especially those under day 100 or so, who aren't getting enough for a streak freeze or wager every ten days anymore.
I understand how there might be some reason to reduce the ease of earning lingots, but it seems like capping the 10 day streak reward at 5 or 10 lingots per 10 additonal days would be preferable to getting rid of it or reducing it to a single lingot. Right now I feel like I should at least get my 10 lingots for my unused streak freeze refunded since I don't see the point of having it. I also don't see any point to maintaining the streak other than pride, in which case I feel like the streak freeze is cheating and really wish it wasn't an option. I already noticed that I'm much less interested in completing a lesson perfectly since I don't get a lingot for it since they dropped the hearts. I just don't mind answering two extra questions as much as I minded losing hearts. It's silly and illogical, especially since I don't really have a use for lingots anyway since I already bought the bonus skills and don't want anything else in the store, but it still provides motivation, at least for me.
You may hate me now, but my comment is meant to add another perspecive, and not to fight against you:
Your profile name and the fact you accumulated 3000 lingots indicates that you saved them all up instead of sharing the love with others in gratitude for all the help you got so far.
The beauty about getting more lingots than needed is to get us into a mindset of letting the energy flow - just as nature is: Every tree produces hundred-fold what you need. Natural life works better than our artificial economy, because the latter is designed to accumulate selfishly by expanding at all costs
- all in the end at the expense of exploited nations or the earth.
Here we have a chance to simulate a better world in which we don't have to compete against potential rivals, but create a win-win situation by supporting each other and thereby gaining support.
In the business world wealth is defined by having more than others - not here, because all that counts are the skills everyone worked on and how constructively they are shared.
This has nothing to do with left or right politics, because I am not pleading for getting freebies. All I am saying is that once we aren't pressured into artificial financial constraints, it can be possible to live from the heart instead of preemptive and protective fear.
This is incredible, thank you for listening ;)
I think Duo should tackle the problem at its root that there are not many things to spend lingots on, rather than to reduce lingots earning. Even with less lingots, we barely have anything to expect in the store.
I suggest you to crowdsource the store, let user makes and sells extra lesson for lingots then we will have an ongoing self-balanced exchange of lingots between buyer and seller like a real market-drive economy.
These lessons can come in the form of hidden self made video, audio, photo, text...like singing a song, reciting a poem, writing an essay, take a photo of a sign in certain language, create a set of flash card-type photos, draw a picture to illustrate certain phrase...the possibility is endless.
Duo will provide a summary, screenshot or snippet by seller, then hide the content with a BUY button like the current Give Lingot button here with prices set by seller. Once user clicks the buy, lingots will be transferred and content will be revealed to buyer.
Seller is happy as they can earn lingots to buy other items in the markets or Duo vanity items like some big ass owl badges or statues or titles to display in their profile. Buyer is happy as they can now spend as much as they want. User will upvote or downvote as a form of self-regulating chart.
If you support this idea, please upvote this comment so it could be more visible to Duo. Thank you <3
The VAT (BTW in the Netherlands, I don't know what purchase tax is called in the USA) fee would just be part of the price in the market place, and if you sell a custom badge or background image, you'd get 3, where the purchaser would pay 5 Lingots or so.
It's purely meant to keep the inflation down. Currency in Duolingo is used as a mechanic in a gamified learning environment. A purchase tax would simply be another mechanic. The Lingots that flow into the tax sink, will just go to /dev/null.
Thanks for the info, and the purchase tax in the US is called the sales taxes. But instead of the taxes going null, maybe if there was a system that native speakers of a language, that are also far enough along in a language, can be mentors to a small group of people in the same language that they known well enough with and pay taxes to them, so they wouldn't become null.
You could turn that into a subscription service, paid for with lingots and again, have that taxed.
The issue is, that you need a way to keep the value of the Lingots equal, and the only way of doing that (If you are going to keep on creating more of them) is by destroying them somewhere else.
The tax would be specifically for helping inflation. The problem with the OP's idea of a purely crowdsourced market solution is that lingots will just be transferred from user to user in the same way they are now through comments. Meanwhile people will still be earning lingots through other means that are created out of thin air. You can see that the supply of lingots will just increase without anything to permanently destroy them. The tax would do that.
It could work, because in the real world, inflation is kept in check, both by how much is printed, and how much money is invalidated or vanishes in defaults.
Here we have none of that, but by putting a tax system on a market place (credit goes to Extra Credits in this case) you can remove Lingots from circulation again, thus pushing the value of a Lingot up again.
Market place items I'd consider putting in are:
- Community made app backgrounds (With lingot VAT)
- Community made website background images (With lingot VAT)
- Community made badges for on profile for a limited amount of time (With lingot VAT)
- Badges for on the profile to give as token of gratitude to someone on the forum (instead of the give Lingot button)
- Community made clothes for Duo to wear in the app - I've seen someone else mention that somewhere in this stream - (With lingot VAT)
I think the ball is in Duo court now to choose to implement which one first. All of your ideas sound awesome. And with such a big educated community, I'm sure there is a certain number of people who are capable of designing and providing these products for Duo market place ;)
What is wrong with inflation? Since I learn languages so slowly, the lingots were my only short-term reward and I like seeing my total get bigger and bigger. Saving lingots, like saving money, is good. They don't need to be spent or taxed, although, it would be nice to have more spending options.
That is right, but currently we also have an effective down voting system that hides unholy stuff out of our eyesight. To be honest, Duo forum is one of the the most civilized Internet forum I have been to, considered the ratio of traffic to troll, I'm very optimistic ^^.
It would be fancy if we have something like iTunes chart so quality items stand out.
If Duo considers to open the store, I volunteer to moderate it if Duo finds me qualified. Can I receive some extra lingots for my time though? ;)
The bonus skills are available for every course that has graduated from beta (I think). They are additions to the standard trees, & can be bought for 30 lingots in the store - the skills are "idioms," "flirting," and "christmas" & are pretty fun to work through. Go to the store & check it out! Feel free to message me here or on my profile, if you don't have enough for a skill I can give you enough lingots to buy one :D
I think their focus is not the lingot system, but if something grows this big, you have to deal with all of its aspects to maintain the system. Probably there are many people working on the languages, but someone have to care about the community also, because the program can be super, if the people aren't enjoying it, they will lose their motivation. What do you think, what is the purpose of the lingot and streak system? It is MOTIVATION! Because people like to see what they achieved, and they like to be rewarded, but if the rewards value goes down, people wont "fight" that hard to get them, they will lose motivation, and eventually they will use duolingo less, no matter how great it is. So yeah, they have to care about the lingots.
And for you duolingo people, a couple of ideas: -The power ups: The double or nothing is good, or at least I dont have any reasonable idea to change it, but the streak freeze could be bought for more days, but each day should cost ten more lingot. So the scheme: n=amount of days, and the cost=(1+2+3+...+n)10. For example you have a lot of lingots, then obviously you are already very good at the language, and you plan to go on a vacation, you should b able to buy freeze for more days, what would cost you 1+2+3+4+5+6+7=2810=280 lingots. It is expensive, but it is a "luxury" thing for those, who are already mastered their languages, and a week long break wouldn't harm their learning process. -The bonus skills could be more diverse, for example lets leave the idioms at 30, but the flirting should be like 100. But even the idioms are very hard for someone, who just achieved 30 lingots. There should be something easier for 30, something for 100, and something for 200. -The practice: Timed practice should cost a lot more, it is a big thing, and basically not for the beginners, so lets say it should be 200 at least. And you also should consider a system for progress quiz, when it could cost more every time you use it. For example 25x, where x=how many times have you used it. (First time 25, third time 75) I am not saying, that it is perfect, but considerable at least. It could be 10x, if it is too high. -The 10 day streak system over 500 hundred is very rewarding, so I think there should be a badge or something for the amount of lingots it gives you. (100days badge for 1+2+...+10=55 lingots), and then by hundreds up to 900, and 1000 should cost two times the amount it has given you. -Also, you should make available a system, where you could highlight those words, which are making trouble for you to learn, and then those could be practiced in a different place, lats say called "individula strenhten", and in the store could be a dictionary(maybe with a little explanation for the usage), with the words you have already learned, and you could switch between all those words and only the highlighted ones. (Personally, this is the one I miss the most, because I know exactly which words I need more to practice, but I cant, and if I want, I have to do it with the others in that section, which is boring, if I want to practice the same twice a day) -And the main problem: the immersion. It should be rewarded somehow differently, not with lingots. I don't know how, but hey, I can't solve everything for you guys. ;)
Keep up the good work!
I think lingots should be used for a “quick” course and that you should be able to pick out any book off of amazon so to speak and maybe for ten lingots it will transfer your book to duolingo for you to read and be more interested in the book and be more beneficial to your linguistic abilities of your brain and your life.
New AB option as of today: no_lingot_streak_reward . That should be popular.
Duolingo, your sense of priorities, worrying about something as trivial as the lingot economy when there are many other, far more pressing things that should be occupying your limited resources is perplexing. I've given up trying to understand you.
New AB option as of today: no_lingot_streak_reward . That should be popular.
Duolingo, your sense of priorities, worrying about something as trivial as the lingot economy when there are many other, far more pressing things that should be occupying your limited resources is perplexing. I've given up trying to understand you.
That's a simple flag in a script/program. It is a change that could be done in half a second, so I don't see why one would claim that it is occupying limited resources.
This limited resources "mantra" seems to have become a way for users to criticize whatever decisions duolingo makes that they don't particularly like. The simple fact is that because they have limited resources, they are in the best position to know what to spend their effort in. Gamification is arguably the main reason Duolingo is successful, and that careful balance between gamification and learning is what keeps it that way.
These forums have really become something akin to gaming forums were people claim that every decision the developers make is making a particular game element overpowered, or under-powered.
I agree that this particular change was likely simple and quick to implement. However, that says nothing of time spent determining which change to start with, monitoring the test results in the future, or of time devoted to other potential changes that have yet to be revealed, etc.
Limited resources has been made the mantra because it's the first thing you hear from Duo's damage control team (my preferred title for the community manager group) whenever anyone raises issues with why this or that is getting developer attention. They claim that they're slow to address X bug or Y issue because of their limited resources - they can't use it as a shield to defend every choice they make and not have it raised when they demonstrate questionable prioritization.
You'll get no argument that gamification, and by extension the lingot economy, is an important facet of Duolingo that needs to be addressed. However, I don't believe it's as important or urgent as many well known issues that have been frequent topics of discussion (and promises by Duolingo staff). To see it prioritized ahead of other outstanding issues is a bit surprising.
Nice post here, Dessamator.
Though I agree with Doug that there are a number of other issues that could be addressed, maintaining the gamification of the site is definitely important (it's the thing that sets Duolingo apart from every other language learning program). In their current state, lingots are meaningless to those of us that are active on the site. The balance is totally off, and lack of items in the shop isn't the main problem (though it'd be nice to have a bigger selection). It's just far too easy to accumulate them now, especially once you've been at it for a while and the streak bonuses kick in.
You have hit the nail on the head. I have 2500 lingots. What is the point of handing them to me at the rate of hundreds every couple of months.
Post a question for discussion and spend a lot of time reading and considering the potentially hundreds of comments from the active, board users before making a decision or run an A/B test and see how many of the millions of program users notice or even care. Hmmmm! What to do?
Having written and run A/B tests on production web apps, I can promise you even the simplest test is never “half a second,” but is more likely to take multiple days of man-hours in setting up, reviewing, monitoring, and choosing a result, removing dead code, and then explaining the result…
That may be true, but this particular A/B test (or part of it) was run before the lingots were introduced. So it is unlikely that they discarded all previous data.
More importantly, the resources required may depend on the company's situation at the particular point in time. They could for example get a volunteer external developer that tackles the task, or something like "google code-in" that wikia (as an example) has made use of.
To be fair, the fact that this change got an official announcement and much of the content of the announcement is likely just preemptive damage control over a small change that Duolingo predicted would get a lot of negative feedback.
I doubt that you should take this to mean that lingot economy is somehow a high priority or the next big thing that Duolingo is working on. (Though I admit that the announcement does give that impression)
D'accord. I'm happy that I'm not in the test group, since today is day 350 for me & I only have like 300+ lingots (I spend a lot of mine on other users, otherwise I'd probably have more than a couple thousand by now), & in order for me to continue on with my "expensive" habits, I need my streak rewards to stay intact!! :D
I couldn't agree with you more strongly. There are clearly countless tweaks to the review algorithms, to the words feature, even to the almost un-navigable forums that would make this a much stronger tool for language learning, and instead it's... finding ways to control lingot inflation?
As I said in Alan's post:
Looks like I'll never have Lingots again. I relied on receiving a "ration" of Lingots every ten days to give out to people who answer questions and people who ask good questions. I almost always run out by the time I reach my next ration.
With no Lingots for perfect lessons, and no Lingot ration every ten days, I'm going to fall very far in debt with Lingot IOUs.
I don't really get why you deal with those red stones.. they are totally useless for me.. I only care to learn here and I never used a red stone to refill a heart cause this is like bully my self.. if I did a mistake , I did a mistake.. I prefer to do the exercise again and again till I learn. .. Many Thanks to people who work for this website and they offer to us for free :)
Muchas gracias por informarme acerca de la adquisición de duolingos. En realidad, en los cursos que he seguido tengo tantos que no se que hacer con ellos. Tal vez quería hacer lo del rico Mc Pato: acumular y acumular hasta nadar en ellos- Su carta me aterriza Muchas gracias.
I noticed this today -- 10 lingots only for getting all the answers correct. I like that! It will make me work harder. However, I have an issue lately with getting my bonus lingots at those ten-days-in-a-row marks. I didn't receive them at days 380, 390, 400. Sitesurf was kind enough to give me those. But then day 410 came along and I didn't get those. Have you changed that system? Please say no, because I really like the pressure of keeping my streak going.
I am apparently a part of this test group, and I quite honestly dislike the change. I cannot speak for everybody here, but as for me, I enjoy watching my streak increase and my lingot pile with it. Yes, much of the earned lingots will just sit there; I hardly ever give them away or buy streak freezes. But now with the streak bonus removed, there is less fun, and I am less inclined to spend my lingots. Why take away a motivator to learning and make us discontent?
I wonder how people give comments on the lingot economy besides posting on this thread or some other random thread that mentions lingots? I couldn't figure it out. Anyway, I would suggest that it would be cool if we could "buy" something entertaining with lingots. They're pretty useless now as far as I can see, at least the way I use Duolingo. (Which is: not very competitively.) A couple quick ideas: Videos in the language at an appropriate level (even kids' stuff could be fun); cartoons; real-time games with other users.