Could we please cut the Duolingo team some slack?
We are all eager to get started on the incubator. I am no exception. But some of the comments in the discussion make me sad. Having said that, of course everyone can express their opinion. But here are some points to consider.
1) Could we please all remind ourselves that Duolingo is free? I mean seriously, this is one of the most outstanding webpages that I've ever come across. It is beautifully done at the quality is absolutely amazing. I don't know why people always have such a sense of entitlement and think that if they got something for free they can still complain about stuff. (And just as a sidenote complaining and making suggestions for improvement or constructive criticism are NOT the same thing. Lately, I have seen a lot of complaining here. - "Der Ton macht die Musik." "It's not what you say, but how you say it.")
2) The Duolingo team consists of less than 30 members. With thousands of applications it will take a while to accurately evaluate them. As this is one of the things that I want to stress: quality over quantity. If you rush through things now, you will regret it later. Luis said they'll do it next week.
3) It is after all the weekend. While I am sure most Duolingo members as still working hard and sifting through applications this is not something that we can expect of them. I think we should appreciate all the work and all the hours these guys are putting in. When was the last time you worked for 27 hours straight such as they did in their hackathon?
Are we all impatient about the incubator? Yes of course we are.
Was the advertisement for the incubator maybe a bit misleading? Yes, sure. Most of us including me thought we would be able to add languages right away. Maybe they should've opened the applications earlier so we could've started on October 9. But they didn't. That's that.
Did these guys maybe underestimates how many applications they would get, and how many people love Duolingo so much that they want to give back? Probably. But seriously, when was the last time you did a project like that, that had absolutely nothing that It could be compared to. I mean Duolingo doesn't have any expertise with launching such a huge project and I doubt that there is really much comparable out there.
Hindsight is always 20-20.
So, lets show the team some love. Sorry for this long rant :)
Thanks, Frankyska :) We're working hard to get people into the Incubator over the next week. We're super excited by all the applications and enthusiasm around this project. Nobody has ever done something like this before, which makes the Incubator even more exciting. Appreciate all of your patience. The Duolingo team is working hard to make sure we get this off the ground as fast as possible. It also wouldn't be right to not thank all of you! We couldn't do this without our incredible community of language experts and learners.
Duolingo is the new big thing. :) The reason why many of us are impatient is because Duolingo is awesome! We understand that you are working hard and many of us are happy to wait. ;) There is a saying in Sweden that goes like this: "Den som väntar på något gott väntar aldrig för länge.". Here is a translation of what it means in english: "The person who is waiting for something good is never waiting for too long" but the more correct meaning of the sentence is "All good things come to he who waits.".
I want to finish off this message with a big hug to the Duolingo team!
I completely agree. It always saddens me when I see others complain about things that can't be helped, like the amount of time it takes for the team implement new features. Suggesting things and reporting problems is one thing, but being rude and inconsiderate to the fact that these things take time is not okay. Rome was not built in a day.
yea true, I mean Duolingo is free and it is improving, a lot, making itself better every month with the hard work of 30 members. It is a rare thing to see , and the commitment they show, the constant feedback they give to the community. Incubator is just a tool they are creating , and we are going to help them improve duolingo and add the languages everyone wants to learn. People should give their support, not asking everything at once... There is a saying for this in portuguese , "dás uma mão, levam-te o braço" (you give your hand, they take your arm).
I can't think of an English "arm" related saying. Just "If you give them an inch, they'll take a mile".
DuoLingo and the dedicated folks who work on it (and most of the people who comment thoughtfully) makes me think we are evolving into a better species.
Love you DuoLingo! Thanks for teaching me Spanish.
We have exactly the same saying in Turkish; "Elini verip, kolunu kaptırırsın." (You give your hand, they catch your arm) By the way, Duolingo is a revolutionary product - even it is "kostenlos". Ten folds better than the German set I bought few years ago. Can't thank Duolingo team enough for this amazing work.
I completely agree. I would add one thing (though too late for most who should read it): think before you apply. There are lots of applications now and I'm afraid lots of them are from people who shouldn't apply. No wonder the Duolingo team members are too busy now and that we should be glad if they really manage to process everything before next weekend.
If you want to apply, you should first answer these two questions:
1) am I good enough in both languages concerned, so that I wouldn't make unnecessary mistakes?
2) do I really want (and can) to give some five or ten hours a week to the project?
(If you want just the basic message and not long rants, you can stop here, the rest consists mostly of consequences of the previous)
If you are absolutely sure you meet both requirments, than close the page, go jogging, take a shower, or otherwise loose your mental grasp over this idea, then think over and if you are still sure, apply. Otherwise wait and either honestly confess you don't meet the criteria, or try hard to learn the language you need (at best some one or two hours a day, the time you will redirect to work on the course when your abilities in the language are satisfying and your application is accepted).
If you can't honestly promise you will work on Duolingo course several hours a week (and that you will still work on it so hard after few weeks of primary ignition), wait until someone else start the course. The main reason: if one team member stops working (or cuts their working hours down to some one hour a week or even less), it's bad, but the project goes on through work of others, but if the only worker stops, the project is dead, and later revival difficult. Similarly, one or two hours per week is not much, but such a team member is still better than no team member, at least if other qualities outweigh lack of time. But a team leader working just one or two hours a week? It really doesn't worth it.
There's another reason - enthusiasm is important, but it's quite tricky, because it can vanish quickly when real difficulties emerge. Waiting a week or two is similar to such difficulties - it helps to tell a deep, sincere and long-lasting decision from short-term enthusiasm that would betray you when problems occur. It's better not to apply at all than to flee from your commitment few days or weeks after the project started (or after you joined), at least because such a withdrawal is quite demotivating for others.
The system of bilingual motivation letter is excellent - it is quite difficult to process, but it makes the applicants think first and it shows quite a lot about each applicant's motivation and language abilities.
I write from my experience - the application form forced me to think whether I should apply with that two hours a week at best and with my English, which is fluent and mostly good, but with some rusty parts. So I wait for someone to start Czech to English first, and I hope that experience of others will encourage me not to withdraw from this plan. I would suggest others to do it like me, so that the team members have time to empty the application buffer.
EDIT: uh, the original post is quite long, but my rant is even longer.
English: Good things come to those who wait.
Danish: Alt godt kommer til den der venter
Swedish: Den som väntar på något gott, väntar aldrig för länge
Norwegian: Den som venter på noe stort, venter aldri for lenge
German: Was lange währt, wird endlich gut.
Spanish: Las mejores cosas de la vida se hacen esperar
French: Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre
Hungarian: A türelem rózsát terem
Russian: Kто ждёт, тот дождётся (kto ždjot, tot doždjótsja)
Slovak: Kto si počká, ten sa dočká.
Japanese: 果報は寝て待て (kahou wa nete mate)
I would say that your Russian version is not a common saying and in any case it doesn't have the idea of waiting for something good. But there is another saying: Терпи, казак, атаманом будешь, which is very common, and it can be translated as: Be patient, Cossack, and you will become a chieftain.
In Czech it's almost like in Slovak: "Kdo si počká, ten se dočká."
Or other saying with the same meaning (but slightly less positive): "Dočkej času jako husa klasu." Literally: "Wait for the (right) time like a goose waits for some grain ears". Sometimes it's abbreviated to "dočajahukla" or "do čaja hukla" (I'm not sure how to translate the verb, but it would be something like "She yapped to the tea.").
Thank you for posting this comment. When I see the 'demanding' and 'whining' tones of some of the posts to the discussion boards (about a number of topics), they remind me of something that I saw in a comic strip years ago. I think the name of the comic strip was 'The Family Circus'. To summarize, you see about 5 or 6 panels where it shows a parent taking a child to an amusement park, buying him things, taking him on the rides, basically spending the whole day giving the child a wonderful experience. The next to the last panel shows the child asking for an ice cream cone and the parent says 'No, you've had enough to eat'. The final panel shows the child throwing a tantrum and yelling, 'You NEVER do anything for me!!!'.
It is a rather unnerving thought that we have to get to this juncture where people still have the unfortunate audacity to ridicule the practice of something that has become much bigger than all of us. Duolingo has legitimized a well thought-out, innovative and efficient application that's sparked a revolution in the field of language-learning. I attest to my own personal triumphs of learning several languages at once that Duolingo harmoniously gone in sync with my own learning speed and skills, and I've been allowed to acquire new tenses and verbiage in amazing fashion.
Because of the help of Duolingo, and the guidance of peers of their native languages that have helped throughout this process, I've been allotted more opportunities and gained a much wider perspective, respect and appreciation for the cultures of which their languages I am currently learning. For the first time in my entire life, I can maintain a conversation with my grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, by speaking Spanish which is my families' heritage of Puerto Rico where I was born and raised.
Duolingo has provided the tools and guidance to allow ANYONE to engage in learning not only a new language, but also learn about an entirely new culture of people, food, activities and ideas. Don't make haste of rash judgement on the staff at Duolingo, because doing so only impedes the progress and imagination they've conjured up to create the platform we currently utilize. I hope I didn't ramble on too much like the gentleman who initiated this discussion, I only intend to preach what he so perfectly explained in clear detail.
A summary would help. But yes, I agree. However, the trouble with Duolingo, is that the information is hard to come by and even worse to disseminate. The founder and team members make many fragmented statements and announcements, which frequent users see but some other people don't. So this is the end result: people will complain and make noise until either DUOlingo becomes opensource, or a little more open regarding feedback, bug reports, and new features. Perhaps if it had a centralized place to inform about bugs and new features it would be better because a forum is hardly a good place for that.
Summary: I agree, but it is complicated to inform users, it is a juggling act that they succeed most times and fail a few times.
yes, something like "pinning discussion" has been suggested a lot, and that the discussion section as a whole needs to be better organized. I think they are working on it, from what I remember reading. For my part: I have just started following all the moderators, so I simply need to check my stream for interesting comments :)
P.S. I have added some bold to make it more easily readable - I think the title pretty much summarizes my point :)
You see, there's the trouble. You think they are working on it, you don't know for a fact and you have no way of verifying it. I have knowledge of software development, so I understand more than the average user about the difficulties. Well, following mods is one way of doing it. By the way, most mods aren't part of staff(as far as I know) they are just trusted volunteers (I think).
Sorry I guess I ment staff - or the ones with blue circles and stars :). Yes, I totally agree with the think problem: I read it somewhere but digging it out would take a while! But FAQs, organizing the discussion etc have certainly been propose (by me and others), and the response from the team was always positive. I think this page is always improving - there are some things that I personally think should have more priority than others, but I am just one person...:)
Correct, moderators are volunteers who were selected for their helpful behaviour in the discussion section. They can be recognised by the green M, are able to delete comments that do not follow the community guidelines (http://www.duolingo.com/guidelines) and are expected to set an example during discussions. Not everyone has decided to pick up her or his moderatorship though and there are a lot of community members who are able to do great things without that little M. For instance, posting a thoughtful discussion is an excellent way to encourage people to think about the way in which we would all like the community to function. Thank you for your kind efforts, I'm sure they are appreciated by both the staff and fellow community members. Keep it up and good luck with your studies!
I'm still amazed that so many people expected to hit the ground running on the 9th when Luis was clear that there would be a vetting process for selecting moderators for any given course. Logically, contributors won't be added until the moderators are in place to manage the development of courses. I can't imagine how anyone would have the idea that such a thing would happen more or less immediately like so many people seem to have expected. Even so, it was obvious from reading forum posts that many people had extremely unrealistic expectations well before the launch date, and DL staff could have done a better job of managing user expectations by being even more explicit. I bet they've learned this lesson very well and will handle future roll outs a bit differently.
You are right, we all knew that there would be a selection process at some point. I think the more accurate description of my statement above would have been: “We all/most of us expected for it to happen faster”. As a matter of fact I think that includes the Duolingo team.
Why do I think that?
1) Well first of all I think they would've advertised the incubator differently if they had not thought that they could go through the applications within a maximum of a few days.
2) Second the notification box that popped up after we submitted our application said that we should hear within a few days. Given that Duolingo has never launched such a huge project before, I would assume that that was their conservative estimation of how long it would take.
3) Third, there was a discussion: Kristine asked who would contribute, and with what languages, to the incubator (http://www.duolingo.com/comment/873415). It didn’t even ask for the ‘first phase’ of the incubator only. This discussion got about 500 replies. (Some of them were obviously by the same people, discussing things within the threat). So going from that number I think the best estimate Duolingo had might have been a couple of hundred applications -- not a couple of thousand!
So, what I think happened is that the response to the incubator was just unexpectedly high. This is obviously a good thing; the more people apply, hopefully the better quality moderators and translators we can get. ☺
I think they should also be happy if we donate some time to Duolingo. By answering language questions of other users in Forums, by translating in Immersion (they're paid for some of the translation), by reporting the errors we saw in lessons, by helping within the Incubator...
You are right! I love duolingo and appreciate all that they are doing to make this the best that it can be! with every upgrade I am eternally grateful! This is the greatest FREE language learning software ever! How can any one complain about a FREE that is so amazing it almost makes you feel bad that you didnt pay?? Keep up the good work duolingo! I'm routing for you :)
Nice post, FrankySka! I was thinking, this being free and all... Would it be too much of an added inconvenience (legally, or for tax reasons) to have a "donate" button?
I know with as big of a community as this is some people might want to chip in at least a few bucks as a "thank you!" :)
And that said, thanks guys! I'm finally learning Spanish because I want to, not just because I have to pass a test. (And, coincidentally, I am learning how and why Spanish grammar works as it does just because of how the lessons are setup here--very cool.)
Thank you for your post! I can't even begin how many times I wanted to say "be patient" to some of these discussions here. >.< Something as big as the incubator takes time and shouldn't be rushed. I know we're all eager and want to start right away, but we should have more patience. ^^
I am so glad that I have been using Duolingo via the app recently. It has insulated me from having to read criticisms of the incubator, of duolingo, etc.
Nothing on-line has been so beneficial for me as Duolingo. Whatever might come to mind is a distant second.
Gmail or any email for that matter? Ads, spam, inbox counts, and of course viruses. Facetime? Skype? NSA and privacy issues. Spam. And it can be as bad as a cell phone if you let it be.
Nope, I'd nominate Luis for President if I wished him ill. But I'd be a fool to find fault with this wonderful web site.
I don't have the words- in any language- to express how much I appreciate all of the staff here at Doulingo. I started using Doulingo yesterday and I have learned more spanish in two days than I have in several school semesters of spanish classes. Not only that, but I have never been able to understand the pronunciations, verb tenses or memorize the masculine and feminine terms until now. Thank You Doulingo staff I and the many others here really appreciate your hard work.
Two years later and this is still applicable... This is a great post.
Yes people, we are all constantly reloading the page that says "Hungarian: Hatching, 100% Done" because we hope in vain that it will be ready to study. But let's take it back and realise just how much effort and work they have put into this.
Same for everything else.
I greatly appreciate all the work that the Duolingo staff do.
Thank you. Gracias. Merci. Takk. Dziękuję. Köszönöm. Keep up the hard work, and we all love you!
This has been suggested before recently, and I think it is a great idea. Just the sheer number of Duolingo users could make this a really helpful contribution for the development. It would also ensure that people that cannot afford to pay for language learning would still get it for free but we could help out with a few bucks and make a difference :)
Yes, they are absolutely amazing. And they are still PEOPLE. Of course, I also can´t wait, when will be the new courses ready, but if can I give on advice: Have a little break, Duo staff, as FrankySka said. You´ve made too much in a short time. Just see the list in this discussion: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/905853.
Sure, but honestly: Did people really think that? I'm not arrogant, but it was obvious that it may take time to read through all the applications etc. - yes, it was a bit confusing and misleading how duolingo announced it a.s.o. but this is not the reason why I should feel disappointed. But I understand your point.
Yes I hope Japanese will be added too. I have been wanting to learn Japanese for years and just recently started listening to Japanese music, watching anime and drawing anime(Not to mention reading manga). I know some words and phrases and the basic format for a sentence, but I want to learn the entire language so I can sing those vocaloid songs and understand what the shows/movies are saying without subtitles!!!!
Slack is due!
I think a lot of us were expecting a breakthrough crowdsourced learning solution. What incubator is, is not quite as crowdsourced as many believed. Does that mean it is bad? No. Just not what people were expecting.
Now, some folks have expressed the lack of their expectations being met differently than others. But, as you point out, Duolingo is still a free service. Most of us agree that quality is vital, as well. So I'm sure that the team is doing everything the best way they can with the resources they have, and we will simply wait to enjoy the benefits.
I've just found Duolingo and totally agree with your comments. To find a totally free language learning site is amazing and I like this one a lot. So many say they are free but you only get a taster and then have to pay. I am advising all my spanish learning friends to join. The only problem is that it is totally addictive!!! I also like the android app.
I am 100% with you Franky! For me it is the best webpage ever! With Duolingo I found a tool that makes me kind of addicted to studying - and that really sounds awkward to me to be honest. I tell everybody to use Duolingo and I love the fun competition with my friends. We finally compete about something of which we get something useful out of. Thank you very much for your long rant 8D
Don't apologize for your rant. We get so accustomed to having things readily available 24/7 on the computer and in the stores that we get a little spoiled and forget that we should appreciate the efforts of others to make our lives easier! I know my first comment was a bit negative and snarky and I deleted it for that reason. I was just moody and frustrated as a beginner, but then realized what a turd I was being. I really love this program! Thanks Duolingo team!
I'm completely new here, but this is a seriously clever and kind 'rant'. I'm grateful for what I've been given and if one day I can give back I will, but this has to be on their own terms. I respect the team so much for not just imagining this project but also truly making it happen. Thanks !
Hi Franky! I would like to share that even me, and i am not part of the Duolingo team, sometimes I feel disapointed for the way some people "ask" their questions, or the way they "comment". however, from my point of view, the only inportant words I have for Duolingo's Team are "THAN YOU SO MUCH, I LOVE YOUR WORK"
I love your post. I was so excited when I found this site. I had been trying to convince my mom to get me Mango languages but she wouldn't because it costs $$$. In despair, I googled Free French and Duolingo popped up! (cue holy voices singing) Ever since I have been totally hooked. So happy I can learn a language especially with a site like this one. Normally free sites are trash BUT NOT DUOLINGO. Again, I totally agree with your post and hate it when people sit back and just criticize what they aren't skilled enough to do. DUOLINGO ROCKS AND WE SHOULD ALL BE INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL. Thank you FrankySka for bringing this very important topic to light!
Oh, I see and love the idea. Just think, in the exercises we get to ask all sorts of questions, propose alternative solutions etc and get gteat feedback even reference sites etc. Whereas, for Immersion which is meant to go public we have no support aside from checks and exes. The edit explanations are one way streets.
Edit The above was posted months ago. Now we have a Discuss option on Immersion which is equivalent to the comments for the lesson. It's not used as much as it should be but when it is it's very constructive. Thanks Duo.