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Can we have some consistent moderation... please? And can we be told exactly what we did wrong when our posts are deleted?

I would appreciate both of those things very much.

October 15, 2013



Well, I'm a moderator and I delete quite a lot of posts.

Here is what I usually delete in general discussions:

  • Offensive comments.

  • Nonsense comments like "lkjsd;flkjaslfjsjsdlkf".

  • Irrelevant comments like "Hello" or "I like pie" or whatever in useful discussions. Such posts clutter the discussion and make it more difficult to read.

Otherwise, I leave general discussions as they are. There is no need to clear threads with announcements or suggestions. Let everyone feel comfortable and have their say if they don't spam or offend anyone.

Apart from that, in discussions of tasks I usually delete:

  • Some comments about the meaning of the sentence rather than about its language aspects. I leave really funny jokes (they usually collect tons of upvotes), but otherwise, trying to be witty about the sentence does not help others to learn and clutters the discussion. There are 50+ comments for some sentences in basic sections, and very few of them are really helpful.

  • Duplicating comments like "xxx should be accepted!" or "it is not xxx, it's yyy". I leave one instance of that in a thread and delete the others.

  • If I know that a certain translation is now accepted, I delete old comments with questions why it was not accepted before. Apparently this translation has been added and complaints about it are no longer relevant. If those comments are relatively new, I rather reply with "It is accepted now".

  • Comments like "I agree" or "me too" in discussions of sentences. Again, these discussions are meant to be read while learning and they are most helpful when they consist of language questions and answers for them. Sometimes it is fine to post "me too" just to "up" the thread or attract attention of your friends, but after that, these comments don't add anything to the discussion.

  • Complaints like "this is so hard", "this sucks" or "I typed xxx and was wrong" (the latter does not apply to situations when the user asks why this or that was considered wrong).

  • Comments about the pronunciation/voice like "I heard xxx" or "The sound is not clear". Sentence discussions are not intended for reports. Of course, I leave questions about pronunciation like "Is b really pronounced like v in Spanish?"

  • Obviously incorrect answers that may confuse other learners. Usually such answers are already downvoted.

Personally, I don't think users should be notified about every deleted comment. This may lead to unnecessary conflicts and of course a lot of extra work for moderators. I often spend much more time on doing a lesson because I look through every discussion and clean it up if necessary; imagine how slowly I would advance if I had to comment on every deleted post. Situations when users really care about their deleted comments (like Zach1337 in this very case) are rather rare, and they are usually brought up to the forum and resolved or explained by the mods or staff.

Now, if we talk about consistency of moderation, I'm all in favor of it, but we the mods are only human and can make mistakes, too. What one sees as normal, the other may see as offensive. Unfortunately, we can't completely avoid all the possible disagreements. Here, I can only make this suggestion to other moderators: when in doubt, don't delete the comment :-)

On the comment in question: Personally, I would hesitate to delete it, but I'm pretty sure it would have been downvoted by others anyway. Come on, the original post was written to share happiness with others, not to advocate these or those views. If you don't feel like congratulating Peter, just go by and don't spoil his joy.

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I'm... much more tolerant than you are :)

Too much, admittedly; I think I'll follow your example and clean up old threads as soon as I have time.


I'm pretty much 100% on track with you.


"I typed xxx and was wrong" (the latter does not apply to situations when the user asks why this or that was considered wrong). I sometimes do this when there is confusion about which translations are or are not accepted. And I appreciate it when other people do it too, because there is sometimes no other way to see alternate translations.


Hi everyone! I just want to clear some things up here, so that everyone understands where we are coming from. We have limited resources and can't email everyone a reason for why a comment was deleted. We have an incredible group of moderators willingly offering their time. They are members we communicate with regularly and people who spend a lot of time making sure this community continues to be one of acceptance and language learning. That comment was removed by our staff. We have a very active community, and we want to make sure that the comments and the threads that are in the forum focus on language learning and language success stories. There are many other platforms to engage in other topics. We have guidelines that outline what this community is all about. Check them out here: http://www.duolingo.com/guidelines. The comment that was removed wasn't relevant to the thread or language learning. We love different opinions- language learning discussions involve a lot of perspectives. We encourage that. We are very transparent about what we expect to see in the forums. Let me know your questions! Happy to answer them.


"We are very transparent about what we expect to see in the forums."

It doesn't seem so. The guidelines are apparently very general in order to ease the work of moderation, but not to ensure transparency for your users. How can one tell why was their comment deleted, if they don't know the reason? The person will just make the same mistake another time, and another.

Simple note to user will do, I believe: "Your comment ID = xxxxx with this and this content was deleted because of this reason: usage of offensive language".

TLDR; My issue is primarily not with the guidelines, but how liberally are moderators able to interpret them without some sort of accountability towards users.


While I agree with the sentiments of the moderators and others on this thread (that moderators have little time to write notifications when a post gets deleted), in my humble opinion, it would be great if the Duolingo introduces a set of moderator tools (much like what's there on platforms like Stack Exchange) so that when a moderator goes to delete a post, he also selects a reason for deleting and then an automatic email is written mentioning the reason for deletion. This might help make the process more transparent.


That's a great idea. It could (in theory) also keep track of how many times someone has been sent the email. That way when I report someone to Duo for continuous inane jibber-jabber, despite my requests made to that person to stop the posts and to follow the guidelines, there will be numbers showing the amount of times their posts have been deleted and why.


By "selects a reason", I have presumed the existence of a drop-down list which has a list of reasons. Such a reasonable list could evolve from the discussion on this thread and of course, there could be a text box for specific reasons a moderator might have.

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I would pay twice my weight in Lingots to never again see a complaint on Duolingo about gender roles or "patriarchy" or whether or not such and such sentences are sexist. Good Lord.


Hey Zach1337! Moderation is strongly based on our Community Guidelines that you can find here: http://www.duolingo.com/guidelines We do not arbitrarily delete discussions. It is also very rare that we need to do that. Let me know what you're referring to, and I can take a closer look.


Hmm, I think the problem is not that you disagreed with the person that posted in that thread but rather the "tone" of your expression. I often disagree with many individuals, including moderators, yet as far as I know my posts aren't deleted.

Besides, this is a simple matter of being in someone elses house (DuoLingo), and when in China(Duolingo) do what the Chinese (Duolinguers and its Overlords) do and say.

Update: The OP could have simply written that remark directly to the author of the thread in his/her stream. Also perhaps a good tool would be something that automatically sends a notice to the person's stream when a post is deleted, and a link to the forum guidelines.

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