Originally created as part of A Guide to Duolingo Guides.
Official and unofficial community guidelines
The Duolingo community has a strong tradition of user-to-user instruction, by which users share community expectations, encouragement, and learning resources with one another. (This wiki is a product of that tradition). No matter which category a Duolingoer falls under, anyone can build a strong rapport with the community by being helpful and not taking their frustrations out on one another. With emphasis on a safe and respectful learning environment, there is generally a low tolerance for harassment and bullying. With thousands of new users joining each day, some users take time to acclimate to a low hostility environment. But other members are there to help them adjust and gently direct them to the official community guidelines.
While there are official guidelines, the community has developed its own set of expectations as well. An influx of down votes is generally a sign that someone has violated an official guideline, or has committed a faux pas. If this happens to something you have posted, feel free to ask for guidance and someone will help you. It's not the end of the world. It is easy to recover from such an event because most Duolingoers just want you to succeed. But, here are a few things it's good to know from the start:
Tips for avoiding common faux pas:
- The discussion forum is not for casual chatting. Do not make discussions like "let's talk". The activity stream is the best place for such conversations.
- Join my Whatsapp! Do not share your phone number on the website. Doing so violates the Guidelines.
- Lingot request posts have become too numerous not to be considered spam anymore by the community and most, if not all, moderators. Making such a post is highly unpopular and will probably get down voted or deleted.
- Self-introductions are quickly down voted for lack of content. If you are going to announce your arrival, make your introduction valuable, relevant, and engaging. Do this by asking specific questions about the language(s) you're learning. Do not post your age or school grade in your introduction. It is against the Guidelines.
- Space is limited in the discussion forums. If you create a lot of discussions in one day, you are pushing other people's discussions out of sight. Please be considerate with the number of daily posts you are creating. No more than 2 is a good number.
- Duolingo is great! Most people agree with that, and newer members frequently make this kind of post, so it gets repetitive. If you want make this post, give us a powerful, inspiring true story about how it changed your life. Otherwise, it will get down-voted for its repetitive nature and lack of original content.
- Can we please have x language? There are probably 10,000 posts requesting Japanese alone. The community does not want you to make another one. Search for an an existing language request post with a lot of up votes and add your vote. Ultimately, however, if you want a language to become a course on Duolingo, you'll need to be bilingual and volunteer to create it. http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply.
- Check for an existing discussion on your topic before creating a new one. Scroll through 2-3 pages in the "Popular" and "New" tabs to make sure someone else hasn't recently posted a similar discussion or the same question. Next, use the discussion search bar and try out a couple of keywords. If you don't see what you're looking for after a quick scan, go ahead and create a new discussion.
- Don't create a new copy of something you've already posted. If your post is relevant to another discussion, post your link to the other discussion's comment section. However, don't spam with it as your account may be deleted.
- New competitions are fun! Stop. Do not make more than one XP Competition post per month.
- Join my classroom! Don't post that link on the website. It shares your email, which violates the Guidelines.
- Be respectful even when you're being critical. A respectful tone goes a long way. Several of the more popular discussions that have taken place on Duolingo offered constructive criticism. The key is to aim for a message that seeks to improve the Duolingo platform, rather than unhelpful critique formed with the purpose and/or tone of simple ridicule.
- Make sure you are posting in the correct forum. Language-specific posts should go in language-specific forums, troubleshooting posts should go in the "Troubleshooting" forum, and general Duolingo-related discussions should go in the "Duolingo" forum.
If you've accidentally posted to the wrong forum, you can move your post to the correct forum by clicking "Edit" near the bottom-right of your post text and changing the "Topic" to the correct one.
Note that you may need to be subscribed to a forum in order to post to it, although after it's posted you can move it to any forum in your current interface language.
- Moderating the forum when you are not a moderator. Specifically saying "That's against the guidelines!" can cause more problems than it solves. Please don't tell other people they are breaking the guidelines if you are not a moderator. If there is a problem, contact a moderator. (Don't report spam to mods. Let mods discover spam when they sweep the forums. Exception: contact a moderator if spam contains porn, death threats, or it is a case of rapid spamming--making as many posts as possible in the shortest amount of time.)
- The Duolingo discussion section is not a chatroom or a social networking site. The website and apps are for language education. Casual posts (that are irrelevant to Duolingo and user's learning experiences) in any discussion forum, except the Activity stream are considered spam. Please review the Official Duolingo Guidelines before making any posts anywhere on Duolingo. Failure to follow the guidelines may result in the deactivation of your account.
Trial and error is a key pillar of learning on Duolingo, whether in the lessons or in the community. If you mess up a handful times, it is unlikely that you'll be ostracized. Learn from what happened and improve. The majority of Duolingoers want each other to succeed above all else.
Admins and moderators
Discussions on Duolingo are overseen by a group of volunteer users called moderators as well as Duolingo staff themselves, labelled in discussion areas as Administrator. Admins and moderators are identifiable by the distinct ring and symbol around their profile picture: admins' are surrounded by a blue ring with a star symbol, while moderators' are surrounded by a green ring with a shield symbol.
Subscribing to discussion forums
By default, you are subscribed to the general Duolingo discussion forum in your base language (the language you are learning from) as well as the language-specific forums for any languages you are learning (from your base language). You can change which topics you are subscribed to as follows:
- Click on Discussion in the blue bar at the top of your screen to get to Discussion stream. (Image 1)
- Click Edit next to Your Subscriptions (far, right side of your page).
- Subscribe to the forums you want to see in your Discussion stream. (Subscribing does not equal signing up for email notifications.)
- Note: PLEASE add Troubleshooting to your subscriptions.
- Note: The larger flag icon is your Target language (the language you are learning). The smaller flag icon in front of it is your Base language.
Image 1:If you want to subscribe to forum in another Base language, you have first to switch to any course teaching from this base language then follow the above procedure (then switch back to your original base language if you want).
General discussion forum
The general discussion forum is for posting questions, comments, and suggestions that directly related to Duolingo and users learning experiences.
- Note: The General Discussion forum is represented by a large heart icon in the list of subscriptions.
General discussion forums in other languages
- Note: Below is not an exhaustive list. Find more direct URL's by following these steps:
- Add the course
- Subscribe to that course's General Discussion forum.
- Enter a discussion that someone has posted in the forum.
- Open a new tab, and choose a different language course in your settings. Save changes.
- Return to your original tab and click "Discussion". Copy the URL. (This step needs to be replaced as the Discussion tab's URL (www.duolingo.com/discussion) no longer directs to the General Discussion forum. It goes to the user's Discussion stream.)
English for Dutch speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/838
English for German speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/818
English for Hungarian speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/836
English for Italian speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/515
English for Russian speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/821
English for Spanish speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/216
English for Turkish speakers: http://www.duolingo.com/topic/837
(Please subscribe to the Troubleshooting Forum!)
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with the website or one of the apps, post in this forum.
- Always note in your post what operating system and browser you're using. (For example, I use Windows7/Firefox) or what platform your using (For example, Android or iPhone app etc. and what version.)
- Try to note any error messages you received.
- If you can add screenshots, that would help a lot but it is not required. (Instructions on how to take a screen shot can be found in the New User FAQ http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1426103) [Update link to Duolingo Wiki's FAQ once these instructions have been added]
- This forum is located on the list of forum Subscriptions.
Language discussion forums
The Language Discussion forums are for questions and resources for your Target language. Located under Your Subscriptions (Image 3). If you don't see the forum you want, click Edit next to Your Subscriptions and then Subscribe to the forum you want.
- Note: The larger flag icon indicates Target language (language one is learning). The smaller flag indicates Base language (the language you are using to learn a different language).
- Note: To Subscribe to forums with a different Base language, sign up for those courses, then Subscribe to the forum from that course view. After that, the forum will be available to you no matter which course view you're in. (Image 4)
- Note: Duolingo will add forums as the courses enter Phase 3.
Sentence discussionsSentence discussions are discussions that are tied to a particular sentence translation pair in one of Duolingo's courses. They provide a way for learners to discuss tricky aspects of the language they are learning with each other and with native speakers who volunteer to help.
There are two ways to access sentence discussions:
1. Going through a lesson: once you submit an answer, you can access the discussion for that specific exercise by clicking on the "Discuss sentence" button below the exercise area. (Image)
2. Subscribe to a language-specific forum and go to it's "Sentences" tab. (Image)
- Note: You can search for a specific sentence you encountered in a lesson by using the search bar once you are in the Language Discussion forum.
Using the Comments section:
- The Sentence Discussion area is only for asking and answering questions relevant to the content of the sentence, such as grammar, conjugation, idioms, etc.
- Comments that don't belong there are: error reports, redundant comments that have already been made, casual conversation, complaints, or discussion about other parts of the website.
Main article: Activity stream
Your Activity stream is the best place on Duolingo to have casual conversations with other users. However, please see the website Guidelines before posting. Some content is not allowed anywhere on Duolingo. Posting prohibited content may result in the deactivation of your account.
- Note: The Activity tab is located in the Blue Bar at the top of your screen.
How to Find "Top All Time", "Sentences" and "Active (Mod)" Tabs
The Discussion stream only has three tabs: Popular, New, and Followed. You must be in a specific Discussion forum to see any other tabs (Feb 21, 2014). (Image 2)
Note: You must have a Duolingo Moderator account to see the Active (Mod) tab.
Note: To see the Sentences tab, you must be in a Language Discussion forum, not in the Discussion stream.
Note: Image 2 colors affected by Duolingo Dark V2 (lieryan's userscript, available here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/1853274 This userscript has not been endorsed by Duolingo. Use at your own risk.)
Using the Search Bar: How to Get the Best Results
- Go here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/781395
- Scroll down to comments by jrkhal and dnovinc.
Main article: Formatting
Duolingo uses a variant of Markdown for formatting in discussion areas. Such formatting can be used for things like bolding or italicizing text, blockquoting, or displaying images.
- Overview of what works: http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/1h9hvo/dowlingo_comment_formatting/
- Note: The tables... kinda work but mostly don't.
- For everything else, such as embedded links, see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax
Screenshots and Other Images
Step 1. Taking a print screen
- Option1: Windows 7: Press Prt Scr on the keyboard; Windows 8: Press WinKey+Prt Scr to take a screenshot of the whole screen. Screenshots taken this way are saved to the Screenshots folder in the Pictures library.
- Option 2: Macs: Press ⌘+shift+3 to take a cap of the full screen or ⌘+shift+4 to select a section for a screenshot. Screenshots are saved to the desktop.
- Option 3: You can use this Chrome extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/screen-capture-by-google/cpngackimfmofbokmjmljamhdncknpmg
Step 2: Open your default paint program and page the print screen. Name and save file. If you don't know how to do that or that doesn't work for you, go to http://www.youtube.com and look up "How to do print screen" and select the video that was made for your operating system.
Step 3: Go to image hosting website like imgur.com or tiny pic. (Following instructions are for imgur).