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".
- Is your discussion on topic? The forums are only for discussing topics related to language and/or Duolingo.
- Check that you are posting in the correct forum. If you post to the wrong forum, staff or moderators may delete your post or ask you to move it to the appropriate forum. Language-specific posts should go in language-specific forums, troubleshooting posts should go in the "Troubleshooting" forum, posts about Duolingo for Schools should go in the “Educators” Forum, and general language or Duolingo-related discussions should go in the "Duolingo" forum.
- Repeating a fatigued post theme. Forum fatigue happens when many people post about the same thing frequently. "Happy New Year!", "Down votes/trolls are bad", etc. Scroll through 2-3 pages in the "Popular" and "New" tabs to make sure someone else has not recently posted the same thing. 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.
- Join my Whatsapp! Do not share your phone number on the website. Doing so violates the Guidelines.
- Lingot posts are categorized as spam. If you create a post where the main purpose is to give or receive lingots, it will get down voted and/or deleted.
- Self-introductions Make your introduction valuable, relevant, and engaging. Ask specific questions about the language you're learning. Don't post prohibited sensitive information: email, address, phone, your age (no matter how old) or any information that would reasonably lead someone to suspect a person is younger than 18, including school grade or home school status.
- Space is limited If you create a lot of forum discussions in one day, you are pushing other people's discussions out of sight. Posting more than 2 discussions a day attracts downvotes.
- Duolingo is great! Don't make a post to say something obvious. If you want make this post, give us a powerful, inspiring true story about how it changed your life. Unique posts are interesting.
- Can we please have x language? Don't create a new discussion requesting a language. Instead, follow the steps outlined in the discussion [Guide I would like a new course:What should I do?] If you are bilingual and want to volunteer to create a new course, volunteer here: http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply.
- Don't create a new copy of something you've already posted. You get one shot at posting a discussion. If it sinks, it sinks.
- Don't spam people's posts with links to your posts. Unless it is genuinely relevant and intended to add to the other person's discussion, don't post a link just to increase traffic to your post. It's a fast way to irritate the community.
- New competitions are fun! Stop. Do not make more than one XP Competition post per month. If you do, it will get deleted.
- 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.
- Moderating the forum when you are not a moderator. If someone is being abusive, don't interact with them to tell them they are violating the guidelines. They probably don't care. If someone is new and unknowingly does something they shouldn't, offer them a kind and warm explanation of how the forums work. If you are mean to them, you've broken the guidelines too.
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 of 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 either a green or gold ring with a globe symbol.
Since there are 4 Global Ambassador branches that all use green and gold rings, be sure the person with the ring has "MOD" written next to their username. That means they are a moderator for that forum.
Subscribing to discussion forums
By default, you are subscribed to three forums: General Duolingo discussion forum in your base language (the language you are learning from), Troubleshooting forum for base language, and the language-specific forums for your target language. You will only see the Troubleshooting forum until you reach level 2, unless yo. 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 page on Desktop ver).
- Subscribe to the forums you want to see in your Discussion stream. (Subscribing does not equal signing up for email notifications.)
- 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.
- Note: You can only post to Troubleshooting until you have reached level 2.
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 related to language and Duolingo. If you have a discussion specifically related to a language that has its own forum, post it there instead of to the general forum.
- 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 Windows10/Chrome") or what platform your using (For example, Android or iPhone app etc. and what version.)
- Try to note any error messages you've received.
- If you can add screenshots, that would help a lot but it is not required. Don't know how to take a screenshot? See Duolingo's official Help Center article How do I take a screenshot?
- 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 (the language you are 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 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 three 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. 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.
3. Google the sentence: If you type the sentence with quotes you are very likely to get it. For example, "Associations do not have to make a profit" will return exactly two pages, one from the Duolingo Forums, and the other from Duolingo Dictionary (and very soon this Duolingo Wiki page).
Short sentences won't be found so easily with the first method. In that case add site:forum.duolingo.com. For example
- "J'habite a Bordeaux" site:forum.duolingo.com
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.
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).