Not getting new words in German course + repeat stack stuck at 0

  • progress chart
    Hi everyone ,

    I'm currently at level 15 in German language. For 5 consecutive days I did not get any new words although I had a very high repetition score ~ 90%. Also my repeat stack is stuck at 0. Screenshot of the history graph - .
    Is anyone having the same issue? Thanks in advance.

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    @alex-zorach Just another data point for this: I've been doing the Spanish and the Russian courses for a couple of months, and I find that they both work in terms of the algorithm. I also didn't find the Spanish course any different today from before.

    I often get quite few new words one day, and then quite many (at least 20, even up to 35) the next, followed by few, and so forth. I think this describes quite well how I make more mistakes on the new words when I see them.

    To get to this level of vocabulary growth, I have to do 100 Russian cards every day but only 50 Spanish ones, since I know Spanish better and also memorize new Spanish words better than new Russian words.

    I haven't tried the German course. I finished the French course years ago, when it was more limited than now, and am now trying to practice all the 4,000+ words I learned in order to get the last new French words available... That process also seems to run as expected.

  • So, today the Spanish course seems to have switched for me. I started with 100 words on the repeat stack...and I did 99 before it gave me a single word, even with getting 90% correct.

    Some of the words I do think it was important for me to practice...others not so much.

    I took a leap of faith and signed up for a 1-year subscription. I have been impressed with how Lingvist has been more communicative with me and with the userbase in general, and has responded to fixing this bug earlier, relative to DuoLingo, where my experience has been severely alienating (I've submitted dozens of detailed bug reports there, very few of them have ever been fixed, and I never received a personalized reply, and the staff only rarely post in the forums and it's almost always to announce new features.) I had been a paying user at DuoLingo but had cancelled.

    I'm hopeful that this new algorithm will work well moving forward.

    I'm a little annoyed at having to practice a full 99 words just to get 1 new word...especially when I was getting 90% correct...but...yeah...I can live with least the site is usable (compare with DuoLingo where some of their recent updates have basically removed any desire I have to keep practicing some of the courses, especially German).

  • @alex-zorach I think the Russian and the German courses are currently using different algorithms which is why you see a difference. They said they are testing the new algorithm with German (and was it French?) first. Another thing to be aware is that you will naturally have more and more repeats before new words in any spaced-repetition system because you need to keep up a larger and larger vocabulary.

    I do agree that the current algorithm is a bit too easy. I’m getting around 96% correct, when I think it would be better at around 90%. However I do think the new algorithm is an improvement. The old algorithm had the same problem where the new and old cards weren’t mixed, and a 60% retention rate (or even 80%) is pretty useless for actually using the language. If your retention rate is lower than your coverage percentage than that pretty clearly says you’re better off studying your old words rather than learning new rarer words, whether or not reviewing is fun.

  • Also, I just thought of this now, one problem that I seem to have only had in the German course, is that sometimes it gives me the same set of several cards in a row in the exact same sequence.

    I think it must be doing this a lot because I only notice this after it has done it many times.

    This is not a desirable behavior for me because I think it creates an unnatural "sequence"-based learning which will make it harder to remember the words if they encounter in a different order.

    I think this is another sign of a problem with the algorithm in the German course.

  • Like, I want to give some feedback on why I think the behavior in the German course is sub-optimal and strange. I am doing Spanish, German, and Russian on this site. I know German much better than Russian. In the Russian course, I make a ton of mistakes. I'm currently at 63% correct Repeats and after 86 words, it gave me a new word.

    This doesn't seem all that strange to me...but it does seem super strange that I had to go only 86 words in Russian to get a new word, whereas in German I had to go 97 words, given how much harder I'm struggling in Russian, and how many more mistakes I'm making.

    Both my Russian and German courses started out today with 80-something cards on the repeat stack. I noticed that in the German course, as I made a small number of mistakes, it would prolong the amount of time I needed to go through the repeat stack before getting new words...whereas in the Russian course this wouldn't happen.

    Sometimes I've even seen the algorithm lower the number of words in the repeat stack, when I make a mistake. It's confusing to me what is going on.

    The Russian course feels good to me, it feels like a natural level of challenge and the pacing or timing with which I receive words feels natural. If I have any complaints, it would be that the Russian course actually is giving me too many new words and is not giving me old words often enough, i.e. there are a number of words I remember struggling with at the beginning of the course that I haven't seen in days, and I find this a bit strange, as they're not giving me practice with them. I wouldn't mind the Russian course slow me down more and make me get to an 80% or so level before getting new words.

    With the German course it's the other way around...I'm performing much better at the course and yet the algorithm keeps throwing words at me that I know really well and that are boring me, and I have to go through more words to get a new word.

    It doesn't make sense.

    I know this stuff is hard to tweak but like...surely there is a way to solve this? I think the contrast between the two courses is what makes this all seem strange to me.

  • So...things are okay for me but not great, i.e. not as good as the first few days after the problem had been "fixed".

    Today I had to do 97 words before I got a single new word. I had 87% correct repeats. This means that I could do 100 cards and I would learn at the very most, 3 new words.

    What is more concerning to me, is that the algorithm gave me lots of words that I seem to know really well, and there are other words that I am still in the process of learning, that it didn't give me.

    But then like, when I went kept giving me new words!!! I did 50 new words before I got tired of this...I want to practice some of these words.

    More importantly, it feels unnatural to be given a whole bunch of repeats all in a big block, and then, given NO repeats and continually fed new words.

    Please, like...the way the old algorithm worked wasn't perfect but it wasn't all messed up the way this one is. It seemed to give me a reasonable number of new words, it seemed to repeat words more often if I got them wrong...and it would never give me huge blocks of repeat words with no new words nor would it give me huge blocks of new words with no repeat words.

    Can you all like please test out these algorithms more thoroughly before pushing them on users? I'm a bit frustrated again.

    I just want to be able to use this site without worrying, just to relax and do it and trust that the algorithm is being reasonable, you know? I don't want to have to be playing a mental guessing game of "Is this wasting my time? Is this a bug or is this the intended way for it to be functioning? Is this a bad enough problem that it's warranted for me to post in the forums and/or file a bug report about it?" This all eats up mental energy that I could be spending learning a language.

  • @Kirill-Timoshenko Once you clear the repeat stack try adding not too many new words. I have limited myself to adding about 20 new words per day and now I'm getting new words after 150-200 cards which alright 🙂

  • A small update. For me the new algorithm for spaced repetition does not work. I would have to solve around 400 cards to get a new word. I find it is excessive, giving that I have 90-95% success rate.

    Furthermore, with the current algorithm, I get more and more words to repeat every day, despite solving 100 words daily (with the exception of Jan 1st):

    29.12: 293
    30.12: 309
    30.12: 388
    02.01: 441
    02.01: 463

    With this amount of words, it would take 1h plus+ to get a new one... It is not worth it anymore. Seeing the same words all over again is annoying.

  • @faye I have tried the French course out of couriosity and found out that the repeat stack counter works just fine, so the problem I'm having is related to the German course only.

  • Update:
    alt text
    Problem with the algorithm seems to have resolved ( WOOHOOO!!!) since today I got 20 new words in 200 cards but the problem with repeat stack counter persists.

  • @thomas-heiss What I am seeing is this:
    alt text

    The new words learned counter works fine but I still didn't add any new words today. Yesterday I added 50 new words but the "words to practice" counter still said 0.

  • Hi @Nikola-Đukić,

    do you look on the left grey smaller hub panel OR in the top right 4-bar progress today (progress history / vocabulary) popup panel, which will slide in from the right, if you click on it?

    There are definitely (some minor sync) differences for the left hub "practice words" vs "Progress today" panels.

    What I do not understand:
    How can the repeat stack stuck at 0, when you constantly practice cards, as your history shows?

    Or do you mean new words is stuck to 0?

  • Hello @faye , I have cleared Chrome's cache but the "Words to practice" counter still says 0. The same situation is also with the Android app. I have tried relogging on both devices but had no success.

  • @nikola-đukić said in Not getting new words in German course + repeat stack stuck at 0:

    Got a new word after 562 cards. Got plenty of new ones afterwards but the repeat stack still says 0. We'll see tomorrow how this goes.

    Hi @nikola-đukić, I've just taken a look at this repeat stack counter problem for you. This looks like an issue with the "words to practice" counter rather than the repeat stack itself. Could you please try clearing your web browser cache? Are you seeing 0 words to practice on Android as well?

  • Hello everyone!

    Just finished my own 2017 challenge and munched 600+ new words this week in German course. I didn't have a problem with repeat stack 0, but I had some troubles squeezing new words from the algorithm. Here are some tips that might help someone:

    • forget about the app. It's good to pop couple of words from the top of the stack during the day, but it's useless at the bottom of the stack. Input in the app is slow and speed is all that matter at the bottom;
    • act fast, follow your instincts. Don't waste your time on reading the sentence, after couple of rounds your subconsciousness will tell you the right word for the specific card;
    • you have to be fully concentrated at the bottom of the stack, don't let anything to distract you or you'll have to do another cycle;
    • if you are stuck in the loop of difficult words, and can't get them right even after a number of cycles, just have some rest. After a couple of hours, you won't see that words at all, or will have to answer them once or twice.

    Warning: those tips might be helpful or harmful for your learning. It highly depends on your goals, personality and individual memory characteristics. I'm not claiming it's the best way to learn words on Lingvist or at all, but it seems to be the only way to learn lot's of words on Lingvist in limited time. I think that the binge learning is a crap, but unfortunately it's seem to be the only way of learning I'm able to get myself into. Call me stingy or cheap, but I wanted to finish the course till the end of the year.

    Here is how I naively think works the current algorithm in German course: they seem to have switched to very short initial repeat intervals like 1 or 2 minutes. If you fail the word and the stack is almost empty, you'll see it very soon, and you'll see it soon again even if you've got it right. Though, if the word wasn't shown to you before crossing the next spaced interval boundaries, the algorithm will use the repeat coefficient from the new interval. In another words (imaginary numbers): if Lingvist uses 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 minutes intervals. If you've failed the word on 1 minute interval on 1 minute interval, it will return during 1 minute, if the very same word 1-minute interval was on the stack for 10 minutes for some reason (long queue, you've had a break) and you fail it gain, you'll see it in 5 or 10 minutes again. Obviously, algorithm is more complicated, especially on long intervals (i don't get the logic there at all), but this rough model gives you an idea how to overcome some obstacles it creates.

    Don't get me wrong, the idea of shifting focus towards better retention over number of new words sounds reasonable and it was specifically express by some users on the forum, but in it's current form that bottom-stack-loop is purely an endurance test (was close to slitting my wrists couple of times).

    Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath (whether you are paying customer or not) on waiting for developers to improve the situation, it might happen after holidays or after holidays next year. There is a way to work around the issue and it's your call as a language learner if it's acceptable way for you or not.

    Good luck with your learning next year!

  • Got a new word after 562 cards. Got plenty of new ones afterwards but the repeat stack still says 0. We'll see tomorrow how this goes.

  • @faye Thank you!

    I cleared the stack yesterday (12/28/17) and then I came back today and it worked still gave me some words in the repeat stack, but they were all words I needed to practice.

    It then gave me quite a good portion of new words.

    It seems though that some of the other users are still having problems. It seems that Nikola's problem may be a different bug because their stack shows a value of 0 -- this wasn't what was happening to me. For me, my repeat stack would go over 100 after completing the first card, and then I would get no new words, and the repeat stack would contain many words that I already knew really well. This problem has been fixed and as far as I'm concerned, the new algorithm seems to work really well.

  • @faye I did clear my stack (in German) yesterday. Today I have 290 words again. So the fix might have fixed some of the issues, but not all of them.

  • @colin-hagemeyer Thanks for your reply, Well...seems like I have to try or...reset my account....

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