What do you think about the writing Streaks?

In the upcoming release, we have added a new feature called Contributions that will keep track of your activity on LangCorrect in the form of a heat map. Contributions that get counted are journals created, sentences marked as perfect, and sentences that are corrected.

With the new Contributions implemented, it was time for me to redesign the Rankings page, and finally address Streaks. I know some of you have mentioned on Discord a while back that you find Streaks to have a negative impact on your language learning, while others have mentioned that it has a positive-more encouraging impact. Since we’re kind of in an impasse, we might as well just have a friendly discussion about it. I’m curious to know how Streaks affects your learning experience on LangCorrect.

Here’s some questions to start off:

  1. Does seeing your own streak help encourage you to write or study more? Why or why not?
  2. Does seeing how you rank compared to your friends or the community encourage you to write or study more? Why or why not?

Honestly, I try to ignore streaks. The few times I tried to follow a streak really stressed me out. It can be useful the first couple of days, but after a while the focus shifts naturally from learning and practising the language to “I need to post something today, I can’t lose my streak”. I can see how it can help some people, but it doesn’t help me, unfortunately.
On the other hand, I have no regularity in my learning process, which is a real drawback, so I’d appreciate a feature that would still help people to learn regularly without being stressed too much about doing it every single day. Reminders may be an idea: for example, you could be welcomed every once in a while with a message like “hey, we noticed you haven’t been writing in a while. Why don’t you try wiriting about this:” and a random prompt underneath*. Alternatively, you could also tweak the streak system, by letting people choose their “learning schedule”. For example, instead of having to write a journal every day, the streak system could be set to mark journals written per week, every two week or per month. This will help keep a certain regularity in the learning process, while eliminating the stress of having to do something just for the sake of seeing that number rise up.

*Speaking of prompts, I think we need to check them. Some of them are written by learners that unfortunately write ungrammatical and barely comprehensible prompts. Also I don’t know why, but I can’t filter prompts by language.

2 Likes

I would actually be in favor of removing the streak system. Partly because of two reasons:

  1. I feel that I can never get enough time to properly go through all the corrections I receive.

  2. Many of my entries are fluff with little to no content.

I do see the benefit of having them, but for me they are part of an old “gamified” approach of learning, which predates on not missing a day instead of focusing of quality writing (which then leads to having more time to go understand the corrections).

Another huge pro I can see is that the userbase would be lifted from the artificial workload of the daily entries, which I think everyone would appreciate. Languages with few native speakers would benefit hugely of this, in my opinion.

Lastly, I would be relieved if my streak ended because the system is no longer in place :sweat_smile:, instead of ending it myself.

3 Likes

My feelings are kinda mixed when it comes to streaks.

  • Seeing the number of days I’ve posted makes me feel good, but I’m so worried about not losing it sometimes that I end up feeling really bad about myself when I do.

  • I feel pressured to come up with new topics every day, instead of feeling motivated to write because it’s fun.

  • When I’m out with family or friends and I know that it’s getting late to write, or when I’m feeling sick, tired or something unexpected comes up, I feel sad about losing the streak.

  • The fact that I can’t control exactly when to schedule an entry, i.e 12:30 AM tomorrow, makes it feel even more stressful.

Maybe the problem is that it doesn’t really allow you to enjoy the process because of the time limit? Maybe if we could choose the streak, say, I want to have a period of x days to write something, and then count that as a streak?
I think the fact that some of us feel forced to write about anything just to keep the streak going ends up feeling like we can’t post entries with a quality we are satisfied with because you can’t always do your best on a daily basis.

2 Likes

I find streaks helpful for building habits. When I first started using Langcorrect, I didn’t plan on writing for as long as I did. I was only going to do it for 30 days as a challenge. But after the time was up, I realized I actually really enjoy writing these entries and just kept going. As this point, I don’t find it stressful to maintain my streak because it’s already an ingrained habit. That said, if life gets in the way and I miss a day, I won’t beat myself up either. I’ll just start another one and keep writing.

1 Like

I think a streak was helpful for me at first, but at this point, I already have a habit of writing every day regardless of the streak, so I’m okay with it being removed. But, if we do keep the streak, my main issue is that I keep losing it because I don’t always post at the same time every day. I think I’m at ~5 right now, even though I’ve posted every day for ~440.

1 Like

I also tend to completely ignore streaks. There are numerous factors explaining when I write and how often, but let’s just say I prefer writing long, elaborated texts with a diversified vocabulary once in a while. If I felt compelled to write daily to follow a streak, I really feel like I’d produce (only) short texts with little-to-no relevant content, and this is something I wanna avoid. Well, maybe in Spanish I could write long texts everyday, but definitely not in Russian.
I should also point out that you generally receive corrections at a far slower rate than you publish journals, and as eeprom already pointed out above, it can be difficult to go through all the corrections you receive when you write much. Those are 2 other reasons why I tend to ignore streaks.

On another note, I’m afraid that taking perfect sentences into account will give some people a deceiving sense of progress (or stagnation) in language learning based on purely quantitative standards. Let’s take two texts, A and B, of 10 sentences each:

  • Text A features 2 “perfect sentences”, with 8 sentences whose only corrections are minor errors related to word usage and some little stylistical improvements
  • Text B features 4 “perfect sentences” (either because they’re very short or very simple) but the rest is about serious grammatical mistakes or completely obtuse phrasings

From a purely quantitative point of view, text B is better; however, from a qualitative point of view, however, this is entirely different…!

3 Likes

That’s a pretty neat idea! Added it to my todos~

This is definitely a good option now that streaks aren’t in the ranking pages anymore.

If you don’t mind, can you start reporting the ones you see? This way it’ll be more convenient. For now you can use the other option to report them, and I’ll add an additional typos option sometime later. Thanks for letting me know.

You need to click inside the checkbox, and then click outside of the filter for it to work. Can you let me know if this fixes it for you?

I appreciate the honesty. Having done this for so long, do you have any suggestions on how we can use LC to promote actual learning and better study habits. I have always wanted to add learning goals, but never had much time to do some research about it.

Agreed!

I can end your streak manually if you’d like~
Otherwise it might take some time until I can get to it (after beta)…

Has the writing prompts not been so helpful? Or is it just the lack of (interesting) prompts?

This is already possible with post scheduler, however it’s gated behind premium.

Agreed.

How has the quality of your journals been? Do you find it decreasing the higher your streak goes up?

I can increase the character count limit to force people to spend more time writing quality journals. This would most likely also decrease the number of low effort posts/reduce the queue.

Another idea just popped up. I can repurpose the writing streaks into correcting streaks. This should hopefully promote users to get even higher correction ratios as well

I don’t think this is a good idea. Limiting the users to write more or less could in fact just alienate people writing entirely.

This could actually work great, but I would merge both or rather, take either corrections or entries to keep up the streak. This avoid users losing their streaks due to lack of posts to correct and give a way to keep streaks going.

I can’t think of a name for it, something like activity streak or similar could work.

This is a hard question to answer, since every person learns differently, while some people enjoy prompts a lot other do not.

Streaks were initially quite encouraging but they do felt like a chore after a while. It’s really difficult to keep engagement, when said engagement is based on people doing of what amounts of daily homework.

Something that could be nice, is adding some sort of short stories system (based on user level) that one could summarize in their own words, perhaps answer some predefined questions or do some grammar exercises. This could break the monotony of just writing. This is a lot of work to implement, since we are approaching textbook level of exercises. Add to the fact that these would be implemented in a lot of languages, you can see how it can grow big quite fast. I would just roll out English first, and see how it’s received. Then maybe just support the main languages.

I’m just thinking out loud, so let me know how horrible my idea sound :laughing:.

From the feedback I’ve been getting from natives, I think it’s been pretty consistent. The quality depends more on how much energy I have that day. If I’m feeling tired, I would settle for a shorter entry. That said, I would never settle for low effort posts just to keep my streak. That’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

Actually I was referring to the last version. With the new update, the filters are working just fine!

As for the quality of the prompts, I didn’t see too many bad ones, but there are definitely some. I’ll report them.

Hi everyone! I come late after the dust of the battle has already settled I think, but I will still share my opinion.

At this point I think that my streak is in the low 300. I’m not sure because I can’t see it anymore - haven’t been able to see it for a week or so, which prompted me today to sit down and take the time to go through the forum and read the new version’s updates.

I started by really liking the writing streak. I like building habits by using streaks that push me to do my habit one more time, one more day. But I got a job two months ago (after being without a job for close to two years) and I know that the quality of my entries has really gone down. I now only write long texts when I have the time + when I feel motivated + when I feel inspired. As most of you must know, it’s very hard to find a day when those three factors show up together.

Lately I’ve been feeling like my streak was a chore. But I like competition and I liked seeing my name in the top 5 of the writing streaks ranking so I kept writing every day, even if it meant producing just two lines of easy vocabulary. I had decided that after doing a year of writing every day, I would stop at that and go back to writing high quality texts once in a while.

In conclusion, I was a bit sad to see that the writing streak has disappeared, but it also resulted in me feeling like a weight has been lifted from my chest. It was not I who chose to stop writing every day and thus destroy my streak, so I don’t feel guilty about it.

I decided to go back to a premium account! I loved being able to set entries for specific days. I like being able to write several good texts when I have a good chunk of free time and decide when to post them.

I’m not sure I’m bringing anything new to the table, but I will try from now on to be a bit more reactive to the forum and the announcements.

1 Like