Changes to Anki's Deck Options

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Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby principiante » Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:10 pm

For those of you who use Anki, do you make changes to the deck options for your language learning decks? If you do, what changes do you make and why do you make them?
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby devilyoudont » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:28 am

1) I have new cards set extremely low for any deck where I am learning the material from Anki, rather learning it somewhere else and reviewing it within Anki. Generally between 1 and 5 cards per day depending on how I prioritize me learning the deck's content. Conversely, when it's a topic I already learned but I need a refresher, I set the new cards extremely high and go thru them as quick as possible.

2) I make the most extremely basic cards which I can possibly make and then set the leech threshold a lot lower than what it is by default. These basic cards seem to be fine for 90% of things, but there is a remaining 10% that I need to make more interesting cards for to help me remember. Rather than wasting time by making great cards for 100% of things I want to remember, I make terrible cards, and use the leech feature to identify those items which I need the additional help of images and mnemonics or whatever to remember. I go thru my leeches about once a week to improve those cards. Setting the leech threshold low allows me to intervene with these more difficult items quickly.

3) I reduced the penalties for failing cards. I just find the default way too punishing, especially because most of the time, when I fail a card it is due to a minor error, rather than completely forgetting an item. Often, whatever issue anki wants me to solve with more repetitions, I wind up solving by improving a card which was marked as a leech anyway, and then I stop failing the card, so the additional repetitions are just wasting my time.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby tungemål » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:32 pm

devilyoudont wrote:3) I reduced the penalties for failing cards.

How do you do this?

principiante wrote:For those of you who use Anki, do you make changes to the deck options for your language learning decks? If you do, what changes do you make and why do you make them?


I've got several "option groups". For instance, I've got one "inactive" group (no new cards and no reviews), one "normal" and one "intensive study". So that I can quickly switch between languages I study.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby devilyoudont » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:31 pm

tungemål wrote:How do you do this?


There are 2 relevant factors here, and you can choose to mess with both: New Interval after Lapse (in your memory) and "Ease."

For the first one, go into the options of your deck (the gear), under the lapses tag mess with "New Interval." By default this is set to 0%, meaning you will see a card you failed tomorrow, and then it will regrow a new interval from 0. You can set this to a less punishing percentage. Because most of my errors are small, I am ok with not resetting the interval to 0.

The second factor Ease is more or less the record that Anki keeps of all your interactions with a card. If you fail a card a lot, it means that you will eternally being seeing it more often because Anki always remembers the failures... A problem here is that the problem could have been the card, not the word, meaning that once you improve a card the problem goes away. Another issue is that you may have an off day for a million reasons related to your life rather than related to the word itself. Anki doesn't know that you forgot momentarily because you're sick or you didn't get a good night's sleep for whatever reason. Also, maybe I did suck at this word, so I did a bunch of stuff outside of anki to learn it better but Anki does not know this. I periodically reset the "ease" for all of my cards to solve this problem. You will need an addon to do this.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby Adrianslont » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:27 am

I don’t change any of the intervals or ease myself.

That is partly because i don’t think that I can do any better at optimising them than the defaults which were set by the big brains that actually created this srs system - and partly because I worry that I will actually stuff things up.

And I feel I get pretty good results with the defaults. I get cards that haven’t sunk in ... so I just fail them, tweak them a little or delete them.

And if a card is feeling very easy I hit easy.

The four buttons do a good job for me.

I do change default number of new cards, though, to five or ten because I keep multiple decks for two languages and don’t want to be overwhelmed. And I occasionally do no new cards for a while when reviews take up too much time.

I recommend using defaults for three to six months at least before considering whether you need to change settings.

My brain is a little old and tired, so there may be more optimal settings for younger or more powerful brains but I think it is worth trying the defaults for an extended period.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby devilyoudont » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:24 am

For me, the goal of changing this is preventing burn out rather than optimization. Anki is a burn out machine if you let it be. It's also about trade offs... more time with anki will mean forgetting less, but (for me) it will certainly also mean enjoying less. I accept some additional amount of forgetting to avoid burn out, and to spend more time on immersion activities rather than rote memorization.

You can see if what you are doing is detrimental but periodically checking in with your pass/fail rates under stats. If you find that the changes you made to the settings offer no benefit for you, there is a "restore defaults" button in the bottom left corner of the deck options menu.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby bem » Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:50 am

I use low-key anki, and i'm perfectly willing to trade retention rate for lower reps since I don't personally believe that retention of any individual card really matters, and would rather the cards that don't stick just get suspended and I can reenable them once I have a larger knowledge base when they might stick a bit better.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby tangleweeds » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:23 am

devilyoudont wrote:For me, the goal of changing this is preventing burn out rather than optimization. Anki is a burn out machine if you let it be. It's also about trade offs... more time with anki will mean forgetting less, but (for me) it will certainly also mean enjoying less. I accept some additional amount of forgetting to avoid burn out, and to spend more time on immersion activities rather than rote memorization.

You can see if what you are doing is detrimental but periodically checking in with your pass/fail rates under stats. If you find that the changes you made to the settings offer no benefit for you, there is a "restore defaults" button in the bottom left corner of the deck options menu.
^^^This!!! I see so many people refer to their Anki as a torture machine, with groans or dread, or already having burnt out entirely. I myself enjoy Anki a lot, but I absolutely refuse to let an SRS algorithm ruin run my life.

I have to confess that I don't remember the specifics of how I adjust card behaviors, since it's been some years since I've had to re-do it, but in general I prefer more reviews at the beginning, so I can get using the new vocab/sentence structures immediately. After that, given the rapidly facilitated usage, I don't need to review them for a really long time.

But Anki still remembers which ones give me trouble, how much trouble they give me, and helps me order review based on that, which is all I need from it.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby luke » Wed May 26, 2021 4:44 am

I set target study length for each deck.

Example:
15 minutes of study for frequency deck card pairs
10 minutes FSI deck
5 minutes frequency deck with sentences

Then I set my "new cards" per day to 0. My "Custom Study" default cards is a relatively small number. It may be 5 or 15, depending on the complexity of the cards.

Then if my reviews on any deck is significantly below my target, I use "Custom Study" and add cards in 5 to 15 card batches until I approach my target time for the day for that deck.

One of the advantages of this is that is I can manage the total time devoted to Anki, rather than setting a target "number of cards to learn" per day. Targeting card counts rather than study time could get me into a situation where Anki is taking too much of my total study time.

If life gets busier, I can change the target times to say 12 minutes, 8 minutes and 4 minutes or even less without feeling like I've given up on the learning the deck.
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Re: Changes to Anki's Deck Options

Postby Gordafarin2 » Thu May 27, 2021 4:52 pm

I set my leech threshold lower - in my main deck it's only 3. If I'm failing a card often, I need to change something to make it stick. That means find example sentences or a more detailed definition, develop a mnemonic, or something else. Sometimes it's just a matter of keeping the card suspended for a month or two, and then I'll come back and find that I have learned that word outside of Anki.

Also, my new interval for lapses is 20%, which I've found is a good number for me. A card you've seen before and failed is very different from a brand new card, so this is probably the most important setting that I change. I don't know why the default is 0.

I have bumped up my interval modifier a little bit over time, adjusting it slowly and seeing how I cope. For my decks that are focused on general comprehension (sentence cards and Subs2SRS) rather than memorization, the interval is higher than in my vocab decks.
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