A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)

How long would you like a 6WC-like challenge to run for?

Poll ended at Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:22 pm

3 weeks each month (21 days)
19
66%
Almost a month (26 days)
3
10%
5 weeks, not matching with months (35 days)
0
No votes
6 weeks like the original, eight times a year, not month-matching (42 days)
3
10%
Two months (60 days)
4
14%
 
Total votes: 29

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Brun Ugle
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby Brun Ugle » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:59 am

I like the idea of an intensive-only challenge, but I think it would be difficult to define intensive. I’ve been thinking about gsbod’s Problem Solving Challenge and that maybe you could sort of combine them. You could have a number of predefined skills/problem areas like grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, or whatever we decide on, but predefined, so that it makes comparison easier. People could register for one language and one skill/problem and work intensively on that for the three weeks. Then there would be a circa one week break and they could pick a different area for the next challenge. And maybe we don’t need to track every language and every activity, only the one language and activity that we’ve chosen. I think all the excessive tracking might be one of the things that burns people out anyway.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby zenmonkey » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:02 pm

Brun Ugle wrote:I like the idea of an intensive-only challenge, but I think it would be difficult to define intensive. I’ve been thinking about gsbod’s Problem Solving Challenge and that maybe you could sort of combine them. You could have a number of predefined skills/problem areas like grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, or whatever we decide on, but predefined, so that it makes comparison easier. People could register for one language and one skill/problem and work intensively on that for the three weeks. Then there would be a circa one week break and they could pick a different area for the next challenge. And maybe we don’t need to track every language and every activity, only the one language and activity that we’ve chosen. I think all the excessive tracking might be one of the things that burns people out anyway.


I too like the idea of intensive-only or explicit learning or active learning. I'd define it by excluding all input activity that does not have the learner actively doing something - if you aren't taking notes, if you aren't writing, if you aren't looking things up, if you aren't speaking, if you reviewing material, working on vocab then it's out. Reading, listening or watching stuff would be excluded from explicit learning. Or you can only count those non-intensive activities for up to the amount of your explicit learning. So that if watching videos is your thing, you get to count it for a max of 50% of all activity (intensive + extensive).

I'm not sure I would participate in a skill/task based challenge unless the skill were sufficiently open to fit into my own desires for activity. For example, if the problem is spend this week studying only grammar and I'm focusing on an A0 language like classical Nahuatl I'm going to quit.

I'm sure some people might be interested in an Input-only challenge, too.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:28 pm

I'd guess filtering could serve well here. We could still record the extensive activities too, but with the proper "flag". And then we could filter the leaderboard just without all the extensive reading or writing, or with it. Or we could also have unified categories of activities and we could search by them.

For example, a friendly competition with other extensive readers for a few weeks, that would be extremely useful to me. Or at another occassion, just grammar exercises. Or a mix, putting together learners with a similar routine during this round of the challenge.

More filters like this, that could actually make everyone happy. Intensive or extensive, beginning or advanced learners.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby Brun Ugle » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:09 pm

zenmonkey wrote:
Brun Ugle wrote:I like the idea of an intensive-only challenge, but I think it would be difficult to define intensive. I’ve been thinking about gsbod’s Problem Solving Challenge and that maybe you could sort of combine them. You could have a number of predefined skills/problem areas like grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, or whatever we decide on, but predefined, so that it makes comparison easier. People could register for one language and one skill/problem and work intensively on that for the three weeks. Then there would be a circa one week break and they could pick a different area for the next challenge. And maybe we don’t need to track every language and every activity, only the one language and activity that we’ve chosen. I think all the excessive tracking might be one of the things that burns people out anyway.


I too like the idea of intensive-only or explicit learning or active learning. I'd define it by excluding all input activity that does not have the learner actively doing something - if you aren't taking notes, if you aren't writing, if you aren't looking things up, if you aren't speaking, if you reviewing material, working on vocab then it's out. Reading, listening or watching stuff would be excluded from explicit learning. Or you can only count those non-intensive activities for up to the amount of your explicit learning. So that if watching videos is your thing, you get to count it for a max of 50% of all activity (intensive + extensive).

I'm not sure I would participate in a skill/task based challenge unless the skill were sufficiently open to fit into my own desires for activity. For example, if the problem is spend this week studying only grammar and I'm focusing on an A0 language like classical Nahuatl I'm going to quit.

I'm sure some people might be interested in an Input-only challenge, too.

I didn’t mean that everyone would necessarily do the same activity, just that we could have a list of predefined activities to choose from. The list could be as long as we want. You also wouldn’t be confined to studying the activity you chose, but it would be the only thing that counted towards your challenge. For example, if I chose to focus on German grammar, I would probably take my workbook out every day and work on it for half an hour or so, but that wouldn’t stop me from also reading Star Trek or watching krimis or from working on other languages. They just wouldn’t count. Even in the 6WC, there’s stuff I do that I don’t track.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby zjones » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:54 pm

I'm interested in this challenge.

In my opinion, one major failing of the 6WC is that people are allowed to count "administrative time" into their totals... which means that SRS creation (copying sentences into Anki) counts as study time. When I was using Anki for Greek, I could easily spend several hours per week mindlessly creating cards. In a challenge, I think this is ridiculous because it automatically puts those who use programs like Anki at a huge advantage -- and besides, I don't think admin time is studying.

I really hope that you'll consider a rule against counting admin time. Thank you Ser! :)
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby Morgana » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:27 am

zjones wrote:In a challenge, I think this is ridiculous because it automatically puts those who use programs like Anki at a huge advantage -- and besides, I don't think admin time is studying.
I had a laugh at the idea that spending an inordinate amount of time creating Anki cards could be to anyone's advantage :lol: but more seriously I see what you mean.

On the other hand, when I made my Anki cards I was spending a lot of time looking stuff up, adding details about inflection etc. so it was indeed learning for me. The structure of the course I was using was such that I had to type up and dump a lot of the TL material into Google Translate anyway in order to work out what a good chunk of it meant, and throwing it into Anki after Google worked its magic was equivalent to me making notes in a notebook about definitions, grammar points, the irregular declension pattern of certain nouns, etc. But, you did say "mindlessly creating cards" (emphasis mine), which doesn't apply to what I was doing. I agree that true admin work, where one is not working in or with the target language but instead setting up tools to be ready to work with, is not really studying.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby zjones » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:39 pm

Morgana wrote: I had a laugh at the idea that spending an inordinate amount of time creating Anki cards could be to anyone's advantage :lol: but more seriously I see what you mean.

On the other hand, when I made my Anki cards I was spending a lot of time looking stuff up, adding details about inflection etc. so it was indeed learning for me. The structure of the course I was using was such that I had to type up and dump a lot of the TL material into Google Translate anyway in order to work out what a good chunk of it meant, and throwing it into Anki after Google worked its magic was equivalent to me making notes in a notebook about definitions, grammar points, the irregular declension pattern of certain nouns, etc. But, you did say "mindlessly creating cards" (emphasis mine), which doesn't apply to what I was doing. I agree that true admin work, where one is not working in or with the target language but instead setting up tools to be ready to work with, is not really studying.


I agree with you. Time spent creating cards while also studying can definitely be a part of learning. I made a few large decks where I spent every card repeating back the audio and translating French into a English on my own. The reason I don’t think admin time should be counted is because the administration itself is not learning — thé study takes places alongside card creation and it’s really hard to draw a line to say what is and isn’t study. That’s not to discourage people from learning while they create cards, but to keep some people from taking advantage of counting pure admin time.

I’m not exactly sure what other people are doing while creating cards, but I know it can take a lot of time even if it’s done mindlessly.

To be honest, you made me reconsider whether or not admin time (SRS card creation) should be allowed. I still think it’s easy for people to take advantage of this time if they’re really focused on winning the challenge, but I don’t know a lot about what others are doing in this so-called admin time.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby Brun Ugle » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:13 pm

Whatever you allow and disallow there will always be people who find a creative way to rack up a lot of time and other people who think that that time shouldn’t count.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:31 pm

zjones wrote:I’m not exactly sure what other people are doing while creating cards, but I know it can take a lot of time even if it’s done mindlessly.

To be honest, you made me reconsider whether or not admin time (SRS card creation) should be allowed. I still think it’s easy for people to take advantage of this time if they’re really focused on winning the challenge, but I don’t know a lot about what others are doing in this so-called admin time.


Every card I create is a moment where about half the time, I'm reviewing the concept or phrase. I tend to only count 50% of the time I use in creating cards for this reason. For me, that time for a new language (@ A0-A1) is a much more effective learning moment than time spent mindlessly "trying" to follow a tv show and getting 10% of the content... But it's much easier to rack up time "watching tv" as if it was the equivalent of intensive study with a proper program.

Personally, my conclusion is that the competitive aspect of this is counter productive - it invites people to record anything and everything as equivalent learning activity where in reality the effective time on task and task quality varies greatly. I personally think the focus should really be improvements on time spent and that's highly personal and not set as a clock against others. For this reason, I'm not sure I'll continue to participate. I want to focus more on doing quality learning and less on tweeting about time spent on tv, twitter or what not. YMMV.
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Re: A new periodic short challenge with a Twitter bot

Postby Ser » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:49 pm

Yeah, Brun Ugle is of course right. The main change with this thing is that it'll run for a shorter time and throughout the year. It absolutely relies on self-reported minutes.

I have in fact been thinking of deemphasizing the leaderboard a lot and spinning this thing as mostly data you can record for your own interest, to show off, or to hold yourself accountable regarding your daily study. The filterable leaderboard would still exist but be semi-hidden as a link somewhere, as opposed to being the first thing you see.
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