Points for librarians

I have been a Japanese librarian for a while. Librarians still have to buy premium if they want to use lingqs and even though they can freely share lessons, half the time the thing would glitch and tell me to upgrade in order to upload a lesson. Anyway, I recently decided to go premium to see if it was easier to use. It is easier to use, but in Danish and Japanese, I feel like I spend most of my time editing other people’s lessons (adding timestamps and English translations). I am sure I’m learning some with it, but I honestly feel like I should be getting paid instead of paying. I have heard that librarians get points for sharing lessons, but I’ve never gotten any sort of points or compensation for sharing lessons or editing. I don’t think that editing gives you points, but In Japanese, the timestamps almost always need to be done manually, and it takes time. I feel like I try to find something interesting, and then spend my whole study session making the content usable. I don’t mind doing it, but I feel like the whole platform is very dependent on people willing to both pay and volunteer. And that just kind of feels like I’m paying to work instead of getting rewarded for working. I personally think librarians should get free accounts. But if not, we should at least be earning points toward tutoring or something.

It just makes you feel used, I guess.

Edit:. Thank you all who commented. I think I was just looking at it wrong. Thank you all for helping me remember to keep things casual and fun. :).


You are being used.
LingQ is a commercial entity that has cleverly enlisted volunteers to do some grunt work for them. Personally, I wouldn’t believe any promises of compensation, considering that there are probably more than 200 librarians, I doubt they could possibly pay all of them, or even give them free memberships. But, technically you do receive points for your uploaded lessons, but those amount to a mere pittance. Please check your current balance here: Login - LingQ
I suggest adopting a casual attitude toward the librarian program, spend only as much time as you’re comfortable with and never feel pressured or a sense of obligation.
I guess the typical librarian is someone who uses LingQ to learn languages, and after studying they realize the content they have benefited from, could be of use to others, and click share - low-effort and non-committal.

Editing timestamps sounds like a waste of time. Generating timestamps is, from what I understand, a purely technical / mathematical problem. This needs to be solved by the developers. Working around a technical problem by throwing human resources at it, is rarely a good idea. In the real world humans are a finite resource, and their time and effort is expensive. Only on LingQ.com are the normal rules of business suspended, and work is performed by unpaid volunteers. Further, I believe that incentives are powerful, fixing timestamps manually, removes an important incentive for LingQ to improve their software. That is why I don’t touch the timestamps. In fact, Chinese (traditional) on LingQ doesn’t even support generating timestamps, which in combination with a slew of other issues results in a much worse user experience than in Chinese (simplified). (The only difference between those two “languages” is that a subset of characters look a little different.) My hope is that these deficiencies will lead users to complain, which in turn might result in LingQ allocating resources toward fixing these issues. Adding timestamps manually would not only waste my precious time on a grueling task for no apparent benefit, but it would also interfere with this virtuous cycle, ultimately leading to stagnation.

Take it easy, have a nice day and please don’t get bamboozled.


As far as I understand this opaque system (Points FAQ) you only get points by sharing lessons, not editing, so you are right on that one.

I agree with bamboozled, there’s no will nor possibly capacity for any significant compensation.

I want to believe that is a matter of time, that they discuss in private the state of the libraries and that a fairer compensation is studied in order to incentivize better and more curated content. That maybe a new metric for the contributions’ value and monetization is being developed so they can assess more precisely the librarians’ share if they were to go with a higher compensation etc. But let’s be real lol…

The only current metric is how many times did other users click on your lessons once you shared them. This, to no one’s surprise, just promotes easy and short beginner content in mainstream languages. You’ve beaten the placebo game if, I don’t know, you scrape a newsletter in a mainstream language and add TTS to it (looking at you NHK…).** And I say this, half because I hate it, and half because if LingQ were to increase the compensations some day, I’m (probably unnecessarily) worried that the libraries will be even worse, with everyone posting their tik-tok 15 sec lessons on how to say hello in X language**.

On the bright side, once you have realized how useless/unfair this whole pseudo reward system is, you can just contribute as you feel like it with no pressure. Don’t do translations nor timestamps if you think it’s too tedious (I’ve never done them in Japanese tbh), and, from time to time, even though I know it’s difficult with all this gamification, remember yourself that you are here to learn a language.

  • I’m jk, I’ve read an absurd amount of those, keep uploading them <3
    ** To add insult to injury, sometimes, like I just noticed right now, the point delivery also fails and you have (as I have in the past) to mail support to fix it.
    *** I guess mainstream sites like yt cope with this with the balance “longer the video, the more adds”?

I wouldn’t bother about editing other people’s lessons. LingQ is riddled with copyrighted content (a problem that is slowly being worked on). Unless if it’s a lesson published by the LingQ staff or someone trustworthy in particular, you have no idea if it’s copyrighted content or not. If it turns out to be copyrighted content, when the crackdown comes to your language, all your hard work is going to waste, because that lesson is just going to be removed or switched to an ‘external’ lesson.

Occassionally I edit a misspelling (because it’s a blue word) from an upload from one of the LingQ staff, but on Android, this takes an exorbinant amount of time, due to how it is currently set up. Afterwards, I always regret the half a minute or minute I wasted doing it… It’s faster just to click the ‘bin’ button.


If LingQ did offer a useful number of points [free memberships, etc.] I would feel obligated to say yes to almost anything they asked of me. Right now I’m very comfortable saying no since there are no explicit financial rewards,

Perhaps years later when I have reached very comfortable levels in the languages I’m pursuing I may feel more generous with my time. But for now I only do things that advance my own goals.

Working on timestamps is a great way to improve your listening abilities. I don’t think I would be listening to audiobooks on 윌라 right now if I had not spent countless hours correcting time stamps and listening to many sentences over and over again.

But of course, now that I can work with audiobooks, I spend less time correcting timestamps on LingQ


“I want to believe that is a matter of time, that they discuss in private the state of the libraries and that a fairer compensation is studied in order to incentivize better and more curated content.”

Dream on! :slight_smile:

[huge smiley]

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Hi Heather (and the others who have posted here),

Thank you for explaining some of your thoughts on the librarian program. It’s a fairly new program and we are still building it up and deciding how we want it to work.

I just want to make a couple of points:

  1. Everything is completely voluntary, you don’t need to do anything you don’t want to. If you edit a single sentence, we appreciate it.

  2. We encourage Librarians to first and foremost share content they have been learning with. This is the most painless activity since it can be just a few button clicks when you’ve found a new video or lesson somewhere on the internet. Timestamping is really time consuming, and although we appreciate it we are working on improving the auto-timestamping for various languages.

We are giving out a small prize for the biggest coin-earner in December. We will also be giving out some free months whenever we see a Librarian has volunteered a lot of their time as a small thank you. The program rewards are still being fleshed out but we hope to slowly expand on them with time.

Let me know what you think about this,



Thanks, North for weighing in. I have some (controversial) thoughts and suggestions in regard to the library system on LingQ:

  1. I think it is established that there is a demand primarily for beginner and intermediate content. My suggestion is to incentivize users and librarians to create content in their native languages and share it on LingQ. For example talking about topics of their interest using simple language. I think passable audio quality can be achieved with minimal technical setup and shouldn’t require much expertise. AI based transcription software can create the necessary transcripts in real time and it should be easy for native speakers to proofread and correct minor mistakes. Because this is real creative work it should also be remunerated.
  2. The main problem I see with the LingQ library is in the legal domain. Many courses seem to be based on copyrighted material, although, of course, I cannot say for sure. In the end it’s none of my business, LingQ bears the legal risks, therefore I think it would be in LingQ’s own interest to determine the copyright status of every course and lesson shared in its libraries. And, yes cull anything dubious. I have no doubt that this would be unpopular. Also I believe all submissions should be screened before going live, to filter out obvious violations or accidental shares. I know unpopular, but probably similar to what legal advise would suggest…
  3. Therefore I think remuneration for sharing content that hasn’t been created by the librarian is a slippery slope, as it could potentially incentivize sharing of dubious content.
  4. The examples rafarafa brought up are relevant, and I would recommend LingQ to incorporate more automation into their systems, akin to the news feed. A good candidate could be Wikipedia (but properly imported using the Wikipedia API, the extension doesn’t do a good job). But maybe news sources with audio could be found as well. Also a subscription system for news articles would be sensible, e.g one article from the source of your choice gets added to your news course. There are endless possibilities.
  5. In the future a lot of library content might get replaced by AI systems, similar to chatGPT, allowing users to have the AI create content for them, tailored to their needs. It could potentially even take the role of a tutor or writing corrector. If LingQ is really interested, you could technically implement it today, look at the language models here: Product
  6. Importing content from streaming services and YouTube is potentially in violation of their terms of service, it also runs into issues with the gatekeepers at the various app stores. A potential alternative might be to avoid importing altogether and explore the idea of a browser extension similar to “language reactor” providing a pop-up dictionary linked to the user’s LingQ database. This should also work on all the streaming sites LingQ currently doesn’t support.
    Thanks for your consideration.

Thanks for your reply. I do just need to change how I think about it. The copyright stuff also bothers me, even for YouTube videos. If the person creating YouTube content isn’t getting the views because people are listening to their video instead of watching their videos, that seems like it would hurt the content creators.


Good point about just accepting what it is and not feeling any sense of obligation. I’ve never gotten a single point, but I should probably just look at it like North said. I am just volunteering. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to.

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Good point. I feel like most of the content on should be linked, not shared.

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It probably does help my listening comprehension in some languages. Maybe I just just do timestamps for languages that are difficult for me. :).

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That’s a really good point. You don’t want to encourage people to pull in a bunch crappy or copyrighted content. Maybe they should get rid of the share button altogether, and just do linked sights… I know most librarians are not content creators, but if it was their own content, they could share it I don’t know. I feel like the whole legality of the sight is kind of questionable.

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Hello, yes I agree. I think you should be compensated for what you are doing, especially for providing lessons. Providing lessons is not easy. I experienced tutoring before and creating a learning material or a plan for your student to get the information and to learn as much as they can is difficult. You also do English translations right? That’s a whole new job in itself. I think you really should talk this out with your manager.


Thanks for chiming in. I guess you already know what I’m going to say if you read my previous comment, but I don’t see how any of this fixes anything, unfortunately.

The biggest coin-earner in what language? global? If so it’s going to be the biggest English coin-earner every month… (I just checked and the top coin-earner in English has more than double compared to its pairs in Spanish and French). So it will just become the honorific @lolo_101 award, granted every month to him due to how the current system work. Definitely an incentive to contribute.

But let’s assume it’s one for each language. Do you really want to weight as being equal the contribution of the top1 in a language studied by 20 people and that of @lolo_101? Do you really want to pay, what, 30? small prizes? Judging by the current standards those are going to be really really small prizes.

Let’s assume now that (somehow) you manage to proportionally group every contributor to one ladder*, and give the top1 a “small prize”. How does this even help getting better content? Again, what type of content is this new “incentive” promoting etc.

I’m not even going to comment on the giving out free months based on the old criterion of “we like this person”.

*Completely unfeasible with the current roughly “1 click 1 imaginary point” system. If that stays then we go back to the @lolo_101 award.


I think i would still use the mobile app for stories and such for content that is produced by lingq. I think Langauge Reactor is a better idea too for YouTube. Read lang does something similar to storing lingqs as well. If it was a combination of the two, plus the app, it would feel less illegal than it does currently. I think it is nice to be able to import things that you do actually own for personal use. Like if you purchase an audiobook and e book, Lingq does make it really nice, but that content shouldn’t be shareable. If it’s content that is freely available online, I still feel like people should be visiting the real website at least once, but if they offer an mp3 download freely, they aren’t expecting you to stay on their website to listen to it over and over. That seems like it would be a good time to import it so you can make a playlist.

Obviously this would all take way too much regulation, but maybe just have a way to screen what’s being shared. If it falls under fair use copyright (small, educational, doesn’t compete financially), it should be fine. Like one chapter of a book would actually be more like advertising for the book, but there should be a clear link to, “To finish this book, click this link” and have it take you to audible or wherever the content came from.

I do feel like I’ve found some really good YouTube channels because of Lingq. So if I actually go find their content, it’s good, but often I haven’t taken the time to even check out the website the content came from.


Hi, I’ll try to elaborate a bit on the mobile issues:
As example, here is an API call from the iOS app when it populates a library shelf:
My understanding is, that you are not supposed to see YouTube or Netflix content on the shelves. The only way to see YouTube content is to add it using the browser and then look under continue studying on the app. I surmise that this is a requirement set by App Store reviewers / guidelines, that was what I meant with ‘gatekeepers’. Considering that LingQ’s user base is most likely predominately using the apps, having their app removed or updates blocked would probably endanger the whole business. I guess they will have to fulfill whatever demands the App stores make.

I would never suggest LingQ move away from storing content, importing your own stuff is the standout feature of LingQ, having LingQ sync that across devices is also very convenient. I’m just reserved regarding the library, which in my view functions like a file sharing service.
Here are some options I see for library content:

  • public domain
  • some Creative Commons licenses
  • content produced by LingQ or users
  • the copyright owner has given their permission
  • external lessons that are merely links (a user has to import the content themselves)
    It is totally possible that I’m missing something, feel free to correct / amend.

My thinking was to promote creation and get people to make original content for LingQ, maybe a bit like the user evgueny40. The most popular courses are all by LingQ anyways, they just don’t show up in the contributor rankings. My, maybe naive, thinking was that vertical integration, e.g. doubling down on content creation could become another differentiator from competitors.

Another point I should clarify: the vast majority of clicks go toward beginner lessons. My guess: the typical user saw Steve on YouTube, uses a phone, is casual, a beginner, never leaves the guided course, takes out a subscription for the whole year as New Year’s resolution, but soon break the streak and only sporadically opens random beginner lessons.

Regarding the extension, this idea was originally floated on the slack channel. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the ideas behind this: support comics (provided the text is computer readable), circumvent 2000 word lesson limit, retain original structure of documents (footnotes, chapters) avoid importing process, support any streaming service with subtitles, mixed language content (bilingual texts, names, academic texts), go around word splitting issues (zh, jp), avoid copyright issues, more attractive for advanced users who navigate native content and only need occasional lookups, maybe even useful for officially unsupported languages etc. there might be more points, I forgot.


Regarding the prizes, I think those are more symbolic and wouldn’t interpret too much meaning into them. The mentioned lolo_101 isn’t a librarian so they aren’t even in the race. I believe contributions across all languages are counted for the given month.
In case you’re curious, the “winner” of the December challenge with 36.573 coins, is… yours truly. Feel free to look through my shared courses, I linked them on my profile. I can’t deny that I was surprised by this result, I don’t have an explanation for this, people probably just like to click on the panda?! And I hope someone else wins the next one. As for my motivation, I only wanted to help learners of Chinese, I assure you I’m not in it for the T-shirts, coffee mugs, coins, NFTs etc. And to heed my own advice I’ll keep it casual from now on and try to get away from the computer and especially keep myself from writing pointlessly long forum posts, those are a gigantic waste of time :slight_smile:


Hi, just for anyone to think about it:
For a 7 minute YouTube video or a 5 minute Podcast - both already with transcript - I need all in all about an hour to upload, edit the text and put the right timestamps on…


I think I will probably just do as North suggests and just try to just focus on my learning goals and look at it in a much more casual light. It is voluntary and I think I am thinking about it wrong. If I am not feeling pressured to share content or edit everything I see that is broken, I wont resent sharing things once in a while.