Problem with the challenges 3

Hey guys,

What do you all think about people who join the challenges and then rack up an insane amount of coins just by marking a tonne of words as known?

For example, in this hardcore ninety day challenge, you can see that I am only third despite earning all of my words on LingQ:

Meanwhile dennisrusch is number one, and he seems to have learnt over 3,000 Chinese words in less than two weeks:

To give you perspective, it took about eight months for me to learn my first 3,000 words. Even if Dennis already knew these words before coming on LingQ, that still feels unfair challenge-wise.

This happens in literally every challenge.

Never being able to achieve first place without cheating is something I’ve become accustomed to, but I thought since the challenges are undergoing a beating on the forums right now I might as well bring this up.

Thanks,
Edwin


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I think this rate is reasonable if you have a lot of free time, especially starting at a higher word count. 0-3000 naturally takes a longer time. With this in mind, learned words might not be a fair means of competition if everyone starts at different levels. In other words, you already being at third place might even be more impressive. I also don´t see why anyone would cheat for a lingq challenge.

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The example member you gave above doesn’t bother me so much for a reason (plus how do you know they haven’t been working their arse off on LingQ? Or whether they knew traditional characters or had studied Japanese before which gives them some character advantage). Some members put in many hours. It’s a different class of cheats I dislike…

But first, poking my nose into your example, it appears they have a space of a few days at least before racking up another thousand each time. Another thing, their statistical history shows they regularly make lingQs, learn lingQs and listen to audio, showing up a lot. The cheats don’t even bother. (Not to be confused with those who can’t afford membership but work hard off-site). But then, how are we to know?

My favourite example of a presumed cheat (by reading time stamps) was the person in the space of 8 minutes who’d signed up for a brand-new LingQ membership, joined a 90-day Challenge, plus a Hardcore 90-day Challenge for the same language and then ‘knew’ 1,000+ words (with thousands read) in something like the remaining 5 minutes. In other words, they ‘acquired’ the words faster than it would take by actual reading or lingQing. They had to be paging through with ‘paging makes words known’ in settings, in order to do all that in under 5 minutes.

The same person then “knew” 1-2,000 more words that day, sat back for days doing nothing as I recall, then logged in occasionally to keep their 1st place ranking it seems, dumping another truckload of ‘known’ words. Ha! Of course, the rest of us were working our arses off, and yeh, it was annoying. I was in one Challenge recently where that happened after I’d been burning the midnight oil and was so discouraged, I quit the Challenge. I suspect some cheats even have multiple accounts.

But I’m intrigued as to why so-called ‘newbies’ would wanna join LingQ and sign up minutes later for a Hard Core Challenge… Some fake new members immediately join multiple challenges, don’t actually complete any, then keep joining new ones after each expires - but sit on the top of the rankings.

There’s another group of people, not necessarily cheats, who already know thousands of words before discovering LingQ. Maybe it would be fair if they actually waited at least a month before joining a Challenge until most of their ‘known’ words are in the data base and they reach a stage where they actually start real learning. Otherwise, what’s so challenging for them to do a “Challenge”?!

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Finally someone dares to speak about it, thanks Edwin! Challenges are an important motivational help in language learning, at least it supposed to be.
The fact that game-dynamics of those challenges weren’t properly thought through leads to unfairness and what most important to me - it significantly decreases motivation. You just don’t want to compete when rules are not strict and cheating is only the question of participants integrity.

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Thanks for the reply tuv. I’m studying Chinese full-time now, but I’ve only been full-time for about two months, so I’ll report back on whether or not this rate is reasonable once I have more experience and more known words.

Maybe I shouldn’t have included such a specific example in my post, as I didn’t want my post to become about the specific challenge/user/etc. but more about the balance of fairness in the challenges.

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@Edwin User you mentioned above that holds the first place at the moment is extremely active at LingQ, He is long term Premium member, with 70k+ LingQs created in Chinese.
I am not saying that you are wrong, we do have some users appearing who join the challenge and “cheat”, but in your example above there’s absolutely nothing wrong.

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