Problems for tutors / content providers

I know some of these issues have been raised previously, but I wanted to pose a few questions regarding some of the issues that are facing tutors and content providers.

I’ve recently spoken with a number of LingQ tutors (who are also content providers) who are quite dissatisfied with LingQ. The main concerns seem to be centred around content, and the distribution of points.

  • Currently, lessons that are completely original have the same value, when it comes to earning points, as lessons that are imported from third party sources. I think it’s nice to have original, high quality content created by LingQ members, but I fear that many of these members are going to cease creating original content. The issue is that it takes a lot of time to create quality content, especially when the lessons are longer and perhaps improvised. Should imported lessons, which only really take 1 minute to create, have the same potential to earn points as originally created lessons, often involving hours and hours of actual work?

  • Another issue is the quality of content. There are collections that have been created by non-native speakers, containing lessons with poor sound quality and possibly spelling / grammatical errors. In some cases, this is in addition to the lessons being very short and therefore much less time-consuming to create. However, these collections still earn the same number of points as any other collection (assuming that they have been used as many times). Some content providers have reacted to this because they feel that they are not appreciated for all the hard work they have put in. Is it possible to give longer lessons (e.g. conversations) priority over shorter lessons when it comes to earning points? I understand that there’s now a system in place whereby users can rate lessons. Have many users done this? Is there a way to ‘encourage’ the rating of many more lessons?

  • The final point is regarding expiration of points. As I understand it, many tutors / content providers earn points but nowhere near enough to be able to convert them into money. At the same time, it may not be possible or practical to use up all of these points before they expire. My question is this: could it be changed so that points earned, particularly for tutor-related work, do not expire in the standard 3-month period?

There are quite a few issues here.

  1. The points allocated for content.

We have no practical way of deciding how much to reward content other than usage. The fact is that beginner content, the more likely to be member created, is much more popular than more advanced content which is usually third party. Furthermore, it takes a lot of time to upload an audio book, for example, and few people use them. I am always grateful to people who upload this kind of content. We think that the evaluation of content should be based on the popularity or usefulness of the content to our members.

I think there are all kinds of opportunities to create beginner content, that is short, interesting, and which will prove popular, assuming of course that we have enough learners doing that language.

We appreciate the effort of our content creators and providers. All of us, LingQ, and our tutors and content providers, are contributing towards the growth of our language learning community. The rewards are small, for all of us.

  1. Content quality.

If there is poor quality content in our libraries, please point this out and we will remove them. We have also instituted the rating of content, please rate the content. We will remove poor quality or low rated content. Talk up the rating system. Talk about the content you like on the Forum.

3.) The expiry of points.

We have gone over this many times and there is no change planned. It is our only source of points for content. To have a separate accounting system for tutor points is not that easy and probably not something that we want to do now.

  1. Availability of discussions.

We are looking at how we can make it easier to connect tutors and learners in a more spontaneous fashion so that it will be easier to use our points.

I believe it is most fair to compensate the content providers by the values of the content.

Some people might spend a lot of time creating content, but with poor quality. So I think the time to create the content is not a good measurement of the value provided.

A good way to measure this is to look at how much the content is shared. So I think the current system is fair enough.

@steve - “Furthermore, it takes a lot of time to upload an audio book” - That’s true with audio books to an extent, but with third party beginner and intermediate content it really doesn’t take that long (even if you include asking for permission). So currently third party providers and original content providers potentially receive the same amount of points for their shared content. How about if the same number of points were allocated for each lesson (as is the case currently), but third party content providers only received a portion of these points (e.g. 50%), with the rest going back into the pool? I don’t think it would discourage people from sharing third party content, given how easily it can be done.

@edwin - I know that some providers will put in the extra hours to remove background noise, as well as any other sound / recording irregularities. Plus then there’s the quality of the transcript. I suppose if this isn’t really appreciated, those providers might take it that quantity is valued over quality, and they won’t bother to put in that extra time to tidy up their lessons.

Peter, we are not going to do this. There is no guarantee that a member created content is always better then third party content. Most member created content is beginner content and does well. There are all kind of fine gradations. Some is just transcribed, some is recorded from a text that already exists, some is totally original etc. We are not going to get involved in this. Let people judge our content. If they like something they will choose more of the same collection. They rate the content. We are not going to change our position on this. We have also taken some measures to better feature member content to help the member created content. Really, the subject is closed.

To me the main things is to try to attract more members. We have too few members, and they are not active enough. We are working on improving this.

We also should clean out poor quality content. Please grade the content. Talk on the forum about content that you really like or don’t like. Tell us about poor content.

Peter wrote as follows:
“[M]any tutors / content providers earn points but nowhere near enough to be able to convert them into money. At the same time, it may not be possible or practical to use up all of these points before they expire.”

Steve responded as follows:
“It[expiry of points] is our only source of points for content. To have a separate accounting system for tutor points is not that easy and probably not something that we want to do now.”
"We have too few members, and they are not active enough. "

The “rewarding” system at LingQ presupposes or “needs” a certain level of “inactivity” of all the LingQ members. I don’t know what this will bring about in the long run.

Steve wrote: “Members are not active enough”.

I understand “active” here as tutoring and creating/improving content. The reasons for not enough activity can be that the rewards for this work are either too small, or lose their value too fast (points expiration), or cannot be converted into something attractive (tutoring or money). Furthermore, you need quite some computer knowledge to create audio properly or to use Skype. Not everybody has such knowledge.

One of the things that I think not very fair is to consider equal all the lessons regardless how long they are.
To me, it’s not the same 10 lessons of 15 min of original content than 10 lessons of 1 minute
It’s 150 min (2,5 hours) of content against 10 min of content.
If you just think about the transcription, it’s obviously a harder work to transcribe 2.5 hours of audio instead of only 10 minutes.

Currently LingQ is rewarding the same amount of points those two sets of lessons.

My proposal is instead of counting per number of lessons, LingQ may count per minute when it comes to distribute points.

hape, by active I mean joining discussions and submitting writing for correction.

most member created content is short.

However, transcription is a problem. Maybe learners could volunteer to transcribe if content creators will correct the transcript. In this way it would be like dictation.

I think it could be a good idea.

Dictation is a good way to improve comprehension skill. You will also be able to pay more attention to spellings of words and grammar.

May be we can try one or two member-created podcasts and use the google spreadsheet to fill in the transcription piece by piece.

When you rate lessons, does a rating on one lesson affect the overall rating of the collection? Is there any connection between the two, or would one need to rate all the lessons from a collection for them to ‘share’ the rating?

This could be a problem in the short term if we are having to ‘use’ bad lessons in order to rate them, as the content providers will still most likely receive the points. Or does it only count as having been ‘used’ if you click ‘I know all’?

Perhaps it’s time for LingQ to reconsider its policy of paying for lessons? It seems to cause a lot of bad will. The process of creating content could be made a little easier if it were a shared process, like Librivox’s process for creating audiobooks.

If I’m understanding Steve correctly, this is the direction I see this going.

Eventually, users of whatever level will be able to go to the library and search for content that is ‘Top Rated’ for their level. Is that correct? I can see how this would work, and might also help to retain new members. Every so often I come across beginner colletions that you really don’t want someone to see, especially if they are expecting a high standard. As I understand it, the rating system (if functioning as planned) would ultimately reduce the possibility of members coming across these collections (particularly new members, who are unfamiliar with the site).

Not intended as bad will, but I’m trying to get a better idea of what is happening moving forward.

Even for beginner’s content, if one user creates 3 lessons of 1 minute, and another user creates 1 lesson of 3 minutes, to me it’s clear that more or less it’s the same effort in both situations, but LingQ is rewarding 3 time more the first situation.

It seems to me some users are creating lessons very short artificially to get more points for the same effort. An example:

There are several lessons of 10 seconds!!!
It doesn’t make sense.

correct link:


MissTake, all what I am saying is, in my opinion, points should be distributed taking into account how long are the lessons, in order to not encourage people to create very short lessons for getting more points for the same effort.

@skyblueteapot - Exactly. The bad will that arises from this issue just makes us want to remove the points from the equation completely. It’s quite possible that people would be happier contributing just for the sake of contributing. We thought it would be a good way to reward content contributors and to put the expired points back in to the community. Because one thing that is never going to change is the expiration of points. We have seen what happened when points did not expire and we will not go back to that.

@Oscar, Peter - There is no obvious way to reward certain content over others. It is not obvious that original or longer content is better than shorter or non-original content. It is not obvious that content that takes longer to produce is better than content that is easy to upload. If the user likes the lesson, it is a good lesson no matter how it was created.