Should we report bots?

I came across a user who is without a doubt using a program that logs into and “reads” through massive amounts of content in LingQ. Either that or they are just flipping through page after page of content and thus marking everything as known without actually reading. I can tell because the user “learns” thousands of new words in a language in minutes repeatedly and then switches to a new one and does the same. Is this allowed? Should this be reported?

I know it may be vain, but it´s potentially annoying to users who take pride in having a high ranking in known words in whatever languages they are studying and get bumped down by a bot and it just generally skews whatever comparison one is making to others and their progress.


That’s why I don’t do the challenges anymore. I don’t necessarily think bots are involved with those per se, but I think there’s a lot of people who already know the language to some high level and thus can mark a lot of known words easily. Or it’s their native language or whatever. Then there are just people who are able to put a lot more time into learning than myself so it doesn’t do any good for me to try and beat them.

Because of that, I just don’t worry about what others are doing. Sometimes I’ll check people stats if they post something interesting that sparks my curiosity about what they are working on currently and what pace they go at.

Back to your main point…it’s probably in vain. There are going to be those people that just want to see their name at the top of some leaderboard, regardless of what it takes for them to do it, including cheating.


You should compete with yourself and focus on your goals. That’s the right mindset. Who knows someone is on a mission to achieve his or her goal and has all the time in the world to spend on. Steve Kaufman used to spend 8 hours a day on learning Chinese and he got paid for it. What if he had to spend those 8 hours every single day on Lingq back then. His statistics would have been on steroids. The takeaway lesson never compares yourself with others.


This seems to be beyond speed reading your native language to get high stats or languages you are fluent in. It´s almost impossible to get these kinds of number reading any language, no matter how well you know it. This user has repeatedly gotten about 10K known words in a certain language in a day, with minutes between each thousand of words. If you could read at a speed of 600 words a minute, which is quite fast and just flipped through the pages, taking no time to mark anything, assuming that perhaps 1/6 words is unique for the first 6K known words, it would still take you 6 minutes to get 1K words.

This user repeatedly just takes a few minutes for each new 1,000 words. I see him take 4 mintues to get from 10K known words in one language to 11K for example (it takes them 36 minutes to add 10K words in that same language) and from 25K to 26K in another language (at that point the ratio of new words should be quite a lot less than 1/6) and about 3 hours to add 26K words in that language. In another language they are reading well over 700 words as a minute and registering about 78 words as known per minute. This would require someone who reads extremely fast without pause, going through varied texts, knowing almost every word they see, ever, in multiple languages, day after day. I suppose it´s theoretically possible, if this is someone akin to Alexander Argüelles, but I doubt this is real.

I am not really against people studying languages they already know in LingQ though or even their native language. You can always benefit from sharpening up your reading and it´s perhaps interesting to get an estimate on your known word count. It does kind of stink for the others who compare themselves to people who already know the language, but that´s not a huge problem IMO. I have not done that myself so far, but I do feel it´s a little unfair to the others when I´m studying a language that is very much alike other languages I already know.

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If you read my post again you´ll see that this user I see is actually adding a thousand words within a few short minutes, again and again. That has nothing to do with whether you read for 8 hours, 10 hours or even more on LingQ.

It´s probably good to just look at your own progress. You are of course in your right to see it that way and it´s probably a very healthy way to look at it, but not everyone who sees it differently for themselves is necessarily just pure wrong. I like to see things in a competitive way and compare myself for motivational reasons. That works for me because that is the way I tick. When I see people who have done extremely well, it pushes me to match them.

Right after I joined LingQ, I thought Challenges here were cool. I tried to use competition spirit as a motivational tool, successfully. Sadly, cheating ruins it for me. I don’t participate anymore:
Streak is different, it filters trash out.

I have never done challenges, but I like to motivate myself by some kind of competition. That is totally useless if people are cheating though. And how pathetic is it to cheat? What is even the point?

I don’t get the point of paying to join LingQ just to mindlessly move words to known to be at the top of lists. Are they trying to impress people who mostly don’t pay attention to what others do and so don’t care in the slightest, or do they just like to frustrate those who enjoy competition?

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I know, it´s kind of like the sad fact that when men get asked how many sexual partners they have on surveys, which are completely anonymous, they actually very often exaggerate.

Also, if I just wanted really high stats, I´d write a program that logged into LingQ and marked the words known and save myself from mindlessly flipping pages. But then again that would be totally and utterly pointless.

That does sound a lot like the person is running a macro to upload those known words at regular intervals. Purpose of getting a cheap thrill.
Look at me, I’m king of the castle
still king of the castle
I’m BOSS!!!
LOL, I get enough of that in the gaming world (bots and macros). I was not expecting to find it here.
Oh well, the people who do that are only doing themselves a disfavour, by not achieving anything other than an empty, meaningless moment by keeping their name at the top of a list of names.
Just mentally disregard anyone you suspect of that. They aren’t worth your time.

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Some of these may be bots, but some are regular members who I refer to as “The Spray Paint Brigade.” The name comes from the practice of blowing through a lot of text and just “spray painting” it white in a not so discriminate fashion. I wouldn’t care so much about this trend because I don’t participate in challenges or competitions, but it does irk me a bit when someone then posts on the forum about their “progress” and massive word counts in record times that they achieved, when they’re really just spray painting. It’s part of the overall trend of “I have to get fluent in 2 months, otherwise I can’t brag about my language skills” I think it creates unrealistic expectations for regular members who are here to learn and improve.

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I think this particular one is a spray painter, as you´ve described. I think they are just flipping pages at a fast rate without even reading them. Cause it would be very hard to even read that many words that fast, even when you are skimming.

This person added 10 thousand known Polish words in 36 minutes for example. From what I can find on the internet, average reading speed seems to be around 200-300 words per minute. That would mean that just to read 10K words you would need 33-50 minutes. Let´s say you had the great reading speed of 600 words per minute, then you could read 10K words in about 16 minutes. But then there is no chance that any real text of 10K words would never repeat words. So to get 10K known words in the time of 36 minutes, even with the ability of being able to read 600 words a minute and understanding every word you read, all the time, the text you´d have to be reading would have to be such that in 22,500 words, there were actually 10,000 unique ones (44%). This is obviously impossible.

Let´s say this person was a phenomenal speed reader who was completely fluent in all of the several languages they´ve done this in. Then, if the text had about 10,000 unique words in about 60,000 words, 80,000 words or 100,000 words, all fairly high estimates, they´d have to read 1.67K words a minute, 2.22K words a minute and 2.78K words a minute, respectively. Seems very far fetched.

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It sounds to me like this is somebody who already knows Polish and just wants to quickly update their LingQ known words. I can’t think of any other way.

That could be but then that person also knows several other languages that they´ve updated in exactly the same way. I feel you should at least read the words you mark as known. The only justified way to do this is if you have already read some book and know you know all the words, then you just mark all the words in it as known all at once.

UPDATE: After I reported this user to LingQ, they were removed.

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Nice one, matey :grinning: