Simple new guy question about the point system

Ok, so I joined LingQ on something like 2 April and am completely enthralled by it. I was extremely skeptical at first but it seems like a great way to learn/compile vocab and listen/read interesting content which you don’t have to waste time transcribing on your own anymore. Everything’s there for you in one place. Great.
I am on the Basic plan, because I think the unlimited LingQ’s are the way to go. So maybe I wanna have writings corrected by a “tutor”. I’ll buy points. But the points expire after 90 days. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why the points expire. There seems to be no logical reason there. And why 90 days… why not 24 hours or 1 year? What’s the difference? And what if the site goes down for 2 days, or 1 day, or 3 minutes… do I get refunded in proportion to the time the site was down? Has the site ever went down or crashed? Did anyone think about the repercussions of lost money/points there?
Simply put… why can’t my points stay with me as long as I am proving to be an active member of the site?

The site is up nearly 99.5 %. No need to worry.

But I agree with your opinion about points expiration. The 3 months are over very fast if you don’t find a suitable time or tutor or are sick or on travel.

Hi Ricky, I liked your Russian video on YT.

As for your question, it has been talked about ad nauseam. See here for an example.

Ricky, I enjoyed your Russian video too.

We have found over the years that a certain measure of urgency is necessary in order to ensure that people study in an e-learning environment. We do not want points hoarded and not used. We want activity on the site. In any course, it is common to commit up front to pay for the whole course. This ensures that people continue to show up. LingQ is much more flexible. You are not obliged to buy any specific number of points. You buy what you need or intend to use. 90 days is plenty of time in which to use them.

For those people who learn lots of points, especially from content in the library, it is possible that points accumulate faster than they can use them. However, the points they earn from the library come from confiscated points. These confiscated points are recycled to reward content providers.

You also can gift points to other members. So, all in all, we have no intention of changing this system. You can read further on the link provided by dooo. This subject flares up every now and again.

There are basically two reasons points expire:

  1. To encourage people to use them instead of hoarding them. When we launched LingQ, points had no expiration date and we saw that people wanted to hoard them. We expect that points should be used up within a month but we give you 3 months before they expire. This keeps the points in use which is better for learners and tutors.
  2. Points that do expire are returned to the community in the form of compensation to lesson providers which in turn inspires people to provide content which makes the experience better for all members.

Dooo, thanks for the reference on the expiring points. I’ve skimmed that thread over and I don’t quite see anyone answering the question of why exactly the points need to expire in the first place. Maybe I missed it. But, honestly this question is more of a curiosity thing for me. I’d just like to know why they feel it’s necessary and what real good it does to expire points. If I buy $50 bucks worth of points with a credit card, don’t they keep the money anyways? So why expire the points if my account is still in good standing?

Mark and Steve,
Thanks for responding. I think you just answered while I was typing my response to Dooo.
I think I sort of understand the urgency problem and trying to get people to provide more content and such. Sort of ok I guess. Not quite understanding why real money has to disappear.
Anyways, this does answer my question as best that it will be answered. As Steve put it, “So, all in all, we have no intention of changing this system.”
Really appreciate the quick responses from you two.
If I decide to use points, I’ll try and figure out a method of getting points that suits me best.

@Ricky: “…Not quite understanding why real money has to disappear.”

I agree. If people have paid for points, then I really can’t see why they shouldn’t be able to “hoard” them for just as long as they want to?

What happens to the money that was paid to Steve and Mark for these points? I imagine they are allowed to “hoard” this in a bank account someplace, right?

But let’s be really radical here: maybe all of the money in Steve’s account should be taken away after 3 months - if it isn’t all spent up on goods and services - and given to random deserving poor folks in Vancouver?
(This may help to keep local commerce on the boil, yet somehow I doubt whether Steve would be too wildly in favour of the idea…:-D)

I liked your Russian video too - it’s great to have you posting here, Ricky! :wink:

We have explained this point in great detail and I am tired of repeating the same explanations.

It is not like a bank account. It is the purchase of access to certain services. The validity of this access is limited in time for the reasons already given, and this is quite a common practice. These are the conditions. Each person can make his or her own decision on whether to buy points.

The points, once purchased, remain in the system as explained, to compensate content providers.

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@Steve: “…These are the conditions. Each person can make his or her own decision on whether to buy points.”

Steve, it’s your site and you have every right to set the conditions - I wasn’t calling that into question.

As you say: “each person can make his or her own decision on whether to buy points.”

(But you must see that there are some folks who will choose not to as long as you have this condition…?)

Jay, let me assure you that we a long list of things that we are doing to improve the user experience, and changing the points system is not one of them.

Well Steve, if you don’t want to sell more points, I guess that’s cool…:smiley:

I can understand why, from your point of view, you have this condition. But I predict that if this site ever gets to the user levels of Livemocha, this points-rule is going to loosen up eventually.

Considering that LiveMocha is a cheaper alternative to Rosetta Stone, I’m not at all surprised by the number of users.

If you’re going to use a bad system, choose a cheap one. :wink:

I understand why points have to expire.

Points remind me of the “baby-sitting co-op”. Capitol Hill Babysitting Co-op - Wikipedia

It is a form of an economy at LingQ. Points are a way that people can fairly get services and be rewarded for services. However, an economy thrives on currency flowing. An economy runs into trouble if people start hoarding.

In the US economy, inflation slowly eats away at dollars someone is hoarding. Here at LingQ, the expiration of points is a bit like inflation, If you got points for assisting someone with correcting their text, then you can use those points in the next 3 months, but not forever. It prevents some users from ending up incredibly wealthy in points and having points disperity.

The people who run LingQ need to be financially compensated for their hard work providing a platform for language users. I am sure they have given a lot of thought into how to provide a system which offers the most value. One might be very poor and need to rely on earning points through his or her efforts helping others, while someone else might be wealthy and prefer buying points and making efficient use of their time. Both types are welcome here in the LingQ community.