Forum Problems with new 2017 Beta version just implemented.

Problems with new 2017 Beta version just implemented.

David K

David K

The new 2017 beta  version was just implemented at about 9:30 pm EST and seems not to be working yet.  I logged out and logged in again but still cannot use the lessions or flashcards and have a floating navigation box on the right that will not go away when trying to study. 

Are you still in the process of installing it, or have you finished?  

I don't mind waiting for a while is the site is going to be under construction for a while.  I generally don't like to be patient but can be as a last resort when no other option exists. (LOL)

But, if you are finished then I have a number or fairly urgent debugging problems that need correcting.  I'm happy to be more specific for your technical team if it would be helpful.

I've been looking forward to this new version for a long time.  Having been CEO of a firm that included a software division I'm well aware that major new installations almost always take a while to get the wrinkles out.

Cheers,
David
trutenor

trutenor

I just saw the update, and I just want to once again say thanks for implementing it!  I'm gonna test it out and any bugs I notice I'll mention them.

This is very useful cause not only can I better myself in a way that will benefit my learning style, but I can also assist other people studying the same language that I am.  It's the networking that the flashcards provides!  

 
David K

David K

Problem #1: The "Navigation Box" that contains the Lesson Optrions, Tools, Points, and Rocket Record options overlaps with the lessons window when trying to use either Flashcards, or the audio lessons. It seems like it should either be further to the left, or be under the primary working window  so as to avoid the overlap.

Problem #2: While the Flashcard working window opens up and selection section option works, and the flashcards will flip, however, none of the rating buttons will "light up" with color allowing a selection.  By that I mean the rating optins (Hard, Easy, Poor)   are visible in black and white but to not become colored, and do not respond to rating choices.

Problem #3: The number for my Spanish course current and longest streaks are wrong.  The leaderboard is showing an internal error message that it is in the process of "refreshing" which probably means it is still reloading our histories from the previous version, which is entirely understandable.  I just offering you implementation team feedback so you can perfect this installation.  
David K

David K

Hey, it's really cool that I can shift between my Spanish, Chinese, and German courses, from within the software instead of having to log out and then log back in.  This feature works perfectly.

As does the course work sections seem to work well, with the only exception of  transparent overlap with the Navigation box on the left which seems to overelap with all sections. 
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi guys - Thanks for the quick feedback. There is a migration going on with the Leaderboard/Points content as it's a large database. Hopefully that will be working properly soon.

As mentioned in the other post David, I would be interested in knowing what system you are using.
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi David - Actually, I think we figured out what's going on with you. At a certain screen size the responsiveness is causing the issue that you are seeing. It is on the urgent fixes list!
David K

David K

Thanks Jason. I can't wait to try out the new custom Flashcard capability.
drewster

drewster

Hi Jason,

Love the look of the new version, but you seem to have lost yesterday's points, and therefore reset my "current streak" which I've spent months cultivating back to zero!!

I know it's a silly thing, but I keep it as a great motivator to ensure that I do something every day and don't want that reset. Can you please take a look?

Thanks,
Drew
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Drew - There is a points issue going on at the moment. Some things we couldn't replicate until we went live and the sheer amount of points involved is causing some issues. We are working on it!
drewster

drewster

Thanks for the quick response Jason. I'm a software guy and I appreciate the effort that goes into these things, and that little things can go wrong. It's a really good change. 

I raised another issue separately about the web view on a mobile phone, that the menu is gone so it's now impossible to navigate. The responsive view looks great, but it's actually completely unusable now! :(

Cheers,
Drew
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Drew - Yes, we are working on this one too. Sorry about the inconvenience!
David K

David K

Hi Jason,  I've learned a few things today that you might find useful to know. 
First, the problem with the the Flashcards not rating seems to be fixed so I can now use them.  Thanks.   

Second, although I still have the problem that the Navigation Box on the left is overlapping the Study Window causing the text in both windows to overlap, I have found a "klug fix" for this.  When I read that others were having problems and improvements to the mobile app I suspected that you may have changed the "form factor" to get better display on mobiles.  So I set me windows display parameter to 80% and "bingo" problem solved - although the font is a lot smaller than I prefer the system is usable.  

So please let the other users know this trick. 

Probably related is that the default screen size seems to be oriented to the proportiions of a mobile phone display, so those of us using desktops or laptops have to scroll down to see the complete study window.  There is also something jerky about the scroll button.  But, once I rescroll I can use it fine. 


Is there a section that explains how to use the new Custom Flashcards.  To me this is the most important part of the 2017 release but I haven't figured out yet how to use them.

Which reminds me of one of the several dozen additional suggestions for wish list improvements in my notebook I've been saving for a time it will not seem like I'm delugging you like the software quality control recommender from hell. 

What if we had a special new section of the Forum where users and techs could share information about how to use the software?   Or even get the  most from features we have but take a while to realize creative alternative ways to use.

For example, in addition to this 80% magnification trick, I wrote up several long texts 2 months ago as I spent a week before figuring out how to use the second Chinese Hanzi character look-up table in the Second Write it sections only the Chinese courses have (that do them in Hanzi rather than just Pin-Yin).  Until that time I was certain that section was broken.

After writing it up I received some really useful feedback from several of our "Black Hero" grandmasters nong fu, Robert, and others who top the Leaderboard's all time top point leaders (over a million)  over three years.  

For example, I had been focusing primarily on the Pin Yin as I believe nearly all Westerners would have to start their Chinese studies with.  Nong fu explains in a profound text buried somewhere deep in our archives why  this will lead to problems and why students should focus on the Hanzi settings which I changed my default setting to, so now I have only Hanzi on the Front Flashcards and the PInyin and English on the reverse,  It has taken me a lot of extra work with supplemental materials like the Memrise HSK1 Mandarin course to learn the 200 most common radicals and 500 most common Hanzi characters and words but has been well worth it. I recommend this for all new Chinese students who otherwise are probably dropping out before getting through the first two modules, (Fact, I'm already the sixth all time point scorer on Chinese course after 88 days so what happened to all the others coming before. ) 

I'm certain that if new students had easy access to the dozen most useful "how to user " notes on how to use the Hanzi keyboard, which as far as I know is not explained anywhere else, we could reduce the drop-out rate by 50% or more. The way  the forum notes are organized (not) I don't know how to find any of these without reading all the previous Forum archives.

I have notes  on a suggestion of adding user note histories to profiles, indexes, and key word search capanilities to forum archive that I decided not to send for concern of bugging you all too much.  I agree with you, Jason, that keeping the software focused on its language learning goals must be primary. But, maybe adding on extra Forum category of User Insights and How to Use the Software  features fits into this mission would be a non-complicating compromise?

Anyway, my point is that with just three or four "How to " notes we could probably reduce the drop out rate in the Chinese course by 50% or more, and more importantly improve the quality of user experience for all users by letting them know the tricks  your most "durable" and/or advanced students have figured out via trial and error, or "trial by fire." 

Keep up the great work.

David
 
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi David - The idea of an "Ideas/Suggestions" thread has been on my mind for a while.  I will have a look into your ideas and see what we can do.

Regarding the Chinese points situation: The FlashCards are a relatively new addition to the courses and, perhaps, it's a little too easy for the avid FlashCard users to get a lot of points and therefore fly up the respective Leaderboards! 
KellyMJara

KellyMJara

Hi, Drew - 

I, too, had my streak drop from it's actual number way down to a low number.  Not a total zero (ouch) but still enough to mess with my motivation.
So, it was just nice to read that I was not the only one feeling a little deflated by this.....streaks and points should not matter, but for me, the number showing that I have not missed a day of study matters, it very much becomes part of my motivation.
I have full confidence that our correct number of days will be set straight very soon - it seems that all of the other glitches got fixed very quickly, so I am hoping we "streak junkies" are next in line.  :)

Best, 
Kel
 
drewster

drewster

Hi Kel,

Its a funny thing because I know it should be motivation enough to want to learn but it's often very difficult to measure that I'm improving, and the points and the streaks just help me to know that I'm putting the effort in. If I make the effort, I eventually also notice the improvement. 

Cheers
Drew
KellyMJara

KellyMJara

Hey, Drew -  
Exactly!
I find that if I am having a "low motivation" day, the streak is what gets me onto the page.  I start out thinking I will only work on a few sentences, enough to keep the streak, but with this course in particular, I wind up getting involved and absorbed and doing a ton more work than I had originally planned.  

For me, the streak is  a great tool to get me through those "bleh" days.  Like I mentioned, it is nice to know that I am not alone in relying a bit on this simple psychological trick to keep me going.  It seems silly, but I don't think it is.  I think points and streaks are great motivators, and speaking only for myself here, I admit - I am not always motivated by sheer will alone.

So.....hopefully in the next day or so those will get back to normal.  As Jason mentioned, it is a large database, omg, I can only imagine!

Take Care, 
Kel
Mark-G1193

Mark-G1193

Ok, glad I found this post. I was worried it was my browser as it has crashed twice and my points reset. I was screaming mad and was about to curse out Google chrome. Then I decided to browse the forum. 

Thanks for explaining the migration. I will be patient and I know everyone else here will as well. 

Cheers,

Mark
David K

David K

I just created my first Chinese custom flashcard as a test and it works.  I made it public so we can test the sharing function.

It's just one card that says Chinese person in Hanzi, Pin Yin, and English.  Please let me know if you can import it and use it.

Thanks

PS  With regard to Flashcards making it  too easy for avid users to top the Leaders boards, one simple fix is to simple redo the points system making points more proportionally reflective to the effort or value of the activity. 

For example, I like to start each day by reviewing all the Flashcards in the entire module of 8 lessons I'm working in.  Sometimes even for the entire course.  At approx. 2 seconds per card one can rack up 1800 points or more per hour just flipping through flashcards.

On the other end of the points spectrum, if one tries to do the new 2nd Write It section in the Chinese course which is in Hanzi, it took me at least 8 hours to gain  my first 2 points which required figuring out how to use the internal Hanzi look up software keyboard in the Rocket Course, which is not explained anywhere to my knowledge.  Although that time included about an hour where I wrote up a feedback essay complaining that it was broken.  (Have you ever tried to use it?)

Only by accident did I discover that the software keyboards in the Write 1 section and Write up 2 were different and I only discovered that by going back to produce specific  examples for your software team for the essay complaining that "it," the software keyboard, was broken.  It is actually quite clever, although slow.,  Robert, your number 2 all time Chinese student tells me he  uses the Google translate box in a parallel window for Hanzi entry.   I use that for writing Hanzi in messages because that clever little look up keyboard does not appear in the Forum note box.  I only learned this from Robert after a month of frustration when Robert responded to one of my Forum cries for help.  I still have not heard from anyone from Rocket on that series of exchanges.

Getting back to recalibrating points.  Even after learning how to enter Hanzi with your software keyboard, trying to complete a lesson of  the Write Up 2 section in Hanzi can take hours or more for me as one most know how to recognize the radicals inside the characters even to choose between the dozen or so possible Hanzi that might be implied by a Pin Yin word or phrase without the tones.  I am about 50 hours into learning how to do this in other courses, like the Memrise.com HSK Level 1 course which is free and I would recommend as a prerequisite or parrallel supplement to this Rocket Mandarin course, which probably requires about a 300 to 500 word vocabulary to do in Hanzi the way nong fu suggests is the right way to do it. As a CEO you should try getting through just the first two Modules.

As a datapoint, it took me 100,000 points and 1 month to get through the entire Level 1 Premium Rocket German course and pass the Level full course test, but I had three years of High School German 45 years ago.  I believe I am over 200,000 points and almost 2 months into the Chinese course and still working on just the second Module of 8 lessons.  (But I have been doing the Spanish course at the same time which has slowed me down some.)

So just as a somewhat loosely remembered example one might get 50 to 100 or maybe 250 points per hour doing that task, compared to 2,000 reviewing flashcards one already knows.   This would imply a potential  10 to 1 miscalibration of the point system. 

Or one could get 100 points for writing a 5 minute Forum note.  Which by the way, I think is fine as Forum notes have additional community and psychological value of improving motivation and identification with the community.

I might even suggest granting 250 points for a Forum note for a User answering a plaintiff  request for help that someone else graciously takes time to answer, especially in "real time."  In fact, I would have happily transferred 1,000 points or more from my account to nong fu, Robert, Dan, Steve or many of the other extremely helpful grandmasters who were kind enough to respond by explaining answers to my questions, or sharing acquired knowledge from their years of experience here.

I have high praise for the responsiveness of Magaret, and many others on your Rocket Team who have been spectacularly helpful in getting questions answered or problems fixed, but you simply do not have enough people to cover all the bases, especially in the middle of the night on weekends.  So awarding high points to "user assists" seems both fair, fun, and strategic. It could be an entrepreneurial solution to create a User based network into a Rocket Learning Community to overcome small business resource constraints.

One could do some statistics on how much work on average different tasks takes, but perhaps completing a Section 2 Write It in Hanzi should be worth 50 or 100 points per card if a flashcard flip gains two points.

As another example, I think it is great that the Play It tests give 10 points per successful completion.  But if just play acting a part by just reading the test in the Level 1 part play is worth 10 points, which I think is fine, there should be a lot more for the higher levels. Like 50 for level 2, and maybe 100 for level 3 and 200 for level 4.  Where one is playing the role through eight interactions entirely by memory.

There are some Level 4 Role plays in the Chinese course and mid-level German 2 lessons that I do not anticipate successfully completing in my remaining lifetime.  I'm not sure I could perfectly memorize such long sentences and interactions even if they were in English.  And if I did, it might take hours, and  I would certainly expect more than 10 points as a reward.

You already show a willingness to award points for "community value" by offering 500 points for a review. This is fine too, I think the points system should be fun, and motivating  not excessively rigorous.  Compare the information content and average effort people put into reviews compared to this note.

And finally, I think you, Jason, and Magaret,  ought to have your own CEO discretionary point banks where you can recognize and encourage contributions to building a learning community.  Maybe users should be able to "uprate" comments they found helpful.

Perhaps, you could add extra "pep" to the points system by offering a coupon credit one could apply towards the purchase of additional course we could give to family and friends.

I'm tempted to buy a copy of the Spanish program to every member of my family so I have more people to talk to, and as an experiment in Word of Mouth Advertising. Maybe such a coupon should be awarded every 100,000 or 500,000 points just to jazz things up to make things like this possible. Acedemic research indicates that in many software companies, word-of-mouth advertising from the Installed Base can be the primary driver of the growth of future sales. (See John Sterman, MIT)

I just made my first Custom Flashcard public maybe that should get some points.

I better stop now as I am just getting warmed up.  In a humorous vein maybe you should award me points for every suggestion for improvement I don't write up and send.  LOL

Cheers, and keep up the good work.

David





 
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi David - You make some excellent points. I have started compiling a list of things to add to the development wishlist and have added most of what you mentioned. I also emailed you for a more direct line. Thanks again!
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

Regarding custom flash card sets, I would really like to have the ability to import them from the outside. I have spreadsheets that I used to create flashcards on Quizlet with English, Pinyin, and Hanzi. It would be nice to be able to copy and past the content into a form, tell Rocket what each column represents, and then import.
David K

David K

I agree Robert.  Especially since the only way we can currently enter either Hanzi or Pinyin tones is with cut and paste from different systems.  The two Rocket entry sotware keyboards from Write It 1 and 2 should be included in the entry editor as well as in these Forum entry boxes.

Hi Robert,  Can you access public custom cards now?  I just created "Basic Hanzi Strokes" and would really appreciate it if you checked to make sure it is correct.

I started entering in the first 100 radicals but the files didn't show up in my Index after saving.  I'm hoping it is a delay.
  
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Robert - The ability to import csv/notepad into the FlashCards is currently being worked on and shouldn't be too far away!
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

David - I can see your flashcard sets now.
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi all - An update on the streaks. A few people reported that their streaks were broken with the recent upgrade. This issue should now be fixed, please let me know if it isn't.
drewster

drewster

Hmm, you changed points allocations for flashcards on the input of one person (even if that person is the most active on the system)? 

Might be time to add that poll system to see what others think?
KellyMJara

KellyMJara

Hi Jason, 
Thank you, my streak is back to the correct number.  It's such a small issue, but psychologically (for me at least) it really helps.

Mark - HAHA, I, too, was hurling insults at Google Chrome, poor browser, lololol!  I hope your points and streaks have been put back in place also.

Thanks for everything, Jason, and everyone have a good week!

Kelly
Alan-L1

Alan-L1

Two possible improvements

Could it be possible to add a 'Top of Screen' button on the left hand side of the screen so that I don't have to mouse my way back up

Would it be possible to have a toggle button to see the newest forums first at the top of the page if a person preferred or the newest at the bottom as it is now. I find that popular forum posts can be 2 or more pages long adding to the time it takes to view them.
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Drew - We knew there was an issue with the proportionality of points/effort with the FlashCards for a while but we held off changing that until the 2017 Edition was live. There will be a review of the entire points system soon.

Hi Kelly - Thanks!

Hi Alan - 2 good ideas. I will add them to the development wishlist for consideration!
drewster

drewster

Hi Jason, 

I really don’t think that devaluing the points like that is the right way to go, despite the very well-argued position from David K.

I agree that those points come quite quickly but for me, they only made up 20% of my total (10% now with the new bug) as I only tend to use them when I need to be quiet (on a train, with others around and so on … when I can’t use the listening, speaking, parts).

The part that I think is undervalued is Play It, as that does take a long time to earn 10 points. I’d value that higher though, rather than lowering the others.

However, the way I’d go about this is to set some measurements in your code to see how long it takes on average to earn a point. If you set it at, say, 10 points a minute and time a bunch of things, that would tell you how to set your points.

Cheers,
Drew
 
drewster

drewster

Hi Jason, 

I really don’t think that devaluing the points like that is the right way to go, despite the very well-argued position from David K.

I agree that those points come quite quickly but for me, they only made up 20% of my total (10% now with the new bug) as I only tend to use them when I need to be quiet (on a train, with others around and so on … when I can’t use the listening, speaking, parts).

The part that I think is undervalued is Play It, as that does take a long time to earn 10 points. I’d value that higher though, rather than lowering the others.

However, the way I’d go about this is to set some measurements in your code to see how long it takes on average to earn a point. If you set it at, say, 10 points a minute and time a bunch of things, that would tell you how to set your points.

Cheers,
Drew
 
David K

David K

Hi Drew.  I didn't intend to suggest a point devaluation, merely that they be re-calibrated.  I agree with you that this recalibration should not devalue past points or take away earned badges, but rather be part of a systemic rebalancing that as you suggest should involve community discussion.

Devaluing Flashcards is based on what I believe is a false premise that they have been the primary cause of point inflation.  But, if one's goal was to run up points, one could do it just as easily with the Hear It function.  In fact, one could run them up faster with Hear It as the Record functon assigns an extra points giving 4 per word instead of 2.   My point was to argue that the Chinese Write It 2 and advanced levels of Play are seriously undervalued.

Also, a "Point Bandit" could list and unlist Dictionary words and write lots of comments.

My point was not to take away points but rather consider adding points for extremely time consuming tasks like the Chinese Hanzi Write It 2.

My suggestion is that the Rocket Team add a "time on task" counter if they want to get an exact count of how much a user is putting in.  Many other site do this, and it is a simple programming task. A auto-time out can occur at 30 seconds without a click, to avoid counting dead time.

Rocket could publish average time per course. module, lesson, task. etc. so users could benchmark their progress against norms.

This would be valuable feedback for users, and also provide Rocket with a monitoring system to identify problematic lessons.  For example, the Chinese lesson that introduces about 50 unexplained characters to provide example of phonetic representation of different countries is a major pothole, or cliff as far as I'm concerned.  I would bet money most students drop out at that point.  Most users are too polite to say anything or assume the problem is with them rather than a flawed lesson strategy.  Time per task info could identify problem areas for both users, and Rocket.

I also wanted to suggest learning jounels and an event log where a users participation history could be displaced with public private toggles.

In the meantime, until we as a community can agree on a comprehensive rebalancing for future points I suggest Jason return Flashcards to 2.  The new system will require and extra NewPoints variable.

Sorry if I've caused trouble.

 
drewster

drewster

Hi David,

Sorry for naming you directly. I always enjoy your posts and I thought you made a lot of sense. I know what you mean about possible ways of running up a lot of points. I don't really care too much about what others are doing or my position on the leaderboard. I use the points as my way of measuring that I'm putting in effort. I try to do around 1,000 a day which, for me, is about 1.5 hours of study depending on the part of the course I'm in. Based on the new valuation that will mean I'll need to do 10% more work to get the same points (given that my flashcards average 20% of total points, or did anyway). No big deal, but I would add to some rather than devalue others. 

Cheers,
Drew
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Drew/David - As mentioned in another post we will revert the points system back to the way it was and re-evaluate it in the near future.
Matthew-H68

Matthew-H68

Hi guys, I'm still having trouble with my recording on the RocketRecord within the lessons and the tests. Jason, I cannot Skype because of a lack of Skyping knowledge. Will emails work? And this new edition seems to have a worse recording problem then the last one I cannot hear the audio when I plug in the microphone, and can't record when the audio playing ability on is activated.
Brittany
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Brittany - What browser are you using? I sent you an email a few days ago. Please check your junk folder in case it's there. 
Matthew-H68

Matthew-H68

Hi Jason, I'm using Google Chrome, always have used it. I'll check. Brittany
Matthew-H68

Matthew-H68

Jason, I found your email in the junk folder. I just can't retrieve it, so that we can talk more in depth about my recording problems. Could you please send another one?
jason-oxenham-ceo

jason-oxenham-ceo

Hi Brittany - It may be best for you to send one to me jason@rocketlanguages.com
Matthew-H68

Matthew-H68

Gracias Jason, por su ayudame. Will send the email as soon as possible.

Ask a question or a post a response

If you want to ask a question or post a response you need to be a member.

If you are already a member login here .
If you are not a member you can become one by taking the free Rocket Spanish trial here .