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Reviews Building Up

ZachH   December 13th, 2008 3:25p.m.

I'm sure most users would have experienced this problem. What happens when you are busy for a week? Or go away for holiday?

Can we brainstorm a way to solve this problem?

Perhaps recently added words should be dropped out again if this situation occurs?

Skritter works best in small doses, I would also like to see how many reviews are going to appear in the next 12 hours so I can prevent adding too much in one sitting and being overwhelmed the next time I login.

serickso   December 13th, 2008 4:37p.m.

Yeah, this is something we've been thinking about as well.

One idea we came up with is to provide a sort of 'Save Me' button in the vocab options page that lets you take all the reviews that are due and spread them over the next few days (where you specify how many days you want to spread them over). That way you can catch up in a more measured pace, rather than trying to catch up all at once. This was put off until after the refactoring, but it's high on my priority list.

Another way you can make sure you don't get overwhelmed is by using the Manual option. This causes a list to automatically stop adding new characters once you've finished a section, and it acts as if you were in Review mode until you unpause the list. Then you can spend a few days learning the section you just added until you feel ready to move on. Or it can be used to make sure you keep pace with whatever class you're taking (unless of course you want to get ahead!). You can also manually set a list to Review.

As for removing recently added items, that would be tricky, making sure the histories stayed valid and vocab list pointers moved back. Alternatively, they could be ignored, which could be done manually (leftmost button under the flash canvas) or we could make it automatic. In which case, what criteria would be used to decide which reviews stay and which ones get pushed back? Might some users want to focus on new words and have old words pushed back instead?

It's definitely a tough problem! Ideally, the scheduling would take care of it without the user having to do anything. Not sure how we could do that though, or if it's even possible. In any case, any brainstorming ideas would be greatly appreciated!

littlebob   December 13th, 2008 6:10p.m.

I wonder if it would make sense to have reviews based on time spent studying rather than on time since last reviewed. Then it wouldn't matter how much time had gone by in between people's Skritter usage, reviews wouldn't build up unless they were active on the site. Although, the whole spaced repetition thing is based on days since memorized, so this idea might not work.

Nicki   December 14th, 2008 10:44a.m.

My preferred way of dealing with this is to have a new character drop in periodically - say after 10 consecutive review words. That new character is fun and refreshing, and something to look forward to. Of course, if you get it wrong, into the review pile it goes....

nick   December 14th, 2008 1:16p.m.

That's one of the problems that the current rearchitecturization will solve. It's a bit of a trick, estimating how much you'll want to bite out of a big review pile in one day, and thus how many new characters to drop in, but we think we've come up with a simple and adaptive way of doing it.

So when you're practicing, instead of new characters getting added at the end, they'll be interspersed throughout, based on the length of the review queue (and the average pace of the learner). That'll be awesome. Coming soon(ish)!

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