This and all episodes of this podcast are available to study as a lesson on LingQ. Try it here.
Today, Mark and Jill explain in detail how the new points system will work and why this new system is being instituted.
Mark: Hello and welcome to EnglishLingQ.
Mark here again with Jill.
Mark: How’s it going today?
Jill: Good thanks.
Mark: As we watch the rain come down again.
Jill: Yes, don’t remind me.
Mark: Yes, usually by this point in the winter we’re ready for some…
Jill: …spring. Some flowers, some sunshine, yeah, it would be nice.
Mark: I think we had some sunshine last week.
Jill: Yesterday; yesterday afternoon was beautiful.
Mark: Yeah, you’re right actually.
Jill: By about 1:30 it was beautiful.
Mark: It wasn’t even that bad in the morning.
It wasn’t sunny, but it was kind of warm, relatively warm and not raining and then Annie had a soccer game.
Jill: That’s what did it!
Mark: So then there was this break in the middle of an otherwise nice day where the temperature dropped about 6 degrees and it poured rain.
That was during Annie’s soccer game.
Jill: Oh lovely.
Mark: Yeah and then after that it actually was really nice.
The sun came out and…
Jill: Yeah, it was beautiful.
There was a nice sunset, lots of blue sky, it was great.
Mark: It was amazing.
Like the temperature, I mean maybe we were close to the water, so it was a little cooler, I don’t know.
I was watching that game and I was just frozen.
Jill: Well, once you get wet you just feel so much colder.
Mark: I had brought my umbrella because I had a feeling it was coming.
But, even still, just standing there when you’re watching you’re not moving.
Anyway, one thing we wanted to cover today was the issue on LingQ about the points expiration.
I guess up until now all LingQ points have been valid forever.
We’ve changed that or we will be changing that on March 3rd.
Starting on March 3rd all LingQ points will expire after 90 days.
I guess we just wanted to explain a little bit maybe about why we’re doing that.
The number one reason really is that we want people to be more active on the site and for a number of reasons.
Jill: There was a lot more activity on The Linguist.
Our discussions were full; all the discussions were full.
We had emails from people saying can you have more discussions I can’t sign up for one?
There were lots and they were always full and lots of people were submitting writing all the time.
I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that people only had one month not 90 days.
They had their one-month period to use the number of speaking events and words of writing that they had that they paid for each month.
People were less inclined to hoard their points, to keep their points, because…
Mark: Well they couldn’t.
Jill: Exactly, they’d be lost.
They’d be gone if they didn’t use them and I think it made for much better discussions, full discussions.
People have told us who were Linguist members that they enjoyed that part of The Linguist much better because now there’s just not that same activity happening.
I mean the level of activity, on our events anyway, at LingQ is much less than it was on The Linguist and so that’s bad for people who want to join or who are joining the events because they’re not as lively as they were.
It’s bad for our tutors who are not as busy and, therefore…
Jill: …not as motivated themselves to post a whole bunch of discussions because they’re constantly empty.
Jill: They’ve got to sit around and wait to see if people sign up.
Mark: What’s interesting about this and it’s just human psychology I guess, but what is interesting is that, essentially, nothing has changed.
It’s the same tutors posting the same events with many of the same members and the only thing that has changed is the way in which people pay for events.
The change is that on the previous system you were given a certain number of events that you had to use and if you didn’t use them they were lost.
In our current system you’re instead given points, which you can spend on any activities you like and those points are good forever, so there’s no incentive to use them.
As you pointed out, when you use them it’s better for everyone involved in the community, the tutors and the people participating in the events.
Not only that the more you do the more you’re going to learn and, really, that’s why we have our site.
We think that it’s a great learning tool, we want you to learn and if because psychologically you feel like you’re always having to spend points, psychologically, a lot of people want to hold on to the points or some points or not spend them all and, therefore, end up doing less.
By instituting this change where the points will be lost if they’re not used I’m sure we will see an increase in participation from members and I think everybody will be happy in the long run.
Jill: Yeah, I agree.
It might take a little…there might be a bit of an adjustment period for some people, but I think overall it’s going to be a positive change.
You will still always have 90 days, three months, to use your points, so that’s a long time.
This new system in LingQ will still be much more flexible than it was in The Linguist.
You’re given these points, which you can use either to speak or write or do both or we’ll have other activities which you can do in the future.
Not only that but, as you say, if you can’t be very active one month you still have two months to make up for that drop in your activity, so it’s quite flexible.
I guess we’ll see what the results are going to be.
The other part of that equation of course is, in fact, making yourself join the events.
I know a lot of people when they first start on LingQ are a little nervous to try and join events.
I have to admit I haven’t joined any events in any other languages myself, so today, to follow some of my own instructions or to take some of my own medicine, I’ve decided I’m going to start.
I’ve signed up for a French event with Marianne.
I think it’s on Wednesday and I’m going to try and do that regularly and I know you are too.
Jill: I am.
I was just saying I should really sign up for an event with Marianne as well because, of course, French is the language that I have been studying the longest and would be most inclined to speak.
But even for me it’s nerve-racking or causing me some anxiety to think about speaking with Marianne and, you know, I know Marianne very, very well.
I speak to her in English all the time and she’s very nice.
I know she’s not going to make fun of me when I make mistakes.
Mark: Be mean to you?
Jill: Be mean to me, but still, yeah, it’s hard to start speaking.
Especially, I haven’t really spoken any French for about five years, so I think that first conversation will be difficult.
But I think it will probably get a lot easier after that just doing it a few times.
I think until you get into the swing of things, until you get sort of in the habit, will be difficult and then it will be okay.
When I was going to sign up I said ah, you know what?
I’m a little bit nervous or something about signing up because I mean I really have never spoken French.
I understand quite a bit, but I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve actually had to speak it, at least very infrequently, so, I don’t know.
Well, you know what?
I’ve got to do it and every time I do it I’ll get better.
Yeah, I’m going to be nervous, it’s something that I’m not used to doing and haven’t really done, but I’ve just got to get in there.
I know that over time I’ll get better and that will motivate me to listen and read and work on my vocabulary as well and improve.
Jill: Well I think so.
Yeah, I think if you want to do better in the discussions, if you want to speak better, you’re going to spend more time reading and listening because that’s going to help you speak better.
Jill: So there are all those incentives there and yeah, it will be interesting, we’ll see.
Writing too, I’ve got to start writing.
We can keep up to date on our progress as we go along here.
Yeah, no, that will be good.
I was going to say that one thing I have started doing is listening to the French LingQ Podcast and I know you listen to it as well.
Jill: Yes, yes.
Mark: I quite like it.
We’ve tried to replicate our English Podcasts in other languages and since I’m studying French I’ve decided that I’m going to try and follow that one; listen and read it on the system and try and learn the vocabulary and see how that goes.
For now, I quite enjoy listening to it.
Jill: I enjoy the podcast too, actually, that’s sort of all I’ve been listening to.
I haven’t been studying any of the other content, but I find those really interesting.
Mark: And then, you know, maybe a couple months from now when I’ve got French knocked off, you know, I’ll move on to Chinese.
Jill: When you’ve mastered French.
Mark: I was saying earlier, while I’ve mastered Japanese and I’ve mastered German now it’s time for French.
I’m just joking.
Jill: Yes, even your dad doesn’t master them that quickly.
Mark: No, no, but anyway, no, I’m looking forward now to talking to Marianne.
Hopefully, I don’t do too badly.
Marianne, if you’re listening, take pity on me.
Jill: Be nice to Mark.
Other than that what’s new?
You’re getting a little rounder every week.
Jill: Yeah, a little bit bigger, a little more uncomfortable every week.
Jill: But, no, I’m doing well, everything is good; seven weeks to go.
Mark: Still getting out being active even though the weather is miserable?
I haven’t been outside very much recently, actually, but I have been trying to get to the gym at least three or four times a week and then getting in a walk, a good long brisk walk, at least once or twice.
Any day that it’s not pouring rain out I will get out for a walk it’s just some weeks that’s one day or no days.
Mark: Come on, it’s not that bad.
Jill: It depends on the week.
Mark: Yeah, okay, it’s been particularly miserable.
Jill: Well in February we actually usually get a couple of nice weeks in February where there’s a lot of sun and we can even get some quite warm weather, some 10-12 degree weather.
Mark: Are you sure?
Jill: I’m positive, I know, I keep track because I never mind February and it’s because I remember that usually crocuses start coming out, daffodils, like it’s sort of the start of Spring.
But then usually March is miserable and it’s quite cold and we get a lot of rain and the mountains get a lot of snow.
Mark: I don’t know about that.
Jill: It’s true.
Mark: I think that’s on the warm years.
Jill: The last several years I’ve noticed there have been at least a couple of nice weeks every February.
Mark: Even last year?
Jill: Even last year, but it wasn’t warm.
It’s not necessarily warm, but there’s always a stretch of nice sunny weather.
Mark: Apparently Jill and I live in different places.
Jill: Well it’s true.
You live on the north shore where all the clouds love to hang out and just never disperse.
Mark: No, but you’re probably right.
You can start to see crocuses coming out fairly early, but not every year.
Jill: Most years.
Mark: This looks like one of those years where we’ll be getting snow into April on the mountains if not down here.
Jill: It’s not looking so good so far, no.
Mark: No. Anyway, I’m sure it’s nice where everybody else is listening.
Jill: Actually, you know, it’s not. I was speaking with Adam who’s from Taiwan.
Jill: I was speaking with him last week sometime, Thursday I think, and he said that it had been pouring rain there and I think he told me 8 degrees, which was what it was here; rainy and 8 degrees.
Jill: That’s unheard of in Taiwan.
Mark: Global cooling.
Mark: That will be the next thing.
Jill: So, yeah, it’s not just us.
Mark: No. It must be nice somewhere.
Please, if you’re somewhere warm write us an email, tell us how great it is and maybe send us a picture of the sun.
Jill: We’ve almost forgotten what it looks like.
Mark: With that we’ll probably sign off here, but we look forward to talking to you all next time.
Jill: Yes we do. Bye-bye.