Hi, I am leaving on vacation soon and I was wondering if there was any way to freeze my account, as in, stop any cards from going to the orange review piles
until I get back, resuming the reviews exactly as I left them.
The review pile currently gives me an excellent pace of about 50+ kanji to review each day. This is very manageable and only takes me about 30 mins.
Even a one week vacation would be absolutely disastrous and screw up my reviewing pace completely (eg, it would be zero reviews for a few days and then suddenly BAM 400 kanji to review!)
Is there any way to avoid this?
Perhaps maybe adding "account freezing" as a new feature?
That would sort of defeat the purpose of an SRS...
400-500 cards is possible in a day, you could probably do it in 2 or 3 hours. But you`ll hardly even notice if you spread your catching up over a week or two.
It would indeed defeat the object of SRS but also leaving expired cards for ages before reviewing them defeats the object of SRS. At least if your account could be paused then your study plan could be manageable.
I went on holiday for ten days and came back to find so many expired cards that my study plan was knocked sideways. So I completely support the idea of a pause function.
I was thinking the same thing! Just returned from more than a week away and was greeted with almost 400 cards to study (usually have 40-50 per day). Not sure whether having the timing messed up a little bit and so interfering with the way the SRS works, or rushing through the cards and not studying them as well as I might do usually is worse for retention in the long run..?
Not a feature I'm desperate for, just though I'd chime in as I noticed this topic was relevant to my situation
Well, back to the stack..
I think this has been talked about before, but it may have been in relation to Anki. Basically why it is bad: Say if you are going away for 30 days. If you pause it, a card that was due in 30 days now wont be seen until 60 days (that is, you are paused for 30 days, and then when it is unpaused, it wont be shown until another 30 days). That, I think, is defeating the purpose of a SRS.
If you don't pause it, sure you'll have a huge pile to work through, however you wont have to wait extra time for cards to appear. If you can't work through all your failed pile in a day, don't. Work through a little each day. A feeling of being overwhelmed is all in your head. Don't look at the number, work through what you can and eventually you'll catch up.
Absolutely agree with Carlie. I would strongly vote against the introduction of a feature to freeze the review deck. My thoughts here...
Resetting the advancement of your cards (erasing them all and adding them again) would probably yield the same effect as pausing them...
EDIT: the same effect on your memory, that is.
Last edited by nac_est (2008 March 21, 4:45 am)
Having a huge orange pile is thus somehow preferable to having them frozen in a previous state? I don't see the advantage. Taking down that stack in little chunks over the next few days, a task previously done for you by the system, which, however you do it is bound to increase your workload, is preferable to continuing in your own rhythm? Hm, seems like an extra burden to me. So is this how the famous self-regulating Leitner system handles breaks? By the sound of it, taking a break in itself is already a breach with the system. I mean, those orange piles contain cards you should have been reviewing 5, 10, 40 days ago. Reviewing them now is not how it's supposed to be done... right?
The brain is a complex thing and Leitner's algorithm knows many variables. The choice e.g. to double each next interval after the first 3, is disputable. Or even to count intervals in days, not hours or minutes. The numbers that RevTK uses to set the next interval are in themselves already randomized. Adding a constant midway does not mean the whole system crumbles in like a cardhouse. It already has its own net to deal with that. Sure, after you return, your first sessions will have more failed cards than usual. But that increase in workload is a whole pack less than in the original situation.
I, for one, am pro-pause button. If you don't like it, don't use it. But for me, it will finally allow me to stop reviewing during weekends and adjust to a normal 5-days a week work schedule. I'm sure my brain is capable of handling that.
Come on people, think about this carefully. Using a pause button would be utterly crazy. Cards are due on a certain date for a reason. If you pause your studies, every single card will have an incorrect due date when you unpause it. You'll ruin everything.
Proposing a "pause button" to a Spaced Repetition System is silly. It cannot work unless you can implement a "pause button" on your brain, too. The SRS method is just a gauge, and altering it doesn't alter the real thing, only makes it not to accurately reflect reality. Have you seen those Simpsons episodes in which Homer covers/blows the light gauges of the car/nuclear power station thinking that it does stop the problem? That's what you are suggesting.
If you let days pass, you just have to check the orange cards. If you have forgotten them, you'll have to start again from scratch. If you remember them, then the link in your mind was stronger than what the SRS supposed and you can safely move it to the next stack.
Last edited by DrJones (2008 March 21, 6:20 am)
I don't like the idea of a pause button, for the reasons already eloquently stated above. Perhaps if you're not vacationing in the jungle somewhere, there is an internet cafe nearby, or a computer in a hotel lobby or library... If the idea of a stack of oranges is really such a terrible thing, maybe a few short internet sessions at a foreign computer might make you feel better?
A pause function would be great. I haven't had this problem but I can totally imagine situations when someone can't continue to review for a while: vacations, sickness, work.
So while it's much better to do your revisions and not use such a function the two alternatives are:
- be swamped by an unmanageable number of expired cards
- keep your revision schedule but shift it in time by the number of days you missed
I think the later is much better. While it's true that it would have been better to have reviewed those cards earlier the truth is that didn't happen. Being able to start again with a reasonable number of revisions to do will allow people to get back on the right track. Sure their recall rate might suffer a little but it's no big deal. After all the schedule used on this site is arbitrary there is no particular reason why a card couldn't be reviewed a few days later. On the other hand, having too many expired cards can discourage people, they are more likely to procrastinate, let their expired cards increase even more and give up.
Now for this function to work, you should be able to activate it after the fact otherwise it would be useless in case an emergency prevented people from logging to the site during that time. I don't know how cards are stored in the site's database but if they have an expiration date, it would be easy to implement a "timeshift" function that would add a certain number of days to the expiration date.
Now for those who think this is blasphemous to the spirit of SRS, it's very simple. If you don't like it you don't have to use it. But I'm sure it would be a big help for people who are unable to avoid that problem.
I hope that function can be added to the site.
I am sure that all of the people who would give up on their kanji studies because they are faced with a large expired stack would be greatly outnumbered by the number of beginners who would regularly use the pause button when they couldn't be bothered reviewing for a few days - then get frustrated and give up because the kanji weren't sticking in their heads. The "incorruptibility" of the system is a major incentive for building a disciplined reviewing habit and sticking to it. There are methods of breaking down a large stack methodically.
Last edited by Floatingweed5 (2008 March 21, 9:50 pm)
I have certainly had the situation of coming back from a trip to huge stacks to clear, clearing them, and dealing with the frustration of large bumps moving through the system giving me more than I ideally want in a given day. But, I'm still against a pause button because it would be too easy to use. Instead my plan is that after my next trip I am going to add the kanji back in from my failed stack slowly. In other words if after reviewing all my due cards I fail 100 cards, instead of immediately studying them all and adding them into the first stack I'll choose a manageable number, say 15 and add 15 cards back in from the failed stack everyday while continuing to review new due cards in all the stacks. That way it will take me awhile to get all my failed cards back in the system but I won't have those huge bumps rotating through the system.
marydj: in my opinion, wouldn't that be somewhat the same as having had a paused account and resuming? You would still be reviewing a little bit every day either way, and those huge bumps rotating through the system are pretty much out of the question.
Floatingweed: A solution would be to make the pause button useable only at a slow rate like once a month/ once every two months.
infrequency of availability will discourage beginners from making a habit of pausing their accounts.
I don't think pausing for 2-4 day vacations is necessary. The concern only applies to 1-2+ week vacations.
Last edited by sandwich (2008 March 22, 12:49 am)
I'm finding it hard to believe that people are still taking this pause button seriously. Honestly, think about it.
If you pause your account for two weeks, when you unpause it EVERY SINGLE CARD will become due 2 weeks too late.
Coming back to a huge orange stack isn't great and can be demotivating but it's the reality. Those cards are in that stack for a reason. By pausing, and not putting the cards in that stack, you're lying to yourself. You're saying you don't need to review those cards but you do. You will end up failing many many more cards.
Going on holiday disrupts the SRS system and is not ideal. Pausing will not affect just a portion of your cards, it is 100% guaranteed to ruin the scheduling for every single card.
If your schedule is 50 a day, then do 50 a day when you get back from your vacation. Instead of hitting "review all cards" though, just start from the first deck and work your way up. After you finish all your expired cards at 50 a day, start on your failed ones at 50 a day. Then when you have all your failed cards, start adding new cards.
I just took about 2 months off from this site and came back with about 1300 expired cards. This way of going through them has worked well. cards that i remembered after the longer interval will be easier to remember next time. I ended up failing over 600 cards but it gave me a chance to go over them again.
But just because you have a huge number of expired cards, doesn't mean you need to review them all the day you get back...
sandwich, what I was suggesting is basically what laner36 is saying. Except for me, I will go through all the expired cards as quickly as I can after returning. What I don't do is put failed cards back in the system at too rapid a pace so I don't end up with the big bumps. The advantage of this over a pause is that I am actually reviewing the cards at as close to the optimal time as possible unlike pause which pushes everything back artificially.
In the end it all ends up to one question: what do you consider more important, the number of "expired" cards or the number of kanji you can remember?
If you give more importance to the kanji (as I honestly think you should) then the pause button will seem silly to you, no matter how many orange mountains you have to face. Otherwise, well, perhaps an SRS is not a good method for you.
Suggesting the introduction of a pause feature is like denying the usefulness of an SRS, imo.
The only potential solution that wouldn't mess up the review schedule would be an option to re-introduce a set number of expired cards each day from the selected time period until you were back on top of your reviews. That way people who can't deal with reality could at least be spoon-fed it with a bit of sugar.
I'd still vote against this, however, as you can do the maths yourself very easily (see laner36's earlier post) and I'm against any unnecessary complications.
If you think that reviewing your cards later is disrupting the SRS system, you're forgetting two things:
- The review intervals on this site are completely arbitrary. They were made up by Fabrice. So, no! A card isn't due at a certain time and no later. It just happens to be scheduled for that time and there is no harm in changing that a little.
- If you have a large expired stack to clear, you're going to review those cards late anyway. The only difference will be that you're going to increase your workload for a while and then continue and your original schedule but that will only concern cards that already had a long time between reviews and can be reviewed later with no problems.
Also for those who claim that they can review their large expired stacks in no time. Are you doing the revisions properly? Are you writing each character or just clicking through them quickly? Somebody said he was clicking so fast that the only problem was the time the page takes to load. What the point of sticking religiously to your schedule if it's to review like that?
Also the situation is very different when you have finished RtK and when you're in the middle of it. Now that I'm only reviewing I can deal with expired stacks but when I was in the middle of it I'd get 100-150 cards to review everyday. It was really hard to just to keep up with all that and still add new cards. If for some reason I had to stop for a week during that time, I don't think I would have been to start again.
Now that's the only reason I can think against a pause/timeshift option. The fear of what would happen if I didn't at least do my revisions daily forced me to do them no matter what.
I think the arguments for the pause mode are more emotional, but sound. The site also aims to be a motivational tool with the "Check your progress" page for example. But I'm afraid I don't see a really satisfying solution to that yet.
Floatingweed's suggestion is closest to what I was thinking about. For some of us who don't agree with the idea, it does seem like "hiding" a problem.
At the same time, it's true that the review intervals are only "guides". They are arbitrary, but I did my research. I tried to find what intervals Leitner himself used, which I couldn't find. So I looked at the intervals used by popular Leitner programs. The point of the system is to test yourself at increasingly longer intervals, but those intervals need to be long enough that you are not swamped by reviews, or reviewing too early. Previous interval times 1.5 up to times 2 seems to work for the most people. The stats I've posted before show that those numbers work.
But at the same time, that's actually what I like about Leitner. It's supposed to be a guide. A card expires, it doesn't mean you are going to forget it there and then if you don't review that day. It's an indication that the card should be reviewed soon. What it does tell for sure, is that you have not been reviewing it for a given amount of time.
I had a discussion with a friend who really insisted that the flashcard reviews should never show more than <N> cards a day to the user no matter what. This more or less ties into this issue here. His reasoning is based on the emotional aspect, that for many people, the expired cards have to be dealt with asap.
How do other flashcard handle this? Stackz ?
Anki claims to be prioritizing the cards so that you review the cards that need to reviewed most urgently first. I haven't investigated how it does that.
My idea on how to do that would be to compute the "relative lateness" of a card. For example a card that was scheduled to be reviewed after 3 days but has been waiting for 5 days would have a (5-3) / 3 = .66 relative lateness. A card that should have been reviewed after 30 days would be rated after 40 days (40-30) / 30 = .33. The cards with the highest relative lateness should be reviewed first. Does that make any sense?
codexus: that is an excellent idea, and addresses an important point.
My main concern is that when expired cards pile up in large orange stacks, is that the more urgent cards are also lumped in with the less urgent cards, with no way to review them in an organized order.
In essence, cards that expired 1 day ago would be lumped with cards expired 14 days ago. This makes the idea of reviewing 50 extra a day to catch up moot, because out of those 50 cards, you maybe only covered 25 urgent ones, and 25 less urgent ones, further delaying your reviewing of those kanji that are slipping from memory.
Last edited by sandwich (2008 March 22, 7:45 pm)
But you can review by individual boxes - from the review page, click on the individual orange stacks.
I just got back from a conference where I was without network access (or free time!), and found ~270 expired cards waiting for me. I'm splitting the reviews across two days, though even one would've been fairly reasonable - reviews are much faster than learning new kanji, at least for me. I wouldn't have used a pause button even if it had been available. My failed stack will be higher than usual for a week or so as I chip it back down to size, but I don't think that would've changed much with or without a pause; no surprise that my recall rates for the cards added shortly before I left town aren't great.