Marking a neutral tone

I feel a little stupid asking this. With Android 3,0, how do you indicate a neutral tone in Chinese? Every time I just tap the screen, it says I’m wrong and shows the correct answer, the familiar blotchy dot–in red. What am I doing wrong? (And why is there no help, or am I just blind?)

We did make a change to how neutral tones are recognized and you should just be able to tap the screen. It sounds like you’re doing this though and it’s still not working. It also sounds like this might be happening on all neutral tones prompts, but just to help the debugging can you provide a few examples of words where you’ve run into this issue? What kind of Android device and version are you using?

We’re releasing updates a few times a week, so hopefully once we can identify the problem a speedy fix will follow.

I have an LG V10 running Android 5.1.1.

For a neutral tone, I was tapping the screen and it immediately registered it as incorrect, showing me that it’s a neutral tone. I looks like I just updated from 3.03 to 3.04 before I started this morning, and this seems to work correctly now.

Other issues that I’ve continued to experience today include:

  1. When asking for a character, the pinyin line is so low that I can see any of the descenders. So, o, p, q, and g all look the same—nothing but a circle. I have to scroll if I’m unsure. And there’s so much space at the top of the screen, this is totally unnecessary and annoying.

  2. I don’t know why it’s so hard to have buttons that allow us to move back and forth. It’s not infrequent that the program moves to the next item, but I hadn’t finished looked at, studying, the item before. Every time I touch the screen trying to go back, it’s interpreted as an answer to the current question, which is invariably wrong and then I often start lurching forward as I keep touching the screen trying to find the sweet spot to allow me to go backwards. Very frustrating. Why? No matter what option I pick, I’m always surprised at when the program does or doesn’t leap forward. I never feel totally in control. And I wish I were.

  3. Like last night, this morning, the program is freezing when asking for a tone. The screen accepts nothing. The back arrow works and then I can get in and resume. I haven’t counted, but this seems to happen on the first tone question roughly every 20th question or so.

  4. Earlier reported issue of items incessantly showing up over and over seems to be less of a problem after updating to 3.04. I’m not sure it has been eliminated, but it’s not as bad.

I’ve often wished your program was either much better or much worse. Unfortunately, it’s an excellent program with a never-ending string of small, annoying problems that make using it frustrating. I’m constantly evaluating the usefulness against the aggravation. I wish you really could feel this from a user’s perspective: I want to use Skritter everyday, but then something comes up, and I get discouraged, and just stop for awhile. But it’s too useful to give up, so I go back until the frustration builds up to the boiling point. I don’t want my apps to be a source of such emotional anxiety. I never benefit from it as much as I could because it never delivers quite what it promises.


As a fellow user of Skritter, I very much appreciate your bug reports from the beta version to help make it better. I plan to do the same when the iOS beta is released. This is an early beta, though, and we should expect it to be broken in all sorts of ways that make it less appropriate for daily use. Since I don’t know how good the Android non-beta version is, I can’t recommend that, but the iOS App Store version is solid and I just use that when i want everything to just work.

Thanks for the additional feedback! We are going to be getting out frequent updates with this beta and hope over the next few weeks we can squash a majority of the bugs and issues that are causes people frustration. Here are a few comments on what you mentioned:

  1. I can reduce the empty space a bit so that it’s less likely to cut off the text. If you wouldn’t mind taking a screenshot it might help me better adjust the sizing. We are only able to test on a handful of devices here.

  2. We did add a back button to the top of the prompt and it should be just a tap to advance forward again after going backwards.

  3. There was a similar issue relating to the second character in a multiple character tone or writing prompt, but thought that got patched up. I will keep an eye out for what you’ve mentioned during my testing.