Word scheduling is useless 2

I have to start a new thread because somebody finds it a great idea to autoclose threads with low activity. Like the same thing can’t be relevant some time later…

This is the original thread:

The last reply was from Jeremy:

Glad to hear it looks promising! :smiley:

I think this might be caused by your low queue-- it looks like you might want to add more items, I see there are about 9 to review right now so I recommend manually adding some new items from your lists (or adding another list)!

We’re working on adding a way in to study / cram items from your lists without using the SRS as well, which was something you mentioned earlier.

No, I didn’t say it looked promising. I said it HAD looked promising. Before I actually started looking at it, that is. Nothing has changed. I’m still caught in endless loops, overlearning about 20 characters and completely forgetting everything else… It’s not possible to review old items. All the time I put into studying is being undone by the faulty scheduling algorithm. :frowning:

So this might be caused by my “low queue” and I should add “more items”? How on earth will adding more items help me with reviewing older ones? And add from where? I’ve finished the list, there are no more items to add. I’m not going to start a new list before I solidify the current one.

I’m sorry to ask but what kind of bullshit answer was that?

Now let me tell you that your site is basically great. I like everything about it except the scheduling algorithm. It would be an excellent tool for learning Chinese characters if it wasn’t for that darn scheduling algorithm which unfortunately, ruins everything. I’m cancelling my subscription for now but will check back in a couple of months in the hope of seeing some improvement.


I understand where you are coming from and this really isn’t how the spaced repetition system (SRS) Skritter uses was initially designed to be used. Lots of other systems (like Anki) actually cut you off for the day when you study everything that the system considers due. We allow users to keep studying indefinitely and on smaller accounts with around 100 words or so this can cause things to get a bit repetitive when studying too much.

Which platforms are you using (android, ios, website)? This will help me better understand the issue as the mobile and website platforms load data in a slightly different way. I can look into the issue more as it pertains to your account and try to make some scheduling adjustments.

I think the opportunity here is to tweak the algorithm that chooses what to study when nothing is “due”. In my experience Skritter continues to favor very new material even when nothing is due. I suspect that is because I have old words that are a “day” away from being due while I have new words that are only “hours” away. It would be easier to suggest algorithms with more data, but one idea would be to switch modes when nothing is “due” (by absolute time) to a mode where everything is shown in order of “percent to due again” so that instead of seeing the word I just learned which is due in 4 hours (but I’m only 0.1% of the way into) I see the word that’s due in 2 days (which was on a 8 day timer so I’m 75% of the way there).

I have noticed the same problem as nirangwo. When I’m done reviewing and adding for the day it seems to get stuck on new words. I use both Skritter Chinese and Japanese on windows and android and it seems to happen on both. It does help to review the words I’ve learned today a few more times but when I’ve rated a word “too easy” over ten times within 5 minutes and it keeps showing up again and again it get’s frustrating. I don’t need to see these words, I rated them “too easy” because I feel like I know them already, not because I need to see them 5 words later. It shouldn’t matter if they’re new or not. At this point I’d rather see old words that I’ve only rated “good” or “so-so” in the past, that way I can study those words until I feel that I can rate them “too easy.”

The Android app and website also seem to have major problems with refreshing the “items due” count on the study page. The count shown there is always different than the count displayed on homepage. Sometimes the count will freeze on the study page, and when I go to the homepage the “items due” count will be much higher

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I’m using the desktop version in Firefox. I’m not using the app but based on Mouse100111’s comment it has the same problem anyway.

Skritter indeed favors new material all the way through a deck which did bother me but not enough to get me to raise a complaint before I hit the end of my first deck. The problem is a bit more general than what I described. It just doesn’t feel like previous items are presented for review often enough. Since the deck I started out with was relatively small this behavior wasn’t a huge problem but it can become problematic with larger decks.

IMHO BenJackson’s explanation of what’s happening is not accurate: new items should be pushed further into the future with each review causing their due dates to overtake the due dates of older items pretty soon which should cause older items to be scheduled in place of newer ones. This is not what happens. In fact, the loops are so fixed that logging in a couple of days later doesn’t change them.

The scheduler also seems to ignore difficulty hints. It seems to me that it simply has a bug.

Please fix the scheduler or introduce a simpler study mode which gives more control to the user (or in the long term, allow users to script their own schedulers), whichever is fastest to do.

Improving / fixing the scheduling is a main focus right now, we hear you loud and clear! Please stay tuned. :slight_smile:

One thing I really like about Anki is the complete transparency about the timing implications of hitting “wrong/so-so/good/easy”. On the surface it seems more complex, but it turns out that showing the amount of time there actually makes it easier to choose a level.

Re: @nirangwo said about “new items should be pushed further into the future” I think this could be addressed as a tuning issue (some option about retry rate) or some clever scheduling algorithm, but imagine if he could just see that “good” is going to bring the item back in 1d and “easy” would be 3d. He’d end up hitting “easy” a lot and getting the result he wanted.

By the way, I’ve also seen Skritter manifest the opposite problem: If you have a leech sometimes it is really helpful if that first spaced repetition comes back fast enough that you still have it in short-term memory. If you get a little behind in reviews, those can get scheduled so far apart (because of other backlog) that you’re repeating several items too slowly to efficiently learn any of them.

Any update on this? How is the scheduler fix going? Can you please give us a rough estimate of the ETA?

I discovered a workaround for some of these issues in the Web 2.0 UI: You can skip reviews by clicking the forward arrow (multiple times if it’s a multi-part review). I used this to great effect the other night by skipping the one word it wanted me to review over and over which helped me get through some new material much more effectively.

(In case it’s useful to the devs, I think the words it was stuck on reviewing were ones I had a hard time with when I first learned them, so their overall stats are probably still poor compared to other characters or my overall retention rate)

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This update has been particularly hard to predict when it will be ready, however we’re gearing up for testing soon. I’m sorry that this isn’t a definitive (or even rough) ETA.

Was this happening when your due items were near or at 0? If so, you could also work around this by manually adding some new items using the (+) button at the top of the study page.

I had manually added words when reviews were near 0, but it was padding every new word review with re-reviewing one or two things I was studying earlier in the session. The padding itself isn’t necessarily bad (I can see why it would want some spacing on reviews of new material) but it was wasting a lot of time re-reviewing the same words over and over instead of doing something more efficient like having me review words that were 90% due instead of 6% due.

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Sometimes when there aren’t that many items left to review, I’ll get words that are less than 100% due. This is kind of annoying, I want to get the due cards cleared before I overstudy other cards.

The next update restructures the way the SRS is presented and this shouldn’t be a problem anymore! Overstudying has been a big issue since it’s not ideal to study anything when it’s not 100% due.

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