Word scheduling is useless

I’ve been using Skritter for a couple of days now and I’m basically satisfied with it except for one thing. The word scheduling algorithm is completely useless.

Practice sessions seem to be composed of repetitive cycles containing very few (~10) characters. I get the same ones over and over again with other characters never showing up.

I tried reverting to Skritter 1.0 but I experienced the same problem.

Judging from past threads this problem is pervasive and has been observed by others. Yet, it’s still not fixed even though word scheduling is the heart and core of the service. It’s not possible to get far if you can’t rehearse already learned characters.

Can you please give an update on this?

The word scheduling algorithm is very hard to get right, especially for new(ish) accounts. We’re working on some updates in 2.3.10 that continue to address these issues. One of the ways is by being more aggressive with adding items to new accounts in the beginning and we’re working on some other edge cases to try and sort that out faster. @SkritterMichael can discuss the code a bit more, but the general idea is to move item adding along if we think you know the stuff you’re starting out with. Skritter was built as a review tool, and it takes a few days of adding lots of items for things to properly sort themselves out.

I’m curious what your use case is? Basically, what are you trying to accomplish with Skritter? Sounds like you’re reviewing a bunch of things you already know, and finding it too easy. If that is the case… I’d recommend adding a lot of new words right away (like, maybe 100 or 200 to work through) and just start knocking them out.

The more stuff in the queue, the better SRS can do it’s job. It’s a review tool after all. The more data points we have, the better we can schedule and prioritize things. Alternatively, you could try focusing on material you’re actively learning and just make lists based on that stuff. If you don’t already know how to read, write, say, or define the things you’re seeing on Skritter those early loops are going to feel a lot less repetitive. Repetition, after all, is part of the learning process.

With that said. We’re actively working on scheduling and loop stuff, and we expect the 2.3.10 update to improve this for the website. The new Skritter Mobile beta also syncs all of your data on first download, which gives us a lot more control over how items are scheduled. Website update should be out soon and we are working on a final round of bug fixes before we submit the mobile app to Apple for review and are shooting for a June 12th beta release.

Looking forward to your reply, and we’ll continue to improve our SRS system for you and other students!

“I’m curious what your use case is? […] Sounds like you’re reviewing a bunch of things you already know, and finding it too easy.”

Not exactly. Everything I know I know from Skritter. I started studying the Skritter 101 list and finished it. Since there aren’t any new characters to add from this list I should be reviewing (all of) the earlier ones but I get stuck in loops of about 10 characters instead, most of them from the end of the list. Actually, this is how word scheduling worked all along. I was only getting new and recent characters but very few earlier ones to review. This fact hasn’t been a problem until now because my repertoire was small but now I feel the need to review what I’ve learned so far.

“we’re working on some other edge cases”

I’m sorry but reviewing a finished list is not an edge case. There is something fundamentally wrong with your implementation if it chooses correctly answered recent items over incorrectly answered former ones.

“The word scheduling algorithm is very hard to get right”

I can confirm that. I’ve used a couple of SRS solutions and I’ve never seen one I’m satisfied with. To be honest I think SRS is overrated. It sounds good in theory but it doesn’t work well in practice not least because it can’t be implemented robustly.

I have a suggestion: introduce a very simple non-SRS based mode where the user can choose a list or part of a list and ask Skritter to pick items from it completely randomly. This feature would give control back to the user and would serve as a fallback while scheduling problems are fixed.


You’re totally correct. I shouldn’t have written that without understanding the situation first. I do think 2.3.10 updates will help improve this experience a bit. And we’ll be continuing to work on it. Feel free to keep adding notes in this thread after the update. We’ll continue to make adjustments to the scheduling system, and try to improve it. Be sure to let us know how the study experience feels.

We really do appreciate the feedback.

It’s a great idea and something we’ll be exploring with the new mobile apps soon. We have a few experimental study modes that we’ll be trying out on the betas and the ones that are well received will make their way to the website. We’ve spent a good deal of time addressing some of the spacing issues on the new mobile app since its a lot easier to deal with scheduling when you have all the account data already downloaded.

If you can, please give the latest beta a try when it comes out. We’ll be curious how the studying feels vs. the website. Release info will be on the forum, and I’ll pop a note in here too so you don’t miss it.


So… when will the next version be released?

@SkritterMichael is working on some dev notes and we’re rolling out 2.3.10 today or tomorrow. The latest mobile beta is out on Android and we’ll be sending TestFlight info on iOS tomorrow morning.

If you’re curious about how to get involved in beta testing for mobile let us know in here and @Jeremy will get you sorted, or shoot an email to team@skritter.com and we’ll help you out via email.

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2.3.10 is rolled out :slight_smile:

I finally had some time to try out the new release. It looked promising at first because I was getting different words from the last time I used Skritter but then I realized I was still getting items from a limited pool, it’s just a different pool.

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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.

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