Memrise is dead. Let's get together and build an alternative


(Cos) #1

Memrise as it was is dying. As I predicted earlier today ( in Save our courses! Any web developers able to help? ) and as Memrise themselves partly-confirmed (in Has there been a change in the way memrise treats commas? ), Memrise the web site and community platform are on the way out. User-created courses are deprecated and no longer matter. The web site, as we all know from this spring, is not something they want to work on anymore, and they keep breaking it.

Eventually they’ll almost certainly get rid of the web site, and all user-created courses, and all topics other than the big popular languages.

The struggle to get Memrise to become better is probably over. There’s no hope. It’s over, soon.

Unfortunately, as I can see based on the responses so far in my question about alternatives to Memrise ( Alternatives to memrise? ), there’s nothing else out there that’s like what Memrise was but will soon cease to be. There’s no platform for people to flexibly create spaced-repeat courses, make them public, connect with others taking those courses, build and improve those courses together, and learn about a very wide variety of sometimes-obscure languages and topics.

Such a thing is so extremely valuable! Yet Memrise is going to destroy it.

Can we build another? Are there web developers and others here who want to get together and try? I’m serious. I’ll participate. I’m considering learning AppEngine to try starting something like this, but I haven’t done web programming since the late 90s, so others with current skills would make this much more likely to succeed.

Thoughts on how Memrise communicates with its users
Has there been a change in the way memrise treats commas?
Bring back the course forums
Important Update: Upcoming changes to Memrise community-created courses
(Wild Sage) #2

I don’t understand. I am not seeing where the Memrise staff confirmed that they will be getting rid of the website.

And, quite frankly, given all the time and money they put into Meet the Natives and the entire Official Course makeovers this year I can’t see why that is your conclusion.

(Dylan Nicholson 548) #3

I’d be more than happy to be involved but the big challenge is going to be getting the existing data out - the tools that exist so far to export course omit a lot of data (alternatives, audio etc.) and can’t extract the user learning history information.

(Mikatu) #4

I agree with you mate.
I started looking at Anki. In the past I tried it several times and never liked, but now it seems looking better and better the more I work with it, but I still miss some of the functions of Memrise.

I would wait a few days or weeks before rushing out since it might be just a phase…
Let’s hope they put their sh*t together and everything goes back to normal.

(Ultra-Sadist Delinquent) #5

Anki has an addon that supposedly lets you extract everything (except learning history) from a Memrise course. Easiest would be to use and modify Anki.

About the title, Ben said in the other thread that Memrise is growing quickly, if that continues they will able to devote resources down the road to do more than just maintain the website. I’d say that’s the exact opposite of dying.


Anki may not have its own forums but there is a quiet but active subreddit ( Decks can easily be uploaded straight from the desktop app, and then shared online. As for co-editing courses, while there is no native tool to do this, it is incredibly easy to export and import decks so it could be done by sharing the files. The problem with this is that multiple people couldn’t be working on the same deck simultaneously, but fortunately the app let’s you easily split apart and recombine decks so you can get around this by simply working on different parts at any given time.

This may take more initiative and some careful co-ordination by the course creators, but it is very much doable.

EDIT: It occurs to me that service such as Google docs which allows simultaneous editing by multiple users could be used to collaborate on a spreadsheet file in real-time, to then be downloaded, imported to Anki, and shared online.

(Ultra-Sadist Delinquent) #7

The problem with that is that, like on Memrise, users go through the course and report and fix problems as they come upon them (as then the incentive to fix things is greatest), but (my assumption is that) other users can’t benefit from those changes, as I assume there is no way to update the deck and keep your learning history.

(Neko Chan) #8

I can see all the problems everyone of you is facing, I’m having many of them as well, but still I want to believe, that the memrise we know (and I do know it for a long, long time - back since beta and before; I have bought pro as soon as it was available and I’m having a lifetime-membership; so I’m really into this) will not die. Maybe there are options for both “types” of courses (official and community ones) to coexist. And if that is the case I would really rather work on finding and establishing those ways than turning my back on a learning companion that has accompanied me for such a long time. Because let’s not forget, you said it so yourself: There is no other thing quite like memrise. It is valuable and we should try not to lose it.

(Cos) #9

If you’ve tried that, would you comment about how to do it over in the post about saving our courses?

(Cos) #10

Ben said that it’s acceptable to break the majority of user-created courses, on purpose, and leave them broken indefinitely. That’s closer to “dead” than to merely “dying”.

His vague hint that maybe someday they’ll do some work on the web site again, after years of steadily making it worse, does nothing to suggest that they care about user-created courses or that they ever will again. I highly doubt they’ll even care about the web site much again, but if they do, it’ll most likely be to turn it into a companion to their mobile apps, specifically focused on gamified language learning for the most popular languages, supplied exclusively by the staff. Just because they continue to call it “memrise” doesn’t mean it’s the same thing memrise was. Memrise as a platform for collaboration on user-created courses on a wide variety of languages and other topics, that’s definitely dying. Pretending otherwise will only leave us with less time to prepare for the final death.


Good point, I hadn’t though about that. With the future of Memrise and the courses I rely on being so unsure, and given that I can’t really afford to wait, it seems my best option is to just start compiling a personal Anki deck of new words I encounter by reading and listening to more materials in my target language. Hell, this might even work out to be better.

(Cos) #12

Oh, there most certainly are. But Memrise doesn’t want them to coexist, and seems to have decided to passively jettison the user-created courses, so those options aren’t going to happen. It’s time to stop holding out false hope.

Imagine, for example, if they had decided to make commas an option, either per-course or per database column (the latter would be better, though it would take a bit more work to implement). Instead of breaking hundreds of user-created courses just to make things a little better for their few staff-created courses, they could’ve had the best of both worlds.

Not so coincidentally, I actually suggested that very thing a few years ago on the old forum. Which they ignored. Someone else also suggested it, I don’t remember who. And I suggested it again on this forum just earlier this year. But I doubt they bothered to look, because they don’t care what any of us think and they don’t care about user-created courses. They want to let them wither rather than spending any of their time keeping them alive.

So yes, it would be possible for the two to coexist, if Memrise wanted to do that and cared. They very obviously don’t.

(Cos) #13

Memrise is doing something different that they call “memrise”, but it’s not the same thing I’m talking about.

What Memrise is working on now is a mobile-only game-app with staff-created courses for the most popular languages. And yes, they sure seem committed to that and are putting resources into it, including things like Meet the Natives. Let’s call that MemriseB for clarity.

MemriseA, what I mean when I say “memrise”, is a platform for user-created courses and staff-created courses. It’s crowdsourced, with a very wide variety of topics, including popular languages and obscure languages and nature and science and history and art. It’s collaborative, and shared. People discuss the courses they’re taking with others, and report errors as they come across them, and those can be fixed for everyone else.

Anyone can make a course and make it public. Anyone can invite their friends to improve their courses. I got one of my best friends who had never used memrise, to record a bunch of audio samples for my Hebrew course, so it could have both a male voice (mine) and a female voice (hers) for every word and phrase. I was intending to invite a couple of my cousins in Israel to do the same, when I next visit them. I’ve been added as a co-maintainer on other people’s courses, and helped improve them. I’ve learned some Hawaiian, and bird sounds, and other things the Memrise team is unlikely to ever focus their resources on making courses for. I made a course on tropical fish identification, which was first of all to help me learn (and it has, a lot!) but also as a resource for other people.

That’s what is dying now. Memrise has been slowly letting it wither for a couple of years, and in the past couple of months they’ve started moving in for the kill. As we speak, many user-created courses, possibly the majority, are broken, and memrise did that on purpose and doesn’t plan to fix it. As we speak, it’s been impossible for a couple of weeks for me to maintain and build my courses because of a database bug I reported here that nobody from memrise has bothered to comment on.

MemriseB may or may not work out for them, I don’t know. But it’s very different from MemriseA, the memrise most of us on this forum originally came here for and use. That is definitely dying.


We are in the middle of a technical revolution. I believe that there are certainly better apps than Memrise for learning and probably hundreds in process of making or developing, that we don’t know about yet, but Memrise for some reason is popular. I have opened the Google play store, chose the top three, tried and picked this one. Go with the flow.
I am saying this for Idon’tevenknow which time in a row: Memrise is not your baby!

(Kaimi) #15

I think they will just disable course creation sooner or later. sigh

Some more alternative spaced repetition softwares:

Does anyone have any experience with them?

(Wild Sage) #16

Sounds like you couldn’t be bothered to read the thread you are sending people to. If this is how you are taking it it might be better if you move on sooner rather than waiting.

(Overlord Hydroptère) #17

maybe you did not understand what @cos wanted to say? Ok, he’s a bit… how to put this… he’s considering (many) other people a bit stupid… but, the main idea is/was: is there a platform for user content/course creation that is similar to the old memrise?

and @lien, or @BenWhately , or someone, could someone tell us sincerely if you intend to shut down course creation on memrise, do you intend to take out courses created by users? I personally did not get this impression, but indeed, @Kaimi (and others as well) might have some strong reasons to believe so…

(Kaimi) #18

Memrise has become what it is now because of people like cos
What he is saying is true

(Kaimi) #19

It’s just a deduction from the direction I’ve seen memrise taking lately: lots of effort on the app and appearance in general, placing memrise courses on top of the list and make it impossible to find new good community courses, zero improvements on course creaton, to name a few of the signs that make me think this way. Maybe I’ve exaggerated because finding out the comma bug is not a bug and that the focus on the app (useless for me), schools and such is very real, was disappointing. It’s not what many of us want or think it’s good for this place, so we express it on the memrise forums.

Still, this is one of the reasons:

(Overlord Hydroptère) #20
  • that is “balancing the needs”, not necessarily taking out the feature of course creation / deleting courses created by users

  • as said, with only their own courses, memrise is just one lost app amongs hundreds… and without users pointing at mistakes/bugs, the “official” courses would be all ridden with mistakes

  • not to mention Kaimi, that I share the same fear, but Ben also said somewhere that the long-term users blabla, and Huang offers his help in editing the courses

  • at least they should warn us: users such as myself are on memrise almost only for the user content/user created courses / my own courses