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

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(𝓛ı𝕥𝕥lꦌ ꞗɪᴙᶑ ... 𝓑ⅈ𝘨 𝓦ᵒʳ𝔩̲ꝺ̲) #226

Community is the problem. Getting traction, I imagine, is far more difficult if you don’t initially have an enormous budget for advertising (and even then, a lot of people ignore ads – and you can hardly blame them).

Some Memrise alternatives have some good features, some are harder to use than others, some heavier than others etc. The one thing that seems to keep them small is that nobody’s ever heard of them. I’ve shopped around for alternatives and half the stuff I found wasn’t necessarily bad, it just got eclipsed by things like Memrise and Duo on search engines.

Memrise is very easy to find, it works and it doesn’t look like something the cat sicked up on.

Though not entirely the same kind of site, Duo has a lot of users because it’s well advertised, long-established and it’s content works (shame their forums are so painful to be in).

Anki is… a complex beast and great in many respects, especially when you consider the sheer level of potential customisation, but it’s not got much of a community that I’ve ever found (so if there is one, accessibility is questionable) – very much a lone learner’s place to study and hard to understand all the functions, etc, for someone not good with that stuff already.

There’s Brainscape, I guess, which I’ve no experience with but from the outside.

And Memcode, which has courses and a few hundred users. It’s very functional and was created by an Memrise user mostly for personal use (unfortunately this means the way it has to be set up isn’t entirely simple to the most average user and it presently doesn’t have an app).

edit: I forgot Babbel. I always do (because it makes me want to defenestrate myself). Uh… it exists. That’s all I can say about it. It exists (and really shouldn’t).


(Evgenia Karunus) #227

And Memcode, which has courses and a few hundred users. It’s very functional and was created by an Memrise user mostly for personal use

Not really. It was created out of a personal need, but I hope other people may need the same.

(unfortunately this means the way it has to be set up isn’t entirely simple to the most average user

And that’s why I’m asking for some help from the community! Some designer, some understanding of what parts are confusing, some understanding of what functionality could be helpful to people.


But overall, - is there some reason you feel like creating the new thing as opposed to joining the forces? I am not looking for personal financial benefit here, and I already have main functionality in place. I want a good product that would be comfortable to use for us.
What is the premise of creating something from the ground up?


(𝓛ı𝕥𝕥lꦌ ꞗɪᴙᶑ ... 𝓑ⅈ𝘨 𝓦ᵒʳ𝔩̲ꝺ̲) #228

Always best to consider exact needs at the beginning of any project. You have good infrastructure in place that can be either adapted or built upon, but that is for those doing the programming itself to look at and decide what they think works and doesn’t work. As I am usually only a project manager (and can moonlight design at a frontend level if required), my job tends to be an exploratory one – to get people together to brainstorm what they want, find out who is capable of what and what they feel would be needed to fulfill different aspects of the brief, then ask people to get cracking, lol. I’m used to overseeing things and my usage tends not to be in the deeply technical; I often have to make decisions but they are always based on the information the team is giving me about viability, timescale and cost.

What I’m saying, is that I see potential in what you’ve already got and clearly you knew how to build it in the first place, meaning that moving forward you would bring a lot to any team. Even better, you have courses and users in place, which means no team would have to start from absolute scratch. It’s a web-platform and those can easily be added to/updated/altered – the versatility of that is a big draw. Even better, you’ve not got an app yet, which means that any team can design it basically from scratch to go alongside the online site. These are all good things from my perspective.

What we require is people (of all types) to tell us what they want. We need a team to flesh out the best way fulfill each requirement and tell us their own thoughts (especially on what you’ve already got and how they feel about constructing something around this)… Mostly, we need a team, basically – that’s always got to be the first thing to put together. Almost all projects I’ve found myself on, already had a team in place when I arrived, or only required the hiring of one or two members to supplement the team already available. The concept to design to product process falls apart without an interested and dedicated team, because they are the ones who truly know what is possible, desirable and what their own abilities are.

And that’s why I’m asking for some help from the community! Some designer, some understanding of what parts are confusing, some understanding of what functionality could be helpful to people.

I am quite happy to take a secondary job on design elements, though I would prefer this to not be as the primary designer (as in, I think it would be best if another, more experienced person were the one to implement any flat design I may come up with, as while I have a good deal of experience in visual design (such as ads/packaging/surface(textile)) and can certainly create a suitably attractive website, I can not say I would the absolute best person to do this and nor do I know anything about how this translates to apps as I have never made one). Again, I have done overall design on projects before but tend towards overseeing their production rather than anything more involved (because even though I could, am capable of it, I know full well I’m not an expert in putting such design to practice and I prefer to allow a specialist to do what they’re best at rather than insisting on doing it myself).

Yes, sorry. I hadn’t meant to misrepresent. I meant that initially you created it because you wanted an alternative and you made it public because you rightly thought other people likely need the same. Also, when I say functional I don’t mean it as insult (as most designers), lol – I mean it works and doesn’t make me want to hurl myself in front of a train : ) As I always say, the way something looks is just the frippery on top, it’s worthless when what’s beneath doesn’t actually work.

Anyway, I’ve started compiling some of the things that have been given to me as ‘wants’ in a list on discord. This is the first list. When it is so full as to be ridiculous, it will need to be pared down to things as v1 absolute musts, with other desired aspects as secondary, tertiary (and probably some as impossible pipe-dreams – always the way). The more I am given and the more people available, the easier it will be to form a plan (and of course, decide what to do with Memcode, which I personally find a great base from a web-perspective (based on functionality, ready userbase and starting course selection).

So… uh, this was a long-winded way of saying the team will have to be consulted on all major decisions because my experience is mainly as a project manager. So… we need one – a team.


(Hombre_sin_nombre) #229

There’s another guy with technical skills @nldudok1


(Ultra-Sadist Delinquent) #230

Hi @EugeKarns8a, my first hurdle in using Memcode is needing to sign in with Google or GitHub. I like to keep everything separate. Now I have to create a GitHub account.

Can I try out some courses without signing in? Allowing that would be good I think, as a try before you buy thing.


(Evgenia Karunus) #231

You can actually! You can go to some course, e.g. https://www.memcode.com/courses/236, or https://www.memcode.com/courses/2, and click REVIEW.
Results won’t be recorded, but you can walk around and try to guess answers.
But it’s more of a demo than actual usage.

What would be better, an option to sign up with email and password? I thought everyone should have gmail, but you seem to not be the first person who dislikes signing up via google.


(Ultra-Sadist Delinquent) #232

Yes. But maybe signing in via GitHub is more secure?

First impression of the site is good. For me the choice is between [new platform] and Anki, when I get back to doing spaced repetition. I like the customization possible with Anki, but somehow never manage to do any learning with it.

Btw, the first thing I would do is set up a (discourse) forum. I don’t see a link to that.


(Re Sher A) #233

Hey there,
I wasn’t that active on Memrise lately because I did not agree with the changes over the last year and well, personal reasons also played into it, but I always planned to come back and get used to the new look and feel. This most recently announced change is one step too far for me though. So, when I saw this “call to action” on Facebook, I thought “What a great idea, let’s see if I can be of use to the project”.
I am a project manager myself with a professional background in Social Science, and due to my job I acquired some profound knowledge of Neuroscience, Market Research, Marketing and Sales.
Let me know if there is any need for my skills and I am happy to contribute!


(Evgenia Karunus) #234

Yes. But maybe signing in via GitHub is more secure?

Not in particular, depends on implementation.
You are not introducing any danger to your gmail account by signing up via gmail though. You are just giving some permission to the app, for example memcode asks for your email and the ability to request /profile (to determine if it’s you indeed who claims to be this gmail user).
Google interface usually tells you if something unusual is requested.

I like the customization possible with Anki, but somehow never manage to do any learning with it.

I looked at Anki too when I was hoping for some alternative to Memrise, but their web app offered no rich text editing and no images, which was a deal breaker for me.


(Ultra-Sadist Delinquent) #235

It’s not that. It’s wanting to contain Google and Microsoft (GitHub). The less they know about me the better.


(𝓛ı𝕥𝕥lꦌ ꞗɪᴙᶑ ... 𝓑ⅈ𝘨 𝓦ᵒʳ𝔩̲ꝺ̲) #236

I have to agree with @Arete_Hime on this. I use my gmail for rather specific purposes usually and an ancient yahoo for accounts on things like Memrise. It is becoming more common for people to be able to sign up for things via Facebook or Google, etc. but… I think that should be optional. Not everyone likes having everything linked together that way. I tend to use the same username everywhere, myself, but keep things separate besides that.

This too, lol. I’ve seen from the other side just how much information you can collect on people just from their accounts. There was I project I got hired to do that involved targeted advertisements and gathering customer data. I felt slimy afterwards and never used social media again.


(Willurd) #237

I might be able to contribute some to a Memrise alternative. I’m a professional frontend engineer with 14 years experience. My day-to-day consists of writing React code. I can’t offer a ton of time (I’d still like to spend a sizable chunk of my free time actually learning languages), but I’d like to help where I can. Here are a few things I’m wondering:

  • How serious are people about putting together a Memrise alternative?
  • Will the project be free/open-source, or is someone trying to make a business out of this?
  • If free/open source, how are you planning on paying server costs?
  • What kind of skills are already covered by people committed, at least tentatively, to this project?

And here are a few ideas I had in mind for the project:

  • I’d really like to see some work done around creating a standard rich flashcard format (if there isn’t already one), something that could handle any value available in Memrise (e.g. audio, mems), Anki (i.e. arbitrary key/value pairs), etc. I think doing that could go a long way to making porting user content a lot easier, and seeding the new app with that content (Edit: With the content author’s permission, of course).
  • Actually that’s about it as far as ideas haha. I like the Memrise UX (R.I.P.), and would love to see a learning UX that is similarly robust.

Lastly, I have no mobile dev experience but I’d be interested to help out there, especially if we wanted to give React Native a shot (I’ve seen some pretty decent apps built with it - but again, I’m not experienced myself).


(Evgenia Karunus) #238

Hi! I do React too, and Memcode’s built on React.

I’d really like to see some work done around creating a standard rich flashcard format

My main point in creating memcode was rich text formatting too, I really missed code fragments, formulas, and images.
Memcode’s open-sourced, you can take a look: https://github.com/lakesare/memcode. And you are very welcome to contribute.


(Willurd) #239

You haven’t already ported all of your components over to hooks? Shame on you!

jk :slight_smile: Thanks for the link. I’ll take a look!


(Evgenia Karunus) #240

I haven’t even read on them yet, everyone’s shaming me. I even got a React course by the way for myself (/courses/7)! In general it has been an incredible help for me in learning things, mostly new languages and libraries, memcode’s easily a part of my brain now. I tried to use Memrise for learning Rails and it turned out miserable.


(Willurd) #241

Not to derail the thread, but hooks are awesome (in moderation). They let you share stateful logic, like mixins used to, only way cleaner. I highly recommend playing around with them asap. They are in the new stable release so it’s ok to write production code with them, and you can use them alongside class components (thought not in class components, they must be used in stateless function components).

For example, you could rewrite your Page_articles_comparison component to something like this (I didn’t test this code, but the idea is sound):

import React, { useEffect, useRef } from 'react';

const useDocumentListener = (eventName, fn, dependencies) => {
  useEffect(() => {
    document.addEventListener(eventName, fn);
    return () => document.removeEventListener(eventName, fn);
  }, dependencies || []);
};

const useScrollPositionClassToggler = (ref, position, className) => {
  useDocumentListener('scroll', () => {
    if (window.scrollY > position) {
      ref.current.classList.add(className);
    } else {
      ref.current.classList.remove(className);
    }
  }, [ref.current, position, className]);
};

const Page_articles_comparison = () => {
  const navRef = useRef();
  useScrollPositionClassToggler(navRef, 35, 'fixed');

  return (
    <main className={css.main}>
      {/* <nav ref={navRef}> */}
    </main>
  );
}

It’s pretty much the same amount of code, but now Page_articles_comparison itself is smaller, and you can reuse the functionality of toggling a CSS class based on scroll position.


#242

Let me take that a little further. :slight_smile:

In 2019 you hand-write Javascript?

I’m not sure if flashcards are any help at all when learning a programming language. It’s wasted time that one can use to play with katas or just goof around actually coding something.


(Evgenia Karunus) #243

I’m not sure if flashcards are any help at all when learning a programming language. It’s wasted time that one can use to play with katas or just goof around actually coding something.

Depends on your memory. I was retaining pretty much nothing in the first 2 years of me coding. I don’t have this automatic ‘you type - you memorize’ kind of memory, I need explicit conscious associations built to memorize something.
Spaced-repetition sites have been of incredible help here, I’d be just forgetting everything every few years (or, better, months) otherwise.


#244

But to me, learning to program has little to do with hardcore memorization (unlike vocabulary). It’s about wrapping your head around designing algorithms and then expressing them using constructs of a specific programming language and learning to combine smaller blocks to make complex systems.

What kind of things did you put on your flashcards?


(Evgenia Karunus) #245

For me programming has been a quest for memorizing particular apis, over and over again.
Maybe you don’t notice the amount of memorization needed because it comes easily to you?

Here is some Js for me https://www.memcode.com/courses/5, here is some networking: https://www.memcode.com/courses/92, or git: https://www.memcode.com/courses/132.

It’s about wrapping your head around designing algorithms

Algorithms themselves need memorization!