Memrise Release Notes - 27 Apr 2017

We’ve been receiving a lot of feedback about mems. Mems are something that we believe will make what you learn truly stay in your mind. The most powerful mems are those that have a strong connection to your own memory: the more personal, the more powerful.

This, however, poses bit of a conundrum: what is a very powerful and effective mem for you, may not work or just plainly offend someone else. That’s why, from today, we’re making a few changes to the way you see mems in the website and apps:

You will see mems that you have created.
If you have previously selected another learner’s mem, you’ll still see that one. However, if you now change your selection, the old one will vanish from view.
You will also see mems that have been selected by our official Memrise account.
You won’t see mems that you “liked” anymore.
You won’t see mems created by fellow learners.
You won’t see mems created by course authors.

For a long time we have taken the approach that we are not in the business of censorship, and have relied on the community to moderate mems that were considered inappropriate. However, as the community and number of mems grow, we realised a different approach was needed.

We want to make sure that mems are helping you make the most of your developing memory superpowers, and hope that these changes are a right step in that direction.


sorry, but these mems related measures are just yet another “dumbing down” policy…

too much censorship slowly but surely ruins learning… soon one will forbid universities and scientific literature, gosh, fragile, innocent kiddies might hear words such as “sex”, “death”, “disease”, “black hole”, “critical thinking”… god forbid…

are we going back to the Dark Ages?


I understand some things, but this kinda takes away making mems for other people :confused:


I personally do not really like this new update, and I don’t know why you are doing it :disappointed:


Words fail me…

I have seen a lot of bad changes to Memrise in the three years that I’ve been using it, but this one really takes the cake. Memrise has finally obliterated its very namesake.

Users don’t always have time to create a mem for -every single item- that they learn on Memrise, and there has often been a treasure trove of helpful mems that have already been created by other users. To think that that community aspect has now been completely severed, due to yet another asinine, poorly planned out decision… It just amazes me. This should be common sense.

I have personally seen only a handful of blatantly offensive or irrelevant mems in the entire time that I’ve been using Memrise. The vast majority of them have been either helpful to me, or ones that I could understand being helpful to someone else. I used to take it upon myself to review the mems of all items in my courses, and prune out the offensive or spammy ones. That feature was removed, without a word from the staff, and now this unbelievably drastic action is being taken (again, with no warning whatsoever) because there isn’t enough moderation? How does this make an ounce of sense?

I have spent a great deal of extra time in creating my courses than I needed to, hand-picking thousands of entries from the wiki, in order to import those valuable mems, for me and anyone else who takes the courses to benefit from. This change has now not only removed all of those mems, but entirely rendered all those extra hours I spent on course creation absolutely meaningless. I could have used bulk-add, but I chose that approach, because mems were a very big deal for me on Memrise.

This isn’t just another gentle push towards the door for me this time; it’s a very forceful shove. You have now taken away a cornerstone in the very reason why I (and I assume many others) use Memrise instead of one of the many other SRS platforms out there, and you guys couldn’t have even had the decency to clue us in. I could have saved a whole lot of time while I was plugging away at building my courses the slow way, if I had known that all of my work was going to be rendered meaningless later. But we’ve never been clued in on really anything in the past three years until after the fact; why should I expect anything different now?

I’ll admit that this is an angry rant, and really, I think this is the only time that I’ve ever posted something like this without sitting on it for a while and thinking it over more. But I am genuinely angry with this change. This utter unwillingness to listen to the thoughts of your dedicated users is just baffling, and really, I have just about had enough.

I’d love to see this decision reversed, and I really suspect that I will be far from the last person to have issues with this. Judging from Memrise’s past policies in listening to their user base though, I really have my doubts.


Wow this is sooo bad!

I am taking multiple Portuguese courses.
This includes the DuoLingo Portuguese Brazil user created course, 50languages and several others - besides the three offical Portuguese 1-3 by Memrise.
There are many more user created user PT courses (collequial, phrasebooks, hacking, etc.) on my list.

I rarely create text written Mems.
And if I really have to for words which do NOT stick into my head after several tries (without a mem) I just clicked on the mem button and scrolled through the list of available mems.

It was a really good feature.
Especially as you are LEAVING OUT course-owner created pictures for the added words like DuoLingo sometimes does (or tinycards) or vocabulary trainer VT and many Android language learning apps do luckily (which is just THAT great, as it at least saves time to creating/searching mems).

Most found user created mems where great and included very nice pictures + text.
Most of the time I had directly choosen one or got great ideas from it.

Personally I would rate myself, that I am not a very talented Mem-creating person, which means I fail to have / find great graphic pictures to associate those with text for a word / phrase…I do not even have a good GFX idea.
Only text-created mems are neither nice nor always effective.

I very much miss for the “offical” Memrise Portuguese Basic + 1-3 courses a bigger Mem database!!!

It happens (I am not sure for what courses exactly) that there may be 1-2/3 mems for a word, but those user-created mems are not the best.
It happend multiple times that I clicked on the cancel button as I could not find a Mem.
And the system does not save this state, that I was unable to pick an existing mem from the database - which means I may even click multiple times on the Mem button in multiple review sessions (days and weeks between reviews).

So I really wonder why your team does not provide a huge Mem database for a normal-untalented user, selected from user ratings or created as an additional Pro service not only for the offical Memrise courses, e.g Portuguese (BR), Spanish, French, etc.

Taking away those little features like viewing user-created Mems, which I tried to use - when available - is IMHO a big step backwards as you do not replace it with any other Mem service 1:1, or a buyable option.
And as it was implemented so far, it probably also was not 100% perfect.

I can assure you that I will not be able to find/create pictures even if you take away the option to select existing Mems from a database :slight_smile:

Are you somehow falling into the DuoLingo kids protection thing?
Taking features away, making stuff (much) more simple (DuoLingo select/arrange words vs free-typing on apps), just that kids of any age <16 or 18 years can use it?

You do not even want to know how many user Tampermonkey scripts I have to apply in parallel, to actually being able to work with your Memrise learning and review system and get a more powerful learning experience.

It could be quite easy:

  • Create a “report mem” button.
  • Create an additional down-vote button.
  • Do it like DuoLingo does it with discussion posting ratings: 3 to 5 down-votes sends a user-created Mem to nirvana / disables the Mem to be seen by other users.
  • user-created Mems (added to the database), auto-notifying you, have to be approved by your Memrise team before other users can see those (which is actually the same deciding which user-created Mems could be “shared” as a Memrise Pro service)

I really wonder how your offical Memrise mem database should look like as I am missing quite good mems for (Portuguese BR course) words too often or that those 1-3 user-created mems are too weak to be worth of selecting it (not always).

Please tell us more about a 2nd Memrise Pro mem creation service / big Mem database selection service for Basic + offical 1-7 courses, at least.

If you care that much about kids, like DuoLingo does, you should probably let an user put his age (kid, underage, 18++) into a box and then you can provide different services depending on THIS age.

Limiting features for a portal because of kids does not necessarily mean that you have to take it away from 18-21++ old account owners.
Why not have an user choose themselve in their settings, if they want to view user-created mems or not?

…And now please leave me alone with my “phantasy/GFX disability” creating my own powerful mems and instead of having to continue to learn and try to hammer all those (more difficult) words without any pictures / mem database into my head :wink:

Best regards

PS: English is not my native language. Sorry if I made some mistakes.


what an awful awful idea…
MEMrise you should change your name


While typing my comments, others have already posted their thoughts on the latest changes. I share their concerns.

@BeaTrisy, you said that there has been “a lot of feedback about mems”. How much is “a lot”? What approximate percentage of Memrise’s total users have provided negative feedback? Is it possible, for example, that those who have chosen not to offer positive feedback are quite happy with the present arrangements? In other words, where is the real balance of view?

I accept that there are many poor mems out there and that this will be a growing problem. There must also be many mems in the system relating to long-abandoned user-created courses but, over the five years I have been using Memrise, I have come across only a very small number of mems that I thought needed moderation. The ability to either flag a mem so that I don’t see it again (but it will remain in the system for others to make their own decision) or to use the ‘go without a mem’ feature has worked well for me. Do these features not appear in the app version? Can’t they be added there?

Is this really more about ‘housekeeping’ and/or server capacity than about the quality and usefulness of mems? Has mem moderation become a resource problem for you?

Regarding the new arrangements, the removal of the ‘liked mems’ list is no great loss but it is hugely disappointing that I will no longer be able to see previously unseen mems created by other learners. I have found some of these to be inspirational and a real aid to learning.

How frequently do you intend to review and display “mems that have been selected by [y]our official Memrise account”? Who will be making those selections?

I can’t help feeling that the original Memrise USP has taken another big hit today!. That’s two so far this week!

Edit: Although it’s not mentioned in @BeaTrisy’s Release Note, I have noticed that they have also removed the counter from our ‘popular mems’ list in our profiles. Presumably, that means the ability to ‘like’ other users’ mems has been removed as well.


In what way is this good?
Authors usually give extra information in those areas. What was so bad about those author created mems?


I’ve been using Memrise for half a year or so, and just wanted to register that I’ll be really sad to see the user created mems go…

I’ve been learning Japanese (a language where, by God, you NEED those mems), and while I created some of my own mnemonics it certainly sped things up to see other people’s, plus I often found it quite useful to have two or three that reinforced each other.

It was also often a delight flipping through people’s contributions and seeing how creative and funny they were, and that was the aspect of the website that embodied the Memrise tagline: ‘learning, made joyful’. The joy for me came from a sense of teamwork – collectively helping each other through something massively complex and difficult like learning a language by pooling our best ideas & not taking any of it too seriously.

So while I understand your reasons for this decision, I will keep my fingers crossed that perhaps there’s space for some future compromise – switching mems off by default and allowing the user to turn them back on in their profile, or showing only mems of users we’re following, or whatever else.

Because I did my daily vocab just now and without everyone’s colourful, imaginative, varied mem contributions the experience felt quite desolate.


there is a flag button for this, if it is inappropriate then the memrise team will (hopefully) delete it.

it doesn’t make sense to do this update on that basis

in the years that I have been at memrise I have never opposed a decision, but with this one, no, not a good one :anguished: (well, I didn’t really know what to think about the purple memrise colour, but…)

having mem’s is what made Memrise different from every other learning website out there, this changes this, I am not impressed.


I am another user who is very very sad about this decision. And it made me very sad just now whilst trying to learn Dutch, to see this:

I don’t have any mems to choose from any more!!!



You put it very well.

“Learning made joyless and lonely” - is that what “mem/censorise” are aiming for???


I have done this on so many Swedish courses! And now they are no longer visible.

I thought memrise was supposed to be about crowdsourcing and helping one another :frowning: I really enjoyed that comradely aspect of memrise…


No this is not a step in that direction. You have taken a jump to the other side of the planet from where you should be.

The fluff added to this post is misdirection and just plain wrong. The only part that approaches the real reason for the change is this:

You think you can’t devote resources to this any longer, or devote resources to necessary changes to the system. I really don’t get why a supposedly modern company like Memrise feels like this backward and dishonest communication style would be well-received.

As we also don’t know what’s going on inside the company, the change to me feels ad-hoc. Perhaps you’ve looked at the flagging system a while ago and realised it needs an update or it has been neglected for a while, with many flagged mems waiting to be moderated, or you’ve received one complaint too many and decided that’s that, let’s do away with the whole thing altogether.

The problem I think you are trying to solve, not having time to moderate mems that offend or that are useless for anyone but the creator, I am sure can be solved. @Thomas.Heiss gave some good suggestions, I personally think it would be a fun exercise to try to turn this into a machine-learning experiment.


memrise is trying to be as useless as duolingo… if there is no fun anymore …no funny people with funny mems… there is not much forcing me to use memrise


It’s been a couple months since I migrated away from Memrise and the mems were the only feature that I missed. They were Memrise’s main selling feature. I guess I’ll never be coming back. Thank goodness for Anki.


a new pro figure in the making? sorry beeing sarcastic…


I think this would have been a good idea, if you continue to show course creator Mems and Mems of anyone you follow!.

This means people could follow anyone they perceive as a good Mem creator, and also allow people to collaborate in creating/sharing Mems, whilst still excluding all the kiddies.

Someone is creating Mems you find offensive? Well, don’t follow them then.

Edit: In fact just Mems of people you follow would be good enough. Course creators could indicate (in the text) if they have created Mems that are an integral part of the course, but the learner can still decide and has full control.


And here was I thinking it was just a bug that would be gone tomorrow. :frowning: I have been an on-and off user since the very beginning and I loved using memrise for my Chinese attempts, it was fun, it was effective … because of the wonderfully creative mems available.

As many others have said, I wished that this problem (I have never encountered an offensive mem, but there most have been a reason why this was done after all) would have been fixed some other way. Reporting, etc.

This site is called memrise for a reason, and I always though that the crowd-sourced pool of mems, some very elaborate or illustrated were the biggest strenght. Often background information like the etymology or the use of a phrase was given in mems. Honestly, with that gone, I’m not sure why I should even continue using the site. Using a set of flashcards is something that I can do anywhere, anytime and on any other site. This seems like a step-back and not like a very smart move at all.

Also, if you make a big controversial change like that, be at least honest about it. If you have trouble with moderation and resources needed to manage the growing amout of mems, say so!