Are typos and other "redo" type events really a problem?

I see a lot of talk around here about how bad it is that WaniKani doesn’t have an “undo” button or some other way to get a “do over”, not only in threads specifically on that topic but also mentioned, even just in passing, in many threads on all sorts of other topics. This increasingly baffles me. :thinking:

Setting aside that there may be a perfectly good reason for the Tofugu folks to add this kind of functionality to their product (e.g. programmatically catching more common typos and issuing a warning, offering a way to bail out if one “successfully” submits a bad answer by mistake, etc.) – due to popular demand from their customers (the only ones who will have a real handle on just how prevalent this sort of request really is as a percentage of the WaniKani user base will be, of course, Tofugu staff) – I wonder every time I see it…

Why is it bad thing if a learner gets an answer wrong?

Since the purpose of using WaniKani is ostensibly to learn kanji, I’m inclined to hold the opinion that an incorrect answer isn’t really a problem at all (with a caveat* I’ll elaborate on).

While the “leveling” and “grading” (i.e percentage correct scores, times between levels, etc.) aspects can help to motivate by gamifying things, they’re secondary at best as they’re not critical to actually learning.

I don’t have a good, concrete example off the top of my head even though I know there have been plenty for me as well… But if I fail a review due to mistyping the answer despite knowing it, that hasn’t prevented me from learning it; rather, having to review it again reinforces it in my mind. Conversely, if I pass a review due to a typo and/or a close-enough word being accepted in spite of me not knowing (much less intending to enter) the correct answer, I haven’t actually learned anything.

The latter has certainly happened to me a lot as well, and I’d argue that for purposes of learning the kanji it’s better that WaniKani err on the side of being more strict, not less, in order to ensure that we’re not cheating ourselves out of learning an item by having a habit of thinking the answer is something that WaniKani accepts as correct even when we haven’t really learned the thing.

Am I wrong? If so, how does having to review an item once more due to a mistake on our part prevent us from learning kanji using WaniKani? Wrong answers only (just kidding!)

*I’ll just add the caveat that, if a large percentage of users are consistently giving incorrect answers (or perhaps adding synonyms) for the same item, it suggests that the accepted answers/synonyms are insufficient, which would indeed be a problem.

P.S: I really,really wish I could recall any of the items I managed to level up repeatedly due to the incorrect answer I had in my mind being close enough to an accepted answer/synonym, but I’ll have to follow up if and when I manage to find them again…

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I don’t do this very often, and that’s not what I generally mean when I refer to typos in the context of an undo button. I use an app with an undo button because I make mistakes even when I do know the correct answer; that’s mostly because I’m usually trying to move quickly while doing reviews.

I think it’s normal for different people to have different goals, strategies, and expectations when using a platform like WaniKani. Some people use “Anki mode” add-ons or apps so they don’t have to type anything at all. Some people never use an undo button, some people use one just to correct typos, and some people use one to make sure they don’t miss level-up reviews that would otherwise slow their progress. You could argue about the effectiveness of each strategy, but it’s ultimately subjective.

I think there is a conversation to be had about whether introducing an undo button to missed reviews would encourage cheating, particularly among users who currently have no opinion on the matter or haven’t used an undo button before. I really don’t know. Maybe, if this is ever implemented, it could be an option with a toggle in the account settings.

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Is having to put a shoe on your head really a problem?

I see a lot of talk around here about how bad it is that WaniKani forces you to put as shoe on your head every time you fail a review but I don’t really see the issue.

If I have to put a shoe on my head due to mistyping the answer despite knowing it, that hasn’t prevented me from learning it; rather, having to go find a shoe and put it on my head reinforces it in my mind.

Am I wrong? If so, how does having to put a shoe on your head due to a mistake on our part prevent us from learning kanji using WaniKani?

The not-wrong answer is just that I’d rather spend time learning things rather than having to do unnecessary reviews because I wrote たべろ instead of たべる. This is especially important if you’re trying to go fast and have a intense review schedule already.

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If you “cheat”, you only cheat yourself, so you only harm yourself if anything. I see no problem with this, but consistently being bad at typing and having to constantly redo the stuff you already know is just prolonging the journey and you spend time not doing better things.
At some point you have hundreds of reviews a day even without getting things wrong, if you only get a fraction of those items consistently wrong, it adds quite a lot more workload for no reason.
At least that is my reasoning why I make heavy use of the undo button. I don’t care at all if I get radicals “wrong”, because they have no real meaning anyway. And I don’t care if I get vocabulary wrong because I will see it a thousand times while reading or doing enjoyable stuff anyway if they are important to know.

So yes, I basically only don’t undo if I not only forget a kanji, but if I specifically can’t remember how to write it properly. But in the end that is my special usecase for even using WK in the end and the undo button is a very helpful tool to not spend too much time with SRS. :slight_smile:

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I feel like repeatedly mis-typing suggests a separate issue worth addressing, but…that said, I really appreciate the different perspectives. :slight_smile:

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My take on this is that one of the ideas underlying using an SRS (of any kind) to learn vocabulary is that you will over time need to learn thousands and thousands of words, and therefore it’s important to do this in an efficient way. The primary efficiency SRS is aiming at is “don’t make the user review the word more often than really necessary”, by adjusting the time between reviews to be longer and longer. Not providing an “undo” or similar function works against that efficiency principle because now the user has to review that item another couple of times. That’s nothing for a single item, but when you multiply it up by the total number of words you want to learn it gets significant. Does it make the system unusable if there’s no undo? Obviously not; but I think it does make it less efficient.

Another missing “efficiency” feature is leech handling – you need to learn thousands of words, but it’s not really that important exactly which ones once you’re out of the super common ones, so it’s more efficient to ignore the handful that for whatever reason just don’t stick in your head, rather than spending time repeating them over and over that could be better used on learning other words that aren’t so leech-like. Again, a system without leech management tools isn’t unusable – but there’s a reasonable argument it would be better if it had them.

(Personally I end up using “undo” more for “I got that wrong but hit ‘correct’ on reflex” ;-))

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I do a lot of my reviews on phone with a ten-key input, I find it super easy to miss-swipe and typo, happens all the time.

Of course I could just reduce my typo rate by slowing down and double-checking before pressing submit but then… I’m slowing down.

I prefer to be able to keep momentum and breeze through my reviews quickly, even if it means undoing a few typo here and there.

I also abuse undo beyond that to be clear, as I mentioned earlier in an other thread I almost never fail any item below Guru regardless of how wrong I get them. Also WK has no way to blacklist/suspend items, so if there’s something I really don’t feel useful and worth learning I may well kick it all the way to burned with undo even if I fail to remember a meaning or whatever.

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More than failure-to-catch-typo thing, I also dislike the English meaning side of WaniKani, particularly hidden synonyms / wrongs, that doesn’t have all synonyms, or erroneously mark as right.

Also in some ways, I trust myself more than WaniKani regarding meanings. Otherwise, correct English word doesn’t always mean WaniKani and I understood the same thing.

Redo is convenient, because WaniKani is typing, and I somewhat trust writing out more than Anki mode, so that I can retype rather than more as Right or Wrong.

In some ways, rightness is arbitrary, as I don’t care about deep meanings in some words. Even if I care, some English words / phrases don’t mean much to me. Leaving some room to mark as wrong if I think I don’t really remember enough. (Nonetheless, there is no going back to previous items to re-mark.)

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It depends on how many typos you make, but if you make a lot, not having an redo button is annoying. Since I’m constantly switching between qwerty and azerty keyboards, half of the time when I start doing my reviews I forget which one I’m using and end up getting some of those first couple reviews wrong. It’s not much, but it adds up, plus it’s pretty frustrating to get a word wrong just because of a typo. If I fail a radical, kanji or vocab because I forgot it, then that’s perfectly fine, it’s the point of the SRS, but adding unnecessary reviews to that because of a typo isn’t helping me remember a word better, since I never forgot that word in the first place.

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Very good point, although I went one step further and enabled Anki mode (fail/pass) for meanings a long time ago.

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My reasons for using an undo-button: Basically everything mentioned above by previous commenters.
I’m here to learn Japanese, not to perfect my typing on a device where I make typos even by writing this comment. :grin:

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I’m another person who mainly uses the undo script for 1) genuine typos, and 2) the English meaning side of things. The typos I don’t really care that much about–if a card gets demoted based on one, that’s usually no big deal. Using the script to fix them is a nice bonus, but not a huge problem for me.

That said, getting an arbitrary English meaning wrong can be frustrating enough that, especially if the failure is at a high level, that the script is worth it for me. Maybe that feels like “cheating” to some people, but I can’t really imagine using the site without it.

A recent example of a word I’ve used the redo script for a lot is 殉職, which WK defines as “die at one’s post” “die on duty” and “die at your post.” Even aside from the fact that this is yet another example of WK treating verbal nouns inconsistently, which can lead to problems with remembering when WK wants gerund/participle form answers and when it wants nouns (or, in this case, straight up verbs), there are kind of a lot of ways to phrase this meaning. I’m not keen to gamble on whether I can remember that WK wants “dying on duty” (fine) but not “death while on duty” (not fine) six months from now. This isn’t something I can add a lot of synonyms for either; it’s a complex meaning and there are too many ways to describe it.

Failing a vocabulary word I know because I don’t remember the specific phrasing WK uses doesn’t help me learn better–if anything, it locks me into a rigid pattern of thinking regarding the meanings of words.

As @polv said, rightness (especially with respect to English definitions imo) is arbitrary in some ways. The undo script helps me move forward with actual learning, rather than getting stuck on the specific phrasing that WK wants.

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I find that, just in general in life, slowing down is a good thing (and, equally, being kind to oneself – something another person mentioned in a separate discussion), especially for anything important, whether that’s studying something I want to learn or just spending time with something or someone I enjoy: in all cases it allows me to remember more, and more clearly. But everyone’s priorities will be different. Cheers! :slight_smile:

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I already know a few hundred kanji and I’m just here for a. the gamefied vocab srs with great explanations, b. deepening my knowledge and c. the levels beyond 25 or so. Having to spend four extra days because of a few typos repeating stuff I already know was beyond frustrating. I think I might’ve quit at that point if I hadn’t found out ways to redo typos.

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(puts on lab coat)
Scientific research has shown that the durtle brain can only hold a limited number of kanji. Every time you get a review right, that kanji is put back into durtle storage until the next SRS interval and frees up brain space. However, every review that you get wrong remains in durtle memory, taking up space, and preventing you from learning any new kanji.This is also why so many durtles worry about ruining the SRS by studying any kanji in between reviews.

Not wrong answer: it just annoys me to get dinged for carelessness? Also WK haps retty dfcent english typo chceking so ive gottne slppy abouyt my tpying :person_shrugging:

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mistyping things happens quite often if you’re trying to get through reviews quickly, and anyone who denies it either has too much time to spend on reviews, carefully contemplating their answer and doublechecking every character, or is not being honest with themselves. I missed “ice” recently, not because my english spelling is horrible, but because I didn’t press the “e” key hard enough for it to get typed. If I typed something wrong because I genuinely hadn’t remembered it at all, that’s fair, that’s the whole point of the system. But getting quizzed on a thing because there’s no undo is super frustrating; I’m going to have to waste additional time quizzing “ice”(a kanji I already 100% knew the english meaning of), and that time waste is going to be multiplied by however many reviews I’ll do over the life time that I’m using the app for(which looks to be at least 2.5 years total).

you could argue it’s partially my fault for being impatient and almost always pressing enter without checking what I’ve typed, which is fair. You could make the counter argument that behavior on wanikani doesn’t match what I do in real life though, because I very much doublecheck things I’ve written before I send them, whether that’s in twitch chat, texting, or emails. In the place where I type the most(microsoft teams), the ability to edit things after you’ve sent them is a feature I don’t use very often, but it exists. wanikani doesn’t have this feature.

you could argue it’s partially my fault for not using an optimal keyboard, or having bad keyboard posture sometimes. That’s also fair.

None of these arguments against undo, however, counter that wanikani should probably be doing everything in it’s power to make sure I’m not getting quizzed on things I already know though. I don’t even think it would be a terribly difficult feature to implement either, if I knew C# instead of javascript, I could make it myself.

I’ve considered downloading some scripts to modify wanikani with some extra features, like undo, and some font randomization. The next time I miss something I know because of a mistype, I will.

Many of the other people here have probably made the same points I have, but better.

Besides that, having an undo/redo feature doesn’t hurt you, you could choose not to use it, no? It’s ONLY a benefit to those who want it.

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