Disappointed in WaniKani lately

As someone who works in IT I am no stranger to be met with countless software updates that almost always make the experience worse, but I always thought that WaniKani was an exception to that.

But lately, things have been very questionable to say the least. The site was modernized. Hooray? Except that the summary page is gone now and has been missing for what feels like ages. I am not sure why an update like that would get pushed out when it means such a crucial feature goes missing, but I guess that’s how it is in this world where software becomes more developer-friendly and user-unfriendly.

But I still wouldn’t be making this topic even if it wasn’t for the baffling kana vocabulary additions. In general, I think it’s a cool concept, but the integration is abysmal. I am now 30 levels into WaniKani and I am forced to learn words like “this one”, “hello” and “apple”. It’s almost insulting and it’s been annoying me so much that I will just put WaniKani on hold until I can opt out from this elementary course.

I know this is not the first topic to discuss this, and I hope it won’t be the last. Updates like these should just not be put out when they just result in frustration for the users.

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That’s an interesting take. In my view, today’s software becomes increasingly developer-unfriendly too. See: Twitter and Reddit closing down their APIs, the many hoops you have to jump through if you want to publish a mobile app (especially for iOS), entangled messes of Kubernetes microservice hells that have to be maintained by understaffed teams, undebuggable framework monstrosities, shiny new tech introduced by clueless juniors that stops getting updates after a year, supply chain attacks, users trying to DDOS your servers, …

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I really miss the review summary page man… It sucks a lot that it’s gone, and the fact that the devs have been relatively silent(or vague) about their plans about it is doubly worrying.

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Fixed it for you .

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I agree. Just came back from a long hiatus and it’s less fun than it used to be.

I would have been hoping for more options/features for serious users, and instead we’re going in the opposite direction, catering to seemingly first-day-of-study students, which isn’t how you keep people in for the long haul.

I’d love something like a barebones path where you only learn a minimal amount of vocab per kanji so as to fast track your way into reading/immersion (perhaps after finishing that you can opt to circle back and do a couple thousand more vocab).

Instead we’ve got これ.

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これは良好じゃない?

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The philosophy of “we’re not going to develop those features, just open our API to the public and let them build their own userscripts” is really a horrible one. It’s outsourcing your job to other people who don’t get paid to do it and causes all kinds of chaos when the API gets too many requests to handle.

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this is of course very suboptimal, but there are userscripts which do somewhat replace these functions.

there’s both “Lesson Filter” and “Reorder Omega” which both allow us to opt out of the kana words, and “Review Summary” which gives a replacement session review.

it really sucks that WK doesn’t have these features by default. and the kana vocab really really should be opt-in. but for us who have already paid for lifetime membership and can’t vote with our money, at least we can still continue to use the service we paid for the way we paid for.

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I’ve given up using the wanikani page for my lessons and reviews and solely use the Tsurukame app so that I can a. filter out the kana words and b. have a summary page at the end of each review session.

This whole kerfuffle that’s gone on at WK recently has definitely reduced my motivation for learning Japanese as a whole as well. WK used to be a key part of my Japanese learning journey, whereas now it’s just a bit of a chore. If I wasn’t a lifer, I’d given WK and learning kanji up months ago already.

The only reason I hang around the forum is that I’m clinging onto hope that I one day see an announcement that the WK team have come to their senses and fixed the two major issues mentioned above but I’m being probably overly optimistic here.

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We can request a refund. 50 USD for every kana vocab.

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To me this sounds like the devs were not aware that the feature is used by many. Strange, but perhaps that’s the case. Then the question is - why was the plan to remove the feature not communicated to the user base before removing it. Removing features is one of the no-noes in software design and should be done with care.

It sort of works on an end product like Skyrim or Fallout where the game is finished and the users are left to fix what the devs couldn’t fix on time. Not so much on a live service :frowning: .

But also, I’m just going to @Mods , because we have several threads on the same topic with lots of disgruntled users, but no response from the staff beyond “we’re working on it”.

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Yeah, those are fair points. I was mostly referring to software being recreated in environments which makes it easier for the developers to work with, while users reap little to no benefit. For instance Skype 7 to Skype 8 was mostly just so developers could easily do cross platform development while the native versions prior were simply superior in every way - they ran faster and had more features.

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I know this is just a work-around, and that the kana-only vocab will still be annoying to many folks even with this workaround, but it is a workaround, for anyone who wants to work-around the kana-only vocab:

Workaround for Kana-Only Vocab

For each Kana-Only vocab that you would like to be able to quickly skip:

  • Add a very short (e.g. a single letter) User Synonym that is the same for each such vocab you want to skip. For example, you could use the letter ‘s’ for ‘skip’.
    • Make sure that you use the same shortcut for each item, so you don’t have to spend any brainpower on thinking about it.
  • Whenever you get a Kana-Only vocab during reviews, just press ‘s’ to skip (or whatever shortcut you chose).
    • The item will be marked as ‘correct’, and without any real mental effort wasted, you will be able to Burn it as soon as the SRS schedule allows.
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This is not necessarily done for the convenience of developers, but in order to keep total development cost low. Writing native applications for every platform (desktop and mobile) is prohibitively expensive for many companies, especially smaller ones.

On the other hand, I wish the industry had standardised on better cross-platform technologies than “let’s bundle a web browser with every application”.

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And here I thought people have always been disappointed in wanikani.

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Ok they even made it worse for me… " We are working on it … " → Dropping a new “feature” … They spent their time on something nobody is asking for instead of fixing all the broken / removed things. Great Job.

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But mah html5

Make Java Swing great again.

Yes, I’ll show myself out.

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The list of new words that have been added to the introductory levels is quite strange. The vast majority of them technically do have kanji but those kanji spellings have not been common use for decades. ホテル should not be on the list at all. It’s a loan word. 林檎・りんご, for example, may come up every once in a while. I’ve seen it in mid 2000’s song titles. The last time I saw 此れ or 之 as これ was something I read in university dated late Edo period. The average Wanikani user isn’t trying to read pre-modern literature in the original with 旧字体; that requires classical Japanese training. If Wanikani were designed for JLPT or advanced reading knowledge, then kanji where an on’yomi exists but Wanikani refuses to input it to the card deck would not exist.

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While I agree with how ホテル is pretty unnecessary, I feel like other loanwords should still be on the list. Of course, many could come up in the wild as you immerse yourself but I think words like ズボン and ラジオ might be confusing for beginners. Definitely could have developed a simple opt-out feature though, its pretty boring to have to do reviews for さようなら. Would also love a feature where you could learn the kanji behind these terms, for example I would personally enjoy it if they had an option where they’d teach 薔薇 in addition to バラ. Perhaps that’s too much to ask for if the devs can’t even get review page working though…

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