[Feature Request] Unlock any item


#1

Wanikani is the best tool I have for learning kanji and vocabulary. It’s fun and addictive.

So, naturally, I want to use it more.

I’m also taking a class in meatspace - at the Japanese cultural center in Seattle, where we’re using the Genki textbooks. Currently, I’m in the third class in the series, and we have just started Genki chapter 9.

It would be immensely useful to be able to use Wanikani to learn the kanji and vocabulary for my class’s current chapter, which I am instead studying from the book and with Genki’s Android app. In recent chapters I’ve encountered words using the On reading for black (which I learned in WK just an hour ago!), or the kanji for electricity, which is still in my future here.

The requested feature is the ability to unlock any future item. I could go to the Level 47 page, for example - many levels past where I am now - click on a kanji or vocabulary item and press an “Unlock This Item” button. This would then get added to my review queue without regard to any prerequisites or when it would normally appear, and I could then progress through Apprentice, Guru, etc.

That way I can learn words I need for my class this week using the best available tool.

If I “guru” an item unlocked in this manner, should it unlock other items that have it as a prerequisite, like vocabulary using that kanji? should it result in being able to clear that level at an earlier date than usual? I don’t care - whatever makes the programming easier! I want the feature just to be able to get a word I really want to know right away into the review rotation.

If unlocking kanji/radicals ahead of schedule would introduce too much chaos into the leveling-up or prerequisite calculation system, then limit it to just vocabulary words, which are what we mainly need to know for classes anyway.

Thanks for reading and hopefully considering this idea.


#2

I can tell you 100% this isn’t going to happen. It’s basically a fundamental design decision for it to not happen.

If you really want to tie stuff in with your classes, there are Genki Anki decks out there, and that’s probably your best bet. Or of course just using Anki to create your own cards


#3

There’s also Houhou, which has the WK SRS steps and you can add any item you want. But it’s desktop only, I believe. It has the advantage of being faster than Anki (for adding cards) and also being a dictionary.


#4

Alas, although I do understand the sentiment, this is indirectly addressed in the FAQ so it’s definitely will not be addressed by the developers, and I’m pretty those writing scripts don’t have the ability to tweak a fundamental aspect of the system.

The reason why this system works well is because items are systematically introduced to aid in their memorization. If the average user had the ability to unlock any item at any time, there wouldn’t be a purpose to lock them in the first place. I wish you the best with your studies!


#5

Thanks for the advice and responses. I still want the feature! :grinning:

Though the FAQ speaks of people being overwhelmed with too many items to review, I don’t think that’s a concern here - as I have to learn these words anyway, for class, it would be most efficient to just make them available in the review tool that I already prefer using; switching to another program is what wastes time.

I can’t use Houhou as I don’t have a Windows machine. Anki is swell, and I do use it a bit, but you clear each card by simply saying whether you remember it or not; WK’s system of having to type the answer - and having prerecorded audio available at the press of a button - is so much better.

I’ve looked at the API and don’t see an API call for this. If there is one - or if WK is willing to provide one (POST /unlocks/item_id or whatever), I’d take care of the user interface part myself and release it as a public script.

Even if just vocabulary words and not radicals/kanji that could be unlocked this way - in order to not mess up the system of prerequisites - it’d be a huge help, for those of us who need to keep pace with outside requirements.

thanks, all!


#6

Sorry, this isn’t particularly helpful, but I have timely interjection:
HouHou はないから、方法はない。

(ほうほうはないから、ほうほうはない。Since you don’t have HouHou, there’s no way.)


#7

In what way would that not be messing up the system of prerequisites?? I mean i guess removing it doesn’t count as messing it up, so much as disregarding it, but seriously.
Oh, also: you can type in answers on anki
It doesn’t answer for you, you still have to click one of the buttons, but all you have to do is be honest so it shouldn’t be that hard.


#8

I do get where you’re coming from, and we do have some ordering improvements coming (though, not exactly related to your request, now that I think about it), but the reason I don’t think we would do this is because we’re trying to develop our own ordering that’s more efficient than anything else out there. And, trying to follow a textbook’s ordering, or JLPT’s ordering, or even Japanese school system ordering… would just make it harder to focus on getting our ordering better.

I can see how it’d be useful for you, though - it would be dreamy to be able to use Wanikani with your textbook. But, I think the dreamier goal would be to make a textbook that works with Wanikani - which, I think, is probably closer to where we’d rather head.


#9

You’re right in saying that it does not make sense to change the ordering to suit a particular textbook, exam or school system.

But what I believe he was asking for was a bit different; imagine the following scenario:

  • You are immersing in some native Japanese material, let’s say one volume of the Yotsubato manga.
  • Your WaniKani level is around 20.
  • You encounter a word with a kanji you never saw before “翌日”.
  • You look it up to understand its meaning.
  • You are now faced with two options:
    • Either you don’t do anything and face a very high probability of forgetting the 翌 kanji.
    • Or you try to input it in your SRS of choice which is less than ideal because of the redundancies with WaniKani.

The optimal scenario in this case would be to have the possibility of unlocking 翌 early. If the kanji contains radicals that were never gurued/seen before these are also unlocked. The user would basically have to follow the topological ordering of the dependency graph of the kanji/vocabulary word in question.


#10

I think that option 2 is not as bad as you make it seem, though, because WaniKani is obviously not going to cover all the vocab you need (so there will be plenty of words you look up which aren’t in WK regardless of whether you’re allowed to unlock them or not), and once you reach level 60 there will always be more kanji to learn.

So at some point you’re gonna have to suck it up and use an alternative SRS as well anyway. Might as well get into the habit and find one you like now. I mean, obviously, they all suck compared to WK, but… :wink:

If it comes up later on WK, that just makes it easier! I’ve been studying Japanese for a bit so I did know some kanji before starting WK, and I’m not going “curses! I’ve already learnt this one” when a kanji or word I already know comes up. I just view it as consolidation, and it frees up more brainpower for focusing on the genuinely new items.


#11

Sure I am not saying having to input the word into a SRS software is bad a option (I am already doing that with sentences). What I am arguing is that it is less efficient than if you could directly unlock the item in wanikani.

Additionally, the SRS option does not cover the cases where you don’t know the radicals of the kanji you are adding. In WK you could mark the kanji with a pending state for example and the radicals that compose this kanji would go into your lessons queue. Once you gurued those radicals you would be able to learn the kanji in question.

Another instance where this would be useful is when you have to look up kanji without furigana. I don’t know about you but for me it is much faster to look up the kanji through WK by using the “custom” radicals. Being able to unlock the kanji right after searching for it would unquestionably be faster than having the extra steps of adding it to your SRS system afterwards.

I think it is clear that this feature would be useful, the important question is whether it would be worth the development costs.


#12

I see what you mean, but I think that for unlocking vocab in WK this would get needlessly complex. Say I want to unlock a word - maybe it has two kanji I don’t know, each consisting of three radicals I don’t know. In order to even get to the word, I have to first learn six new radicals, then two kanji, and then finally I can unlock the word. And that’s assuming that none of those radicals are based on kanji themselves, which I ought to learn first.

A further problem is that presumably you still wouldn’t unlock the other vocab associated with those kanji until you got to the appropriate level, but this might leave you with a large gap between learning a kanji and learning any other vocab to help consolidate it. You’d really start to lose the layering effect of kanji and vocab that makes WK so effective.

If you can just unlock any kanji at will, then the whole ordering system of WK breaks down. I signed up to WK because I wanted a resource that would teach me items in an ordered, structured way. If I was happy to just learn kanji by adding them to a deck as I encountered them in my reading, then… I wouldn’t be using WK!


#13

I see what you mean, but I think that for unlocking vocab in WK this would get needlessly complex. Say I want to unlock a word - maybe it has two kanji I don’t know, each consisting of three radicals I don’t know. In order to even get to the word, I have to first learn six new radicals, then two kanji, and then finally I can unlock the word. And that’s assuming that none of those radicals are based on kanji themselves, which I ought to learn first.

The unlocking would be up to you. If you felt like the word in question would require way too many steps for unlocking then you could simply decide to wait for a few levels.

A further problem is that presumably you still wouldn’t unlock the other vocab associated with those kanji until you got to the appropriate level, but this might leave you with a large gap between learning a kanji and learning any other vocab to help consolidate it. You’d really start to lose the layering effect of kanji and vocab that makes WK so effective.

The same problem would arise if you added the kanji in your SRS system (what you referred as option 2 in your earlier post). So this is not specific to the hypothetical unlocking feature. Moreover, I don’t see why the layering effect would no longer help consolidate the kanji when you reach the corresponding level.

If you can just unlock any kanji at will, then the whole ordering system of WK breaks down. I signed up to WK because I wanted a resource that would teach me items in an ordered, structured way. If I was happy to just learn kanji by adding them to a deck as I encountered them in my reading, then… I wouldn’t be using WK!

This feature would of course be completely optional, you could perfectly carry on using WK like you always did without ever touching it.


#14

Thinking of “coming across words”, I’d much rather have the feature where I see 叩く and can add it to the site.


#15

Renshuu.org has the genki textbooks as source materials for your study schedules, and like wanikani, the quizzes have you enter the words. I’ve been using it alongside my genki studies.


#16

I guess I just feel like this isn’t what WaniKani was made to do. If you didn’t want to be taught these things via a structured programme, why would you pick WK? Rather than duplicate what is already possible with other resources and give users yet more options to pick between, they’ve chosen to provide a very focused product, which is very good at the one thing it sets out to do as a result.

Yes, but I wouldn’t personally advocate adding kanji to another SRS. If they’re going to come up in WK, I’m happy to wait. If they’re not, then I might consider adding them to another system, but only if it was really common or useful to me. Otherwise, I would wait until I’d finished WK (ha!).

Yes, but my point was that it would be harder to remember the kanji at the beginning. Usually you guru a kanji and immediately get a fair few related words, which helps keep it in mind a bit longer.


#17

Will these improvements affect/complement how we’re learning kanji now? I read somewhere that changes to the way learning radicals may be made… Will it be better to relearn the previous levels once they’re implemented?

PS if I’m not making sense it’s 2am and feel brain-dead


#18

This is just talk about a feature request from an ordinary user - not something that’s actually planned.


#19

I think gojarappe is referring to the planned overhaul of the radicals though.


#20

Yep. Sorry for the confusion!