My main problem with Wanikani

If you don’t read native material, you will forget burned items for sure. Start reading.


That’s what I mean. It’s very easy to take some study result, claim it says “interleaving is better” without any of the qualifications (interleaving what, in which contexts, etc.) and then claim that “your method ™” is “scientifically sound”. But that’s really a bit dishonest.


I think that’s normal. It’s training your eye to look for the important differences. 辛 was easy to recognize when it was clearly different from anything else you were studying at the time. You could do it at a glance. Same with 幸. But when there’s a chance what you’re looking at could be either, that’s a little harder and you need to know quickly what part is the important part. There’s really no solution to that but practice. I initially had a hard time with mixing up 待つ, 持つ, and all those similar looking ones with a 寺 part. Now my eye automatically recognizes that and then goes immediately to the important “difference” part to disambiguate.

But here’s the thing, in a real sentence, there’s not really an equal chance it could be either. The context of a sentence is going to set your expectation for what’s coming, and you tend to “see” what you expect to see. There aren’t very many sentences where I’m expecting to see 待つ but surprise! I’m wrong, it’s 持つ. That usually just wouldn’t make any sense in context.

So I don’t think your real-life recall is as bad as the context-less wanikani quiz is making it seem.

Also, if you aren’t using your burned items by reading or using your Japanese in some way, you’re going to forget them and there’s nothing you can do about it. Quick, what’s the quadratic equation? Despite that being so familiar when I was younger (through repetitiion, and you better believe I used it a lot more than nine times, apprentice to enlightened), now I’d maybe be able to come up with it if I thought long enough. Just haven’t used it.

None of that is actually disagreeing with your idea that being able to drop an item down a stage or two would ALSO be useful. I’m pretty sure you can resurrect burned items to go through those items again from the beginning (I might be wrong how this works, I haven’t done it), and you can use the Self-Study quiz to review burned items as frequentlly as you want without resurrecting them. That might help a little.


Writing down by hand (using the correct stroke order) kanji like 辛 and 幸 may help. As for 喉 and 候 you may use the semantic component of the Kanji (侯 is the common phonetic component): 喉 has a mouth 口 (hence throat); the story of the semantic component of 候 is a bit more involved (see image below from Noriko Williams’ Kanji Portraits website).


What I personally don’t like about WK is that every question in this forum is answered with “there’s a script for that”…

I don’t like scripts. There, I said. Grab your pitchforks, I don’t care. Every time you DL a script, you’re adding another layer of code that may be buggy, clunky or just more bothersome than WK by itself.

They should round up the most popular features and hard code them in. A good example would be the lesson sorting option, I mean… who doesn’t use that eventually? Just code it in…


Then they’d have to support it through bugs and site changes forever. Why would you do that, when someone else is already?

Because scripts tend to break when WaniKani makes other enhancements, so they’re constantly dealing with complaints about the site not working when a script breaks. I think an official WaniKani feature is less likely to break than a script, so I think implementing a feature themselves would actually reduce risk in the long run.


Right, but it’s a double-edged sword. Right now, if they want to change wanikani, they only have to test their own code. Scripts are someone else’s problem. If they incorporate the scripts into the app, they gain control over that, but also responsibility for that, which makes changes harder.


To be clear, they wouldn’t be incorporating the scripts literally. Just the behavior from the scripts. But assuming you meant that, I still think it’s better. It is true of course that the more code they have the more likely something is to break unexpectedly. But because they have control over it, it’s less likely to break than actual scripts since they would know to retest it when making changes in related parts of the app.


The problem with third party scripts/ plugins is that the compatibility has to work 2-way. If it’s in the main code, it only has to work one way. Imagine trying to fix a bridge with smaller bridges instead of just fixing the original material…
Not sure how much sense that makes though, I’ve had a bit of wine lol


Another problem with third party scripts is that the author is not obliged to fix any bugs, or maintain the code to follow changes in WK API. And at some point in time, the script author leaves WK and the script becomes abandoned.


These are fair points although lesson sorting options actually did make it in:

I’m glad that WK doesn’t just stuff every community idea into the main site. Just because someone (and a section of the userbase) thinks that something is a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s actually a good idea.


As a software engineer myself, I agree that trying to implement every feature request is not sustainable in the long run.

On the other hand, WK really isn’t that much of a complicated app, from a pure development POV, and the team doesn’t even have to maintain the apps, as those are built by other people. So I think there’s a reasonable argument to be made that some features, especially those that are very popular (and available in most of the apps), could make it into the main site.

But still: as long as a script is available that provides a functionality you require, why not use it? The API is open and available exactly for that reason.


Sure but they already do this albeit somewhat slowly-- slowly not being necessarily bad. The first script I used was The Ultimate timeline, but now the future review load being displayed is a builtin WK feature.

I think that by “sorting” mariner929 was referring to sorting individual items and not only by categories. I did not know that sorting by categories was not available in the past. When I joined in 2018, it was already there.

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When I drop burned items because im not happy with my memorization of them or they take me 2-5 seconds to recall, far too slow, I like that I will have to face them five times in succession. So, I dont want the option to drop them to just Guru. I want to run into them as much as possible again.

Thats just me though and I respect your wants.

Actually, I do have to point out that there is such a thing as piggybacking. I once read an article regarding attention, and how that can influence the effectiveness of SRS. In short, they found evidence that suggests that due to our brains taking the path of least resistance, repeated, quickly-occurring exposures to items use less of our focus, so we’d be less likely to remember them without that cue that we are used to.

Here is the exact text from the abstract of the article if you are interested.

“…repeated exposures that occur closely together may not engage full attentional processing due to residual activation of the previous exposure and also, in an intentional learning context, due to a sense of familiarity that may result in strategic allocation of less study time to an item in massed repetitions.”

It’s a really interesting article, and you can find it here.

So it really is possible that they are having trouble recalling the items over time. If that isn’t your experience, that’s okay. I’ve done both as well, and I personally prefer back-to-back. I’m not sure if that pattern is affecting me, and whether it does or doesn’t for a general population would be hard to make a claim for because you and I are each only one person.


Unfortunately it doesnt look like I can read the full article without paying, but based off the abstract I think you might be misunderstanding, no?

It looks like that is for reviewing the same word multiple times. In which its suggesting that reviewing the same word multiple times is more effective when the reviews are spaced. But in this case, the SRS system IS the spacing and the review is just a single instance of seeing that word. I don’t see anything suggesting that the spacing its referring to is between recalling reading and meaning.

EDIT: In fact, it says they are reading english words embedded in sentences which would suggest that for the study, they are recalling meaning and reading together. So essentially the claim its making is that srs is good and reviewing things 10 times in a v-ery short period is less effective than reviewing it 10 times over a longer period which I think we all agree with.


Perhaps I misunderstood it. It does appear that SRS in general needs more research. Regardless, I think it is a little harsh to immediately rebut their experience and say that what they are intuiting (and what loads of others are encouraging) can’t possibly be true just because you didn’t have the same experience. I think the biggest part of learning a language is to discover what works for oneself, and it would be a shame if you discouraged them from trying something that could work better for them than it did for you.

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Read through my reply and the person I replied to very carefully, please. There was no experience in the first place that I ever refuted, mate. The dude was saying koichi set up wanikani in a certain way because of a certain reason, and we’re saying koichi isn’t some all knowing god and was wrong.

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