Hi. I recently started using WaniKani alongside the Genki series to learn Japanese by myself. For the moment, everything is good and I’m nowhere near any foreseeable roadblocks.
That being said, WaniKani, though a bit inconsistent, says to teach you, on average, about 1850 individual kanji. That’s great, but the Japanese language contains way more than 1900 kanji. This isn’t really an issue by itself as this amount represents almost 20% of the most used kanji, and so should be enough for about 80% of the speech (due to how languages tend to work), but I can already see how efficient WaniKani’s learning method is and ditching it when you’re done with it is really just ditching a lot of potential inherent to this system.
This brings me to my suggestion: some of you may know Steam, an online game library and store that holds practically all/most of all PC games. Among other things, it has a community section, in which there is the “Workshop”, which is where I base this suggestion. The Steam Workshop is a space where fellow users can post additional, community content, for others to download and enjoy. It’s really great and allows people to customize how they play or add features they want that game devs see as too insignificant to make official (but not being actively against it, just saying).
The idea would be to add a similar system to WaniKani, mainly for advanced users or people who are finished. It would basically be a system that allows users to create mnemonics for kanji that WaniKani doesn’t officially teach to allow for pursued learning. It would require adding a workshop tab and provide users with the same tools WaniKani devs use when creating content and that would be it. To reduce inaccurate publications, a rating system should be present too, providing the community the option to rate user-created mnemonics and kanji definitions (I’m talking a lot about kanji, but vocab could very well benefit from this too!) and so good mnemonics and accurate definitions should naturally be highly rated and inaccurate ones would be quickly dropped.
I don’t know about any of the parameters that need to be changed manually or if there is any sort of “tuning” depending on kanji difficulty or learning orders, but essentially, adding all of those and making their usage understandable would be the best thing to do so that user-generated content is almost at the same level of polish as regular official content.
Since WaniKani is a paid service (but way less greedy than your average company, thanks!), the issue of pricing comes into play. One could simply say to put it in the same bundle as the actual service and be done with it, but since this extends WaniKani’s usage considerably, it would make the service a lot more expensive for fewer and slightly less polished learning. For this reason, I’d suggest making the workshop unavailable to anyone under level 45 or so (since it’s not really required before actually finishing, but shouldn’t be level 60 only either). Also, the workshop should be free for anyone that has attained level 60, whether or not they’re currently subscribed to the service. However, to favour lifetime members, free usage of the workshop could have something like a “new content limit per month”, basically like saying “if you use the workshop under a free account, you can only download X amount of new user-generated content per month”, whereas lifetime members can add any amount of new content they like at any time.
Anyway, that’s the (detailed) basic idea of my suggestion. I’m certain it’s not perfect, but I would love for it to be considered.
P.S: If there are any third-party or similar services that provide something like this suggestion that is or is not related to WaniKani, and that provides a similarly efficient learning system, please let me know!