We’re making some small changes to the way user synonyms are managed, to make it easier to see which synonyms are valid and which aren’t.
In case you’re wondering what user synonyms are, they’re the extra meanings that you can add, to cover any meanings that we don’t have listed, and make sure that they’re accepted as correct during your reviews. We try to cover as many meanings as possible, either by listing them visibly, or behind the scenes, but we don’t cover everything (yet, at least). We know that there are also lots of learners who add meanings in other languages besides English.
As well as trying to include all the correct meanings learners might enter, we also keep a record of incorrect answers for each item. If you enter that answer, it will be marked as incorrect. We call these meanings “blocked” meanings. We have these so that we don’t accept an incorrect answer because, say, it’s close enough in spelling to a correct answer.
For example, “architecture” is listed as a blocked meaning for 建築家 (architect), because it is clearly wrong, and is an easy mistake to make if you haven’t mastered the word yet.
So far so good. But some users have experienced problems in the past because, if you added “architecture” as a user synonym for 建築家, we weren’t able to warn you that is was a blocked meaning. That’s a pain, because when you come to enter it in a review, you probably won’t understand why it’s marked as incorrect.
To fix this, we’ve updated the way we manage user synonyms. Now, if you add a user synonym that is a blocked meaning, we’ll warn you, both at the moment you enter the synonym, and when you try to answer with it.
So if you enter “architecture” as a user synonym for 建築家, it will now be displayed in red, and you’ll see a message explaining that it’s blocked and will be marked as incorrect during reviews.
Similarly, if you enter “architecture” for 建築家 during reviews, you’ll see a message letting you know that it wasn’t accepted because it’s blocked.
While this isn’t a big change, I hope it will clear up any confusion around blocked meanings!