Why can people here be so mean? (Update I was wrong)

Heya people, sorry I fell asleep after posting this and didn’t expect anyone to see it, which is my bad for sure. I spent some time reading through most of the replies to this post and could see pretty early on that I had definitely made a mistake and I am very sorry, not just to all the people who ended up arguing in here, but also to those of the previous post, I assure you it was not my intention to single out that interaction or even the WK in isolation, my frustration stemmed from all sorts of experiences and places, and it was simply a mis-reading and misunderstanding by me that led to the final straw so to speak. I am very sorry and I definitely now see that I blew the whole thing way out of proportion, and really should have kept my feelings to myself (again tho I really didn’t expect anyone to see this post, it just made me feel better writing it down at the time). thanks for everyone who has helped me understand the situation better!
A few other points quickly, I promise I was not trying to flex with the cost of my degree, I was more just writing down the cause of stress in my head (again, not thinking people would see) as I am in a lot of debt for the course and my love of language learning is compromising that, if anything it was more me kinda writing out how stupid my whole feelings were in context. Again, sorry for that.

The whole post really just came out as a flurry of held back frustration, which was wrongly and stupidly scrambled down into a place it didn’t belong. I would delete the post but I guess it’s part of my learning curve now! to everyone going slow (like me XD) and to everyone running their top speed, good luck, I believe in you all! I really hope our next meeting will be far better than this one XD

again, sorry, see ya!

(ORIGINAL POST: Over my time using this service, lots of people have been so helpful and kind. In all of my posts I have tried to get my appreciation for their help across, as I really am grateful for anyone who has tried to answer my questions in the past!

but most posts there are those who are just… mean? unpleasant for no seeming reason other than to make fun of people or to boost their own ego. making fun of peoples learning pace, or for not understanding what they claim are simple questions. ‘I started WK the same day as this guy and yet i’m level 60 already, he must be very lazy and I am so cool guys pls notice me’ or something like that. Idk, I try to never let these kinds of comments bug me, as I know in the end this is all our individual journeys that we walk at our own pace and path, but for some reason today it just got me sad that even in a place for learning and supporting eachother, people will still stand on whoever they can to boost themselves, or push down others reaching out a hand.

I hope by writing out my feelings a bit I will be able to feel a bit better, and maybe just say to anyone who has encountered these not so nice peoples that regardless of what anyone says, you are doing amazing and you should be proud of yourself!!

anyway, sorry for the rant to anyone that sees this, I pray no-one comes for my skin in the comments XD

see ya guys <3)


Joking aside, I have definitely seen the sentiment you describe on here, even if it never struck me as a particularly common one (the overwhelming consensus seems to be that the goal isn’t to speedrun WK, but rather to learn Japanese in a way that lets you stick with it in the long run), and it freaking sucks.

I chalk it up to people who never learned how to feel good about themselves without putting others down. I certainly hope I haven’t contributed to the sentiment, and if I have or if I ever do in the future, please do call me out on it.


Welcome to the internet (and the Japanese learning community).

I feel like WK is the better part of it, and the reason it’s one of the only “social media” I semi-actively use.

There’s been some similar discussion here: Toxic kanji learners - #6 by Book_Wyrm


The WK forums are one of the nicer places on the internet but it does happen. One thing to keep in mind is that the positive response almost always outweigh the negative ones.

I remember getting discouraged quite often for the same thing. It was nothing overt but I did notice level badges surpassing mine all the way through leveling up.

Ultimately, though, you have to just keep doing what’s best for you.

I hope so. And you’re doing amazing so far. :wink::+1:


This is the best reminder for me at times when the “you’re too slow, grandma” (not exact words, of course :wink:) type of comment hits me. WaniKani is a very huge place and people come from different parts of the world, with different ages! So that means there’s definitely going to be people who need to learn Japanese fast and those who need to take it slow. There’s always going to be some angst or frustration from both ends as well.

Look for the helpers, as Fred Rogers said. The fast-paced helpers I can think of are people like jprspereira and there are many positive cheerleaders on the slow-paced Scenic Route thread.


It wasn’t always this way. I don’t often venture far from tha API and Third Party apps subforum anyway. But I miss the days when the only controversy was around @Apraxas


I’ve learned one never knows what pain others are going through. Sometimes people lash out for completely unrelated reasons.

I’ve also learned that not everyone realizes how much effort it takes to not cause offense. Tone is hard and not everyone here is a native English speaker.

But most here are quite friendly and helpful. It’s totally fair to ignore the others. :grin: :


I’m just stirring the hornet’s nest here, but I think people here are also a little overdefensive about slow paces. Compared to some of the other Japanese learning communities I’ve seen this one is particularly nice about taking it easy. I used to browse r/learnjapanese and a lot of it felt like “if you aren’t doing something that will make you pass N1 in a year you’re doing it wrong” back then. Despite how relatively nice and inclusive it is on WK there’s a crowd that seems to interpret everything that comes even remotely close to “faster good” as some sort of personal attack and feels the need to derail the conversation with the same repeated fast vs slow rhetoric.

I guess what I really want to say is it would be nice if more people would channel that WK Zen energy into assuming people generally write things on the forums with good intentions. Almost every semi-toxic post I’ve seen could have been reworded to sound nicer/softer or better express that something was an opinion or recommendation, but things end up as holy wars too frequently instead. This is kind of upsetting considering how much of an international community we have.

The more toxic posts and WK cult usually come from first-time trial users rudely admonishing the platform for doing exactly what it was intended to do. I have no sympathy for people who refuse to read the FAQ and are rude for it.


I haven’t been hanging around the forums much lately, but my experience when I was was that mean comments of this sort were prettttty rare.


Maybe I haven’t interacted with the community as much as I should have, but to me it has always appeared to be one of the most wholesome communities I’ve seen. I haven’t seen much of people boasting and rubbing into beginners’ faces how much better they are. Instead, most of it is people encouraging each other, sharing resources, experiences, and tips to reach the same goal we’ve all set our eyes on.

Meanwhile, on many other forums it is almost impossible to find a thread without any toxicity, passive aggressive replies or straight up insults. I’m always met with instant regret whenever I click on a thread on MAL that sounds interesting once I scroll down and look at the replies. I don’t think I’ve seen a thread in several years where users over there have treated each other respectfully.

But that’s expected of the internet I suppose. On here, you won’t encounter what people say to your face. On here, people don’t share their words, but their thoughts.


Oh totally, I appreciate the mention because if I ever say anything about moving fast or really rate at all I feel like I should soften the post in a ton of sentences saying that it’s totally ok if you’re moving slower. And, yeah, it is. I mean, it’s so ok I wish it could go without saying, as just an assumed default. I do not care the slightest bit about anyone’s speed outside of having quite a few members here who I like and hope they can learn as quick as they want.

I have this feeling that the existence of toxic elements in the “speedrunners” (honestly almost exclusively, personally, encountered OUTSIDE this site) has led to negative associations with the very idea of trying to learn fast. But I mean, ignoring all factors that very reasonably make people unable to, wouldn’t you want to get better faster if you could? Outside of concerns on burnout, sure, but sometimes the pendulum swings too far that the overall opinions seem to swing closer to “if you do more than X amount you are going to burn out and are doing it wrong”… the same problem from the opposite direction. It’s kind of been in the back of my mind to talk about all that if I make a level 60 post one day (and hopefully then will have enough results of my efforts to be able to, to some degree, show that I’ve figured out a way that works at least for me, heh).

It’s hard to be sure I’m not projecting those feelings though heh.

Anyway, for the sake of not totally derailing, I am sorry if the OP feels like that. I feel like no offense at all was meant in the thread he’s referring to, but dredging through that’s not going to be productive. Whatever you think about your own speed, and if you are satisfied with your results, is all that matters.


This is definitely a good way to go about it.

And for the most part, the threads for the scenic route and the fast lane happily co-exist together.

Yeah, that’s part of it I’m sure.

I think the main thing is that there’s always going to be nuance that’s lost.

Language is an imperfect and wholly inadequate method of conveying thoughts and feelings, but it’s all we have. :wink:


Oh absolutely, a good point to emphasize. I do recognize a lot of what I’m talking about there even comes from attempts to help; sometimes what can feel like judgment is just too much piled on concern. But it’s like, when talking about how it’s ok to not go as fast as X person or why one has to take it slow, there’s a tendency to have to denigrate the fast person, to talk about “no lifeing” Japanese and the like. Not from everyone, and definitely sometimes inadvertently to make others feel better, but yeah. Language, man.

See I had no idea the fast lane existed! Scenic route is going strong; the latter is barely hanging in there. Perhaps I need to take a swing at reviving it later, throw the bait out there at least and see if anyone cares to bring in a little balance…


For real. Hell, some people on here aren’t even native English speakers, and I think we all understand that sometimes when speaking a foreign language you can come across with a nuance that wasn’t intended. Especially on the internet where you can’t hear tone or see facial expressions.

I saw the thread in question, and I think it literally was two posts if I’m recalling correctly. One person was literally not yet subscribed and making their very first post. They were surprised at only being level 9 after x months based off their own current pace which is a totally fair assessment and asked if they were missing anything. I think we all know how quick and easy the first levels go, so if thats the only thing they are using to gauge the speed at which you can go through wk, they might be surprised to hear of OPs slower pace. Totally harmless and understandable assessment and, if anything, it’s our responsibility as more experienced users to inform him of the stacking workload. @Daisoujou did exactly this and proceeded to say

Which 0 people can find fault with.

Kanjinsanity then gave his own pace to contrast and, if anything, show that pace can vary quite wildly from person to person. No one actually said that you should have done more, just that in the same period of time how much one person does is unique to them.

But you’re claiming you’re being shunned, berated, and feel like shit.

This community isn’t perfect and there’s things you can complain about for sure, but this ain’t one of them. If you ask me, you pointlessly dropping the fact that your degree costs 40,000 euros feels like more of a flex than someone mentioning their learning speed which is relevant to a question a user had. Hopefully that illustrates how you can take that interaction in a completely different way based on your attitude towards the situation.

So as some users have already said, lets focus on not reading too much into things and assuming people have good intentions.


Depends if one of the users name whos posting starts with Kanji and ends with nsanity

Or maybe he just wanted to emphasize the fact that he wants to get his degree and not having to pay for another year… It’s a solid argument to explain why you would want to focus more on that than on WK for a while in my opinion. :innocent:

Still, everyone has his own sensibility to interactions with people. I guess, the other topic was too overwhelming for the author.

This topic on the other end, won’t bring much to the debate. There’s always some of this kind on any forum.

Just take the positiveness from everyone and leave aside the negativeness. You work for your own good. :slight_smile:



I could drop my studies to pursue competitive cloud watching, and nobody would say shit. No one cares about your argument why you are stopping or slowing down, because people are generally mature enough to understand it is your life and you can do what you want. You don’t need to argue or justify anything in the first place.


It hasn’t been my impression that people are discouraging other people from going fast. I usually see both sides well represented.

I think there are two extremes here:

  • Leveling up consistently after 7 days
  • Taking significantly more than a month per level (on average)

Both of these are probably not the normal situation. I would guess that most people (if we exclude obvious outliers like people who dropped out) take somewhere between 8-30 days per level. These are the paces we should consider “normal”. Other paces might work for certain people, but I feel it’s wrong to treat them as blanket recommendations.

Of course you’re right that “all else being equal” faster would be better. But all else is not equal and many speed discussions seem to happen devoid of that context.

But the fact is:

  • Not everyone has the same amount of free time. Some people are students, some have a job. Some have a family and others don’t. Etc.

  • Some people want to focus mainly on Japanese for some extended period of their lives. Others have a lot of other hobbies too.

  • Some people have prior knowledge of Japanese (or Chinese) which can make learning easier. Some people have the opportunity to apply what they learn directly because they e.g. live in Japan. Other people have neither.

  • Some people focus a lot on WK and not much on grammar or other vocab. Others work through Genki at the same time and maybe also use Anki.

  • Not everyone has the same memory. Some people memorise things very quickly, others are worse at it.

And so on. I often see advice about learning Japanese completely ignore these aspects and as such it is usually rather useless unless you happen to have more or less a similar situation as that other person.


I’ve been on this forum for 7 years, and this is just my raw opinion/perception with no proof, but I feel like I see more discouragement towards fast speeds rather than slow speeds. I’ve seen people even go as far as arguing that by going full speed you aren’t actually learning the material.


What I want to know: is it the red states that are the speed runners and the blue states that want to take it slow? Or is it the other way around?

Confusing world we live in. :slight_smile: