Looks like the Great Firewall or something like it is preventing you from completely loading www.skritter.com because it is hosted on Google App Engine, which is periodically blocked. Try instead our mirror:


This might also be caused by an internet filter, such as SafeEyes. If you have such a filter installed, try adding appspot.com to the list of allowed domains.

Bringing down the average size of your items due per week

west316   October 26th, 2010 4:44p.m.

The topic pretty much says it all. Once you hit a rather high number of characters and words in your Skritter account, the number of items due per week can become rather overwhelming. What are the secrets to bringing that list down?

I know that you can:

A) Don't add any new words for a very long time.

B) Start using the too easy button on aspects that are genuinely too easy.

I have started doing those two things. Are there any other tricks to getting this item due list to come down in terms of total numbers? After spending several weeks with 3000+ items due per week, I need to get this thing under control before I go back to adding new words.

Bohan   October 26th, 2010 6:05p.m.

Have you considered changing the retention rate? Or the frequency (which is right below the retention setting) ?

icecream   October 26th, 2010 6:06p.m.

Are you trying to game Skritter? Or are you trying to become fluent in the language? The former is relatively easy to accomplish – either one of your methods will work – while the latter requires a different plan of attack.

I teach math – mostly Algebra and Algebra II – to local high school kids and have found that the best plan of action is usually to develop a deep base in the fundamentals. I would wait until you have the radicals down to the point of automaticity before you try to tackle the thousands of other characters out there. If you are already at that point, I would start writing letters and stories to people in Chinese.

nick   October 26th, 2010 7:12p.m.

Wow! With the amazingly massive number of words you've added, mauling the "too easy" button is a good bet. When did you lower your target retention rate to 92%--recently? You are still hitting retention rates higher than that, so you might want to lower it further.

How many new words are you being realistically called upon to add at this point?

Byzanti   October 26th, 2010 8:19p.m.

Yeah, I had almost 3000 a week for a while. It's too much. One thing I did was to cut definition practice. I wasn't getting much from it anyway, so I'm now just down to writing + tone (never used reading). This helped.

Also two things that help retention generally: add a pictures to prompts, it's a nice hook which really helps (img:http://www.blah.com/blah.jpeg). I just drag a thumbnail out of baidu image search, drag into my ftp, and write in the link. The other thing is that if you half two characters/words that you are confusing, make a note of the other character/word in the definition prompt. The benefit of seeing the source of confusion each time outweighs the hint it might give.

Oh, and stop marking things yellow (unless the due period is less than a day). You'll just get perpetual reviews which wont go away.

Byzanti   October 26th, 2010 8:20p.m.

Oh, and the image link there is of course, just an example of how to add images to the definition box.

And when I say forget using yellow, mark them as red instead.

west316   October 27th, 2010 9:58a.m.

@ Bohan - Thanks, but I already tweaked my retention rate to a decent level that I will try to aim for.

@ icecream - That is good advice, and I will be sure to remember that.

@ Nick - I am still getting 95% retention rate items? That is odd. I turned it down a couple of weeks ago. As for adding a ton of items, that was just going at what used to be my normal rate of study.

"How many new words are you being realistically called upon to add at this point?"

I am trying to work out the kinks in my formal Chinese with the HSK lists. Some of those words are legitimately new words, whereas others are just words that Skritter doesn't know I know. I am in that final push to be "done" with Chinese. Will my vocabulary be perfect? Nope, but oh well. After HSK6 and maybe one or two other small lists, I am done. From that point on, until the end of time/Skritter goes out of business/I choose to abandon Chinese I will be using Skritter to practice what I have already studied. I won’t be adding new words anymore. Maybe I just added too many words recently.

After 3 days of adding absolutely no new words and using the too easy button on the tones for characters that I don't need to practice, my weekly items due is down to 2002 items due this week. It is coming down. Whenever I come across a word that is genuinely new, I send it to my teacher for clarification. She has been sick lately, so that has hit a logjam. I am using this time to get things under control while I wait on her to catch up.
Side question for Nick: “amazingly massive number of words you've added” references what exactly? Does it reference the number of total words in my account, or the number of words I have been studying lately?

@ Byzanti - The image link is a cool idea. I will remember that. Sadly, at this point, it is giving me tons of abstract words. Images don't help a whole lot with words like 免得, 毫无,and 为期. I may use that trick later, though. Thanks.

I am turning down/off tones. My retention rate for tones is roughly 97%. I rarely hit the too easy button on writings or meanings. If it gives me a word like 美国, I want it shoved to the absolute bottom of the pile. Other than that, I only use the too easy button on tones for common characters.

west316   October 27th, 2010 10:06a.m.

@Nick - That reminds me. I think there is a bug in my account. I used Excel to calculate the total number of words in my Skritter account. I first used the export word list feature to create an Excel spreadsheet of all of the words I have uploaded. From there, I used Excel to weed out any duplicate entries. This left me with a number that was roughly 500 words less than the number my progress page shows.

I believe this bug started when I last nuked my account. I noticed Skritter kept the old stats for items learned after I had nuked my account. This wasn't a huge deal, until I realized that sometimes it would continue to count words that were already included in the old stats. The result is that some words were double counted.

nick   October 29th, 2010 9:21a.m.

A lot of the reviews you're getting now are from before you changed your retention rate. It will take some time for you to see the full effects from that. I think you will see many fewer reviews once it has propagated more, which will continue to happen for weeks.

I'm talking about the total number of words in your account. You more than most add a lot of words per character that you know. You also just know a lot!

Yeah, that would make sense, if the nuke didn't fully finish.

william   October 29th, 2010 1:57p.m.

Actually I've been meaning to ask a few questions about this.

I signed up for Skritter yesterday and tried it out for a couple of hours today. It seems Skritter has very short delays before asking a character again, even if the character is correct. When I press 4 ("too easy"), in how much time is Skritter going to ask this entry again?

I tried Skritter for about four hours today adding the Integrated Chinese 1 book and already it lists 688 items due next week (studied this book three years ago). Other SRS programs usually have much bigger "bumps", allowing users to bump certain items to next week, in two weeks, or even three weeks or more. Is it possible to adjust the "bump time" in Skritter? This would be very useful for the long-term memory items.

Also, every time a character has been correctly answered, does the bump time increase? (correct today -> ask again tomorrow, correct tomorrow -> ask again in three days, still correct -> ask one week later)

Students in our program are supposed to know over three thousand characters (and counting). If you need to memorize a high quantity, I believe the only way to keep units per week down is by being able to bump well-known characters far into the future.

I prefer that method over deleting them. If they're gone, you won't notice when some well-known characters eventually get forgotten anyway.

nick   October 29th, 2010 2:52p.m.

If you get it right the first time, it will wait about a week. If you press "4" the first time, it will get pushed back about a month. And if you never get it wrong, the following intervals will grow much faster than normal.

If you get it wrong the first time, though, it can take a while longer for the review intervals to grow. They will also grow more slowly the first day if you study a long session.

Yes, the intervals increase depending on the previous interval, like you describe. Depending on how often you're correct, they'll even adjust to your style--so if you keep being right more often than Skritter expects, it'll make all intervals longer for similar circumstances, not just that item's.

We designed Skritter so that it'd be easy to add through a ton of words that you already know and get them out of the way quickly. It is important to make sure you mark those words right or too easy the first time you see them, though, or you'll have to see them several extra times.

Another thing that helps review intervals grow faster is to wait in between study sessions. The intervals increase based on how long since you last saw the word, so the short-term items that you get right the next day will be pushed back much further than the ones you get right after twenty minutes, an hour, three hours, etc. (This is for if the words are generally easy for you.)

This forum is now read only. Please go to Skritter Discourse Forum instead to start a new conversation!