News for February 2011

Response to ‘A Message from iKnow!’ Blog: A Message from iKnow!

We could not respond to the blog itself, so we are sending this post to via Twitter:

Cerego’s content was used more partly because it was so much easier to find than user-created content. After the changes to the search engine, we would frequently make lists which wouldn’t show up in search because, being new lists, they had no users. We would have to tell people about the lists ourselves, which defeats the purpose of having a search function. Once the lists started appearing in searches, the number of users would always grow exponentially, so we were clearly managing to make useful content. Having a list’s prominence in searches be based on the number of users the list had was a damaging policy. For example, our Swedish content never appeared when users searched, so users believed that there was virtually no Swedish content available, despite the fact that Glossaria had made comprehensive goals.

You say, “[...]the content creation tools we have provided up to this point have not been easy to use, so it’s been difficult for users to create good content in large volume.” Your logic here is unclear. You admit that your content creation tools are bad. You biased the search engine so that whatever new content had been created would never be found. So, based on that, you decided that you should change the entire site to primarily focus on your own content? Do we understand you correctly?

You also say that the most-studied lists are yours in English, Chinese, and Japanese, which has led you to base your site on the study of that specific content. Setting aside the previously mentioned bias in the search feature, do you really want to be another generic Asian-language site? Your edge has come from your social tools and the flexibility to use your SRS platform for anything. While most lists were based on languages, there were also lists for computer programming, BWV numbers, artistic movements, and more. If your move to the new system is based on the idea that your content was the main draw to the site, you may be in for a rude shock. Material (support groups, Anki decks, books, forums, etc) in and for English, Chinese, and Japanese is very easy to find, doesn’t need to incur any monetary cost, and doesn’t necessarily require an Internet connection.

Glossaria came into being because of the efforts from people in places as distant from us and each other as Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Israel, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Spain, the Navajo nation, and many more. We’re sad that you’re going to undo all of that by destroying the ease of collaboration which helped your site grow. Why was there never an attempt to try a premium service? Why were there never any ads? Why was there no way for users to voluntarily give money? It doesn’t matter how much content is user-created: you’re still asking users to pay to have access to what they’ve created. Philosophically, that doesn’t seem right.

We created our content with the assumption that we would be able to download our lists- a feature which you said we would have last year, along with the mass uploader and improved item creation. Can we have our lists back? If we can, please email a zip file to

We do appreciate that, since Glossaria was a top goal creator, we received a free year-long membership to iKnow. However, since those goals could not have been created without the help of others, we request that all users who made significant contributions to Glossaria be given the same memberships.



Posted: February 18th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment.

What is Glossaria?

What is Glossaria?

Glossaria gives the learner an arsenal of words which she can use to describe or define any concept in the language or languages she’s studying. This method allows the student to use her language more quickly, and come to define the world around herself in terms of the language(s) which she is learning.

This is also helpful in communication. For example, Björk was talking to a reporter once about movies and couldn’t think of the English word ‘projector’. However, she could make her point clear by talking about “the machine that throws the pictures.” If our student has learned a language with Glossaria, she will be able to do the same thing- she will be able to understand and describe a concept without necessarily knowing the word for it. Surely you can think of times when you’ve followed this strategy even in your own mother tongue!

We also encourage the study of related languages, since languages in the same family have many similarities to each other. If you know Swedish, learning Dutch will be easier- and open you up to a whole new culture, literature, history, and people with less effort. will provide its vocabulary lists in numerous in numerous formats (.xml, .csv, .mem, .anki, &c.) to allow editing and the broadest use of our content. The site itself will feature its own spaced repetition system optimized to review the vocabulary, isolated as well as in context. It will also have a cross-referencing grammar review system, with a modular approach, that utilizes the vocabulary learned. This system will allow users to start using their languages very quickly.

In addition to this core functionality we hope to maximize the social aspects of learning. Social learning and social teaching, are very powerful motivators. Glossaria will give tools to Internet language learning communities that will maximize their effectiveness and ease of interaction.

Our website opens in 2011.

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Posted: February 12th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: No Comments.

Under Construction

Posted: February 4th, 2011
Categories: Site Updates
Tags: ,
Comments: 1 Comment.