I just pushed through another big update to Quizlet. I gotta say, it feels good to spend a good hunk of time programming. After all the business stuff I've been doing the past couple weeks, it's refreshing to do something that will directly help users.

What's new today:

  • Private messages. They allow you to send individual messages to other members without anyone else seeing. On your dashboard, you'll see a link to your own messages. On other people's pages, you'll see a link to message them. Also, you'll receive a notifying email anytime someone sends you a message. You can turn that off on your preferences page.
  • Autosave for creating sets. Ever entered a bunch of data then closed the window? D'oh! Quizlet now saves your data in a cookie every 5 seconds, and lets you restore it or delete it if you revisit the create set page. Note, this is not enabled on the edit set page.
  • Sticky accents. If you open the accents bar on one page, it will remember it and open it on all the other pages that use accents. If you click hide on any page, it remembers that too, of course.
  • Removed the profanity filter on new sign ups. It was causing some legitimate users to be denied.
  • Removed the Real Name field for all users. It shouldn't matter what your name is. All information on peoples' real names has been deleted from the Quizlet database. That makes the sign up form simpler too...

I'm the most excited about the Private Messages, because so far the feedback form has been 100% one-way and I've wanted to thank you for all your suggestions and comments. I'll try to get back to most of them, so keep it coming, as always :)

So, big feature update, there might be some bugs lurking or some improvements necessary. That's why blogs have comments, yo!

Comments

  1. sanjai

    Im happy too!!!
    Will test them and get back with my comments!

  2. Neil Kelty

    Nice job with the updates - the private messaging feature should be very helpful.

    So when are them picture sets and custom "accents" coming (subscritps, etc.)? :P

  3. kay

    thanks so much! This is so cool and I can also talk to people in my classes that I don't really talk to or know! :) :)

  4. John Spuler

    Yay, thanks very much. I like these new features.

  5. Nik

    I have to say, the new features rock. As I've mentioned before, Auto-Save will really help us absent-minded folks. More importantly, though, private messaging adds a whole new level to collaborative learning, which is the point, right? I can't wait to use it.

    On the other hand, I have to say I disagree with eliminating peoples' real names. Personally, I think this is a really important feature. All too often, users create names like "skinnyboi24590". And that's supposed to mean something to other people? When you need to recognize other users and attach them to their real life personalities - as you do with a service like Quizlet when you're dealing with classmates - it's important to know their real names. Already I've had people join groups I created for classes at my school, and I don't know who they are. Since I'm making all sets associated with a class editable by the members of that class's group, I want to make sure that anyone I make a member is actually in the class and someone I can trust. Keeping user's real names - even if only their first name - is an important step towards transparency.

  6. Andrew

    Nik, that's an interesting argument. It's a funny balance because a lot of people, especially students, go with intentionally anonymous names. People don't want for others to know their true identity. An obvious exception is Facebook, but Quizlet is more of an open community than Facebook is. Also, if a user does want their friends to know who they are, how do we determine who can see their "real name." It could be people in their groups only, but then that gets complicated, especially with open-to-everyone groups.

    So I think it's good but not great how it is now. People can PM each other and these days a lot of people will know each other's screen names because of all the various IM and web networks that people use. Are there any points I'm missing here?

  7. MrAT

    I enjoy the site, but an easy improvement to the "Learn" function comes to mind. After an incorrect answer, the user should have to enter the correct answer in a field before moving to the next question. This action would reinforce the correct memory.

  8. Neil Kelty

    MrAt: Actually, I disagree with that - to reinforce learning you should have time to move on and think about the correct answer - by just blunt force "answer now" techniques it wouldn't really help me out. Sometimes I need to skip over a question and then come back to it.

    This leads me to a feature I think would be pretty cool. A "Come back to this one" feature - where I can place it at the end of the line if I think I know the answer and come back to the question at the end.

  9. Andrew

    Neil, I'm not sure you understood MrAT. I think he's got a good idea, one I've mulled over before. Basically, if you get an answer wrong, it forces you to copy down the correct answer while you're working on it, before you can continue. It doesn't record what you write, it just forces you to type it correctly. Then next time you'll have closer to memorization because it's in your muscle memory, in a way. Make sense?

    -Andrew

  10. Neil Kelty

    Yeah, that makes sense - but I don't think that's the best direction for Quizlet. It forces me to do something I don't really want to do and I may not need to do. Maybe that's another one of the personalization features that would be nice. I just don't like the idea of having to enter a term - I don't learn like that - I can look at the term say it to myself a couple times and then go back and do it.

    But I can see the use in it for some people - in order to accomoate for different learning styles. So it might be something for Andrew to implement as an option. (Sort of like the ignore stuff)

  11. Nik

    Good points, Andrew. If people want to keep their identity secret, I think a good service of course respects that, and I'm glad that you do. Frankly, security and privacy are always more important than convenience. With that said, however, I would still allow for some identifying information, while not making it mandatory. For instance, I can't see anyone objecting to the use of their real first names, considering last names are generally more protected. First names would allow people who know you to identify you, while keeping other information secret. And users should then be allowed to opt to not show any personal information, including their first name.

    Somehow, for me, the inclusion of real world information, like one's name, adds a nice touch of professionalism (compare the difference between MySpace and Facebook). This does need to be balanced with a user's right to privacy, though. Including some mechanism for real world identification while allowing for a user to opt not to employ it, thereby protecting their privacy, strikes this balance nicely.

  12. Nik

    Also, reading over what MrAT said, I remember feeling that need myself, since I learn vocab primarily by writing. Neil Kelty has a good point, though, and I don't think a user should ever be forced to do something they - erm, shey - don't want to do. Of course, these two ideas aren't mutually exclusive; why not allow users to set, as a preference, After Answer Written Reinforcement, or whatever you want to call it, whereby they could enter the correct term after not knowing it the first time, as MrAT suggested?

  13. Neil Kelty

    Nik: I talked with Andrew about this last night and I think that's what he was thinking about the idea - an option.

    Also, I must agree with you on the name thing - it could just be optional - I have no problem giving out some information (as long as I trust who I'm giving it too :)).

  14. rationalist

    To be honest, your website is overbearing in its requirements. It exposes oneself to others in an almost naive, imposing way characteristic of teenage socialization websites. The amount of identity one must acquire to use this site properly is cumbersome and superfluous. If you desire your website to be extensively used for professional means, then you must not force so much of an aspect of "community" onto the user.

    Anonymity is an advantage of the internet, and "Little Brother" is far more dangerous than "Big Brother". There are numerous hermitesque academics, myself included, who do not want to socialize nor be bothered by the presence of other people. Having to be amongst others is a drawback and prevents me from truly using this website. Contrary to what idioms about web 2.0 would suggest, being able to be antisocial on a website is a very positive attribute.

  15. Andrew

    Rationalist:

    I must disagree. It only exposes people as much as they want to be exposed. The signup requirements, an email address and a username, are just about as unimposing as it gets. The email address is there for pure utility - if you want Quizlet to notify you when your groupmates create a set for your group, Quizlet sends an email. I use that feature all the time, and I love it. If you don't want to enter your real email address, <strong>use a fake one</strong> - I don't mind. I ask for people's birth year for pure statistics - to know who my users are (in a general sense) so that I can better predict the needs of the community at large. Again, you can make that up and it really won't matter.

    If you like, you can minimize the community aspects of Quizlet as well. If you make your sets only visible to yourself, no one will know you even exist.

    I know one of the greatest things about being online is the anonymity of it. It's the same thing with people who would rather go through automated phone menus than talk to an actual customer service person; it's more comfortable sometimes. I hope that Quizlet can feel the same way, but at the same time, if you want to use its (very useful) community aspects then you can do that too.

  16. Rationalist

    Andrew:

    The only thing I can see being "overbearing" would be the fact that I can view anyone Dashboard - maybe an option to make that private would be a good idea.

    Otherwise, I don't really see where you are coming from Rationalist. Maybe if you could provide a few examples, it'd be easier to see what you are talking about. Honestly, I think Quizlet asks for the least about of information.

  17. :)

    I LOVE QUIZLET!!

  18. Neil Kelty

    whoops - i tried to adress my comment to Rationalist and typed in that name it should be "Neil Kelty"

    Sorry.

    -Neil

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  22. Okemo

    Did you remove the private message feature???

  23. OmbreNoireGato

    I can't figure out how to send messages. Like, what is the dashboard?

  24. IRSC

    DO you have to have premium or pay to have these features?

  25. Shimsha_J

    Same question as Okemo :)

  26. flamethrowe

    wait how do i send a message without no one knowing

  27. lnewms

    Can anyone help me find an autosaved list? my computer shut down and i lost a set i was working on...

  28. CuddlySpartan

    I can't find where it says to private message people. Where is it? Help please!

  29. sevrandy

    How can I message someone? Someone has a long list of words and no definitions. I want to either add the definitions or have a copy. How can I do this?

  30. Qaici

    The link to preferences leads to nowhere, and i can't find out how to message someone too :( is it for upgraded users only?

  31. akaramoss

    anniehall wassupp my

  32. Caracraziness

    Hi, can you tell me how you message people on quizlet please

  33. lulzologist

    I guess you removed private messaging? Why? :(

  34. Kyoto-Chan

    I think they removed private messaging D:

  35. Bryan_Gower TEACHER

    is it an upgrade feature, perhaps? that would = lame

  36. nick_stancavage

    I love how frequently you decide to reply to people, really. . . top notch job there. . . made my week.. . really I swear

  37. samueldamon

    What exactly happened to site-wide languages, private messaging, forums, multiplayer games, and friend lists? They all have been removed without a trace.

  38. hieutda

    I can't find the "message" function, did you just remove it? ( also thank you so much for creation of this page )

  39. Blonde10123

    can't find the private messages can someone help me?

  40. carly_ciampi

    I don't see an option to message anyone? I really would like to find out where someone got the questions on a study set from so that I can buy the book for school, but I have no idea how to message her? Please help!

  41. CrunchyTacos101

    Where is the Private messages option? Did they delete it?

  42. Cameron_Ormiston17

    please add the messaging feature back. thanks

  43. jessaboun

    Yes please add the private messaging back! :(

  44. Bubbles22

    bring back private messaging, forums, group chats and ways to actually socialize lmao

  45. Jefrosen1

    Where did the private message feature go?

  46. clannishbus912

    where is the message!!!!!!!!

    we want it now!!!!!!!!!!

  47. eliel_raphael

    The so-called Private Messaging doesn't work, the link is void...

  48. eliel_raphael

    Please bring back PM. People need it to communicate with others.

  49. suzi_mikaelyan

    PLEASE bring private messaging back. it would help me a lot to find out where someone got their info. from so I can get it too

  50. TRUMPYBOY

    Yeah, I can't message and I would love to be able to. That way, I could message people with questions instead of posting a public-editable set! : )

  51. TRUMPYBOY

    I have some questions about a project I'm doing and need help but cannot message.

  52. AshleyDuck5677

    I see no messages

  53. TonyEstrada10

    Take off learn it's a waste of time

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