An info tip regarding recommended button usage

I’ve heard many people asking things like ““Again” “Good” “Easy”, What do they mean?”, or “Differences between Again, Hard, Good, and Easy”. This has gotten worse since FSRS has been integrated into Anki, because FSRS requires that you do not misuse Hard.
Solution: make an icon right next to the answer buttons, like this:

Hovering the mouse over the icon should reveal the following message:

Easy - you answered correctly with no hesitation.
Good - you answered correctly with a little bit of hesitation.
Hard - your answer was partially correct, and/or you hesitated a lot.
Again - your answer was completely incorrect.

Of course, these are my guidelines, and other users may have somewhat different guidelines. I believe that several users (including the devs, obviously) should develop the guidelines that make the most sense.
This would solve, at least partially, two problems:

  1. It would clear the confusion regarding button usage and decrease the number of people who are asking “Which button do I choose?”
  2. It would benefit FSRS since fewer people would misuse Hard

I agree, people simplify their life with just good and again, but correctly using 4 meaningful buttons can lead to more a better SRS experience.

Easy - you know well and probably won’t forget anytime soon.
Good - you know.
Hard - you took too long* to answer or used a hint.
Again - you don’t know.

*I have a timer of 20 seconds, for vocab cards it’s quite long, also the sentence acts as a hint since you can guess and understand the word from the context.

Maybe we should even consider hiding the interval by default so people don’t get influenced by the numbers as long as they are consistent and logical in their decisions.

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You only need to learn the meaning of Again/Hard/Good/Easy once, but that big ugly icon would sit there and take up additional space forever.

And there’s simply no room for it in AnkiMobile.

If a visual cue is needed, maybe just add a little extra space between the Again and Hard buttons, in order to visually group Hard/Good/Easy together separately? Nothing glaring, just a very subtle asymmetry.


There already are definitions for SM2: Studying - Anki Manual
Easy: too soon
Good: just in time / about right
Hard: too late, but not forgotten yet
Again: incorrect answer

But I always forget that retention rate is about “at least Hard”, not “at least Good”.


You only need to learn the meaning of Again/Hard/Good/Easy once, but that big ugly icon would sit there and take up additional space forever.

We can add a setting in the Preferences, something like “Show grading tip” or whatever you want to call it. Then users will be able to disable it.

In SM2, a retention rate is not used by the algorithm, it is only shown in statistics, or used by the user to calculate an interval modifier

autoEaseFactor (based on eshapard’s method) gives a card a low Ease on Fail, and grows it so that the next Fail happens at the right review to fit the desired retention (target_ratio), based on the history of that card.
This disconnects Ease from the meaning of the buttons, and both implementations include an add-on to disable Hard and Easy, though using it is not necessary.
It also makes it difficult to find out if a card is a leech, because a failure resets the Ease of any card to a very low one.

FSRS does not discourage the use of Hard and Easy, and difficulty stays below 100% on at least some failures. But I still have to look at the Ease to see if a card really is difficult (though maybe it has a 500% ease because it was supposed to fail according to AEF).

I guess in AEF, the meaning of Hard and Easy depends on the formula or other settings used, but they are supported for compatibility and don’t have much meaning in eshapard’s idea.
FSRS uses Hard, Good and Easy to predict the likelihood of Fail, but the relationship between the three depends on how the user uses them. Which means it depends on the descriptions and whether the user has seen them etc.

So in SM2, the best defined buttons are Fail and Good, but Hard and Easy have specific definitions depending on the settings, too.
In AEF and FSRS, only Fail vs Pass {Hard, Good, Easy} is actually defined, while the latter three are assumed to be in the correct order.

Some article related to Myth: Multiplication table weakens computing skills - said to Fail non-quick answers to multiplication cards.

I have cards where I have to determine the age of a person, and I press Easy on them if I remember the exact age instead.

Of course, as I said, the guidelines will vary somewhat for different people and different material. Our goal is to develop guidelines that make sense for most people in most situations.

I agree with @sprvlcn that a giant question mark is not an ideal solution. A non-disruptive improvement would be to expand the descriptions shown in the hover tooltips, though a fair few users never seem to discover them.

Another idea that I have suggested previously is to make a deck with cards based on the Anki manual and include it in Anki. So when new users install Anki, they can use Anki to learn about Anki.

I think a one size fits all definitions aren’t ideal.

I have my own criteria like many others, but that also changes depending on what kind of cards I’m viewing.

For example I have physical dexterity tasks that I do for some cards. They take the same amount of time whether passing well or failing horribly, it’s more a question of success rate in that given time. The definitions you provide work well for some types of notes, but they are all time specific so don’t work well for all cases.

That being said, it would be awesome to have tooltips that were tag dependent so I could have tooltips for the buttons change according to what kind of card I’m viewing

I don’t understand what you mean by “time specific” and why the SM2 definitions wouldn’t work for rating “success rate in that given time”.

For example, imagine a card that prompts:

Juggle for *3 minutes* 

with an evaluation strategy like:

dropped more than 2 times -> again
dropped 2 times           -> hard
dropped 1 time            -> good
no drops                  -> easy

It’s just a made up example, but pass/fail or anything in between this card takes 3 minutes

Then if you look at the guidelines:

Easy: too soon
Good: just in time / about right
Hard: too late, but not forgotten yet
Again: incorrect answer

You can see it doesn’t really fit

“just in time” means that it was the right time to do what the card asks (so you drop 1 time and not 0 or 2), not that you managed to do it quick enough.

That fits better, but it would still be hard to remember your objective evaluation criteria based on that. Especially if you have other cards that have similar objective but slightly different parameters. Having a popup on hovering over that would state the criteria would be useful

There is a deck description feature. Maybe something like that could be added by an add-on.

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