"Include reviews" needed to import deck options?

Now we have 23.10 out (I still haven’t installed since I need a couple of addons to update), there’s this “Include reviews” toggle in the importing dialog.

If a user doesn’t include reviews, will they still get deck options if I exported with scheduling?

I really think this should be made a different toggle/checkbox (one for reviews and one for deck options, both when importing and exporting). I can’t trust my users to manage to set the toggles by themselves or to check or uncheck stuff, unfortunately.

I am afraid right now the configuration that I need to follow so that students just use the decks as expected (by me) is:

  • export with scheduling included (which is off by default)
  • tell them to import with reviews included (which I think is off by default as well)

Is this correct, @dae?

Seems about right.
It’s not a use case the import mechanism was built to support. It was meant to either import decks with complete information (content, review progress, deck options, etc.) or content only.
However, I’m currently implementing ex-/importing deck options independently of study progress.


Great to hear that, @Rumo. :heart: Thanks!

Just wondering, if the main purpose of exporting and importing is creating user backups, wouldn’t it make sense to set the defaults to include scheduling and deck options toggled on instead of off? (For both processes)

I’m guessing most users will just want to keep a backup of their collection/deck in case something happens, and then recover it easily. (So export everything and import everything)

Deck maintainers would only need to uncheck “include reviews” and keep “include deck options” on when exporting a deck to be distributed. And the user wouldn’t need to change anything when importing.

Or am I missing something?

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colpkg is for backups. apkg is for a) moving your own content between profiles (scheduling on) or archiving part of it, or b) sharing content with others. The latter is more common, and importing with scheduling info is never desired then.


Oh, ok, I see, I usually have my backups in apkg, but I understand.

Do you think exporting/importing with deck options is desirable when sharing with others? I would think yes, since different decks have different note types and different needs. For example I have decks with very small content in cards (like a number or a verb form) which are usually best studied in sequential order (following a specific logic) which are best used with a relatively higher number of new cards per day and sequential order. And other decks with a bit more information (maybe sentences with audio, for example, or with the same difficulty), that are better studied in random order and fewer cards a day.

So I’d prefer to always export these options with the deck, since they are part of the deck design.

I find the defaults in Anki are not applicable to any deck, and people who know what they mean and how to tweak them can do so more easily than people new to the app. So I hope importing/exporting with deck options is toggled on by default. :crossed_fingers:

That would be disruptive for most other deck authors and consumers, who don’t expect their options to be exported, or changed on import respectively.
However, the import dialog remembers your last settings, so you will only have to toggle it once. Presumably, the export dialog will be reimplemented as a web page at some point and get this feature, too.

Ummm, I find that strange, wouldn’t a deck author expect their deck options to be exported, since they are part of the deck usage design? And wouldn’t someone installing a new deck expect it to follow the author’s settings?

I would understand if it was an update to a deck (you’d want to keep the settings you already set), but when installing a new deck, personally, I’d expect to get the author recommended settings, not Anki’s defaults which are not applicable to all kinds of decks. What am I missing?

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I would expect to only get the content, and would want to decide for myself how many cards per day to study for instance. But that’s personal preference.
More importantly, users have been used to this behaviour for many years now. Some may appreciate the new feature and opt in. But we shouldn’t disrupt existing workflows without a good reason.

You won’t get Anki’s vanilla defaults, but your potentially customised default preset will be used. And deck authors wouldn’t be recommending any settings, but just accidentally sharing their own until they learn about the new feature.

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Right, I think, however, you are coming at it from an expert point of view. You can easily decide how many cards per day you want, but a newbie will just be overwhelmed by terminology and menus, in my experience sharing decks.

Which preset will be applied to a new deck I import? Again, that works only for someone who already has used Anki and knows how it works and has decided what their defaults should be. But for one of my students, who have never heard of Anki and never used it, it would be most ideal to just install a deck and start using it with the recommended settings.

Of course, activating a toggle is not that difficult and I will just add it to my tutorials if this is how it is done in the end. But I really think it puts the burden of deciding what to do on those that have the least information. An experienced user will have a much easier time determining whether a setting like this should be on or off, and it’ll be simple for them to go back in case they miss the new setting. A newbie will just start a chain of questions and doubts that will, in the best of cases, be resolved by asking the person that shared the deck (when things are not set as the maintainer told them they would), and in the worst of cases, by just abandoning Anki, which would be a shame if it’s for an issue like this.

Don’t get me wrong, I will adapt in any case, but I do believe Anki should try to make itself more accessible to new users. Experienced users are used to changes, and they are able to read through tooltips and info with much, much less difficulty, and notice new options and understand their consequences, in my opinion.

Sorry for the long wordy post! :pray: I just wanted to be as clear as possible.

When you import a shared deck, the user’s default preset is used.

I disagree with this premise. Anki’s default options are designed to be reasonable, and the user is not required to adjust anything except perhaps the daily limits. In small groups such as a teacher->student setup, it can make sense for the deck author to control the options that users default to, but if this were to apply to every shared deck, I think it would lead to a lot of confusion for newer users, as different decks would behave in different ways, and the defaults would not match what is described in the manual.

I see your point. I do think different decks should probably behave differently, though. And I think only a very small minority of newbies would read the manual. But maybe you target newbie is more of a power user and I’m thinking about a different kind (I believe Anki can still be rather challenging to non-power-user newbies, even if it’s improving on that aspect as well).

But in any case, as long as it’s made easy to retrieve the options it should be fine, i guess.

I am wondering now, if I’d want to put the cards in a specific order so that they would have a specific progression. How should I do that to make sure the order is kept even if the user doesn’t select to import deck options? I’m guessing repositioning wouldn’t work in that case. Would I have to reposition in a CSV and import in the desired order into a new deck?

Not at all. I’m thinking of a user who doesn’t adjust any options at all. Don’t you think it would be rather confusing if they download 2 shared decks, and one buries cards and shows new cards at the end, and the other does the opposite? It would be a bad experience for them, and it would increase the support load for us. Each deck author will have their own ideas about the “best options”, and I think allowing them to foist those on their users would not make things easier for those users.

New cards are shown in due order, unless the user has explicitly adjusted the order of the default preset. I haven’t heard a single report since v3 was introduced of a user who’d set the default preset to random and then got confused about the order when importing a shared deck.

I’m not so sure about that, tbh. In my experience, unless I explain everything, several times, and cut down their options to the minimum, new users are mostly lost. But I am not sure my students are representative of most new Anki users. (And maybe it’s me who needs to learn how to explain it better, having the “import options” settings will be very helpful whatever the default, that’s for sure.)

I have my doubts about the default settings, to be frank. In my experience as a user and as a teacher trying to promote Anki among my students some defaults are not easy to understand, I think, like new cards/day or new-before-reviews, but that’s probably better left for another thread and another time, I feel I’m just taking too much of your time with this discussion already.

In any case, I am sure your experience with new users surpasses mine by many many orders of magnitude, so it’s not a problem for me to trust your decisions.

Yes, I know. What I mean is: if I create a deck from a csv, with the first field ordered alphabetically, for example, the initial due order will be alphabetical, right? So If I export the deck with deck options (for example, setting gathered order to random), but the users don’t select to import the options, they will get either the original order (alphabetical) or their modified default, correct? That means, if I’d want to force an order different from alphabetical, I would need to recreate the deck and set the cards in the desired order in the csv, right?

Just trying to make sure I understand how this would work. Sorry again for taking so much of your time.

I agree it’s a common cause of confusion, but the alternative is to let users shoot themselves in the foot by introducing too many new cards, and then end up drowning in reviews.

Please note I’m not saying teachers shouldn’t be able to do this, as they are able to provide support to their students and explain why things are the way they are. I’m just saying I don’t think it’s a sensible default, as the common case is downloading decks from AnkiWeb.

Yes, that’s right. If you’d like to ensure the cards aren’t shown alphabetically, you can use the Reposition tool to give the cards random due numbers.

In fact, I think 20 new cards per day is already too much… I usually recommend starting at 7 and sticking to it for a week or so before changing the quantity. A Default of 10 would probably be better. and going through reviews before new cards would also help with accumulating too many cards, since if they don’t have time to finish the session at the very least they’ll go through some reviews, without adding new content.

But this new order wouldn’t be imported either if the user doesn’t check “include options” (in the future) or “include progress” (at present), right?

20 is based on the expected review load of 200, which is a number most self-directed adult learners can tolerate. We typically have the opposite problem - people want to increase the limit, not decrease it. I can certainly see how lower limits would make sense in a school setting, especially with younger learners.

Due numbers are a property of cards, not presets, and thus they are not affected by ‘include options’.

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Got it. Thanks for the info!

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