Shared decks: The current state of Ankiweb

Hello everyone,
as you can probably see on my profile, this is a burner.
A burner created in protest of apparent changes to the AnkiWeb site in general.

A few years ago when I started using Anki I used quite a few shared decks to get a feel for how decks can be structured and what the capabilities of Anki are. After graduating from shared decks 2 years ago I haven’t used AnkiWeb since and never made an account before today, as its content was just too sparse to induce any need for me to sign up or to inspire me to share my decks.

Just today I recommended a friend check out Anki. As I was explaining the concept about it I promised to send some useful links. So I went onto the Ankiweb site for some shared decks, recommending them to download a few and trying the program a bit with real data so they get a feel for how it works. And what did I see? The AnkiWeb shared decks site no longer shows the file size of the decks nor does it contain download links for the decks without media files. And to add insult to injury, after 3 “searches” you’re locked out of the site’s content, forcing you to login to continue just browsing decks.

If you, the creators/maintainers of AnkiWeb take any kind of constructive criticism, please consider these simple improvements you can make to the site:

  1. Make the AnkiWeb logo take you back to the Shared decks homepage

  2. Remove the login requirement. I get that having more accounts is in your interest, but 3 searches which also include the “categories” (clearly just predefined search terms as per the URL change) is just a way to drive people away from AnkiWeb specifically and Anki itself as a result.

  3. Reinstate the ability to see deck size and to download decks without media files

  4. Add meaningful and real categories.

Suggestion 0 is a no-brainer and the bare minimum that I presume could be implemented in 5 minutes.

Suggestions 1 and 2 are just reinstating former functionality so not even they should pose a problem.

Suggestion 3 is the only meaningfully transformative suggestion requiring nontrivial amonuts of effort to implement. The first meaningful step towards meaningful categories could be to just create a category for each language and call it a day (just pull ISO 639 language codes). A step above could be adding language pairs (just make every possible pair of the afforementioned codes). Users could be prompted to input the categories on newly uploaded decks and the older ones can be sorted pretty easily according to this classification. Seperating writing system-oriented decks (Hanzi, Hangul, Cyrillic, Greek, etc.) could also be done, as well as seperating by type of deck (for example vocabulary lists, grammar-oriented decks,etc.) and specific certification tests/levels like the JLPTs. Another consideration are decks for things that aren’t languages. This could prove a bit more of a challenge, but the basic groundwork is the same as for the languages (seperate by branches, by type and by test: for example, decks for the NEET exams seem to be quite popular and could prove a good starting point for the systematization of shared decks)

Removing the login requirement in the shape and form that it is present currently is only going to benefit the site long-term. What blocking users from using the site after 3 non-searches does is just drive away engagement with the platform. Sure, I get that signups are important and that data gathered is precious, but can’t you see that you’re way too agressive with the current lockout regime? Make the requirement for uploading, rating and commenting as it was before and I doubt you’ll lose any meaningful data. Hell, you’ll just get rid of useless data on orphaned account that will see absolutely no use. I doubt your hosting expenses are low, and I doubt that your current signup policy does anything useful towards either offsetting the expenses or improving the service since from my point of view all the changes I’ve seen have been for the worse.

If the moderators of AnkiWeb are so inclined, I’d be willing to personally join the project and do what it takes to make AnkiWeb a better place. If not, lock and censor away.

The main page will be redesigned. It also upset me that the anki icon is not clickable.

Since anki is free, it is not clear what benefit you are talking about.
I think this is done for security purposes. For example, so that someone does not start a massive download of decks in order to stop or slow down the work of ankiweb.

If it was not in demand, then it is clear why it was removed.

1 Like

I can see deck size though…:thinking: Are you talking about something else? All my decks are showing size of decks/total notes in them.

Actually if I had to suggest anything, it would be being able to see number of cards in a deck. Number of notes can be misleading sometimes as you don’t count the siblings. I have a lot of cloze cards so my 10K cards shows up as 5K notes.

The limits are not there to increase signups - they are there to make it harder for people to mirror the shared decks in bulk and redistribute them elsewhere, as some bad actors are wont to do. Yes, the world would be a better place if only the bad actors had to jump through the extra steps, but unfortunately we can’t target one without the other.


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.