Shouldn't a card in the first learning step count against the new card limit?

To my understanding, Again means you forgot the card and you want to learn it again. So the same limit you apply to new information should apply to this forgotten information, no? Until you look at it once and take it out of the first learning step, at least.

For a concrete example, if hypothetically I downloaded a shared deck of Lojban vocabulary, studied it for a few months, then stopped for a year, then want to come back to it: going through reviews, I’m going to run into a large number of words that I’ve just forgotten and need to totally learn again. This puts a large number of cards back into the first learning step, far over the new card limit, which I rely on to avoid overworking myself and trying to learn too many things in one day. Surely the new card limit should apply here? Or at least there should be some way at all to limit learning cards…somehow, none of the existing controls do this.

[edit: Mind you that I am talking about the “new interval”. However, this might actually not be your problem. Before the interval comes the “relearning step”, which will not be affected by the new interval setting. Thanks to dae for identifying the problem; refer to his comment.]

It sounds like you are using the default value of 0.00 for the “New Interval” setting: Deck Options - Anki Manual

Here are some currently available solutions to lessen your workload from lapsed cards:

  • to use FSRS4Anki
  • or use the add-on autoLapseNewInterval
  • or just manually set it to a value between 0.01 and 0.1. For example, if you failed a card that has an interval of 200 days, a setting of 0.05 will result in a new interval after the lapse of 10 days.

I strongly recommend FSRS4Anki. It can reduce your overall workload, including review cards; especially if you use its Optimizer program. This can also mean that you will fail less cards.

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The default relearning step is 10 minutes, which puts an upper bound on the number of forgotten cards in play before the forgotten ones keep repeating instead of you seeing other cards. If you’re failing cards every few seconds (thus leading to a big number of failed cards), you may want to consider decreasing that step, or adding a shorter step before it, like the learning steps.

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