Strange, unpredictable behaviour of unsuspended cards in Anki Droid

Hi. I was directed out here from the forum of Anki Droid.

Could you explain me the following strange and unpredictable behaviour of unsuspended cards?

For a very long time I didn’t block my “leeches”, because I considered it annoying. Finaly, after many years I realised that they are actually an important part of learning. That caused that many of my flashcards have now several dozen “lapses” :smiley:

I enabled suspending my cards and now I have several dozen suspended cards. So I unsuspended some of them, but then soming strange and unexpected happend.

The anticipated behaviour was that my unsuspended cards won’t be suspended again untill I give, say, 8 false answers in a row, wasn’t it? But in reality my newly unsuspended cards became suspended again after one false answer!

So I started to experiment with my suspendend cards. I took 6 flashcards to an entirly newly deck and started to review them with a filtered deck. The results of my experiments are as follow:

  1. When the limit of leeches was set to 1,2 or 3 lapses the flashcards became suspended after 1 false answer. They should obviously become blocked when the limit was 1. But why did they became blocked when te limit was>1?
  2. When the limit was set to 4 or more (I experimented with 4, 8 and 16) the flashcards didn’t became suspended after 1 or 2 false answers.
  3. I experimented with different language set in my Anki but it seems it doesn’t matter.

I tought for a while that I had found the explanation of such strange behaviour. AnkiDroid remembers the number of lapses for every flashcards. Let’s denot it by L. Let’s denote the limit of lapses by Limit (for instance Limit=8). I suspect that AnkiDroid suspends a flashcard when

L/Limit=a whole number.

Thus a flashcards (given the limit 8) would be suspended for the first time when L=8, for the second time when L=16 and so on so on.

So I thought that maybe the numbers of lapses of my selected flashcards (L+1 to be more accurate) where divisable by 1,2 and 3 and that’s why they are suspended when Limit=1,2, or 3, because (L+1)/Limit=a whole number.

But I checked their numbers of lapses and they were as follows: 16, 24, 32, 16, 24, 48. Hence after one false answer they were 17,25,33,17,25,49. And 17, 25, and 49 aren’t divisable by 3. So what the flashcards were suspended when Limit=3? On the other hand none of these numbers is divisable by 2, so none of the flashcards should have been suspended after 1 false answer when the Limit=2.

If the above is not enough I could swear that my unsuspended flashcards got suspended after 1 false answer also when the Limit=16 (at least some of them) :frowning:

So, in a nutshel I have no idea how AnkiDroid is working on this matter and hence don’t know what to do with my suspended flashcards :frowning: And it’s a problem, because I have more and more of them.

Could you help me? Could you explain to me such unpredictable behaviour? Is it a known bug or what?

The manual says:

Anki will continue to issue leech warnings periodically for a difficult card. The warning interval is half the initial leech threshold. That is, if you have Anki configured to warn at 8 lapses, future warnings will happen every 4 lapses. (12, 16, etc)

The section about leeches seems a bit dated, but I guess the point about the intervals at which action is taken still holds up.

The bigger issue I see is that you’re studying cards that have lapsed dozens of times, which is a very inefficient use of your time. You should remove these cards for good or edit them. A card which you can’t memorise after trying 48 times can’t be well-formed.

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Thank you for your comment. Finally any :smiley: Unfortunately this solution doesn’t seem correct. :frowning: I’ve just made an experiment with my 6 cards. The limit was set to 4. I marked several times (3 times on average I think) the wrong answer to any of them and nothing happend. ;/ According to the above passage they should have been suspended after 2 wrong answers.

And still it seems to me, that some of my cards got supsended even after 1 wrong answer when te limit was set to 16. That’s why I started to experiment, becasue it was completly unexpected.

Lapses are only increased when you fail a review card. If you fail a card three times in a row, the last two lapses are generally not counted as the card is in the relearning queue by then.
To make sure you can check the lapse counter in the browser.


I’m not sure whether I understand well. To put it simply: I can mark “again” even 100 times in a row during one session and the card won’t be suspended unless the limit is set to 1,2 (and 3?)?

So the conclusion is that the unsuspended cards shouldn’t be suspended again after just one wrong answer unless the limit is set to <4?

No, the limit only matters when the counter increases. If the card is a relearning card, the counter will not increase and the card will not be suspended regardless of the limit.

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And Anki suspended my cards when the limit was set to 3 because 3/2=1.5 was rounded down to 1?

Judging from the manual and what you’ve described, it seems so. But I don’t have first-hand experience here. :slightly_smiling_face:

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The current implementation rounds down, so that’s correct. The v3 scheduler will round up instead, so 3 will be every 2 steps after the first time.


Ok, thank you guys. I’ll observe my flashcards and see what will happen. When you don’t understand how something works many strange things happen. Maybe now everything will be understandable.