Minimise the number of primary English definitions

Over the last week or so I've noticed this happening a lot: almost every possible English alternative has being placed in the primary definition space, separated by commas. Here's an example: (Archived here: )

Having every English alternative placed in the primary definition space is detrimental to learning; it's information overload that should be avoided when first learning a new word.

I agree with Ben's thoughts: "If extra definitions are needed for clarity, then they can be added to the primary definition". --

So please keep the primary definition space as sparse as possible: preferably one word, but more only if it's strictly needed to help clarify the word.

In the case of 'zwak', I think we only need 'weak' as the primary definition and a couple of the others as English alternatives. Things like 'cobweb', however, are entirely separate definitions.

What are everyone's thoughts on this? I'll get this added to the conventions, unless anyone disagrees?

Posted by fakelvis 7/17/12 , last update 9/1/12 (3 years ago)
  • Yes I have seen this a few times and it is very annoying.

    Posted by Mangotastic 7/19/12 (3 years ago)
  • Oh my god I keep seeing this. New ones are appearing!

    het spoor English n. footmark, footprint, imprint, heel, spore, spoor, spur, trace, track, trail, scent, slot, rut, vestige, vestigium, railway, railroad, mark, shadow

    All it means is "track".

    Posted by Mangotastic 7/30/12 (3 years ago)
  • This is very odd indeed - the best thing to do right now would just be to edit the definitions back to what they should be, and leave a comment saying why it has been changed. I will then track down who has made the changes and see why they were made.

    Best wishes


    Posted by BenWhately Staff   7/31/12 (3 years ago)
  • Thanks Ben.

    Posted by Mangotastic 7/31/12 (3 years ago)
  • I agree, having about 20 words as the definition just makes me forget what the word really means at all.

    Posted by allhailshiggy 8/28/12 (3 years ago)
  • I kind of wish that MemRise would add an "advanced definition" feature or something like that. Initially I agree that it's confusing if left with lots of options, but given that many words can indeed mean a variety of things in the end some of these others seem important. The following discussion seems kind of relevant:

    Posted by Dave114 9/1/12 (3 years ago)
  • @Dave114, this is in fact going to be totally possible under the new structure that we are rolling out for the new site. You will be able to add extra fields to the wikis much more easily, and then when you create a course, you wil be able to specify which definitions are tested on. So you would be able to introduce the main definitions first, and then start testing on the more advanced definitions later on.

    I am going to be opening up the new course creation tools to a small number of beta testers very soon, so let me know if you would be interested in making a course with the new tools and I can set you up.

    Best wishes


    Posted by BenWhately Staff   9/1/12 (3 years ago)

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