Before today, I was relatively happy with it. There are some problems with the system, some odd translations and frustrating rules, but all in all, it's not a bad way to learn a language, and the fact that it's free makes it wonderfully accessible.
But wait ... there's more.
This afternoon, I was working on the simple "adjectives" section of my French program when I noticed something interesting in relation to adjectives such as "fat," "round," and "large." They were only used in relation to women. For example, I was asked to translate "The woman is big" and "The woman is large" and "The girl is round." Never was the man any of these things. The man was "nice," "tall" and "handsome." I even had to type "Je suis une baliene" at one point. Want to know what that means? It means "I am a whale."
If you read my work, you know that I'm trying to recover from an Eating Disorder. So maybe I'm more sensitive to this garbage than other people, but nonetheless, sensitive or not, it sure doesn't help.
What did I do? I decided to complain in the comments/forum. I regret it.
Here the first comment I received in response, from a fellow language-learner who calls himself "Zeimer."
Here's a link to Zeimer's profile. Unfortunately, it doesn't tell me anything about him besides the fact that he's working on various language programs and doing reasonably well. Luckily, his comment tells me all I need to know about both the Duolingo community and the man himself. He's an awful person and Duolingo really doesn't care about moderating bigotry in their community. Pillars of humanity like Zeimer are allowed run wild with their offensive, ignorant nonsense.
So will Duolingo help you learn a language? Probably. But being part of the Duolingo community might not be worth it. I'd pay not to have to rub virtual shoulders with folks like Zeimer, that's for sure.