Mass Immersion Approach

Low-Key Anki: Summary and Installation

Summary

Although some lapses are due to inappropriate ease factors (ease factor lapses), in most cases, a majority of lapses are due to the proper functioning of the forgetting curve (anticipated lapses). In default Anki, anticipated lapses are unjustly penalized in the form of ease factor reduction, harming efficiency and wasting time.

If the intrinsic difficulty of the different cards in a deck is largely homogeneous, then removing the feature of ease factors altogether with the No Penalties or Boosting add-on will lead to a large increase in efficiency, as anticipated lapsed will no longer be unjustly penalized.

If the intrinsic difficulty of the different cards in a deck is not largely homogeneous, then it may be possible to create homogeneity artificially by splitting the deck into multiple subdecks based on the type of card. For language learning, this should be possible in nearly all cases.

When using the No Penalties or Boosting add-on, instead of controlling interval growth on the basis of individual cards with ease factors, we control interval growth on the basis of entire decks with the Interval Modifier.

When reviewing, if you don’t know a card well enough to grade it “good,” then you need to decrease the interval so that you have an opportunity to learn it better. The hard button doesn’t make sense, because it actually increases the interval. So instead, we set a high “New Interval” after lapse, such that the “again” button does what the hard button should do: decrease the interval just enough to allow for memory optimization. Most of the time, when we “forget” something, we only partially forget, not fully forget, so we don’t need to reset the interval back to zero.

A low leech threshold then allows us to swiftly weed out relatively intrinsically difficult cards that are subject to becoming ease factor lapses, as well as the minority of anticipated lapses that truly deserve to get sent back to square one, such that we can reformat/reset/delete them and kept them from harming efficiency. In this way, the “again” button becomes our new “hard” button, and leeches become our new “again” button.

By removing the easy button along with the hard button with the Pass/Fail add-on, we can minimize decision fatigue by reducing grading to an obvious binary: either you already know the card as well as you would like, and press “good” (pass), or you would like to know it better than you currently do, and press “again” (fail).

In conclusion, using the Low-Key Anki setup has two benefits. First, by removing unjust penalties from anticipated lapses, and replacing the “hard” button with an “again” button armed with a high “New Interval” at lapse, the algorithm becomes optimized, allowing one to learn more in less time, and remember what they learn better. Second, by making grading binary, and reducing the consequences of forgetting by removing ease factor penalties and setting a high “New Interval” after lapse, decision fatigue is minimized, and reviewing becomes less stressful.

Installation (Anki 2.0)

Here you will find a link to a zip file with three files in it. Each of these files is an Anki add-on. To install them, in Anki, go to “Tools > Add-ons > Open Add-ons Folder…”, and drag the three files into the folder that opens. When you install an add-on the traditional way, by copying the download code from the Anki website and pasting it into “Tools > Add-ons > Browse & Install…”, all that really happens is that the add-on file is downloaded and placed into this folder.

No_Penalties_or_Boosting.py is a modified version of the original “Low Stakes Anki: No Penalties or Boosting” add-on created by ja-dark. In ja-dark’s original version, the “New Interval” setting in the deck options is overwritten, automatically making the new interval of lapsed cards 100% of the previous interval. This modified version will not override the “New Interval” setting in the deck options, so whatever is in the deck options will be used. Credit goes to Lucas AKA Yoga for the modification.

PassFail.py is a copy of the “Low Key Anki: Pass/Fail” add-on created by ja-dark. It will replace the standard four answer buttons with simply “pass” and “fail.” When the add-on is installed, “2” (on the keyboard) will function as a hotkey for “pass,” and “1” will function as a hotkey for “fail” (the add-on accounts for the fact that the original hotkey for “pass” changes depending on whether a card is in the review or learning queue: “3” for review and “2” for learning.) If you are studying Japanese and would like to replace the words “pass” and “fail” with their Japanese translation, “当たり” and “外れ,” here is a modified version of the add-on.

ResetEZ.py is an add-on that was created by YogaPants, and modified by omgUnicorns. ResetEZ resets the ease factor of all the cards in your collection to the default value of 250%. You can run the add-on by going to “Tools > Reset Ease + Force Sync After”. Make sure all your devices are already synced before running the add-on, as the add-on will automatically initiate a “force changes in one direction” sync (a “full” sync where a window pops-up asking whether you would like to “Upload to AnkiWeb” or “Download from AnkiWeb”). The reason for this is that Anki won’t upload the ease factor changes made by the add-on with a normal sync. There are two uses for this add-on. The first is to undo damage that was caused by overusing the “hard” button prior to adopting the Low-Key Anki setup. In other words, to swiftly escape from “ease hell.” The other use concerns using Anki on mobile devices, which I will address in the next section.

Installation (Anki 2.1)

Here you will find a link to a zip file with three folders in it. Each of these folders is an Anki add-on. To install them, place the three folders in the following directory: C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Anki2\addons21. When you install an add-on the traditional way, by copying the download code from the Anki website and pasting it into “Tools > Add-ons > Get Add-ons…”, all that really happens is that the add-on folder is downloaded and placed in this directory.

No Penalties or Boosting is an add-on for Anki 2.1 which was created to mimic the effects of the Anki 2.0 add-on “No_Penalties_or_Boosting.py.” When this add-on is installed, whenever the backside of a card is shown while reviewing, the ease factor of that card will be reset to 250.

PassFail is an Anki 2.1 recreation of the Anki 2.0 add-on “Low Key Anki: Pass/Fail” by ja-dark. It will replace the standard four answer buttons with simply “pass” and “fail.” When the add-on is installed, “2” (on the keyboard) will function as a hotkey for “pass,” and “1” will function as a hotkey for “fail” (the add-on accounts for the fact that the original hotkey for “pass” changes depending on whether a card is in the review or learning queue: “3” for review and “2” for learning.) If you are studying Japanese and would like to replace the words “pass” and “fail” with their Japanese translation, “当たり” and “外れ,” here is a modified version of the add-on.

ResetEZ is an add-on that was created by YogaPants, and modified by omgUnicorns. ResetEZ resets the ease factor of all the cards in your collection to the default value of 250%. You can run the add-on by going to “Tools > Reset Ease + Force Sync After”. Make sure all your devices are already synced before running the add-on, as the add-on will automatically initiate a “force changes in one direction” sync (a “full” sync where a window pops-up asking whether you would like to “Upload to AnkiWeb” or “Download from AnkiWeb”). The reason for this is that Anki won’t upload the ease factor changes made by the add-on with a normal sync. There are two uses for this add-on. The first is to undo damage that was caused by overusing the “hard” button prior to adopting the Low-Key Anki setup. In other words, to swiftly escape from “ease hell.” The other use concerns using Anki on mobile devices, which I will address in the next section.