Announcements

The VT Spelling Bee, Now Even Better!

Since we launched the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee this past summer, we've been delighted to see how much you've all been playing it. The numbers tell the tale: so far about 500,000 words have been spelled by about 15,000 players. All of that player data has allowed us to improve the Bee on a continuous basis: every five minutes, words are rescored for difficulty taking into account the latest results from spellers. We've made some additional changes to fit the Bee to different skill levels, in order it make it an even more challenging and educational experience for players of all ages and abilities.

When you start playing the Bee now, your first word is going to be on the easy side. If you get that right, the next word will be significantly harder, and the jumps in difficulty will proceed quickly from there. We're starting with simple-to-spell words so that the Bee can be played even by young children who are just beginning to get the hang of the trickiness of English spelling. But that won't deter more advanced spellers, because you'll get to the very difficult words even more quickly than before if you keep answering correctly. We hope that this provides a better user experience for players on both ends of the spectrum of spelling ability.

As before, if you get a word wrong, you can expect to see it pop up again later in the quiz. But now we don't start reintroducing words that were misspelled until you get at least four words right. This is also to encourage younger spellers to keep playing, without them having to go back to tough words they get wrong early on. Our goal is to allow everyone to reach a challenging level -- where you're getting about half the words right and half the words wrong -- as quickly as possible.

On the main page for the Bee, we're still keeping track of which individual VT subscribers are the cream of the spelling crop. The top ten spellers of the day are ranked, and we also have replaced our All Time Top 10 with a rolling 30-day Top 10. So even if you make it to the Top 10 Speller list (earning a "bee" badge next to your name), you'll have to stay on your toes and keep competing when your score expires in 30 days.

As always, we'd love to hear any suggestions you have for improving the Bee. Let us know by leaving a comment below or by clicking here. Now get back to spelling!


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Comments from our users:

Saturday November 29th 2008, 7:41 PM
Comment by: Nathan L.
Thanks so much for "clabber".

As an "expat" I enjoy the Visual Thesaurus and the richness of English from St. Petersburg, Russia.

In Russian culture (no pun intended), "prostokvasha" is pretty common, but as a native speaker of English, I just assumed that it was one of those "cultural disconnects"--something not shared. Now I know that the English for "prostokvasha" is "clabber."

Thanks.
Nathan

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Four months ago, we announced the launch of the Bee.