[Feature Discussion] Paid Decks

This is not really a short-term feature discussion, and I can totally understand when people think it’s a terrible idea. So please discuss freely :slight_smile: It is maybe even an extension to the business model Kitsun might have … [maybe it’s even on the roadmap already somewhere?]

So the idea is to have the option for decks that require a one time payment, or maybe a monthly fee. Kitsun should handle the payment and act like an “App Store” for discovering decks. I’m not really aware of a service like that, and it may attract more high-quality decks from people who cannot spend time working for free.

Another option would be a monthly flat rate for all decks, with payment according to usage (what services like Spotify are probably using?).

Kitsun can provide a level of protection because the download of whole decks could be restricted (but some way of keep using it with a “lifetime” purchase should be there). It should certainly provide an increase the number of decks, and keep the decks in top shape.

Downsides would probably legal and payment issues en masse, but when Kitsun is taking a share of the fees it could pay of nicely when enough people are using it.

What do you think? Are there already services like this I am not aware of?


This actually is on the roadmap already. We’ve been discussing it quite a bit in the past.

I think the main giveaway so far is the following:

  • There needs to be a good base of free quality decks first. Something I wish to stimulate by inviting (anki) content creators directly. Having only paid decks is not going to work I think (when you consider that Kitsun will be sub based already).

  • I 100% agree that it would allow for really good quality decks as it gives an extra incentive to the creators to perfect their decks. They could even be working as a professional team to create a deck together. Imagine having something like WK as a paid deck on Kitsun. They wouldn’t have to bother with servers/programming and can completely focus on creating content. Another option would be for Raionus to sell his Floflo books data as paid decks. Just to name a few examples.

As @jprspereira once said: ‘Kitsun could become the Amazon of Flashcard Decks’.

Stripe has a payment service specifically for marketplaces, so I think it is quite doable to implement.

Anyways, I think it would definitely open up new possibilities, but it should not damage the users. There needs to be a good base of free content before this will become a reality in my opinion.

If Kitsun ever becomes successful, my personal goal is to hire a team for development AND a team for content creation.


Good to hear, I wasn’t following too closely on the discussion on WK. But judging from what is for example available at the Anki shared decks I wouldn’t wait too long for quality free decks, most stuff I found was either auto-generated or straight out of copyrighted sources (but maybe I’m just searching the wrong way, I was never really interested in Anki :slight_smile:)

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Here’s my 2 yen on it:

Like Neicudi said, I think we should be careful in allowing paid decks to exist, at least for now. Having a double paywall might scare people off. A lot already doubt that Kitsun will work because Anki is free and “good enough”. Around launch time, the more new users get to focus on the stuff that Kitsun has and Anki doesn’t, the better.

However, I :100: understand that making quality decks require a lot of time and focus, and that should be rewarded. One strong principle of Kitsun over any other SRS, is that the :fox_face: cares more about the creators than any other SRS platform. So how do we allow creators to be compensated for their contributions to Kitsun without giving users the impression that Kitsun is Pay2Use obsession?

  • Right now, the people making decks out there basically have a patreon page, and people subscribe to it.
  • FloFlo has patreon connected to their website (through an API, I guess) where it gives exclusive tools to Patreons.
  • Kitsun could use the same principle: patreon users would access exclusive decks. They would only have to connect their Kitsun account to their Patreon one and that’s it.

With this, only people willing to pay for decks get to see paid decks on Kitsun. Like I said, I think this is just a different way of interpreting paid decks. I still agree with having Pay2Use decks inside Kitsun, but not now. Kitsun still needs to get past the subscription barrier within the JP learning community.

NOW, I think the real value of my Patreon idea is in attracting more creators to Kitsun, which is what we need right now. Until now, what apparent selling point did Kitsun have to creators? Another platform to manage? Extra work? Sure, it’s cool for the followers/fan base because the whole point is for Kitsun to become what any other SRS platform didn’t. But direct benefits to creators until now? None.

Until this idea.

Think about it: you can’t export decks from Kitsun. If you paid for a deck, you can’t share it with your 101 friends (or even share it on reddit). What this Patreon idea offers is protection to creator’s content (with the benefit of not freaking new users out with the 2 wall payment). By using this “tool” and giving access of certain decks to only those that are subscribed to their Patreon, they’re being guaranteed that their content is protected and that it’s the price of 1 for 1 person only. This is an awesome selling point when recruiting new creators to start experimenting with Kitsun imo.

This won’t affect Kitsun’s marketplace in the future because of scalability. You’ll be able to make more money by exposing your deck to the whole Kitsun’s userbase than having a patreon account.


Good points, but I feel that the first paywall needs a stronger justification than the second one. Having a few kick-ass Kitsun-only decks might be a strong incentive, maybe you could get a few decks for free (aka paid by Kitsun) as a new user to get things started. Users normally don’t really care about technical benefits, but a good reputation, design, or content.

It’s a hen and egg problem, basically :slight_smile:

I would interpret your idea as a hidden “Kitsun Premium”, and I feel that this would hide away the “good stuff”. Of course if Kitsun is already full of great free content it’s not a problem, but as you said the content must probably already exist and be available for Anki etc. anyways because there are no extra incentives.

[Maybe if the “deck store” makes enough money it might be possible to lower the first paywall in the end?]


I agree. But tell someone that there’s 2 paywalls before they even pay for the first one and things get even worse, imo.

I think Kitsun is still missing out on some key features before launch. Like, I think the Jisho implementation will be a very strong selling point, no doubt. I also think that it’s tough for creators having to edit everything by themselves. That’s why the feature “collaboration on deck creation” is important as well.

It is! To attract creators, you need users. To attract users, you need creators making decks.

That’s why I focused on making my suggestion into an advantage for creators without freaking users out. The patreon thing is something that at least 2 active creators of Japanese decks are doing, so taking the leap and trying Kitsun out won’t feel like you’re giving away that much:

At the end of the day, I do think we should get more creators on board to discuss this. Probably starting with those 2, since they seem pretty active.

I do think this is possible with scalability. Time will tell. But it’s better to start at a higher price and then reduce it than the other way around. Neicudi already made sure to take that into consideration. Plus, if we compare Kitsun with other tools (WK, Bunpro), the pricing isn’t that far off. Kitsun will be $1.50 cheaper than WK per month.

One question: Are you thinking of becoming a creator as well? I’m wondering, because viewing your opinion as an user or as someone that actually intends to create might be something important to be aware of :slight_smile:

At the moment I’m just creating things for myself in a way that can be used by others :slight_smile: For example Keisei and Niai in WK are there because I wanted to use that info and things got out of hand. But lately I feel that I am spacing out a bit, like adding new kanji to Keisei or tinkering with algorithms to get good similar kanji for Niai. When it exceed a direct usefulness for me I tend to move on, even if changes are much easier when everything is already in place …

For Kitsun I’m very interested to see what you can do with SVG, but (for example) if my geography deck for Japan gets good interest I would still need a kick to do one for US states or whatever people may want that I’m not so interested in.

[Huge decks like “kanji by phonetics” or something is something I’m not really thinking about :wink:]

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I see paid decks more like something Kitsun could eventually offer once the system can stand on its own (aka generate enough money to cover costs/hiring people).

The first ‘paywall’ needs to be there in order to cover those kind of costs and might become redundant once we implement paid decks. Making paid decks the main business model is reliant on having a large and active base of users, whereas with subs, it’s a lot easier to cover the initial costs.

I 100% agree with @jprspereira that having two paywalls would scare off potential users. Right now every content creator has their own patreon page. They could privately share their decks with their patreon followers on Kitsun (by generating a one-time-use link). I think that this is a fine alternative until we eventually implement paid decks.

Basically, I dont think we can do without the first paywall, because we need it before we can think of transitioning to a second paywall.

The main problem is getting content creators on board. For them to come, we need a large userbase, but the large userbase only comes once there’s good content. So yeah, egg and chicken? :stuck_out_tongue:

Luckily not everyone comes here to use community decks, and some users like creating and sharing decks in general.

I think we can further motivate content creation by giving special rewards or benefits to creators.


I want to clarify that when I say I want to eventually hire a team for content creation, I mean that those decks would be free and included in Kitsun subs by default :slight_smile:


But, have you contacted them yet? :eyes:

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You know exactly who I have and haven’t contacted :eyes:

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At the risk of gettting of getting myself in trouble here, I want to float some of the things that this claim makes me think about.

  1. To what extent are the content creators here creating their own content versus modifying content that others have created? If a deck has origins in content that was authored by another entitity is the deck in compliance with the express and implied rights of those entities? For instance if the deck was partly based on content of an Anki deck and then modified, to what extent does Kitsun.io get involved to ensure the rights of the original content creators are not infringed.

  2. What is the basis for the claim of “more than any other SRS platform?” Which platforms exactly because there are a lot? Anki, Memrise? Anyone who has dug around trying to figure out which (of several similair decks) to use from Anki Web may have seen there can be a lot of strife in the Anki community stemming from one user modifying the work of another and then posting the modified deck without attribution. Did Anki not care enough to get involved there? Does Kitsun caring more imply that the situation would pan out differently?

  3. Could we say that the Kitsun platform has been shaped by elements of other SRS platforms like Anki which are available for free, open source, and allow users to freely modify and manage their own study materials. Also, doesn’t it seem like the current user base is based on the community of another competing SRS platform, WaniKani? Could we suggest that elements of Kitsun and to some extent the decks hosted on Kitsun are present in the WaniKani platform? I have always thought WK was being fair to creators of Kitsun in that respect because not every organization would permit others to build and promote what could be considered a competing platform within its own. To that extent couldn’t we suggest that WK seems to care about the creators of and on the Kitsun platform? Would Kitsun similarly allow what could be considered a competing platform to be developed in its community forum?

  4. If Kitsun were to operate as a free platform I think the above questions would have a lot less merit, but it’s not. And unlike Anki in particular its users will not have the same ability to manage the content they are paying for. It is not my opinion that Kitsun should operate as a free platform. However, as a paid platform, wouldn’t we say that the bar is higher? Do we think that paying users of the Kitsun platform have a right to know that the content they are paying to access is in compliance with the rights of all constituents for any material that is not part of public domain?

  5. The claim that content creators work hard is one that I agree with. The claim that content creators should be rewarded is a gray area to me. If someone develops and publishes a resource I think their intellectual property rights should be respected. Beyond that, I think there’s room to say that everyone should manage their expectations appropriately. I mean, being rewarded, which is distinct from compensation, is not something that is reasonable to expect in general, right? It’s great when it happens, but you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and arguably a bit naive if you are doing free work with the expectation of future reward.


Having a proper discussion is never a bad thing, don’t worry.

  1. So far we have a mix of content. Some comes from anki decks (ex: 10k), some comes from creators (either from wordlists or actually manually creating cards while consuming content).
    As you state, it’s a very gray area. E.g. I would not allow sharing WK’s content on Kitsun whereas I wouldn’t mind if it’s a genki deck (because it’s a wordlist, which is not the basis of the whole genki package).

  2. I do not wish to moderate decks in general, however, when we are talking about paid decks, there must be some moderation. If someone extracts the content of a deck and reuploads it with a lower price, then that wouldn’t be fair. I think that having a report system and going case by case would work there.

  3. The Kitsun platform has definitely been influenced greatly by other SRS platforms.
    The current userbase is 90% WK users, the reason for that is that the WK forums is the only website I’ve posted on about Kitsun so far. This will soon change since Kitsun is nearly at a state that I feel confident enough to post elsewhere and to launch it in general.
    As for competing with WK: In my opinion Kitsun does not compete with them. WK’s main selling point is the content that they bring, not the actual system (imo). That content will not be available on Kitsun. WK has been very friendly and supportive of this project and I plan to keep it that way :slight_smile:

  4. How would you want to raise the bar exactly? I don’t mean this in a sarcastic way btw!

  5. I agree with your comments here. But I do think that content creators should be rewarded if they invest a lot of time in creating content and they personally want to be rewarded for it. Expecting to be rewarded is something else though. But eventually this would be up to the buyer to decide whether or not the effort so far would be worth the money that’s being asked for the deck.

So yeah, just my quick view on this. I think you bring some very valid arguments to the discussion :slight_smile:


Good point

Moderation for example, which you addressed :slight_smile:

The other aspect is related to content editing rights, but tangent to the questions I have raised so far in this topic. I’m not seeking for you to concede or justify your stance, I don’t envy having to juggle everyone’s demands and I already believe you are more than fair in that regard. So what follows can just be taken as a monologue, if I really feel like I want you to address a particular point, I’ll do that in a later reply as needed.

As a user of a community deck, I think I should have all the editing capabilities for that deck as the original author. There’s two sides to that coin, for sure. Some users are better off staying downstream of the author and picking up on their mods. Other users however are better branching off, losing access to future improvements by the author and editing the deck as they see fit.

For myself, I desire less control over the content (let’s say the values of the fields and the notes/cards themselves) but I want full control over the presentation style. To me, most of the content is authored by folks that are clearly more expert than I am with the language, I want them to call the shots there. When it comes to style and formatting they are not experts, and sometimes they fall into the common trap of going overboard when given the opportunity. I think it would be unreasonable of me to expect them to be experts in that area.

Also the language experts tend to include some features that are useful to users with more language proficiency, but are just clutter and distraction for the less experienced. I’m not ready for a 和>和 dictionary yet.

I have taken as shot at it, but I’m no longer interested in trying to explain interface design principles to a content author. Twelve buttons going across the screen might be someone’s idea of utility, but to someone else it’s UX hell. Nor do I think content authors should have to juggle those concerns. It’s frustratingly difficult to praise someone on one hand for all the great work they’ve put into the deck and at the same time say the formatting needs major changes. I just want to say thanks for the fantastic content and go on applying whatever presentation changes I see fit and leave it at that.

On Kitsun, if I want to tweak the way one side of the card looks, I should have as much control over that as the original author of the deck. For myself, I think Anki is a little clunky, but the actual experience while studying is fine, and I can tweak it to my needs. But Anki is seemingly infamous for more than just its interface. As a developer and someone who reads patch notes, I got a strong impression of how bad Anki syncing could wreck your day, and I am very careful and deliberate about how I sync on the occasions that I need to.

So to me I see Kitsun with a brighter future in terms of content, but considering how much backlogged Anki content I have, if I had to decide today, I wouldn’t pay to access what I consider to be roughly the same decks that I’m using. The part of me that would be willing to pay so that I wouldn’t have to deal with platform migration, is overshadowed by the part of me that prefers to manage my own versions of notes/templates/layouts to suit my changing needs.

I hear you loud and clear, and I think that’s a good direction


The main point I wanted to make was that it should be possible that something you created will be paid later. As you can see on the internet people are not willing to pay for stuff they want and know operator is having a loss. I don’t think that reuploads from Anki or “I’ve extracted 10000 words from jmdict” would make lots of money. A way to make sure is to allow only original content, at least you should have to demonstrate that you created it.

But I think that there are lots of decks not in existence because people don’t want to run their own web shop for the 500¥ or whatever deck they might have, what would be bought in an App Store without a second thought, but not really the “let’s create an account with payment details on another website where I can make monthly payments that I will have to cancel soon because I actually just want to cover the ¥500” :slight_smile:

It’s also worth discussing if you need to be able to edit everything. Once you pay you are more entitled to request improvements. You should spend time learning and not playing with CSS or whatever (what the majority of users won’t do anyway).

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As for editing layouts of community decks. Private link sharing which would allow for a full personal copy is still in the planning. That way you get the whole deck. Perhaps you would be able to discuss this with the author before buying, or it could be a more expensive option?

Like… pay x to use the deck, pay y to have complete control of the deck. That way the author can decide whether they want to give control over their content or not.

Although. Perhaps a feature which would allow for personal layouts wouldnt be so bad either:

  • Personal Layout X replaces Community Layout X in this deck

Would this solve it for you or would you still prefer complete control ala the previously mentioned personal deck copy?


i think the whole paid deck idea is pretty bogus. best use case i can imagine is people using it as a front end for selling their saucy self portraits or tips on “how to become a millionaire” or other similar nonsense.

I don’t think it’s nonsense, as long as the decks have quality. People are already selling decks through methods like Patreon. It works because they actually have quality. If you think of Wanikani, it’s just a deck with quite some high quality.

At the end of the day, the market will decide: the poor quality decks wouldn’t sell.

However, having decks integrated on Kitsun would help creators protect their work without having to build a whole platform around it (like the Tofugu company did with Wanikani). I think it’s a very valid idea for the future, once Kitsun grows more into the mainstream.


is the kitsun interface basically a clone of wanikani or is wanikani a clone of something that came before?

I posted a question about something similar. I just want to be able to twick layouts, not decks, after copying them. It’s fine if you make people pay the layouts and the decks but I it’ll be really nice if we could at least change the background colour of cards and add or remove fields on layouts that we copied privately. At least for the basic kitsun layouts. Then have some premium ones maybee ?

I get the part where releasing your own twick to the community can be tricky. Not my intention. Just want a quick way to make decks for myself and not lose too much time on making layouts from scratch just for one little twick like colour or field.

What does the fox god say ?

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Please take a look at my reply, I believe it answers your questions:

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