What is the best way to deal with semi-leeches

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From: WojtekTM
Country: Poland
Sent: Sept, 7th, 2017
Subject: What is the best way to deal with semi-leeches


As I have dealt with leeches and my R-metric still remains below 0, I have decided to fight against semi-leeches. I have enabled dialog popup window to open at semi-leech.

What should I do if:

  • I know the word (grade 5-4, maybe 3)? I usually Postpone it by the number of days suggested by SM17 algorithm
  • I don't know the word (grades 1 or 2)? I usually postpone it by default 50 days and improve the item (reword it, add picture etc.). Does the next repetition lenght matter (e.g. 5 days vs 80 days)?

If I just grade the item, the popup will appear on the next repetition of the item and I want to avoid it. Will semi-leech remain a semi-leech forever?


  • please remember that negative metric does not mean you do not learn well. It only indicates that SuperMemo's recall predictions are imperfect. In other words, it is not your chief parameter to monitor. Number of leeches are a better target
  • rescheduling an item into the future makes sense only once or twice, e.g. to break a "bad memory". The second postpone should be longer, naturally. As long as you think you need to forget the wrong association (20 days or 200 days, you will know better). However, after doing the postpone 2-3 times, you need to think hard how to reformulate (you could list an example troublesome item for help)
  • semi-leech is likely to bother you for long but in increasing intervals
  • proposition: ignore semi-leeches (if you have annoyingly many) and focus on leeches (esp. using 20 rules)