These are both planned features, but I'd like to discuss how they'd work best for you all.
A button in the schedule settings that will "reset" the "ready to study" numbers. Say you have a schedule with 400 terms to study each day (usually 50), and you need to bring that down. This button would, ideally, scatter the terms that are ready to be study over a specific period of time.
So, let's say you haven't been able to keep up, and you have those 400 terms to study, but the next 14 days have roughly 40-60 terms each day (your normal amount). This button would take the 400, keep 50 of them, and scatter the rest over a period. If it was 10 days, you'd get roughly 35 terms added to each of those days, making it much easier to maintain.
Issues: If it moves those 350 terms, then the average number will go up for the defined period, so there isn't really a way to scatter them and maintain that 50 terms a day. It will be higher for the period, then drop back down to the average. This seems unavoidable.
Also, thinking on what options should be present. I don't want to make it too complicated, but I'm thinking a button + a field for number of days to scatter (default to 20). It would calculate for you roughly the number of terms that'd be added each day.
This will be per schedule. If a default number of days goes by where that schedule doesn't get studied, it'll automatically get frozen retroactively.
Example: Say your auto-freeze is set at 5 days. You're nailing the vocab schedule every day, but lose track of the kanji one. On day 5, the kanji schedule will be frozen, with the freeze date set to day 1. So, when you are ready to unfreeze it, it won't be overloaded.
Thoughts on either/both of these features are appreciated!
You, as far as I can tell, though, are in a pattern that works for you. These are going to be more targeted towards those who are earlier on in their studies, where not having this could (and has been) the reason to stop studying altogether.
Ideally, you study what you need to study, and any tinkering with the SRS system is not good. However, I would argue that tinkering is worthwhile if it's "less than ideal usage of SRS for learning" vs. "giving up on learning".
Years Studied: not enough Studying: second half of N4, but I'm preparing to re-study all N5-N4 grammar
好 : 47
Regarding schedule balance,
The people I immediately think of are those who are trying to partition their time before exams/evaluations. I see threads pop up frequently about study habits, and one of the most common suggestions is to plan on the last week or two being for review only.
If they've slipped far enough that they'd be using this, I'd expect them to be thinking in terms like calendar visuals／target "caught up" dates／"before I need to do the last week or two of reviews".
Given that, combined with them likely being tired enough to want visual help, my suggestion is a calendar picker or something that indicates along the lines of "with <user-entered> days and consistent study, your backlog will be cleared by the start of <date>"
A "catch up mode" is the kind of thing I've thought of suggesting before but didn't know how the logistics would work, so I'm excited this is a planned feature! I like the idea of being able to customize how long you need to catch up, or setting a specific date to catch up by with feedback about how many extra terms will need to be studied each day.
If I'm understanding auto-freeze correctly, would it reset the number of terms ready to study to the last time the schedule was used?
Re: auto-freeze, yea, I think so. I worry about the settings getting too crazy if it's unfreeze, and what % of days would you like to roll back become necessary. Ideally, from the dashboard, the schedule is frozen (maybe not even much of a visual change, so it just looks like it is ready to study, but the numbers don't change. Just a simple icon?)
I don't think auto-freeze would need as much customization as the schedule rebalance, just an option for how long to go before it kicks in would be good. Having an icon to show that it's in effect is a good idea, or maybe grey out the numbers or something.
Not necessarily specific to the auto-freeze feature, but it would complement it to have an indication on schedule pages of the last day the schedule was used or how many days you've gone without studying, so users could better track when the schedule will be frozen. Not sure where to put that information to avoid cluttering it up, though.
The auto freeze... so if on day N you don't study all the way to day N+5 (your example uses 5) it will freeze it. Is it freezing it back to day N or or day N+5? Either way I like this feature, sometimes I don't get a chance to study all my schedules and overloading is a problem, and I'm only just starting out really (although I am no stranger to SRS systems over many years).
The schedule rebalance, I think you're essentially suggesting spreading the backlog over a period of days/weeks when the user decides they want to burn it down? That's one way, but I was just mulling over if you could set a backlog SRS 'mode'.
I'm not sure how you are handling the SRS, on some systems you can have grades on how hard it is (like 1-5) or by how quick you answer. Whatever the system, you could tweak the spacing of the repetition. For example, if you want to burn it down slowly you could space the repetition for correct _backlog_ cards out a little longer, and bring incorrect ones back in sooner? if you were using a 1-5 system (1 very easy, 5 very hard) you could tweak each one, so 1 could go from repeated in 3 days to 5, and very hard could be repeated sooner. I don't see that here though, so I think it's just correct/incorrect?
This could be a pain to get across in a succinct way, so you would probably have to present the user with a fixed burn down over N days, which is your original solution I think, and then if you wanted to use my suggestion you could have the option of "slow backlog burndown - correct answers will appear again a little later than usual to help manage the flow" or something. "Fast backlog burndown" would essentially be the same behavior as now I think?
Hope that makes some sense, the idea of not being able to study for a week, and having a managed way to keep on top if it is very appealing. I quit WaniKani after 18months because it was impossible for me to keep on top of (busy schedule).
I cannot comment too much (leaving for Japan in 16 hours) - but there is already a way to tweak the spacings between the levels :). If you search for "mastery level" in the global settings, you can adjust these. Additionally, you can do so on a schedule by schedule basis from the schedule's settings.