Writing better spaced repetition cards

How can I make better flashcards? While reviewing, I usually notice that some % of cards bother me after a few reviews (usually it’s when the previous review was a few months ago).

Thought about this today and realized that these problematic cards fall into a few buckets:

  1. Card is no longer relevant to my goals. solution: delete card
  2. Card has untapped potential / unexplored, interesting areas. solution: add more cards
  3. Card is not well-designed

Let’s talk about 3. A well-designed card has a few features. There are a few somewhat agreed upon ideas: cards must be atomic, try not to have orphans etc.

Yet, I believe that a large determinant for good design depends on the domain-specific knowledge that the card may contain. How then to get better?

One strategy I have tried is that before every Anki review session, I remind myself that there is a threefold purpose in the process. 1) remembering/learning 2) training focus 3) getting better at writing cards.

By flagging bad cards, I can opportunistically improve these cards later on. All it takes is the mindset during review that card writing is a skill to be learned.