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Update on Forum Situation

  Tags: Forums | HTLAL
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
48 messages over 6 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6  Next >>
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 Message 1 of 48
21 August 2015 at 6:54pm | IP Logged 
Firstly thank you so much for the patience you have
shown! Sadly, we have not heard from FX. So here is
the Mods' statement:

For the last few years, we've been hoping to get in
touch with the administrator of the site, so that
we can offer to help him keep it online, and to
upgrade it if necessary. The few times that we've
been in touch, it's always been a true pleasure to
speak with him, but he has declined to talk about
his future plans for the site.

So barring a change of course, we predict that the
future will look like the past. The site will
remain remain online, except for occasional
outages. When serious problems occur, the
administrator will almost certainly continue to
invest the time needed to get it back online.

But in the long run, new signups have been
declining steadily since 2012, and they now rest at
about around a quarter to a third of their peak.
New posts are down by half. Part of the problem
seems to be that the sign-up system is broken—we've
heard from some really interesting language
learners who've been trying to sign up for many
years without ever making it past the spam filters.
If current trends continue, some forum regulars
will continue to drift away, as people do when
their lives change, but fewer and fewer new users
will arrive to replace them.

This is an amazing community, but the long long-
term decline of the forum isn't good for anybody.

In the past, whenever the forum has gone offline,
somebody has usually set up a temporary forum for a
week or so until things got sorted out. Afterwards,
the temporary forum was always shut down. This
time, we left the temporary forum up, hoping to use
it as a test-bed for possible upgrades to the main
HTLAL site. It turns out that we have several
people who are able to contribute money, time, and
technical talent—more than enough to either upgrade
the current site, or to create a new one.

But we didn't hear back from the administrator, and
at the request of many forum members, we set a
deadline for making some actual decisions.

The facts on the ground are these:

1. We have an existing forum, which we expect to be
around for years to come. Lots of folks like it,
and are happy to remain there. These folks include
several very active and widely-loved community

2. We have a new forum, where many community
members are very happy, and where several long-time
HLTAL lurkers—some of whom have been fighting with
the signup system for years—have started some
really great logs.

The folks using (2) have been waiting in limbo to
see if there's any way we can use the technology of
the new forum to upgrade the existing one. We chose
to put an end date on this waiting process. And so
the time has come to admit that we can't roll the
experimental site back into the existing one, and
we can't shut it down, at least not without leaving
some great new users homeless, and not without
disappointing long-time users who have been asking
for a roadmap for the future.

So going forward, this community will have two
sites. Anybody is always welcome to post at either
or both, as they wish. The rules will be consistent
between the sites.

For those folks who choose to use the new site,
some changes are planned for the immediate future:

1. The domain name and the new site title will
change. (Old links will continue to work for a

2. The new site will undergo several technical and
visual upgrades in the coming weeks. And since we
have more technical control over the site, the
community has been actively discussing ideas like
new language profiles, open source tools, and
possibly even some sort of group blog where forum
members can republish their most popular posts.
It's all still very much up in the air, of course,
and it will take us a while to discuss the ideas
and see who volunteers to make them happen.

3. We do not want the new site to have any "single
points of failure". We currently have three
programmers working on the new site's software. We
plan to make sure that neither the domain name, nor
any other technical assets, are dependent on a
single person's availability. We're still working
out the administrative details of this, and we hope
to make further announcements in coming weeks.
Right now, we're actively investigating setting up
a non-profit and getting professional advice on how
to do it right.

For the immediate future, the sites will have the
same rules, and the same moderation policies. The
existing setup has some faults, but we'd prefer to
move cautiously, and to not tinker too much with
something that usually works fairly well. In a time
of change, one big danger is trying to change
everything at once. But things will change,
cautiously, and—we hope—for the better.

Of course, if you're happy with how things are now,
there's no need to change anything—Iversen will
still be on HTLAL, still continuing his log. The
moderators have all offered to stay on.

Honestly, this isn't the outcome we were hoping
for. We hoped that we could offer to help out with
the existing forum's software, and that we could
help with a plan for its future.

But there are some good things about the current
plan, too. The existing site will be here, and
people will continue to use it. But the community
now also has a second home, with a smoother signup
process for new users, and we're working to make
sure it never relies on any single person to keep
it running. And all forum members are always
welcome to post on either site, or both. If the
existing site ever goes down, everybody is welcome
to hang out on the new site for the duration. Think
of it as the community owning a vacation home in
another country, perhaps. :-)

For those of you using the second forum, we will
have more technical and organizational
announcements soon!

Emk, Rhian, Meramarina, Jeff_lindqvist, Iversen and
52 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5681 days ago

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Studies: Polish

 Message 2 of 48
21 August 2015 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
Massive thanks guys, for all the hard work you've put in to keeping the community going. Thanks also for the clear and understandable updates.
10 persons have voted this message useful

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 Message 3 of 48
27 August 2015 at 11:52am | IP Logged 
I think a separate, prominently visible notice (sticky thread like the others we have) should be put in place stating the problems with the sign up process and so on, so potential new users of this old site have a fair chance of knowing what to expect and decide for themselves whether to try and join the community here anyway or head for the new forum.

Edit: I see this is now an 'important topic' at the top of the general subforum, so maybe all that is necessary now is some background information for newbies in the first post, like 'FX = site founder and admin', links to the new forum, and possibly some other minor details.

Edited by mrwarper on 27 August 2015 at 12:10pm

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Russian Federation
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 Message 4 of 48
01 September 2015 at 7:28am | IP Logged 
In case anyone didn't notice, this forum was down again for a few days last week. Nobody knows why.
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 6767 days ago

275 posts - 300 votes 
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 Message 5 of 48
11 September 2015 at 1:25am | IP Logged 
I'm one of those people who drifted away, and haven't posted for years, but I'm hoping to get working on my languages again and was glad to see that the forum is still alive.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
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 Message 6 of 48
11 September 2015 at 2:24pm | IP Logged 
Alive yes, but awfully quiet compared to what it was just a few years ago.
2 persons have voted this message useful

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United Kingdom
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 Message 7 of 48
06 October 2015 at 4:55pm | IP Logged 
I guess I am one of those who drifted away, although it was more due to personal
pressures than anything to do with the forum.

Where is the new forum please?

4 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5681 days ago

707 posts - 1219 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish

 Message 8 of 48
06 October 2015 at 5:21pm | IP Logged 
montmorency wrote:
I guess I am one of those who drifted away, although it was more due to personal
pressures than anything to do with the forum.

Where is the new forum please?


Here: Language Learners' Forum

Edited by Mooby on 06 October 2015 at 5:22pm

3 persons have voted this message useful

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