Alan K
So THAT'S why there's no Community on Italki Beta...

It looks like they plan to "outsource" it to Faceplant. In fact this isn't new as such; the "new" reference in the quote below notwithstanding, the Faceplant group has been running for 7 months now and I see some familiar avatars in the member list. However based on the newsletter that I received this morning it looks like it may become "the" Italki community once Beta stops being Beta.

There are a plethora of benefits connecting to learning a language within a community.

Mmm. Like learning that "plethora" is (not are) a singular noun, and that the use of "connecting" rather than "connected" in that sentence is a bit questionable. But that aside:

Check out the new official language learning facebook group of italki 'For the love of languages'. It aims to give enthusiastic language learners the opportunity to share knowledge, get language questions answered, and receive support and motivation while learning!

"Get language questions answered"; that does indeed sound familiar. It's fine for the Answers section (I suppose) but I don't know how well it will go for the Notebook section. Not well, I suspect. I can't abide Faceplant and am not on it, but I do use its sibling Workplace (formerly Facebook At Work) which is - how shall I put this - a sub-optimal piece of software trash. Even formatting a post is a painful experience. Do you want in line graphics? Harr-harr, it is to laff. With plain text it's passable.

> Group rules from the admins

This should be good.

No Self Promotion or Spam
Posts unrelated to language learning are considered as spam.

So, what, are you saying that some teachers SHOULDN'T post half a dozen "So what is your favourite yoghurt" posts to try to boost their visibility?

No Language Exchanges
Please don’t post any requests for language exchange partners

Wait, what? Let me read that again. {Blinks, looks at the list of Discussions thread titles...} BWAAA-HA-HA-HA! Yeah, good luck with that one, Sparky.

Let's be honest, Italki's only real concern is getting people to buy language lessons and skimming their commission from those. When they set the place up I suspect that they thought that having a Community section would lead to sales, but I doubt that it has really worked out that way. The return on investment just isn't there.

So assuming that they do shift everything to Faceplant, I will just say (in anticipation) to those who regularly make good posts (looks in Richard's direction) and to anyone whose Notebooks I've corrected over the last couple of years {cheery wave}... SEE YA!

Mar 21, 2019 9:15 PM
Comments · 16
I don't think it'd be a smart move to completely shut down the community section and move parts of it to Facebook. The discussion and notebook section used to attract potential paying customers. And as italki is a Chinese company, it would be more than weird to outsource to a website that is blocked in China. What sets italki apart from other similar websites is the mix of teacher marketplace, discussion forum, answers, notebook corrections and language exchange. Other platforms only offer parts of this but not the whole package. If italki switches to merely being a teacher marketplace they won't stand out anymore.
March 22, 2019

If by "Faceplant" you mean an insulting (and well-deserved) reference to Facebook, I would say it would be a disaster.

If they want to replace all of the "community" sections with a turnkey solution they don't need to maintain, it would be far, far better for them to set up a phpBB bulletin board (or, perhaps use some other prebuilt forum or bulletin board software). I'm a member of several phpBB-powered forums. phpBB is quite good.

One of them, an investing forum,is  huge, and in fact in order to reduce maintenance the admins have a rule that they do not ever modify any code in it. I also use a phpBB-based car forum, a medical support forum... how many others? One of them is a tiny hobby forum that someone set up in a few hours. I'm sure there are other no-cost and low-cost forum and bulletin board platforms. My point is just that I know phpBB is quite good, and I think that (with intelligent attention to setting up subforums and so forth) it could do all the things the italki "Community" sections do.

I've been baffled for a long time by the fact that the basic Facebook software just isn't very good. Comparing it to what we have now in italki--which isn't sensational--in Facebook:

--There is no way to use styled text. That makes it difficult even to think of doing notebook corrections.

--Although there's no hard limit, as there is in Twitter, Facebook is hostile to any posting longer than a short paragraph. For example, it normally ends a post when you press "return" making it difficult to post more than a single paragraph.

--There's no way to look over a few dozen posts by subject line.

--Unless they create a bunch of subgroups, there's no way to separate answers, discussions, notebook entries, and language companion requests.

March 22, 2019
I'm one of the rare breed who started with notebook entries and language exchange and then moved to taking lessons. And the community section is the major reason I'm still here. There are enough other teacher market places where I can book classes without the community feeling. Yes, I guess that the majority of the people who flood the forum with language partner requests will never book a lesson because they simply can't afford it. But every free user and every abandoned account still adds to the big user number and allows italki to promote themselves as one of the major players in this market. If they resort to only paid services, then they're just one of many similar services. Ten years ago that might have been enough but I'm not sure it's a good strategy right now. Anyway, we'll see, what they'll do. Maybe I should download all my notebook entries just in case. Not that it ends up like Livemocha.
March 22, 2019
Hm, Monday italki won't be available for a couple of hours for maintenance. Let's see what new wonders are awaiting us.
March 22, 2019

Alan K

Thank you for your posting Alan.
I agree with all your comments.


Thank you for your comments.
I agree completely with all that you wrote.

Dan Smith

Thank you for your informative comments.
I could not agree with you more.

Who is Mark Jones?

He is the guy who wrote the recent Newsletter about italki's offsite language learning community?
He's been an italki member since 2015.
He's not an italki teacher.
Is he employed by italki?
How does he happen to have all this insight into what italki is planning and/or doing with its new language platform?
How did he know all this when he wrote the article in November 2018?
Does he plan to sign up for English lessons on italki?

Facebook... no thank you... never
Faceplant... good one Allan K
How about...  Facewipe... where the "F" is mute...

This discussion needs to be kept on the first page for more than 10 minutes... so please consider refreshing the page, even if you're only posting a full stop :)

Thumbs up to everyone.

March 22, 2019
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