Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
An Analysis of the Discussion Section/Board...
Over the years, I have noticed a marked decline in the number of italki English learners using or participating in the Discussion Section/Board.

Question:     How many italki members want to learn or improve their English skills?
Answer:       Unknown. italki may know but would probably not make that number available to the public.
-  As of July 2017, italki has more than 3 million users from more than 100 countries and 5000 teachers.  (source: italki)
-  English is the most popular language being studied, followed by Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese. (source: italki)
-  If all 5 most popular languages had equal numbers of learners/members, then English would equal 600,000 members.
-  It does not appear that there are 600,000 active English learning/speaking members at this time.

Question:     How is the Discussion section currently being used?
Answer:       The following statistics show the number of postings, respondents and comments per posting.


Here are the results of a brief survey of the first page of the Discussion section (taken today March 26, 2019)

Members looking for a Language Exchange Partner and comments
Total Number of Posts = 8
Total Number of Comments = 67
Average Number of Comments per Post = 67/8 = 8.4

Members posting discussions and Comments

Total Number of posts = 11
Total Number of Comments = 72
Average Number of Comments per Post = 72/11 = 6.5

Teacher ad
1 = 4 comments


What conclusions would you draw from the information provided above?
How is the Discussion section being used?
Does the Discussion section have a future?
How many minutes will this discussion remain on the first page before being bumped into obscurity???  ...  :)

Mar 26, 2019 2:52 PM
Comments · 32

The problem with social media sites and the internet where the administrators have to monitor everything to be certain of staying within all global laws and cultures.Trying not to be offensive or receive punishments from some places. Is that there is no "debate" on the Internet. only discussion that has to stay within narrow guidelines. Never straying into different areas like a normal conversation or debate in a "pub" I use "pub" because I'm British.

You will never get a situation within tightly controlled guidelines, on the internet, where after an hour someone might say how the heck did we get onto discussing the price of "sweets in Australia" when we started off debating "alien life forms". That is a normal and natural conversation.

EDIT  It's "candies in Australia" for Americans

March 26, 2019

Very nice of you to have conducted a survey, Richard :)

My answers to your questions:

1) Conclusion: many members here are just, sorry, lazy, so instead of actually improving their language skills by participating in discussions OR writing to the 100 people who have already posted a language partner request they just go and post another language request in the hope a native speaker will contact them immediately and make them fluent in English in under 10 days

2) Sadly, as a marketplace

3) Yes, it does, thanks to the members like you, Richard, who always post helpful/interesting posts

4) I hope it won't happen that soon if we all do our best and leave as many comments as possible to keep it at the top :)

March 26, 2019
The funny thing is that it's mainly users who are native English speakers (like you) or who are not actively studying English (like me), who are using the discussion board for actual discussions.
March 26, 2019
<ul class="list-inline text-light-gray no-margin-b"><li><a ui-sref="user({})" href="" style="color: rgb(149, 149, 149); outline: 0px;">Lian 丽 艳</a>,</li><li>

if someone's English "isn't that great", as you said, that doesn't mean they can't participate. Discussing is a great way to improve your skill, no matter what level you are. Discussions here on italki don't have to be about astrophysics or whatnot, pre-intermediate learners can discuss their hobbies, countries, or cultures. I have started a few discussions in Japanese too, even though my Japanese is only elementary, but I tried to understand the comments first without the help of the dictionary, and then I consulted the dictionary and learned new words and phrases. The point isn't that your comments should be grammatically perfect, the point is that people can share their opinions and communicate and learn languages and something new along the way.

But many people here are just lazy. They don't want to read a post and try to write down their opinion about it. Heck, they can even ask native speakers in the comments nicely to correct their mistakes (which I did in my posts in Japanese), and I've seen some other learners do it, and they got corrections on their comments and posts so that they could analyze their mistakes and actually improve. But most italki users just don't want to; don't want to exert effort, don't want to try. They just want someone to magically teach them but it won't happen because language learning is about their effort, not others'.

March 26, 2019

I think the problem is that more people use italki as an app. I personally use the web version of italki, and never used it as an app. I came to conclusion that the app is inconvenient to use. There are a lot of "I'm new in/at this app..., what is this app?, how to use it?, etc." Perhaps, the first thing they see is the Discussion page which, on the app, looks like an advertisement board. So, they just do what others do, advertise themselves without bothering to scroll down the page and read identical posts.

Does the Discussion section have a future? I doubt it. 

March 26, 2019
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