I've recently come across several non-native people on here who are correcting people's notebook entries and are basically correcting already-correct English, and are also failing to correct numerous mistakes.
Maybe on the upcoming new site iTalki should implement software to stop non-native speakers of a language from correcting people's entries? Thoughts?
I think that would be too extreme. Just a quick look around the discussion forums and you'll see plenty of non-native speakers who have flawless English. Anyway anyone could just pretend to be a native speaker to get around this, italki has no way of verifying your native language. At the click of a button I could decide to become a native speaker in 30 languages if I liked!
I would prefer to be able to flag really poor corrections, and if a particular user regularly posts awful translations they should be prevented from correcting. I've long believed in greater moderation from users in italki to clean up this website.
Note that any feedback you have on italki can be sent directly to them. From experience I can tell you they're extremely responsive to suggestions.
There are some "repeat offenders" on the English "Answers" section. The only thing we can do is point out the mistakes of the commenter and give a better correction ourselves. Ultimately, students have to make a decision about who they trust based on what they see. They can check the profiles and feedback for the commenters. It's the nature of community forums. I've done the Oxford placement test which Italki arranges. Italki probably wouldn't want to get involved in policing the quality of teachers and their comments - it would be a big job.
The problem is not so much non-natives, but people who <em>claim </em>to be native speakers when they're not. There are a number of obvious non-native speakers of English here who have put five green bars of English and no other language on their profile, and who mislead learners every time they answer a question or 'correct' an entry.
It seems to me that the whole conversation is flawed, as it is based on the assumption that the natives' English is perfect and the non-natives' English is rubbish. That is not always the case ! I have seen pretty horrendous things coming from genuine natives ! Also, when it comes to natives, unless they are professional teachers, they often just know the language intuitively without having the full, detailed knowledge of the relevant grammatical framework.
Saying that, I do accept that pretending to be a native when you are not, is dishonest
If any control from Italki has to be considered, then, in my opinion, it should just be about the quality of the corrections, as that is what matters anyway.
It's a tricky issue because where does one draw the line? In fact, the issue is not a native vs non-native speaker. It is whether a correction is of adequate quality irrespective of native/non-native 'status'. And again, some people like to alter as a different style of expression - I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
I don't really mind if somebody who is non native helps my correction. I have seen a few persons with non-native Chinese give excellent corrections and advice.