@Alan K : I've practically been harrassing the italki team about the writing tool's shortcomings, and it's good to see someone else being vocal about it on here.
The character count limit has absolutely zero advantages, and is an utter disaster when one is typing rich-formatted text. What's more, some languages are incredibly disadvantaged compared to others: in Chinese, an entire sentence can take up only 10 in the character counter, but in Arabic the same sentence can take up over 50 (this is due to a bug in the character counter: Arabic letters take up 2 characters, and diacritics count as one). Therefore, Chinese learners can write virtual essays in Notebook, but Arabic learners are limited to twitter-length posts.
By the way, the writing interface is totally inconsistent throughout the site. You can delete posts and attach pictures in Notebook; there's no rich text formatting whatsoever in Questions...and the writing interface in Language Hacking is incredibly advanced, yet hasn't been applied throughout the site!
The most frustrating thing about this is that it would literally take minutes for italki to (1) make the entire site use the Language Hacking writing tool, and (2) scrap the annoying character count limit. But they refuse to, and I have no idea why...
The biggest advantage is that you can find good teachers. The rest of the site, though well intentioned, is not that well designed and needs some work. For example:
The way it does not store preferences
When you search for a teacher you have to re-specify your preferences every. Single. Time. I'm currently thinking about finding a German teacher but if I go to Find A Teacher I get a list of English and Cantonese and Portuguese and French teachers, until I manually filter it down. Again.
Same thing with the community areas. There is no point in me looking at Finish discussions or Japanese discussions because I can't read them. Yet there they are, because I have no way of setting a preference in Italki which says that I only want to see English or Italian discussions.
In the Notebooks area, the only language that I feel comfortable in correcting is English, but I see ALL language entries regardless. Come to that, my preference is to correct English notebook entries written by Italian speakers (since the language mistakes often help me understand more about how Italians see language) but can I set that as my default preference? Nope.
Oh it's terrible. It's SO terrible. If I correct a notebook entry I prefer to put some notes about why I made the corrections that I did. But it's hard to do that in the correction dialog because you pretty quickly run out of space. (And the 2000 character limit in comments is a gripe in its own right. To be continued for that reason.)
1 - I can meet people to improve my languages skills
2- I love writing so I can write and learn at the same time
3- I can help people
4- I can share my passion about languages
5 - It motibates me to keep learning, because most of the time you don't either time or opportunity to travel a lot.
6 - italki allows me to register my progress by using it as a book.