You are actually not the first person to bring this up and it feels like it has been this way for a long time. :P
I remember saying that I would like them to make a page/forum where active users can look for other active users to exchange languages.
As some mentioned, many users were banned during Apple Purge.
Even though paying members were restored, other helpful members could not have their accounts reactivated and even the members that are back still feel a little apprehensive of posting some thing.
I disagree about the part of the discussions being controversial as the reason for the purge. Some were indeed, but most were inoffensive. I still think it was a technical failure. Some believe a troll may have benefited from it. May be...
Still, some members assembled in this forum (created by Grzybek) https://evengreener.createaforum.com
It's not big, but there are interesting discussions, no censorship and everybody is welcome
During the month of April many people, including myself got banned without any valuable reason a troll was trolling around. My account, since I am a premium member (I take lessons so I contribute financially to the italki business) was restored. But some non paying members got banned forever. Some people who corrected notebook entries for free left since they felt hurt by the lack of recognition of their work by Italki.
i am still here but slightly paranoid. For instance I am often thinking that I got banned again. This morning I tried to post a notebook entry with no success. I just cannot send it. Maybe Italki is having technical problems. But that gives you an idea about one’s feelings.
If one is banned, he doesn’t know it. His posts just desappear.