Recently the forum is flooded with language partner requests. Newbies often don’t know it better and the longterm user are divided between accepting this situation because apparently it’s still more effective than the language partner search tool, and being annoyed because the flood of language partner requests makes it impossible to find real discussions.
But any discussion that is even remotely related to politics, religion and sex is flagged and users get blocked more quickly than I can refresh the page.
Longterm users are also tired of discussing everyone’s favourite pizza topics and since pineapple on pizza is regarded as an offensive topic itself it sure should better be avoided.
But what can we discuss? What would you like to discuss? There were at least three different discussion threads about April’s fools day (in English, Italian and German). Nobody commented on the English and Italian one, even though they are good topics for discussion. Why?
For those who might be interested in those discussions, I’ll post the links here:
What kind of discussions are you missing? What would you like to discuss?
From experience in other forums, I have to feel that italki's prohibitions on sex, politics, and religion are wise.
It is almost a saying in the United States that anyone hosting a social gathering should try to prevent anybody from talking about "sex, politics, or religion."
You would think that rational adults could discuss these topics with civility, but the evidence is that they cannot--particularly among strangers, particularly online.
The problem must be even worse in a forum like italki. Members are not native speakers of each others' languages, and honest misunderstandings are easy.
Furthermore, members belong to nations whose governments are hostile toward each other.
I see that you, Miriam, are from Germany. Suppose I said "Silicon transistors are much better than germanium transistors." If you did not understand English well, and if you were expecting me to say something bad about Germany, you might not know that I was talking about chemical elements and semiconductors. You might be on the alert for bad things about Germany and think I had insulted Germany by insulting the chemical element germanium.
Here are a few Discussion topics that should avoid being banned:
Why is water wet?
Why is the sky always overhead?
Why are there no penguins in the Arctic?
How do boats float?
Wouldn’t it be great to have a six-month vacation twice a year?
I am always so concious about what I am writing on this site. I always think more than twice before pushing the button "Send". Is the Big Brother checking it? :) (yes, I put the smile because I don't want to sound offensive)
Miriam, to answer your question, I don't know what actually people want to discuss. I usually write in a lot of discussions, while my topics are always so unpopular. I saw that many (included me) answer to personal questions, but very few to the ones related to the languages.
I'd be much more insulted if you'd blame the Germans for German measles... But are silicum and germanium transistors related to politics, sex or religion? I can religiously defend germanium transistors if needed.
Yeah, evengreener is an option but I just don't feel like moving there. Do you? And we already have a brain drain going on. Many of my favourite italki users are gone. But they didn't move to greener pastures either.
Yeah, I'd also welcome if we could discuss more controversial topics.
I'll watch out for your discussions.
A lot of people want to improve but don't write much. They seem to think that talking to a language partner is the golden goose.