Dear friends of italki,
I have over 100 messages from people who want to either exchange languages or want me to teach them English. I love helping others and do tutoring via skype to help with English, but I don't think I can help everybody. I try to be there for everyone, but I think it's literally impossible for one person to do alone.
So here is my question to the world:
What are your suggestions?
Looks like admins are doing what they can on this website, but they simply have no opportunity to stop online harrassment in PMs. And yes, annoing attempts to flirt with you when you are in fact offering lessons are harrassment. I am very sorry this happened to you. Ignore those people, that's the best you can do.
I think you should become a Community Tutor here - follow this link: http://www.italki.com/teacher/apply?src=dashboard_quicklinks There will be a very staightforward online form, and they process applications very quickly. I think this will be better - not because of money, really, as you can set very low initial prices if you wish - but because you will be contacted by people who are interested in studying languages more than in the beautiful photo on your avatar.
I think the bad news is, the longer you are on italki, the more you'll see the need to regulate who contacts you. Sometimes you just have to ignore people. I know how unfriendly that seems, but it is your sanity at stake. ;)
I agree with signing up as a tutor here, if you haven't done so already. This way you can show people that you value your time and it's not to be thrown to anyone.
Unless you really like the chatting part, I suggest keeping the interaction on-site as much as possible (Answers, Discussions, Notebook). This means whoever you help must also be active on the site - this way you'll find people who are serious and sincere. I don't mind helping learners with the occasional email message, but we're not vending machines! ;)
If it's male users who only write to you for "something more", then you should report them, or at least block them. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable on italki. There's nothing wrong with your photo, so I don't see any reason to change that.
Market supply meets demand curve + the tragedy of the commons. You have the makings of a decent Economics 101 paper here.
Perhaps you should state explicitly that you are open to helping but not open to flirting. That should dissuade a few of them. There is definitely some international flirting going on in this site, not that I blame anyone. If I was twenty years younger, I would do it myself.
Perhaps we need a "Relationship Status" field in the profile like on Facebook. I'll e-mail the site admins :)
Try to find who is serious and then schedual lessons with them.
Are you going for a record or something? Pick a random person or the one whose photo/avatar you like best and proceed. What are the other options? Taking on so much work until you get a nervous breakdown? Nah, that's not the way to teach other people a language.