tiia wrote:I think a new subforum for member introduction would be a bit too much. Wouldn't a single thread for alle new members also serve the purpose?
Yeah I mean as long as the thread got stickied/pinned/whatever phrase for that ison phpBB I think that would be logical.
I think this may be a good alternative. As smallwhite suggested, I think it might be better to optimize the systems rather than come up with something new just to patch up some holes.
I see where you are coming from, but there are a few reasons why I am not excited about introductory subforum.
1.Yes, it would be a nice place to welcome new people, but we don't get dozens a day, so it is not that hard to spot them in regular threads and make them feel welcome while treating them immediately as if they had been here fore some time.
2.I am not that keen on introductions full of personal information, I prefer the gradual getting to know people around here. One of the awesome aspects of our community is the fact we create ties even between very different people. We come from one common ground, we love learning foreign languages. That is the first thing we know about each other, before knowing anything giving us any prejudice. We get to know in time things like age, gender, job, hobbies, religion of the person (without any potential of this forum to turn into religious discussions, I mean it in the informative sense: x is christian, y is atheist, z is jew" information), favourite colour, and anything that becomes relevant for the discussion. Perhaps some people are above such a bias, but I think I have dived into some logs and discussions and getting to know many members thanks to the fact we've been introducing ourselves gradually. And it goes the other way too, I make so bad first impression normally!
3.I agree with smallwhite we've got profiles for this, anyone interested can include such stuff.
4.I don't think lurking newbies will be more dragged into the forums by getting to know I dislike onions and my favourite clothing colour is black. I don't consider this so relevant. And among the oldbies, we tend to know these things anyways. Perhaps we could do with an opinion of a true newbie here, but I'd say we are not scary or impersonal despite not having long personal profiles.
5.In another post, you argumented the logs are not that well suited to discussion and we are more like a blogging center than a discussion forum. Well, I cannot agree. We've got shared logs. We've got unofficially shared logs (sometimes I don't know whether I am writing a post to mine, Elenia's, or Brun Ugle's log), group logs, and tons of discussion threads. I don't think we suffer from being too much of individualists.
6.This might be just my individual problem, but I see in a "who am I outside of langauge learning" threads too much procrastination potential
Now this makes it much easier for me to understand your perspective than your first post. I see the point in 1-3 but with 4 and 5 I somewhat disagree.
4. Well, we might not be really scary people once we get to know each other, but the point is helping new people break that first ice, not just letting them know I am a secret fan of Dschinghis Khan. If you are much younger than the rest of the population on the forum, or if you come from a cultural/national background where you normally wouldn't butt into something you don't know very well, you would tend to think you don't have much to contribute to the forum. Having that extra push to tell them "it's safe to write here" can go a long way for people to start interacting. I think this is especially true for people who feel their English is not as fluent as many others.
I was all of the above when I first found HTLAL in 2007 - barely 16, still not too confident with my English, and lived all my life in Asia, where you don't speak out if you are young and/or don't know much about what you are talking about. It took me hours just to read a couple of pages of posts - and I only started my log after nearly 2 years, when I was relatively more comfortable with people here. I don't want to generalize based purely on my experience, but I think it is worth sharing..
5. Yes, we still have lots of discussion threads, and in fact, discussion threads seem to be more popular than logs at the moment. But this is how things were before 2010-2011 at the old site too. After that, either a) we had too many people to really interact with all of them on a personal basis; b) people just decided to read discussions but write on their logs, which eventually led to deterioration of discussion qualities else where, or c) both happened. I just don't want to see the same thing to happen again.
As for shared logs, I think the possibility of any log sharing depends on your native language, target language and cultural-geographical background. For example, it's really hard to get hold of some of the learning material that are available to Europeans and North Americans - I've never even seen, leave aside used, an Assimil, Pimsleur or Michel Thomas course in my life! Instead, we have a whole new set of text books and materials that I really cannot discuss with anyone, because they are all in Korean! I would have liked to know whether "Bildung und Humanität" by SNU press is better than "원전독문해석" by 김두규 for German reading practices, but there's no one to discuss that with me.
It's not only the materials, but also the whole learning experience that changes. I would never be able to fully 'share' my experiences with Mandarin and Japanese, because as a native Korean, my learning strategies and materials would be and have been drastically different from many non East Asians. So writing a log for me will be a solitary activity unless I try to 'westernize' my materials.
But I think I have gone way over the topic of this thread. If the general opinion is against a separate introduction section, I'll just abide by it.