2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Discuss the LLORG's and HTLAL forum's past and its future here.
User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 5308
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 13468
Contact:

2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby rdearman » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:29 am

As the year of 2015 closes out on all of us, I wanted to take this opportunity as the site administrator of the forum to review a little of what happened in 2015, and our plans for 2016. Some new joiners may not be aware that this forum is actually an offshoot of an older forum called "How to learn any language" which has a long and stellar reputation as the place to learn and discuss languages. Unfortunately due to other commitments over the years the administrator at HTLAL had left the site untouched except for the occasional heroic effort to repair it after a number of crashes. After one such crash in June, and the loss of the domain name for a couple of weeks, I offered the moderators of the old forum a mailing list hosted here to allow notifications to go out when the old site crashed. In addition I offered a phpBB hosted forum software as a temporary refuge. That temporary refuge having a more modern interface, and the ability to upload pictures, link videos, and all of the other things you use here on a daily basis, convinced a number of senior forum members to see the new forum as valuable place in itself and not just a refuge.

By that time, we had a lot of threads open and an number of lively discussions going. The moderators and I decided to leave the temporary site running while they attempted to contact the site administrator at the old HTLAL, but sadly with no success. After a long period of deliberation and regret the moderators made an announcement about moving away from the old site. Even more sadly, this change my role from happy user into clueless site administrator. But over the course of the last few months I've had a lot of help from all of the moderators, and a lot of the users who've made this community such a wonderful place to be. Let me just take a few moments to shout out the moderators of the forum, who do such a great job keeping the forum on track and keep the spam bots, etc at bay.
  • emk - who doubles up as an administrator and keeps me from wrecking the place and installing star trek extensions and other nonsense.
  • Meramarina - who convinced me to setup the temporary forum, and become site-administrator (I still hold a grudge!)
  • Fasulye - who helped with a lot of the initial configuration of the rooms and layout of the forums.
  • Iversen - who has forgotten more about forum moderation and language learning than I'll ever know.
  • jeff_lindqvist- who works behind the scenes, but who has amazing insights and words of wisdom for the entire moderation and administration team.
  • Rhian - who organised all of us as well as a lot of the static content we'll soon be publishing. (She must herd cats in her spare time because I don't know how she keeps track of all of us)
  • Serpent - our newest moderator who got dragged into all of this through no fault of her own by me! I really do apologise.

We've grown a lot in the few months we've been in business over here on the new forum.
  • We've reached over 550+ users as I write this with 2.61 new members joining every day.
  • ~1000 topics posted since we started in Jun-Jul of 2015 and we average a little under 5 new topics every day.
  • ~16,000 posts and we average ~75 new posts per day.
  • Created a Spanish only sub-forum with some dedicated sponsors who keep the forum energetic and relevant.

In 2015 we've managed a lot as an administration and moderation team, and I'd like to put down some of the highlights.
  • We changed the name from how-to-learn-any-language.org to our new official domain. language-learners.org
  • We launched a static web-site on http://language-learners.org/ and we've posted our FAQ written by a forum member Evita.
  • We've installed extension packs for "Active/New Links", "Post Love" and the "UniLang Virtual Keyboard Extension"
  • We've installed language packs for British English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Mexican Spanish, Mandarin Chinese (Simplified script)
  • 15 BBcode extensions for things including YouTube, audio, progress bars, soundcloud and tables.
  • Moved from the default prosilver style used by only 34 of us (me included) to the we_universal style as default of which 314 of you use, and the remainder using the digi style.
  • Modified the search system to allow users to search for keywords. All words are now indexed, and searches are free for everyone.
None of this was done without a lot of effort by the moderation and administration team, but mostly is was because of great suggestions by the community as well as some rather excellent technical assistance from some of the programmers among us. Everyone who contributed to our Technical Support and Suggestions thread should pat themselves on the back for helping us to make the forum a better, easier place to communicate.

But "resting on our laurels" isn't want we're about here! We want to improve the forum, the site and grown and enhance the community. So what do we have planned for 2016?

  • Expand the Main site with more static content, guest blog posts, and great forum member content.
  • Establish some kind of trust or charity which will allow ownership of this forum and its content to remain with the community.
  • Write more software and develop the site to make it even better.
  • To host challenge bots, or other community requested enhancements
  • To market and grow our audience and forum membership
  • Look at possibly adding other language-specific boards.
  • Update rules and policies where required.
  • Add a code of conduct.
  • Investigate expanding the hosting facilities for more speed and backups.
  • New language packs and extensions

2015 has been a very interesting year for me personally, and I'm very pleased to be your clueless site administrator. I'm excited to bring in the new year and watch our community grow and prosper in 2016. I want to thank each and everyone of you reading this message for your time, and your participation in this forum. This place is better for having you in it, thank you very much for being here with us.

Regards,
rdearman
33 x

User avatar
Brun Ugle
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2274
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:48 pm
Location: Steinkjer, Norway
Languages: English (N), Norwegian (~C1/C2), Spanish (B1/B2), German (A2/B1?), Japanese (very rusty)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=11484
x 5549
Contact:

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:59 am

You've done a great job. Thank you so much for creating this forum. At first, I was a little sad about the split from HTLAL and hoped for some kind of miracle, like FX coming back and fixing the site and letting someone else run it. I didn't think this place would have the same feeling of friendship and community, but as the site has grown, it has pulled together into a strong community. Part of that is probably due to everyone being allowed to chip in with suggestions and ideas and having those ideas heard. It's very democratic, but with a strong enough leadership to keep it from turning into an anarchy. I'm looking forward to all the new year will bring.

Also, we need Star Trek extensions.
9 x

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 5308
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 13468
Contact:

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby rdearman » Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:34 am

Brun Ugle wrote:Also, we need Star Trek extensions.

Exactly! Because I want to start my log entries with "Stardate 10567.1"

Sadly I did write an PL/SQL extension for PostgreSQL databases which would allow you to have a "stardate" data type, but this site uses MySQL. :(
8 x

Bluepaint
Brown Belt
Posts: 1262
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:41 pm
x 990

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby Bluepaint » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:01 pm

I like that I'm a cat herder :-D
7 x

User avatar
tomgosse
Brown Belt
Posts: 1143
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:29 am
Location: Les Etats Unis
Languages: Anglais (langue maternelle)
Français (A1)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1185
x 2331
Contact:

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby tomgosse » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:26 pm

Thank you rdearman and emk, and all the moderators for the work you put into this site. This community has become one of my online "families". One of the things that I love about this community is that people post with respect, caring, friendliness, and humility. I hope that it will always be this way.

I receive a lot help here. One of my goals for 2016 is to find a way to give back in some way to this community.

All the best in the New Year,
Tom :D
11 x
Rejoignez notre groupe français ! Les Voyageurs

reddit lurker
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:17 pm
Location: USA
Languages: English (N)
x 20

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby reddit lurker » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:14 pm

Hi, I have been a long-time lurker on HTLAL and now on here, but now I'm coming out of the woodworks!

I don't understand much about the behind-the-scene stuff from the transition from HTLAL to here, but like tom said, I would love to find a way to help the community. I have not heard of many other online communities for language learning as well-developed as this one, and I would like to help participate in making it grow back to its former glory.

So from what I understand after reading some posts on here and on HTLAL, rdearman is the one fronting the costs for the site itself? Thank you, when there is an option to donate, I will do so.

In terms of brainstorming for your 2016 plans, I will definitely do my best to try to advertise the forum and spread the word. I would also be happy to write articles and spruce up the main page. I've learned so much just from reading the old HTLAL posts that I would love to give back.

>Is there a way to "salvage" membership from the old HTLAL forum, maybe by sending a mass-email to all registered members to tell them that a new forum is open ? I know that there was an option where you could receive an e-mail to your account every time you received a private message, so I was thinking of PMing people individually in hopes they receive the notification in their e-mails and come over here.

It seems that there is some resistance from users because all of the posts that would be lost at the old forum and having to restart their threads all over again.

>Is there a way that we could back-up old threads onto the new forum, or maybe create pdfs of important threads and have a link to a Google Drive archive where they could all be referenced ? I would be willing to help the transfer, but all I can think of is manually copying and pasting posts into a new thread here and having a subforum called Archives.
Again, I don't really understand the whole situation so is this not possible because of copyrighting, meaning whatever was posted on the forums cannot be replicated over here ?


I know from my perspective there are a lot of communities on reddit, small ones per each language, that if we combined together would help the diversity of forum's members. Then there are other websites like polydog and polyglotclub and those language learning communities that form on WhatsApp as well. I know many polyglots like Benny or Glossika have gone on to make their own sites, but maybe we could contact them to give us a mention as well? I'm just trying to brainstorm how we could make people more aware of this great site! I would be happy to help in the efforts to spread the word :)
7 x

Bluepaint
Brown Belt
Posts: 1262
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:41 pm
x 990

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby Bluepaint » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:19 pm

@reddit lurker Glad to see you de-lurk! There are copyright issues pertaining to the content on HTLAL which is why we haven't just moved it all/archived it. If you have any thoughts on what you'd like to write PM me and let me know :)
3 x

reddit lurker
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:17 pm
Location: USA
Languages: English (N)
x 20

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby reddit lurker » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:03 pm

Rhian wrote:@reddit lurker Glad to see you de-lurk! There are copyright issues pertaining to the content on HTLAL which is why we haven't just moved it all/archived it. If you have any thoughts on what you'd like to write PM me and let me know :)


Hi Rhian,
For some reason, I can't PM you. I guess it doesn't matter if I post it out in the open anyway; it'll be material for discussion for other members to talk about anyway. If you want me to repost this in another thread so all the ideas are combined together, let me know!

So from what I read, we want "static material" for the language-learners.org similar to what was on HTLAL with the language profiles and history of polyglots, etc. as per iguanamon's post. I think this is fine, but from my experience, I never really held much importance to those things. I was more interested in the forum community and reading about other people's experiences. I didn't actually read the profiles for languages I was learning.

If I'm thinking about what I would like to have in those language profile articles, though, I think the "why" would help draw people in. I'm a senior who did a self-study program for credit at my university, and one of the things that they did well (and what drew me in) was how they talked about why learning a particular language was beneficial/advantageous. For languages like English or Spanish or Chinese, most people probably already have some ideas, but with the collective mind of the forum, we could make up some unique lists, I think!

Another thing that I think subforums on reddit did well is how they explained the bare bones of the language for their language. Like for German or Russian, we should briefly talk about the concept of cases in the profile. Or for Japanese/Korean, the existence of a "particle." Or like for Arabic, the fact that there is MSA for written material, but then a bunch of different dialects. Or how Russian/Hebrew have different scripts depending on if it's printed or script-wise. That way learners had an idea of some differences to look out for beforehand.

One thing iguanamon mentioned in a previous post that I never thought of was the idea of the "loss leader," where people think they get all the information they need and then just leave. I think this is true, and so I believe things like "language learning techniques" and "how to cheaply study a language" are material that should be reserved for inside the forums as stickied threads to be a pull for visitors.

The kind of material I'm thinking of for the main site is something where the end goal is to try to draw the newcomers in to participate and interact with the community. Primarily success stories of people's language learning routines with an addendum like: have a similar story? share your story here at the forums -> link. This is something I would be willing to write for the main page. I think this would also reinforce the idea of "why" people learn a language by giving visitors concrete examples on how it worked for other people.

I would also be willing to do "field report" articles where we talk about how specific language techniques like bidirectional translation has helped in our studies, and we could then do links at the bottom like: want to learn more about bidirectional technique and others who have used it? go to forums here -> link. I think this would also encourage more discussion in the forums about these learning techniques. I would be interested in writing "field reports" for things like Anki and how it helped both in language learning and for my studying in school, in general. We could do different field report studies like "incorporating L-R," "learning through music/lyrics," "using native material from the start."

So I sort've envision main page content to be more "bloggy," and I'd be happy to be a blogger.
4 x

Bluepaint
Brown Belt
Posts: 1262
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:41 pm
x 990

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby Bluepaint » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:15 pm

@Reddit lurker you can send PMs once you have posted three times, and luckily you have :) If you send me that message - literally copy and paste if you like - then it's easier for me to refer back to. We've had a few volunteers and it's easier for The Cat Herder (ahem, me) to keep track of everything.
1 x

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 5308
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 13468
Contact:

Re: 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans

Postby rdearman » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:41 pm

We've just posted our first guest post from a forum member, so please feel free to submit a topic!
1 x


Return to “LLORG & HTLAL discussion area”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest