2022 End of Year Message

Discuss the LLORG's and HTLAL forum's past and its future here.
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rdearman
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2022 End of Year Message

Postby rdearman » Fri Dec 30, 2022 8:27 pm

Each year of the (not so new) forum so far, I've tried to do a look back and a look forward about our little forum and community. Although last year I didn't do an end of year wind up, and this year I have had to do it post Christmas. I promise to do better. :)

2015 thoughts, 2016 plans
2016 thoughts, 2017 plans
2017 thoughts, 2018 plans
2018 thoughts
2019 thoughts
2020 thoughts

Each year I've carried forward the plans we made way back in 2015 and highlighted the ones we've actually achieved. We didn't really have any plans set in stone for this year, other than perhaps getting some upgrades done.

Not a lot of noteworthy things this year as far as the administration of the system goes. The platform is stable, and other than constantly removing spammers, there isn't a lot to be done. We have a couple of ongoing issues with the Captha system, and the email system not working. These fixes will require a full system upgrade, and possibly changes to the backend servers. Hopefully, when things calm down a little for EMK, we'll be able to take a weekend out to bring up a new system with the newer software. Hopefully, this wouldn't cause more than a few minutes' downtime for users. He tells me that he is likely to have a bit more time this year, so hopefully we'll be able to upgrade to the latest version and I can then get the email system back online and delivering notifications and password change links, etc.

The statistics I gave back in 2020 regarding spammers have stayed about the same, with a slight increase. Spammers typically only post one spam message per spam account, which the moderators quickly remove before it ever sees the light of day. The problem is of course that we are averaging 1500-2000 accounts per week! Some of you may have wondered why the member count at the bottom of the home page seems to jump up and down. That is the reason why. The moderators remove the spam messages before they are ever seen, then I remove the accounts periodically from the database. So even with all the Captha protection, automated blacklisting lookups and all the other systems we've installed to stop them, they still manage to create 1500 accounts per week.

It was a massive problem at one point during the year when the service was taken down a number of times is what was effectively a denial of service attack by spammers trying to create accounts and thereby burning up all our CPU credits with AWS. I'm sure you remember those bad times.

When I did my original post on this new forum, we'd just managed to get to 550 members. Now we have, 9059 legit members after I culled all the users who hadn't posted in 3 years, spam accounts, etc. We have visitors, lurkers, and active participants along with a lot of old hands who travelled with us from the old forum. We had 16,000 posts back in 2015, now we've got well over 201,702. From the initial wild growth we moved in to a phase of mature, solid growth, and we've more or less stayed there for the last few years with slow growth. Which is very good considering most Internet users switched over to more modern social media rather than forums.

The first official post on the board was 14th of May 2015. It has been fun for me personally, and I've enjoyed being the administrator. I'm managed to meet a number of you in person and shared a few adult beverages with some of you as well. The Gathering in 2020 was a washout thanks to Covid, and although I attended online in 2021, I donated my ticket to someone in 2022.

I wanted to do a shoutout this year to all the people who've taken up the maintenance of the resources lists for various languages. It is far to much for a single person to maintain, and I really appreciate the help that people have given, and the response from you all. I'll also quickly mention that I'm still looking for volunteers!

I would also like to say thanks to all the people who have put forward and maintain all the challenges which we do that encourage people to learn languages. The super-challenge, fitness challenge, 365 challenge, the free and legal challenge, but also a couple of new ones. C1 in Esperanto, and the AI6WC. I think it is great that we have a shared sense of community and I believe these challenges spur us on, and we become cheerleaders for each other all year long.

My fellow moderators also deserve a thank you and a shout-out. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, removing spam, banning spammers, settling arguments as well as tidying up miscreated threads, moving topics where appropriate and generally doing a lot of housekeeping. This forum could not operate without them.

On behalf of the moderation team, I'd like to say that all the members here are wonderful people with a huge wealth of knowledge to share. You've all been helpful, polite, and engaging. You've also been the silent member of the moderation team, spotting errors, pointing out issues and reporting problems. Please keep up the good work.

I would like to close by saying that this forum depends on its members, and your suggestions and comments are always welcome. Please continue to assist and support us in making this a great place to visit and to learn. Please recommend the forum to friends and colleagues who might be thinking about learning a new language, and to old hands at language learning. We all do better when we work together.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Happy Holidays.

Rick
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Jan 01, 2023 1:03 am

For all you do, Rdearman, this Bud's for you! :)
(apologies to any who are confused for the cryptic cultural reference; PM me if you want an explanation)
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby Stefan » Sun Jan 01, 2023 8:58 pm

rdearman wrote:Now we have, 9059 legit members after I culled all the users who hadn't posted in 3 years

Does this mean our accounts get deleted unless we post frequently enough?
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby rdearman » Sun Jan 01, 2023 9:48 pm

Stefan wrote:
rdearman wrote:Now we have, 9059 legit members after I culled all the users who hadn't posted in 3 years

Does this mean our accounts get deleted unless we post frequently enough?


It means if you have not logged into or accessed the forum for more than 3 years, there is a good chance I will remove your account. But if you have not logged in for 3 years you probably don't remember the password anyway! Normally I only remove accounts with no login for 3 years and no posts. So actually it means you should just login and have a look around every couple of years.

You're good until 2026 now. :D
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby issemiyaki » Tue Jan 03, 2023 5:25 am

@rdearman

I salute you for your tireless efforts. This forum has been for me, as it has been so many others, a refuge.

Sometimes, just a friendly, encouraging ear is all anyone was looking for. I found both, here, when I was just daring to dream of learning Russian.

The site has also guided me through several turbulent years of learning French. I would like to personally thank @emk for his enlightening posts. They were the balm I needed then. The message was, in short, to carry on and you will spot land eventually.

I can proudly say that I see land clearly in sight. Had it not been for all of the forum participants, I might have turned around and given up the journey all together. But the good comments and the not-so-good ones were all helpful in hindsight.

So, as we all chart this new course in 2023, together, know that your efforts have NOT gone unnoticed. I have often asked myself, with the same wonder one might ask how on earth are all those stars in the sky: "Who on earth is holding this forum website together?" To me, at least, it is a wonder. And to me, you are a hero.

So, I thank you and I wish you much happiness, love and success as we navigate and explore together the exhilarating waters of language learning. May they take us to wonderful destinations where we can create memories of a lifetime.

Only the most warmest regards & Happy Holidays!
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby Raconteur » Sat Mar 04, 2023 10:05 pm

rdearman wrote:Which is very good considering most Internet users switched over to more modern social media rather than forums.
It really is a shame that forums are no longer "in fashion" with most Internet users. I just don't understand it. Reddit, Twitter, Telegram and other social media have their place (maybe), but none of them actually replace the tight knit yet broad community that an active forum provides. Many of my favorite forums are now either gone entirely or turned into ghost towns – it's so depressing to see that happen to once thriving communities; with their regulars, quirks, and sometimes even silly feuds/drama spanning years. Not promoting that last bit BTW :lol: .

Anyway, the long and short of it, as someone who has been lurking since the early days of HTLAL, I really cherish this community, and I thank all of you for keeping it alive and well in 2023 and beyond.
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sun Mar 05, 2023 3:26 pm

Indeed. When I occasionally mention the language forum (thinking of this site, specifically), people give me strange looks.

"What are you all doing there? :shock: "

They know I'm into languages, but it seems that they don't understand that thing called community.
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Re: 2022 End of Year Message

Postby brilliantyears » Fri Apr 07, 2023 10:08 am

rdearman wrote:The first official post on the board was 14th of May 2015.

Wait, I was accidentally there almost from the beginning? :shock:

Anyway, happy to see the forum going strong, and happy to be back after a little time away. Thank you all for keeping it alive and kicking! Having basically grown up in the days of phpbb boards, I really wish there were more good forums out there still alive :(
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