Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

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Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby StringerBell » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:24 am

I'm sure there's a good reason why this hasn't been done already, but not knowing what that is, I thought I'd suggest creating a section for people who are looking for language exchange partners. It seems like a few people lately have been posting in the General Discussion thread about looking for a LEP (people who are new to the site), and perhaps if there were a section for them, this wouldn't keep happening.
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby Bluepaint » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:32 am

I bandied about that idea early on in this forum's life but some other mod pointed out that there were plenty of places to find LEPs. Do people think it would be worth doing here?
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby rfnsoares » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:16 am

Bluepaint wrote:I bandied about that idea early on in this forum's life but some other mod pointed out that there were plenty of places to find LEPs. Do people think it would be worth doing here?


I think it would be worth it a try at least. I only recently got a LEP on Italki, which I was finding impossible, after years of trying without success. I've tried many others without success, too.
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby iguanamon » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:56 pm

There's a few issues here on the forum as regards language exchanges.
1) There's a huge, massive, imbalance between native English-speakers here on the forum and TL speaker members, or at least TL speaker members who are regular contributors to the forum.
2) Do we want people signing up as members just to do exchanges? One of the problems with language-exchanges is weeding out the "dating game" people from the people who are genuinely interested in doing a real language exchange. I don't think that would be an issue here with regular forum members, but I could see it being a problem with people who join to just do exchanges.
3) As it is right now, there is nothing that prevents current members from contacting TL speakers via private message to ask if they would be receptive to a language-exchange. Of course, members would have to state what their native language(s) are on their profiles so others would know. Some newer members don't bother to do this.

So, my opinion is that even though it would seem to be a natural segue for the forum to have a section for language-exchanges, the large membership imbalance between native English-speakers and native-speakers of other languages makes this impractical. Add in the issues of policing inappropriate behavior under the imprimatur of the forum (if we set up a specific dedicated thread to LE's, we give forum LE's our "stamp of approval" so to speak) and we could be opening up a can of worms.
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby StringerBell » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:41 pm

iguanamon wrote:There's a few issues here on the forum as regards language exchanges.
1) There's a huge, massive, imbalance between native English-speakers here on the forum and TL speaker members, or at least TL speaker members who are regular contributors to the forum.
2) Do we want people signing up as members just to do exchanges? One of the problems with language-exchanges is weeding out the "dating game" people from the people who are genuinely interested in doing a real language exchange. I don't think that would be an issue here with regular forum members, but I could see it being a problem with people who join to just do exchanges.
3) As it is right now, there is nothing that prevents current members from contacting TL speakers via private message to ask if they would be receptive to a language-exchange. Of course, members would have to state what their native language(s) are on their profiles so others would know. Some newer members don't bother to do this.


These are all good points, but I think they actually work in favor of trying a LE section.

1) The fact that the majority of members are native English might actually be a pro, since on the LE sites I've been to, it seems like everyone is looking to practice English; here that imbalance would be in the opposite direction, which might work out well for the members who are not native English speakers.

2) This is a good point that I hadn't thought of. I'm not sure if this is possible, but maybe having some minimum # of posts (like 20 or more) would be required to post in the LEP section. This would probably weed out people who aren't interested in real exchanges.

3) This is definitely true, but contacting someone privately who you have never sent a PM before can be awkward. People with even a touch of social anxiety would probably not feel confident enough to do this. I don't have social anxiety, and I still would feel weird asking most people about doing a LE via PM without knowing if they actually wanted to do a LE ahead of time. At least if someone is registered in a LE section, it's obvious that they actually want to do an exchange.

I'm not married to the idea of a LE section, but if there were a minimum post requirement, it could be a cool way to find LEP without having to deal with people just interesting in flirting or scamming (instead of my original thought that it could be redirection for new posters)
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby rdearman » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:08 am

The minimum posting isn't technically possible.
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby Kat » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:25 am

Would it be technically possible to hide the LEP section? So that only members who are logged in can see it at all?
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby rdearman » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:13 am

Kat wrote:Would it be technically possible to hide the LEP section? So that only members who are logged in can see it at all?

We could create specific groups of people then have a room only for those people. But you're asking the "all volunteer" moderation team to take on a ton of work assigning people to various groups. So it is possible, but far to manual to be a workable solution.

StringerBell wrote:1) The fact that the majority of members are native English might actually be a pro, since on the LE sites I've been to, it seems like everyone is looking to practice English; here that imbalance would be in the opposite direction, which might work out well for the members who are not native English speakers.

How is this a Pro? I doubt that Araud would volunteer to speak for an hour to every member of the entire French language group. (Although he does give a lot of general help and advice). In addition, his English is so good he doesn't need us. :(

StringerBell wrote:2) This is a good point that I hadn't thought of. I'm not sure if this is possible, but maybe having some minimum # of posts (like 20 or more) would be required to post in the LEP section. This would probably weed out people who aren't interested in real exchanges.

Not possible.

StringerBell wrote:3) This is definitely true, but contacting someone privately who you have never sent a PM before can be awkward. People with even a touch of social anxiety would probably not feel confident enough to do this. I don't have social anxiety, and I still would feel weird asking most people about doing a LE via PM without knowing if they actually wanted to do a LE ahead of time. At least if someone is registered in a LE section, it's obvious that they actually want to do an exchange.

Perhaps it would be easier to advertise in your signature that you'd like to do language exchanges: Italian4English, etc. Then people could PM you knowing that you're open to the idea.

rfnsoares wrote:I think it would be worth it a try at least. I only recently got a LEP on Italki, which I was finding impossible, after years of trying without success. I've tried many others without success, too.


I think you're probably using the wrong sites. I could have (and did have at one point) 5 language exchanges per day with different people, and I was only using 2 LE sites.

https://www.conversationexchange.com
https://www.language-exchanges.org
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby Kat » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:58 pm

rdearman wrote:We could create specific groups of people then have a room only for those people. But you're asking the "all volunteer" moderation team to take on a ton of work assigning people to various groups. So it is possible, but far to manual to be a workable solution.


That's not quite what I had in mind. I appreciate the efforts of the moderation team and wouldn't want to burden them with additional work.

My reasoning was this: One of the main concerns seems to be that such an LEP section would attract people that have no interest in the forum and would only sign up for a language exchange. This could be prevented if "outsiders" would not be able see that an LEP section exists.

I don't propose to restrict and moderate access. Every logged-in member would automatically be able to see and use the LEP section. Unless I misunderstand how groups work, there would be no need for different group in this case. Either you are a forum member or your are not.

Anyway, it was just a suggestion. I have no idea if it's technically possible to hide sections of a website from view with a reasonable amount of effort.
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Re: Creating a section for people looking for LEPs

Postby Cavesa » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:28 pm

I agree with Iguanamon's points entirely.

No, the imbalance between the amount of the English natives and the rest is not an advantage for the rest. People, who come to this forum, have already learnt English to a solid level and are here to learn mostly other languages. No offence meant, but an English practice opportunity is not too valuable for this public. English being the main communication language on this forum is a sort of a gatekeeping mechanism. By the time you are ready to use this forum, you are probably not that interested in improving your English anymore.

(For the minority who comes here to ask about English, I think we should have a subforum. It was already suggested a few times, that there should be a different place than the General forum for the questions on English.)

As far as purely the exchange opportunity goes, I am extremely glad this forum is not primarily an exchange platform, even though nothing prevents the members from actually organising such an exchange. You can already do LE with other members. The main point: I don't want this forum to be googleable by keywords "language exchange".

The honest LE demands are manageable. You could make a LE subforum, and there could be normal rules about LEs. I have no doubts it could work (despite not thinking our community is well suited for that due to the majority being English natives) without major problems.

Even the people Kat describes wouldn't be that much of a problem, those looking just for LE and not interested in the rest of the forum. With well written rules and a subforum (for example a rule "any LE seeking thread in other subforums will be deleted"), they wouldn't be much of a trouble.

The problem are the people with less clean intentions. Vast majority of the LE sites are not friendly places for women. There are even sources, that recommend men trying to meet women on the internet to go to the LE sites. People coming to the LE sites to harass women are not exceptions. Some sites are not too bad, for example Tandem. But do we want to sign up on this forum with a whole set of personal data from facebook and filter our contacts by gender and age, like on Tandem? The rest of the LE sites is much worse. And before anyone suggests that:no it is not the fault of the women, it is not caused by "sexy" profile pictures, or by anything else we do. Should we all pretend to be men?

Do the moderators really want to deal with an influx of people asking the forum members for nudes, or worse? Because that's what arrives, if this forum starts looking a bit more like an exchange site, or if it is googleable as such.
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