I will start a new thread after this issue was aroused in another discussion.
Why should people who don’t use LingQ have the right to decide what languages have to be added at LingQ?
It is more and more clear that many voters don’t know anything about LingQ. Existing languages are constantly added and removed. Latin was added again immediately after becoming a beta language.
It seems that the general support for some languages doesn’t reflect the actual demand expressed by active LingQ members.
I have added quite a few LingQ members as friends on Facebook and only four of them have voted for Norwegian (4 votes out of 191), while Esperanto was chosen by 11 LingQ members, including myself, but has got “only” 141 preferences so far. This is just an example. There could be more.
What about those who voted for Sign Languages (how could we provide lessons, host conversations, correct writings) or, even worse, for Klingon? Should Klingon ever come first, ahead of, say, Ukrainian or Urdu, would you add it?
My suggestion would be this: Steve puts forward a short list of 6 new languages each month, then there is a vote here at this forum (with the paying members getting a “super vote” worth 4 times as much as our ordinary votes.)
I reckon that would be pretty fair.
I thought the point of opening up the voting was to attract putative LingQers? (Although your suggestion isn’t bad at all…)
In order to expedite and automate the process of voting in a way that gave more importance to a paying member’s vote, LingQ would have to develop an internal polling system, a sort of “Vote” page, and that means money, which at present is being spent on other fronts. I’m not against this idea of allowing only paying members to vote (“No taxation without representation” = “Taxation with representation” = “No representation without taxation”), but I reckon it is expensive, from a technical point of view, to implement. Besides, LingQ uses Facebook to advertise itself, choosing a closed system, however fairer, would have a not negligible economic impact on LingQ as a company.
And I’m a paying member.
I suspect that one of the reasons for the Facebook voting system is to try to promote LingQ and generate interest in communities outside this forum. A member-based vote would probably not achieve much on this front.
Has the number of active/paying members increased since the start of that poll?
I think the Facebook page is already a good advertising tool, even without letting non members vote. After all, interested people could still join LingQ for free and then vote. This way, there wouldn’t be all those votes for French, German, Korean, etc.
Why would it be necessary to develop a special voting page? Each month we could just have two voting threads here at the forum - one for payers and one for non-payers. In each case members would just enter a single post with their vote.
(Obviously someone from LingQ would have to take time to do the counting and check that nobody had voted twice, etc.)
JayB: “…(Obviously someone from LingQ would have to take time to do the counting and check that nobody had voted twice, etc.)”
The goal is to automate the process. I, for one, would not ask the LingQ staff to go through the predicament of manually counting votes, and check for duplicates and frauds. Facebook offers a poll system, perhaps too open, but still fast and automated.
It’s surely fast and automated. It’s just too open. It’s like allowing Germans to vote for the Swiss parliament (I picked two nations randomly)!
As some of you have pointed out, using Facebook for the poll is efficient for us, prevents people from voting multiple times which was an issue in the past and, most importantly, helps us spread the word about LingQ. We are not going to change the way the voting works. We are happy with the current setup…sorry Michele…
This has been mentioned before by Blindside and others, but for what it is worth… it seems the best way to vote for a language is to create content for it. LingQ puts out a shortlist and says “All of these will become supported at the point that we have an amount of content a beginner could start with (to be defined more precisely of course).” I think Jarda took this route and was rewarded with Czech, but I think it could be made the official route.
Mark, I thought you would be happier to see beta languages being demanded by actual members, not just supported by non-members.
What if the LingQ staff is happy and most members are unhappy?
@dooo: I agree with you, Blindside “and others”.
@mikebond - Of course, we want our members to be happy! However, since adding relatively obscure languages is unlikely to be of much financial benefit to LingQ, we would like to see if we can’t at least generate excitement about voting for them and generate some PR benefit that way. We don’t achieve much if we only get our own members talking to each other.
Remember that for a long time we added no languages. Now we LingQers are going to be treated to a new language every month. I think many people are happy with the addition of Latin. I am impressed with the quantity of content that has been contributed in a short time.
There is no absolutely fair way to select. If someone very keen creates lots of content for Basque, this does not mean that many people are interested in Basque.
The fact that the Facebook page attracts new members is a big plus. The best thing about LingQ is the community. If we can attract more keeners here, we will be a better community.
If you want to see a certain language at LingQ contact your friends, talk it up on your blogs, on forums and communities where speakers or learners of these languages are to be found.
I have voted and will patiently wait for my favourites, which are not near the top of the list at the present time. I will also think of ways to promote the languages that I am interested in using posts on my blog and other means. Go Farsi and Cantonese!
I am going to enjoy the Latin, although I did not vote for it.
Mike said: “What if the LingQ staff is happy and most members are unhappy? :)”
This is what kind of irks me about this situation: things are basically done autocratically around here, right? (And there’s no problem with that - if you own and run LingQ, then you have every right to decide.) But then why also pretend to be democratic and have votes, etc?
It seems to me that the “vote” is all about spreading the word to new members. What the current members want seems to be of little account…
But never mind, I’m off to vote for Klingon!
I do not think most LingQ members are unhappy. I think most LingQ members are indifferent about new languages, but some, perhaps many, are happy that we are adding languages.
Yes, it is up to LingQ HQ, to decide the future course here, and there are many obvious reasons for that. We ask people to vote for the languages that they want, and nothing prevents LingQers from voting. If they are outnumbered by non-members in the vote (which I doubt), it is because there are not enough LingQers who are interested. There are thousands of LingQ members. If we are able to allow LingQers to vote for the next language, and at the same time attract the attention of new potential members, that is a good thing, and not a bad thing.
Most LingQers were not unhappy when we did not add languages, for the longest time. Most LingQers were not unhappy when we added 4 new languages arbitrarily. Now a few people, a handful perhaps, are unhappy about the voting process.
JayB you sometimes come on strong with annoying statements that you cannot substantiate. I usually discount these comments given the source. The statement "What the current members want seems to be of little account… " is typical.
Steve, for a linguist, your attention to detail is not always very sharp.
I did not say: “What current members want IS of little account”. I said: “What current members want SEEMS TO BE of little account”.
Spot the difference?
Yes, that’s right Steve, it’s just my personal impression of the matter - which I do not assert to be absolute truth, and which I therefore do not have to “substantiate” either to you or anyone else.
I’m not trying to annoy anybody here. But if you’d prefer me to stop posting, that’s not a problem - just let me know.
@JayB - We’re happy for all your contributions. As far as our responsiveness to what current members want, I would say we are much more responsive than most sites out there. At least the ones that I use. In the end, it is our site and we will do what we want to do. In this instance we are not interested in restricting the vote to members only or paid members only. However, there are countless other instances where we do respond to member requests. Therefore, keep the requests coming and if we think they are good ones and will benefit the site and the community, we will consider them as always before making a decision.
“…nothing prevents LingQers from voting…”
I did not vote because I will not create an account at FaceBook, a company that has been often very much criticized for its privacy practices in Germany and other countries.
Last month, a German privacy group declared using the “Facebook Like” button leads to profiling that infringes German and European data protection laws. The organization alleged Facebook builds a broad profile for individuals not on the service as well as a more personalized profile of its members. The also group announced websites that use the Facebook “Like” button would be fined!!!