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I feel like this site is near death

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I feel like this site is near death

Postby CardinalGuy724 » Wed 09.07.2011 2:24 am

I have a bit of a confession. A little while back I introduced myself as a new member on the forum, but truthfully I was quite an active member long ago under another account name and during the interim before I created this account, I had sort of strayed away from this site (feel free to guess my old account name, I'll tell you if you are right! :P ). I had never stopped my study of Japanese but I gradually found myself logging on here less and less until I just stopped altogether. I created this account mostly out of nostalgia and because I remembered just how valuable this place is to learners of Japanese and Japanese learners of English.

However, things are not the same now as they were several years ago. Back in the day it seemed like there were dozens of users online at any moment with people posting all the time-it was hard to keep up! Remember the pics threads? So many people were a part of that but I see now that many of them (like myself) had stopped posting here.

Now it seems that the forums consist of a handful of die hard veterans (you all know who you are :ninja:) and the occasional new user. At any given moment if I'm online I'm the only one or there may be one or two other people as well.

I don't want this post to be completely negative and depressing. So maybe there's a way to bring this place back to its former glory?
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby phreadom » Wed 09.07.2011 3:49 am

Well it certainly is depressing, but I don't think it's unfair.

I just finished moving the site to a new server that will save us a bundle on hosting costs, which means that I should be able to spend more time doing some serious work on improving the site without worrying as much about breaking the bank.

There's been a lot of brainstorming in the past, but we didn't implement most of the ideas.

Right now we have a new XMPP based chat setup again... and I'm looking at ways of possibly federating that so that anyone on the net would be able to connect to it like a modern version of IRC. Users logging in with TJP accounts would automatically be "members", and others would be "participants" etc. I've been talking about it a bit with some of the people in the prosody on the prosody xmpp server.

Also, I think perhaps people have grown more used to lower latency communication rather than posting on forums? I really don't know if this is the case.

I think the 3 things that we're really lacking right now that I think would help are:

1) Regularly updated content on the site. The old "New Articles" thing. It gives people something to keep coming back for that isn't just little forum posts etc.

2) Much better organization. Taking all the content we do have and finding a way to polish it up and organize it in a useful way so that people can find it and work from it easily and productively.

3) More learning tools. Things like drilling games, built in SRS tools, quizzes etc... and done to a nice modern standard so that they're a pleasure to use.

Just having nice folks around isn't enough to keep people really coming back to a Japanese language learning site. We need to have the materials that people want to keep coming back for and participating in the community and using the tools etc.

I'm certainly open to suggestions now that I'm starting to dig into this very matter. (I just spent a few hours going through the old Wiki articles cleaning things up and wondering what to do with all that content... if we should just roll it into articles on the site and get rid of the wiki... or what... lot of thinking to do.)

I really hope we can put some pep back in TJP's step. :bow:
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby Hyperworm » Wed 09.07.2011 9:40 am

CardinalGuy724 wrote:I feel like this site is near death
Ahhh... you went and said it... :(

I've been thinking it for a while, but...
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby clay » Wed 09.07.2011 10:33 am

I think it started when we switched to Rackspace (the expensive host). I really thought back then that I could monetize TJP (through ads) enough to pay for that hosting, Phreadom's expertise, and maybe a little extra, but when I realized it wasn't all that easy :), I pretty much dropped the ball and concentrated 100% on TheJapanShop.com and our iPhone apps. In other words, I felt I had to ignore TJP in order to pay for TJP. Stupid, but that is what happened.

Phreadom has been the main man around here keeping things afloat. He has done an exceptional job at that too.

I think TJP can be rejuvenated, and I will start adding new content (especially adding audio lessons) soon.
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby AJBryant » Wed 09.07.2011 12:22 pm

We could also add some hot chicks. :)
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby phreadom » Wed 09.07.2011 10:53 pm

Would something like this: http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d12/p ... eanup2.png
instead of this: http://thejapanesepage.com/grammar/chap ... word_order
help make things more user friendly? I think one of the biggest gripes I've seen is that TJP is just too complicated. And so I've tried to do the exact opposite on my little hobby site and people really love it. But all the content and people are here on TJP (and this is where Clay gets his advertising revenue etc). ;) So I'm trying to find a way to blend the two philosophies to give as much of that aesthetic to here as I can.

I've got a million ideas in my head that I've been mulling over over the past few days... trying to formulate plans to pursue going forward. :)
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby CardinalGuy724 » Fri 09.09.2011 6:35 am

Phreadom, I think you have a lot of great ideas! I had no idea you were so involved in maintaining this site.

In my opinion (which probably doesn't mean much) I think one potentially big issue with the site is the lack of intermediate and advanced material readily available to users. From what I can see, the vast majority of grammar point pages or videos made are for beginners or upper beginners. I think the most advanced topic I've seen discussed in an article is the causative passive form, which admittedly can be difficult but I wouldn't necessarily call it super advanced.

I think the result of this is that there is a plethora of material available for new users but for those who have stuck around for a long time and have reaped the benefit of the "easy" stuff and want to move onto something harder, there's really nothing left to move onto. The intermediate to advanced people don't really have much to go on other than people answering forum posts, so they leave to try and find material for free elsewhere on the web. The result of this is that the site comprises people at the extreme ends of Japanese knowledge - super noobies eager to learn and those who have achieved fluency/are native speakers who answer the noobies questions. There aren't a lot of in betweeners.

I hope this doesn't come off as sounding mean or anything, that's the last impression I want to give. I genuinely want to help this site rejuvinate itself.
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby NileCat » Fri 09.09.2011 10:36 am

CardinalGuy724, I think that’s a good point.
When I came across this site for the first time, I was really impressed by the high quality of the posts by many regular members. I knew that there were quite a few language learning fora on the internet, but most of them just offered simple corrections or Q&As about Japanese language such as basic grammar rules. They are of course informative. But a language is not only something like mathematical equations but voices of real people. There is always more than one right answer. As you might know, I myself study English and am always looking for a good way to improve my poor skills. And I thought I might be able to share my effort of studying English with people who want to learn Japanese. In a sense, I was not that interested in information that I can easily get from ordinary textbooks lined up in the bookstores. So, since then, I usually try to post some information hard to find in those simple textbooks when I answer to the questions. But, at the same time, I sometimes wonder that it might be a fruitless effort if the questioner just wants a simple answer like “correct or incorrect”. But there is always an answer which is “in between” if you really want to understand the target language, at a “high level”, I guess.
Covering all level learners ranging from beginners to JLPT1-level learners is challenging for a website. But, if possible, I think it would be great. And I believe TJP has the potential to become the distinguished website in this sort.
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby Rypervenche » Sat 09.10.2011 6:46 am

I am no longer learning Japanese, (I've moved onto Mandarin^^ Traditional characters at that :) ), but I thought I would put my two cents in.

I believe that many of the new features to the site have only bogged it down. The new layout helped a lot, but I think we need to get rid of all of the old material. Phreadom's site is a breath of fresh air and is exactly what any learner needs, color, precision, simplicity, and the proper material at the right speed.

That's right, get rid of all of the old posts with any of those really old looking Japanese pictures in them, that turn the website from a polished learning source into a cheap website that some kid made in 5 minutes.

I think phreadom should be given a lot of decision power on this, as he has always listened to the users of this site and uses their input to better his material, and all of his ideas are beneficial to learners and to the site's future.

I would love to give input on the site's future and new additions. I'm not much of a forum user, but I am often in the chat. So come on guys, let's give the material on this site a huuuuge overhaul!
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby hyperconjugated » Sun 09.11.2011 8:05 am

I have seen this happen in past years on some other boards that I follow: not much new active members joining and the forum start slowly fade away because the old members can't/won't keep the discussion going on themselves.

I think it might be something similar to what happened to the newsgroups. New platforms, different ways of communicating on the Internet and that's where the "new members" are. Nowadays it's probably combination many different new things (e.g. social media). They might not be improvement to the internet discussion forum but I believe it is still happening and it can be seen for example here: tumbleweeds rolling across the forum (to exaggerate a bit).
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby Ongakuka » Sun 09.11.2011 10:21 am

I'm not saying I don't want this site to be full of energy, life and new eager members - of course I do. And I want to do my part to achieve that. But as long as Clay doesn't dispose of this site, we'd never leave. This is our home and TJP is our family :colonthree:
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby john2 » Mon 09.12.2011 4:32 pm

Ive missed you guys alot.
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby datdo » Wed 09.28.2011 3:04 pm

I personally think it's due to the lack of hot chicks...
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby AJBryant » Thu 09.29.2011 3:55 pm

Well, hot SINGLE chicks. ;)
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Re: I feel like this site is near death

Postby phreadom » Thu 09.29.2011 4:05 pm

You'd probably be surprised just how many beautiful women actually use this site. Most just keep it a secret, or don't want it to be the focus of their participation. :) They're here to learn Japanese (and maybe even make some new friends... but not to do so based on their looks.)

Sorry if it sounds like I'm being all white knighty. ;)
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