Many angry, worried & scared Lang-8 members and I are asking Lang-8 to save our language learning community. Please read my letter and sign our petition. Let Lang-8 know that we want them to STOP suspending accounts because we don’t want Lang-8 to die! #savelang8
My name is Matthew Alberto. I’m an English Teacher in Asia, and I’m originally from Australia. I am a super user of Lang-8, as I have written and corrected hundreds of posts on the Lang-8 website for a number of years.
I want you to please read and listen to my worries and the fears of the rest of the Lang-8 community.
Many of us have been wondering what has happened to Lang-8? Is it dead?
I have been wondering the same thing, and no one has been able to tell me what the heck is going on!
Not even the Lang-8 company. They’re not responding to any of the Lang-8 users at all. And that’s the worst thing about it all.
I am so frustrated, worried and even angry right now. It seems that Lang-8 is dead!
Or at least is certainly living out a very slow, painful death.
Who am I & Why do I care so much about Lang-8?
I do not work for the Lang-8 company. However, I am a very dedicated and long-time member of the Lang-8 community, and I am deeply concerned.
I have been using Lang-8 for about 3 years now, and you can see from my Lang-8 profile that I have written hundreds of articles in Chinese and Spanish on Lang-8, and I’ve also contributed to the community by also correcting the English language articles of hundreds of other members. As such, I’m often within the top 10 to 20 ranked Lang-8 users for the Spanish language and the Traditional Chinese language.
So you can see that I really care about Lang-8 and the language learning community. I have met a number of people, read their stories, helped them improve their English, and I am truly grateful for the people across the globe that have helped me improve my accuracy and confidence in writing in another language.
5 Big Problems that are Killing the Lang-8 Website
1) You can’t sign up for a new account
This is the most striking example of Lang-8’s death. If you go to the Lang-8 homepage and you try to sign up as a new user, Lang-8 will not let you.
They simply will not allow you to register for a new account!
I’ve tried different ways to sign up, but there is absolutely no way for you to do so.
Instead, you are shown a popup that: “New sign ups for Lang-8 are currently suspended.”
The Lang-8 registration popup goes on to say that: “Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience we’ve caused you and the rest of the language learning community. ”
I’ve clicked on the main “Create an Account” button on the Lang-8 website for several months now, and even at different times of the day, just to see what’s going on… but my efforts have repeatedly been unsuccessful.
Nope, it doesn’t work.
So no new sign ups are allowed on the Lang-8 website. Lang-8 members who already have a Lang-8 account are allowed to still login to the site and use the site, however, it is really sad that no new members are allowed.
Typically, a “suspension” of a service means a few hours, or even 1 day or a few days.
Online companies who are serious about their service would make it a top priority to fix a suspension on new sign ups!
At worst, a suspension of an online service is expected to last for a week, but that’s already pushing it. However, the fact that this suspension of new registrations to the Lang-8 website has lasted several months, and it is still going on, suggests that Lang-8 no longer cares.
That’s what’s really sad and frustrating about it all, when it comes down to it.
The people behind Lang-8 no longer care about it.
Certainly they don’t care about it as much as the language learning community, and that really makes me sad.
2) Shrinking Community & Less Corrections
As a result of the ban on new Lang-8 members, the natural consequence of this is that the Lang-8 language learning community is shrinking.
Like any other social network or online community, not all current members of it are active every day and some registered members typically choose to leave the service over time and some also become inactive for a period. Some registered members continue to use the service, while others will choose not to. This natural decay of membership is expected.
It’s also expected that new members of an online community, like Lang-8, will pick up the community in the absence of the older members who have chosen to opt out.
However, Lang-8 has not allowed the registration of new members. Therefore, the community of Lang-8 will continue to decay and shrink in numbers over time.
Since no new members are joining up, there is no fresh pool of members to keep the site going.
As a result of the shrinking community of Lang-8, I have noticed a decline in the number of corrections I have received on some of my Spanish posts. Previously, I remember that I would get perhaps about 3 to 5 individual members correcting my writings. Nowadays, I find that I only get around 1 to 2 corrections on my posts.
Daily active usage and engagement seems to be dropping for the Lang-8 site, and it really makes me sad.
I still use Lang-8 for some corrections, but I really fear that one day, I may no longer receive any corrections to my posts.
3) Lots of Spam from Fake Lang-8 Users
Another really annoying thing I am noticing more and more about Lang-8 is that there are more junk posts being published by spam bots. If you’re a member of Lang-8, you probably would have seen them in your feed.
When you want to make some corrections to other users’ posts, you’ll often notice that there are fake Lang-8 users. These fake users typically post several times. They write garbled words and sentences, and the posts are usually in obscure languages. Since I am a native of English, I often an confused why I am shown these posts in exotic languages that I don’t know or am not learning.
Not only that, these fake users will usually post lots of links to other websites and web pages. Their posts may actually just simply be several lines of links to other web pages, so it’s clear that they’re not using the Lang-8 website as it was intended.
I have never clicked on the links because they are so suspicious, and I suspect that many of the links will lead you to a website with malware, viruses, spyware, pornographic material or fake websites that will try to scam you.
Beware of those spam links from fake users on Lang-8!
Don’t click on them.
With the Lang-8 team not giving a damn anymore about the Lang-8 service, you will probably see more and more of this junk on the website, which is so unfortunate. It makes the website feel noisy and cluttered with crap that doesn’t belong on it.
Lang-8 doesn’t care anymore about its users, so they are simply allowing the spam to just take over on the site.
If they were doing their jobs and caring about the Lang-8 community, then they would immediately and effectively weed out and moderate the spam, while also removing and banning all those spam bots and fake users.
4) Angry Lang-8 Members & No Response from Lang-8
One of the most annoying things about the death and slow demise of Lang-8 is that it seems I have no official person from the Lang-8 team to complain. There’s no one on the Lang-8 Facebook, or the Lang-8 blog, or the Lang-8 Twitter that will respond to you regarding your complaints about the Lang-8 service.
Several other Lang-8 members have complained about the problems with Lang-8, and they’ve done it publicly, but still Lang-8 has not responded.
As shown on their Facebook, the Lang-8 team will simply just ignore you.
Actually it’s been several months since dozens of angry Lang-8 members and others who want to sign up have voiced their concerns about the problems of Lang-8.
Yet still there is silence from Lang-8.
The silence is deafening.
It is painful… and extremely frustrating!
5) Neglect of Lang-8 to Forcefully Push Users to HiNative
All of the problems with Lang-8 are a result of one simple fact.
The Lang-8 management teach no longer care about it, and they are proactively neglecting the Lang-8 service since the start of this year and moving way from it from now on.
The reason they are neglecting Lang-8 is because they want all Lang-8 users and future potential registrants to use their “sister service”, HiNative.
It would be fine for Lang-8 users and interested Lang-8 signups to use HiNative if the HiNative service still had the familiar Lang-8 functions to for written corrections, especially for multiple sentences or paragraphs of text.
However, HiNative’s interface and focus is totally different from Lang-8, and it does not and cannot be a replacement for Lang-8.
Out of loyalty to Lang-8, I actually tried HiNative, and I did a test to see if I could post a series of paragraphs that I wrote in Spanish to see if the HiNative community would correct it in the same way or better than Lang-8.
To my utter disappointment, HiNative totally flopped.
I didn’t get the corrections that I wanted to get, as HiNative is not designed for users to post multiple sentence writings and have them corrected. Rather the premise of HiNative is for users to ask simple 1-line questions and have them answered by native speakers.
Other Lang-8 users have also tried HiNative to see if it would suffice or replace Lang-8, but they were utterly disappointed at it too.
The Lang-8 company have done a major pivot, and have decided to put all their focus and resources on HiNative, to the detriment and neglect of Lang-8.
Not only is HiNative unrelated and useless for Lang-8 users, what’s really annoying is that Lang-8 is forcefully pushing current Lang-8 users and potential Lang-8 registrants to use HiNative. When you go to the Lang-8 website and try to sign up, they don’t allow you to create a Lang-8 account. Rather they redirect you to sign up to HiNative instead.
The marketing ploy to get more HiNative users is a real fail, and so annoying (and feels somewhat deceptive), especially for people who genuinely want to create a Lang-8 account, as HiNative doesn’t provide the same value that Lang-8 does (or used to!).
What does our language learning community want?
We need to do something right now, and I think it starts with the Lang-8 company caring about our community and stop Lang-8 suspending accounts. Enough is enough. It’s been 6 months and counting and nothing has changed. How many more months do we have to wait for something to happen? As the Lang-8 company, you have authority over the Lang-8 website. YOU can change this. Your lack of care for the website is leading to the slow death of our language learning community. I believe it is your responsibility to step in. And please don’t do it for me or the other angry, worried and scared Lang-8 community members. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Matthew Alberto &
Many other angry, worried & scared Lang-8 community members
P.S. If the Lang-8 Company or members from the language learning community want to send me their questions, suggestions or rants about Lang-8, send me an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign this petition now! #savelang8
Our cause needs your help. Every signature counts!
Your info will stay private.