Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

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Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Ciarán12 » 2012-05-09, 20:20

Cén fáth ar cheanglíodh na fhóraim Cheilteacha le chéile?

Why are the Celtic fora joined together?

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Johanna » 2012-05-09, 20:28

Sorry, we should have posted an announcement.

Simply because most of the forums were pretty much dead, and all but one had lost their moderators. So we thought that a joined forum would be the best option, and we hope the users will to :)
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby księżycowy » 2012-05-09, 20:50

Hey, as long as I can still post my questions/notes on Irish, I'm all good! :D
And hopefully some of these mod positions can be filled. I noticed over half the mods are no more. Anyway, this isn't the place for non-Celtic talk.

Actually I like where this is going. Hopefully a general ancient language forum will be coming soon!

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-05-09, 21:10

Johanna wrote:Simply because most of the forums were pretty much dead, and all but one had lost their moderators. So we thought that a joined forum would be the best option, and we hope the users will to :)

When it comes to getting buy-in from users, the best way is to consult them before coming to a decision. Making an unannounced change and then hoping for a positive reception is way down the list. If you needed new moderators, couldn't you have put out a call for them?
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby księżycowy » 2012-05-09, 21:16

I believe it is more then just needing mods*, but it still would be nice to inform people. I kind of knew due to the creation of the CSAIL forum, but I suppose this did kind of come out of the blue for most people. As the CSAIL forum did too, I'm sure.

Not that I'm not in favor of it, myself.

*As I'm sure you know.

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Johanna » 2012-05-09, 21:21

To be honest, three of the forums were completely, or more or less completely, dead, so even if we had found a moderator to the second alive one, so what? We still would have had to have booted three of them.

We simply felt this would be the best solution for all the Celtic languages, and with all the things going on at the moment, asking the entire forum for "permission" would have taken too long.

We just lost half of our moderators, forcing us to take action, we just couldn't wait another 6 months until everyone agreed with the merge. Sorry, but a forum is not a democracy, and since we had the remaing moderator on board, went ahead with it.

Sure, more info could have been given, I give you that, but that's about it.

Edit: we do look for a second moderator to this forum, one who speaks one or several Gaelic languages, but we are concentrating on the active forums that are without even one first.
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby księżycowy » 2012-05-09, 21:29

Sounds quite logical to me.

Though I personally was just saying that a bit of warning/announcement might have been good. Much like you already said in your first post.

Considering how many people this actually affects (basically 4 of us or so), a vote or anything wouldn't have made sense to me either.
Last edited by księżycowy on 2012-05-09, 21:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Johanna » 2012-05-09, 21:30

Yes, I agree, and we're sorry about that. I'm writing an announcement as we speak :)
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-05-09, 21:45

Johanna wrote:To be honest, three of the forums were completely, or more or less completely, dead, so even if we had found a moderator to the second alive one, so what? We still would have had to have booted three of them.

If the forums are so low-traffic, then couldn't a single moderator have handled more than one?

Johanna wrote:We simply felt this would be the best solution for all the Celtic languages, and with all the things going on at the moment, asking the entire forum for "permission" would have taken too long.

How long could it conceivably take to write up one announcement and post it to a half dozen forums? Longer than it's taking you to respond to our concerns now?

Johanna wrote:We just lost half of our moderators, forcing us to take action, we just couldn't wait another 6 months until everyone agreed with the merge. Sorry, but a forum is not a democracy, and since we had the remaing moderator on board, went ahead with it.

To clarify, I wasn't even asking for a vote, just some acknowledgment that user concerns were of some importance to you and the other site moderators. I'm sorry that was too much to ask for.

Johanna wrote:Edit: we do look for a second moderator to this forum, one who speaks one or several Gaelic languages, but we are concentrating on the active forums that are without even one first.

To be honest, my willingness to accept this responsibility is appreciably less than it would've been had I (a speaker of both Irish Gaelic and Welsh with experience moderating other forums, btw) been approached before the decision to merge the forums was made. Goodwill is never something to be taken for granted--particularly not when running your site depends on it.
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Johanna » 2012-05-09, 21:56

linguoboy wrote:
Johanna wrote:To be honest, three of the forums were completely, or more or less completely, dead, so even if we had found a moderator to the second alive one, so what? We still would have had to have booted three of them.

If the forums are so low-traffic, then couldn't a single moderator have handled more than one?

Isn't one very active forum better than one active one, one active-ish one, one half-dead and two completely dead?

It has worked pretty well with the North American forum.

linguoboy wrote:
Johanna wrote:We simply felt this would be the best solution for all the Celtic languages, and with all the things going on at the moment, asking the entire forum for "permission" would have taken too long.

How long could it conceivably take to write up one announcement and post it to a half dozen forums? Longer than it's taking you to respond to our concerns now?

It didn't take long, and we're sorry about that. Of course we should have done that already, but it fixed now :) It's a global announcement btw, not a forum-specific one.

We hope that you all will accept this apology.

linguoboy wrote:
Johanna wrote:We just lost half of our moderators, forcing us to take action, we just couldn't wait another 6 months until everyone agreed with the merge. Sorry, but a forum is not a democracy, and since we had the remaing moderator on board, went ahead with it.

To clarify, I wasn't even asking for a vote, just some acknowledgment that user concerns were of some importance to you and the other site moderators. I'm sorry that was too much to ask for.

It's not too much to ask, but we really didn't have a choice in the matter, unless we wanted to boot four out of six living or revived Celtic languages (Cornish had its own threads in the Breton forum). But once again, I agree that we should have made an announcement before.

linguoboy wrote:
Johanna wrote:Edit: we do look for a second moderator to this forum, one who speaks one or several Gaelic languages, but we are concentrating on the active forums that are without even one first.

To be honest, my willingness to accept this responsibility is appreciably less than it would've been had I (a speaker of both Irish Gaelic and Welsh with experience moderating other forums, btw) been approached before the decision to merge the forums was made. Goodwill is never something to be taken for granted--particularly not when running your site depends on it.

If you don't want to, that's fine, our list is short but you're not on it anyway.
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-05-10, 17:42

Johanna wrote:We hope that you all will accept this apology.

I do, and I want to say that I appreciate all the work you and the other moderators do for the site.

Johanna wrote:If you don't want to, that's fine, our list is short but you're not on it anyway.

Ouch. I guess it was awfully presumptuous of me to think otherwise. Thanks for putting me firmly in my place.
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby corcaighist » 2012-05-31, 15:42

It's sad that there isn't enough interest on the part of native-speakers and learners to maintain at least three forums (Welsh, Irish, Breton) but I guess it reflects just how endangered these languages are never mind the other three (Gaelic, Manx and Cornish). As a learner I would love if there was more activity, especially from native-speakers to provide insights into actual language use and offer corrections etc like what happens in other forums. But to be honest, even the forums for languages like Estonian and Finnish can go a week with just one or two posts or maybe none! And there seems to be, even for Finnish, just one or two natives to help out. Forums like this are great for people to learn English because English is the discussion language and there are always loads of people online willing to correct. What's not great is for native English speakers because it's a struggle to get any correction, especially in small language like Irish and Estonian. It can be frustrating. But anyway, enough of that. It makes sense to have one busy forum than 6 dead ones.

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby ceid donn » 2012-05-31, 17:02

corcaighist wrote:It's sad that there isn't enough interest on the part of native-speakers and learners to maintain at least three forums (Welsh, Irish, Breton) but I guess it reflects just how endangered these languages are never mind the other three (Gaelic, Manx and Cornish).


The only langs that actually have a real lacking in interest, IOE, are Manx and Cornish. People talk a lot about these language, but I have seen very few actual learners here. The other four do attract plenty of interest. The problem with Unilang, from my perspective as someone who came here as a beginner in Gaelic and has come and gone periodically since then because of my frustration and disappointment with how this site is run, is not a lack of interest. It's lack of support from the admin, who, as Johanna showed us in her above comments about looking for mods and her response to lingouboy, have their priorities, which are with other langs and with the users they want to see be active on this site. It's not about who actually shows up here with interest or ability. I've seen many Celtic lang speakers and learners come and go. They too often don't stay because this hasn't be a supportive place for learning these languages. Worse yet, Unilang can be a downright hostile place for some people (do I need to recount all the sexist and vile comments/sigs I've read, or the bullying I've seen---including from certain mods? Seriously, how encouraging is it to come here to learn a language but be reluctant to use that lang's forum because its mod casually talked about how much he hates women like you?). Add those two factors together--little support for the language you are learning plus the potential of hostility around the site in general--and you have a recipe for certain failure. But I guess it's easier to say there's not enough interest, huh?

That's my two cents. I just wanted to say as someone more involved with learning Celtic languages than the majority of the admin here, I think there is enough interest. But I'm not really interested in tangoing with the admin over this matter. I gave up over that misogynist mod on hoping the admin would be genuinely responsive to the needs of learners here. They have their priorities, and learners like me aren't one of them. Uill, mar sin, ceart gu leòr!

P.S. I didn't mention some of the problems I've experienced so to elicit an apology from anyone. I don't want any apologies at this point. I just want to be left alone to study my languages.

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Johanna » 2012-06-01, 10:04

I've kept en eye on the Scottish Gaelic forum ever since I became a member almost 6 years ago, and it was active enough in the beginning, there even was a native speaker who could help out and the requests for translations for tattoos, inscriptions etc were there, but they hadn't completely taken over.

After a couple of years however the native speaker disappeared and most of the learners as well, it could be months between any "real" posts, so if you saw that there was something new written in that forum you could be 90% sure it was one of those translation requests or maybe an answer to one. Actually, if we hadn't made this merge, there's a chance that the Scottish Gaelic forum would have been completely gone today due to lack of any real activity, instead having all its threads merged to one and put in the 'other languages' section. Yes, the activity really was that low, we checked to make sure.

What's better in your mind, a merged Celtic forum, or keeping only Irish and Welsh?

That we were thinking of removing the Scottish Gaelic forum had nothing to do with lack of support for that language specifically, but we can't have an infinite number of language-specific forums, that would make the forum as a whole too big to handle, and sooner or later it would be impossible to find moderators for them all, it's hard as it is. And we can't keep "just one", since then we can't really argue for not keeping all of them, which means no new forums, and then how do we motivate keeping forums that are a lot less active than some of the threads in the 'other languages' section to the other members?

You're right in that the Celtic languages isn't our priority, but when it comes to administrating the forum, no language is, not even our native ones. We have to look at things objectively, we can't have any favourites and start promoting one language over the other, or have a slightly different set of rules for some language forums but not for others, which you seem to want us to have in the case of Scottish Gaelic.

In other words: it's up to the speakers and learners to keep a forum active and to promote the language, not us.

Also remember that we do this in our spare time, this isn't our job and we don't have an infinite amount of time to spend on it, and we've recently have some pretty severe troll attacks and even if the spam isn't nearly as bad as it was, there's still quite a lot to remove every day. So, just those things take a lot of time and energy, add the work on the new policy, the moderator checkup we just had, and now the merges and removals of inactive or even dead forums to that...

We're actually in the middle of making changes that will give us a little more time to deal with the sometimes bad atmosphere and bullying and all those things, but they take time, and we can't do it all at once. Hopefully we'll also get some of the more technical stuff in order soon, which will give us even more time, but according to the server administrators the forum is so heavily modified that it isn't the easiest thing to do.

There's also aother thing everyone should remember: we can't read every single new post, there simply are too many, so yes we do miss stuff. A lot. Which is why you should report things you think are inappropriate, not complain that we do nothing about them. Like this thing with that moderator you're talking about, if it's as bad as you say, he shouldn't be a moderator, but we have to know about it in order to take action.

I hope this cleared some things up :)
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-06-01, 14:50

Johanna wrote:You're right in that the Celtic languages isn't our priority, but when it comes to administrating the forum, no language is, not even our native ones. We have to look at things objectively, we can't have any favourites and start promoting one language over the other, or have a slightly different set of rules for some language forums but not for others, which you seem to want us to have in the case of Scottish Gaelic.

So what are the objective criteria that you use? Do there have to be a minimum number of content posts a month before you consider merging one forum into another and, if so, how many? As a mere user, I don't have any activity logs in front of me, so I can only go by my impressions from hitting "View new posts" a couple times a week and I don't ever recall seeing, say, more new posts in the Rapa Nui forum than in the Irish. This contributes to impression of arbitrariness and high-handedness.

Johanna wrote:Also remember that we do this in our spare time, this isn't our job and we don't have an infinite amount of time to spend on it, and we've recently have some pretty severe troll attacks and even if the spam isn't nearly as bad as it was, there's still quite a lot to remove every day. So, just those things take a lot of time and energy, add the work on the new policy, the moderator checkup we just had, and now the merges and removals of inactive or even dead forums to that...

Sounds like you need more moderators...
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Johanna » 2012-06-01, 17:30

There will be a couple of more mergers, and we'll also remove some more forums, so don't worry, we won't keep any forum that's less active than the Scottish Gaelic one was ;)

What we've done now is looking if there's been any activity at all in the forums in 2012, and if so, what kind of activity. Translation requests by people who don't stick around belong to the kind that won't make a forum stay, and sadly that was the only thing we could find in the Scottish Gaelic forum from this year, except one unanswered question by you, which also doesn't belong to the kind of activity that makes a forum stay.

And yes, we do need more moderators, but having a few more doesn't really help if other members don't report what they see.

We are going to make an overhaul of the more general areas as well, once we're done with the language-specific forums, and when we do, we'll recruit some moderators for those as well. As I said, we are trying to change things, but they take time, and we want to finish one before starting anything new, so that we don't stand there with several things that never get finished.
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-06-01, 17:49

Johanna wrote:And yes, we do need more moderators, but having a few more doesn't really help if other members don't report what they see.

If this is what you need to keep the site going, then you should consider doing something concrete to encourage it. I try to be very conscientious about reporting spam and abusive posts in the forums; I've done so dozens of times this year alone. I've never received any acknowledgment of my efforts, let alone thanks, and I can't imagine I'm the only one who's had that experience.

Again, if you need the support of users in order to make this site successful, you need to find ways to make them feel invested. So far, the commitment I feel to this site is in spite of the actions and opinions of the moderators, not because of anything they've done or said. (And this is not a recent development--it goes back years.)
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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby Aurinĭa » 2012-06-02, 0:01

linguoboy wrote:I've never received any acknowledgment of my efforts
Isn't the acknowledgement in the fact that the posts you and others report get removed or edited? As a new admin, I've found these reports a great help in learning what is OK and what isn't. I still do. So you and the others who report spam and abusive posts do have my gratitude, which I express by acting upon the reports and removing the spam.

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Re: Cad a tharla!? What Happened!?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-06-02, 1:12

melan wrote:
linguoboy wrote:I've never received any acknowledgment of my efforts
Isn't the acknowledgement in the fact that the posts you and others report get removed or edited?

No. How do I know that my actions had anything to do with the actions taken? The moderator could've been responding to someone else's notification or could've noticed the posts and removed them completely on their own. For all I know, everything would work out here in exactly the same way whether I bothered to do anything or not.

As a moderator, do you think that the mere fact that we trust you to remove these posts if we report them is sufficient acknowledgment of all that you do to keep this site running? Do you not care one whit whether you receive any public recognition? Do expressions of thanks do nothing at all to encourage you to be more conscientious or responsive?

melan wrote:As a new admin, I've found these reports a great help in learning what is OK and what isn't. I still do. So you and the others who report spam and abusive posts do have my gratitude, which I express by acting upon the reports and removing the spam.

That's very good to hear. Now why not post that somewhere where more than a couple other people might actually see it rather than in a certified backwater?
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