Join the Conversation!
Last month we launched a new way for Ethnologue users to interact with the editors by adding a feedback function to the website. In the short time period since that feature was introduced a few people have found it and we have begun to receive some very helpful contributions. This month, I want to do a bit more to promote that feature by giving a fuller description of the way it all works and by describing some of the advantages of joining the Ethnologue user community and engaging in conversation with us.
First of all, I need to mention that the feedback feature is available to people who have not only registered, but who have completed a full user profile. Registration is fairly straightforward, though for security purposes, it does take a few steps to complete. If you just wanted to buy an Ethnologue product (a map, a country report), you would need to create an account by simply registering. However, if you have registered and want to provide feedback and engage in conversation about Ethnologue data with us (the editors) and other registered users, we'd like to know a bit more about you and so we ask you to fill in your profile. There are only a few required fields but we encourage you to introduce yourself to us so we can better appreciate your perspectives as you share them. The information you provide is handled carefully and you can select how much you want to be made available to "the community" of registered users.
Once you have registered and completed your profile, we encourage you to subscribe to the regions, countries, or languages that most interest you. By subscribing you sign up for a notification service which will alert whenever anyone posts some feedback about one of your subscriptions. So, broadly interested in all of the languages of Africa or one of the sub-regions within Africa? You can subscribe to the entire Ethnologue "area" and you'll get an email any time someone provides feedback about a language or country within the continent. If you agree or disagree with the feedback, you can respond and your comment will be added to the thread and other subscribers will, in turn, be notified. The editorial staff also gets notified and where your feedback requires further investigation or motivates a change in the Ethnologue database, we will respond. Eventually, we expect that there will be multiple communities of users collectively sharing their knowledge with each other and with us. If you spot an error (of fact or even something like a typo) or have updated information about a given language, this is the best way for you to get it to us. Your contributions will be acknowledged and acted upon.
Already we have received comments that alerted us to an error in the way the website was operating and we were able to correct that quickly. Another user has questioned some of the data about a particular language and we have contacted our field correspondents to try to get corroboration. While we don't wish to discourage anyone from participating in the discussions, it is most helpful to us if along with your suggested updates or corrections, you can provide us also with published or "expert witness" sources that back up your assertions. Users who provide us with accurate feedback that results in a change in what we report will be acknowledged in all relevant publications of the Ethnologue. That's one reason why we want you to fill out the full user profile before contributing feedback.
In addition to being able to comment on the data that we report, you can also comment on the contents of the Ethnoblog. Though mostly the Ethnoblog has talked about the Ethnologue itself, we're happy to respond to your feedback directly or to dedicate a future blog post to a topic that you might want to know more about or to answer a question that you might have. So the Ethnoblog is another opportunity to engage in conversation about language-related topics of interest.
So, please, join the conversation!