How many different ways with words do you know? Start your FREE email English course now!

Find penpals and make new friends today!
owed; payable; right; fitting; suitable; adequate
full quiz correct answer

Interview with

The ESL Cafe Story
Interview with Spreadshirt
Interview with Flocabulary
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with Mr. Micawber
Interview with Executive Vocabulary
Interview with Ray Desouza
Interview with Greg Ragland
Interview with
Interview with Konstantin Krasnolutsky
Interview with Phil Burk
Interview with Arkady Zilberman
Interview with David Geer
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with Stewart Tunnicliff
Interview with WhiteSmoke
Interview with
Interview with Maria Ortner
Interview with
Interview with Jack Pillemer
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with
Interview with Jun Watanabe
Interview with Cityspeak
Interview with Jacob Cooke
Interview with Ultimate Vocabulary
Interview with Ben Zimmer
Interview with voice over specialist Tom Kane
Interview with OpenEnglishWorld
Interview with Robert Phipps
Interview with LELTA
Interview with Ian S.
About the SenseDom Project
English Language Exercises 2206 English Exercises
This English grammar test package will help you learn new phrases, idioms, expressions and grammar structures every single day. And you won't even have to cram any grammar rules or vocabulary words into your head. Instead, you will be absorbing bits and pieces of the English language almost without realizing it.
English as a second language
Pimsleur English for Hindi Speakers Pimsleur English for Hindi Speakers
Learn English through this unique audio course! No grammar exercises, no boring English classes. How did you learn your native language? You can learn English the same way! Try this EFL/ESL audio comprehensive program and you will make progress fast.
Below you''ll find an interview with Frank West, the founder of, a community forum site designed to help people learn English. Here is how Frank describes the purpose of his project:

Our immediate aim is to provide the world''s population with a pleasant and non-confrontational arena to practice English. Many Internet communities are rife with pompous known-it-alls; those who consider owning a skill as a good enough reason to make beginners feel like idiots. We frequently ban people with these characteristics, regardless of their level of proficiency.

The site handles approximately 30,000 visits a day; our team consists of a small number of administrators, and a larger number of moderators. The combined effort of these volunteers enables us to reliably moderate the day to day functioning of the forums at this traffic level. Most questions are answered in minutes and students are always treated with respect.

Frank, when and how did you start What triggered the idea to create this community?

I was helping develop sites for Elanguest, an English language school in Malta. We decided it would be useful to ask the teachers to build an archive of common EFL questions and answers. We started the site towards the end of 2002; it grew to its current size after approximately a year.

How many new discussions are being started in your forums every day?

Approximately 60-80 new threads a day, ranging from «Plural proper nouns» to «What do you think about sex before marriage?» We have a number of sections that allow people to discuss controversial subjects while practicing English. That adds up to around 300-400 posts a day.

Congratualations Frank, these are amazing numbers. How have you managed to achieve this level of popularity? Was it just word of mouth?

The theory is quite similar to a disco: nobody wants to dance until somebody else is on the dance floor. I spent around three months talking to my own aliases on the site. Eventually other people began to join up and slowly things took off. You have to be patient, a little bit crafty, and blindly confident!

Yes Frank, I like this approach as we have been using it ourselves. How much time are you spending on your site these days?

As much as is possible! - Through the use of AdSense, we''ve managed to form a small team of developers; we are also working on projects that will eventually extend our internet ''village''. The majority of technical work revolves around day-to-day maintenance and code updates, so it''s a full-time job.

On the community side, the work is completely handled by our administration and moderation teams. I made it a point to hand control over to trusted members early on. Had this not been done, the site would have been overwhelmed by now.

Please tell us more about AdSense and how you have been able to build a team of developers. Also, what countries are your team members from?

AdSense is a recent development; we originally ran the site without ads and paid for all the hosting in-house. As the site became more populated, the costs increased beyond good sense. Depending on how many ads you display, you can either cover your costs, or take occasional holidays.

Rather than make our site look like the ad-infested freak show that most communities have become, the team decided to keep it subtle and display them only for non-registered users. I don''t mind ads at all: they''re part of life. However, I can''t tolerate sites that mislead users into clicking them at every turn.

We have a dedicated server sitting in a nice air-conditioned building with a couple of huge processors and a bunch of speedy SCSI-drives. AdSense has covered the cost of this, plus helped justify hiring a new person dedicated to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Our development team are from England, Malta and Germany - we''re also considering joining up with a team in Moscow.

So, is a truly international online community that serves as a meeting and learning place for professionals with various talents and skills. Are you planning to run the site as a full time job?

Relying on the whim of the search engines is a fundamentally precarious place to live! It''s great right now, but one bad index could ruin the entire community. It''s not a safe career move unless you take the necessary precautions.

We''re branching out as much as possible, and covering as much internet ground as we can. We''ll continue to ensure remains technically intact and can expand indefinitely. I''m hesitant to rely on a single site, as in my opinion that''s not a great idea in today''s «flux-dance-tastic» environment.

I see when you mean. Putting all your eggs in one basket is probably not the wisest business decision. Could you please tell us more about your plans for diversification? What areas of the online world are you going to move in to?

We''re moving into different sectors but trying to keep the general community theme for now. We''ve just released - a simple but clean technology for chatting. It might sound «done», but as you''ll see, there''s no downloading and signing up or general nonsense for the end user. We''ll also move into course building / travel and other tools for education this year.

I have checked out and must admit I''m impressed. Congratulations! The site is very pleasant to look at; I especially like the friendly and clean layout, and of course the big yellow smiley. Also, I''m glad to see so many users engaging in active conversations in your chatrooms. Another feature I find valuable is the poll section. Who comes up with the ideas for the survey questions?

Thanks, Torsten; we spent a good few days going back and forth between «yellow» and «slightly yellow»! The idea of the site was to be «instant-on» — no delays and no hassles for the new visitor. The polls are dreamt up by the community; however, as we develop the population, our moderators and administrators are coming up with «tasty» topics each day. I do believe in aliens!

If you have any English grammar or vocabulary questions,
please post them on this English Grammar Forum.

Next:ESL Cafe: Interview with

Author: Frank West and Torsten Daerr

ESL/EFL Worksheets for Students and Teachers
Your English Test Package will help you learn new phrases, idioms, expressions and English grammar structures every single day. And you won't even have to cram any grammar rules or vocabulary words into your head! Instead, you will be absorbing bits and pieces of the English language almost without realizing it. This worksheet package is the only printable English test collection currently available on the Internet. It contains 2206 ESL/EFL Tests covering a wide variety of topics and grammatical points.

  copyright © 2003—2023  
Get FREE English course via e-mail