The Year in Review: 2022
December 16, 2022
As is the tradition in many places at the end of the year, let's take a look back at what's happened on ALTopedia during 2022. I ran some stats on the site database from December 15, 2021 to December 15, 2022, and here are the highlights:
- 811 activities were submitted.
- 1830 comments were posted. (like last year, this over 50% of the total comments on the site)
- There were several thousand account registrations, which I'll explain more further down. Of the new users, 170 of them posted at least one activity.
- 323 lessons were tracked in the Lesson Tracker system, although to be completely honest, most of them belonged to one user account. I'm hoping this will be a much bigger number next year!
- The most popular avatar is the girl striking the stylish pose (filed under "Chuu-ni-byou" in Irasutoya), with the dog taking second place and the giant lizard in third.
- There are 241 Collections, although only 2 of them have been set to be visible. Feel free to come up with collections for public consumption if you like!
- There were 7199 thumbs up given. Like comments, this grew enormously and makes the pre-December 2021 thumbs up count look very tiny by comparison.
Speaking of thumbs up, these activities received the most thumbs up over the year:
- Trick or Treat Quiz Game
- Prepositions with Miwo
- Welcome to Kirby Cafe!
- Zombie Game
- Haunted House - Choose Your Own Adventure
From the web analytics, the most visited tag pages were Infinitive (General), Relative Pronoun, and Past Simple. Those are all grammar points that benefit from creative approaches to introduce and practice them, I think!
As far as features, this year saw the upgrade to Ruby on Rails 7 (which nobody saw any reason to notice except myself, I suppose), the introduction of user account settings (which still aren't used very much yet), the introduction of the Subscriber system and the Lesson Tracker, the in-site Contact system, the built-in avatars, a revamp of user pages, the Dashboard (which I know that plenty of users liked less than the front page), Activity Collections, Articles (although they're still quite sparse), the removal of the clunky old Captcha system, and quite a lot of small bug fixes.
The biggest change, which caused huge ripple effects that I didn't anticipate, was the decision to limit large file downloads to people who are logged in. I had to take that step because my bandwidth bills were really growing a lot, and I needed some way to slow it down. It led to a lot of people registering accounts who hadn't had one before, and led to a lot more participation in different systems like the thumbs up and comments.
Unfortunately the bandwidth costs have continued to rise as the userbase grows. The site host bills in US Dollars but my credit card is in JPY, so the recent change in exchange rates has brought up the costs as well. The bills for October and November have been over 20,000 yen. My wife and I just had our first baby, so I've been trying to figure out how I can meet the site's costs and keep it running without feeling like I'm being financially irresponsible towards the kiddo.
At some point I may have to start reining in bandwidth costs further by putting an upper limit on file download size unless the downloading user is a subscriber. For example, maybe every file over 20 MB might not be accessible unless you're a subscriber. It'd be an unpopular decision, but I don't know if there's many other ways to reduce the bill given how much data the site uses every day now.
I'll give warning if I decide to go with something like that, but in the meantime, it would help quite a lot if you considered becoming a subscriber to the site. I'm planning on building a demo page for the Lesson Tracker next year to give people an idea of what it's like, but I hope it will be useful enough for you to be worth the subscription fee.
I'm always grateful for the wonderful community that's developed on the site. It's always a treat to see the creative and funny ideas that everyone comes up with, and the attitude of sharing and appreciation that I see in the submissions and comments. Good luck in the new year, and see you then!