- 15 days left.January 15, 2015
PLEASE contact me if you'd like to move your account to Reviewing the Kanji. The website is closing January 31.
For further info & questions please see this thread..
- The End.December 27th, 2014
I am sorry to announce that I made the decision to close the the Reviewing the Hanzi website. The website and forum will go offline permanently on January 31, 2015.
Exporting your stories and flashcards
Make sure to pick "UTF-8" if you import in a spreadsheet. The flashcard columns are FrameNumber, Hanzi, Keyword, LastReview, ExpireDate, Box, FailCount, PassCount. See this forum thread for more information about the exported files.
The world doesn't need Reviewing the Hanzi
The long and short of it is that for whatever reason the world doesn't want, or need, a companion website for James W. Heisig & Timothy W. Richardson's Remembering Hanzi books.
Reviewing the Hanzi first came online in March 2011, with Traditional Hanzi support. In retrospect, I wish I had first implemented Simplified Hanzi (the website back then could not support multiple indexes without major changes). But I am honestly not convinced it would have made much difference. I think Heisig's method is silmply not that popular with Chinese language learners, and the now ubiquitous recommendation of the SRS app "Anki" on language learning blogs and forums means there is very little audience left for this website.
Stats wise, there has been 140 users logged in last month, of whom 68 logged in last week, which is more representative of the active user base. Of these, 24 users have edited/updated a story (mnemonics) in the last month. Approximately 20 users are making regular use of the flashcards.
We are now at the end of 2014 and I simply have to face the facts.. that this website is not growing, and will not grow. Keep in mind that this all started in 2006, with Reviewing the Kanji... therefore admittedly, I am growing frustrated and really tired of having this website at the back of my mind. As the years pass I have also grown older, and I have to grow up. I am tired of giving, and seeing nothing in return. It's no one's fault, but a website can not be sustainable on a donation basis, and not even on a subscription basis, unless it has a sufficiently large audience.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, and nothing is truly "free".
In an age of ever shorter attention spans, where very few people bother sending in email feedback, let alone register on a forum to report issues or make suggestions, donations have become the main way that I see how people appreciate my work and how valuable it is for them.
Unfortunately, and I emphasize here it is no one's fault, certainly not the fault of those few visitors who trusted my website and decided to give it a chance! Simply put it is a simple numbers game. Typically any free website will see a "conversion" of 1-5% of the users to a subscription. If you accept donations, likewise, maybe 1 in 100 logged in user will make a donation at some point. Therefore logically, unless the site can grow a sufficient audience, it is simply not sustainable.
I tried to convince myself to add Simplified Hanzi as it was nearly completed and give the website another six months to see what happens, but that is not possible because as I will explain below, the mere presence of the website is a running investment for me, in terms of development time. But the main reason I decide to throw the gauntlet, is that I've have had enough. I am tired of splitting my attention between two sites. I am tired of checking the registration log and seeing only one person a day register. I am tired of checking the forum and seeing nobody ever post there or bother replying to someone else.
Theory versus Reality.
I am a solo developer. In theory Reviewing the Hanzi was a great idea: I created a single codebase, that could be deployed in a Japanese and Chinese websites. After all Japanese characters come from Chinese characters, and both languages have many common features. It is quite possible to maintain a single code base, and even a single database structure between Chinese and Japanese characters.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the data that runs these websites: handling the data sources (such as KANJIDIC, UNIHAN, CEDICT, etc) and presenting it on the website (eg. which form to use for the chinese readings), are all things that take time. This is why unfortunately I decided to cancel the Simplified Hanzi update. I figured that even if the site grows a little bit, I will also likely receive requests for minor corrections to the characters, the keywords, the readings, it goes on and on and never seems to end. It was manageable when I worked only on the Kanji, but when I have to switch context between Kanji and Hanzi, it becomes a significant investment that I can no longer warrant.
So I hope you can understand it was not just a matter of me putting out the Simplified Hanzi update, and simply "keeping the site alive". I would just feel compelled to keep making small, but time consuming corrections in addition to the extra development cost of making sure that all changes I make to the code remain compatible between the Japanese and Chinese websites.
In theory, this website would have found an audience, however slow. After all, it is pretty "niche". It is entirely focused on completing the "Heisig" books. In theory, on the long term I would have received some donations and then as the forum grows, I would have been able to run a couple advertisers, or a decent affiliate. Keep in mind, again, I was looking at the long term. This was three years ago. I was not expecting instant results. I hoped that I could perhaps sustain myself in the long run.
So not only is that not happening, but keeping this website alive is actually a liability for the Reviewing the Kanji website and its users.
With typically 20+ registrations a day on Reviewing the Kanji and 1600+ users signed in just last week (registered users) what I see is that there is still a place for Reviewing the Kanji. (edit: 31 users registered Dec 28th on RevTK, to give you an idea, while the daily registrations for RevTH is anywhere from 0 to 3).
So I had to make a choice. And from here on, I need to make sure that any time I have available to develop the websites further is focused entirely on Reviewing the Kanji.
Thank you for checking out this website and giving it a chance. Thanks to everyone who donated in the past and/or sent feedback. Trust me, your support was very meaningful for me.