I really love learning languages....I've taught myself enough French to read books, and I've just begun Spanish, and I want to learn Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin 5-10 years down the road.
In learning French, French.SE has been an enormous help. Truly invaluable. There is no other site like it. All the other Q&A sites for languages (not just French) are forums that have long delays before mediocre replies are sometimes given. There are no online language communities that have the same quality as the Stack Exchange system. Without SE, I would have a lot more trouble answering specific and difficult language questions.
Personally, I feel this can't be debated. These sites are fairly unique in what they offer, like all of SE.
In spite of that, their traffic stats are disappointing. The questions-per-day stat is almost always in the red, and visitors-per-day is usually orange. And this is after 200-600 days in beta.
I'm worried the sites will be closed-- which concerns me terribly because I personally need them. And I'm confident that many, many, many second language learners out there would gladly join the sites' communities if they knew about them. I feel that a lack of awareness is dooming these betas, betas which are offering a rich mine of information that is so direly needed by learners.
Closure implies something along the lines of "this site's format/structure did not work. come up with a better design and try again!" or something to that effect, I believe. Correct me if i'm wrong on that count.
But these are sites whose format/structure is straight-forward and simple. There is no redesigning the sites' purposes. Which is to say that if they get closed, they're closed for good, which would be an awful outcome, because they are goldmines waiting to be discovered.
So the ultimate question is this: will these sites soon be shuttered? Is there no hope for them? Is there any alternative, such as what seems more sensible to me which is somehow broadcasting their existence?
I've read the blog posts encouraging beta users to link interesting questions all over the place, AND WE DO!!! But it's clearly not enough on its own. There's got to be something more that can be done. If Bicycles.SE can find a community...somehow...that always amazes me to think about...SURELY there's an explosion waiting to happen for the language communities.