Places to go for general chat
I often see people trying to post chatty introductions like "Hi I'm Foo and I'm studying Bar and what is everyone doing for New Year?" These posts are often downvoted swiftly.
The forums here are quite tightly focused on language acquisition and on Duolingo itself. Which isn't to say that wanting general chat with other language learners is a bad thing. And wanting to chat in your target language is a good thing! It's just that here isn't the right place for it (see the Wiki's Faux Pas guide ).
I've seen numerous people here recommend Conversation Exchange as somewhere that you can meet native speakers of your target language for chat, as well as other similar sites:
I've not actually tried any of these myself (too shy), so it'd be great if knowledgeable people could comment on these or any other alternatives.
I created an account on Conversation Exchange in september and I recently met a woman from Brazil there who is studying in my city who wants to learn Norwegian (which is my native language). I met her face to face recently and we had a great time together. Its not a dating site, but I really enjoyed talking to her. Not just when I tried to talk Portuguese, but when she talked about the brazilian culture etc was very interesting for me.
Foi minha primeira vez falando em portugues.
Once Foo has established they are studying Bar, others can then talk to Foo in Bar and Bar can also be used by Foo to talk in Bar to others like Foo.
Unfortunately, according to your premise, these posts are rubbish and (rightfully) downvoted.
And all Foo wanted, was to say "Hi!" and talk in Bar.
There is a place for people like Foo in the forum.
I personally use Conversation Exchange, and I've had good results come of it so far.
Technically CE is intended for finding someone who lives near you who you can practice with. But, if you're like me, there isn't a single native speaker to be found on CE anywhere in your area, and it takes this into account too.
When you set up your account, you declare where you live (not required to be a real place but at least say the country), your native language(s), the language(s) you'd like to practice, estimate what level you're at in your target language(s) (beginner/intermediate/advanced etc.), and select how all you'd prefer to communicate (face-to-face, pen pal, via another online platform such as Skype - for this last one you select a primary platform; default is CE's own chat). You've also got a place to list your hobbies and a blurb to talk about yourself and what you're looking for and all that jazz.
Easily my favorite part about CE is the search. There's a regular search feature, which is strictly based on language, and I think also where they live; but there's also an advanced search that lets you set such filters as age range, location, username, how advanced they are in a particular language, etc.
There's also a series of rooms for general chat, the CE forums. These are okay, I guess - you'll get a lot of people practicing their English, a lot of people practicing Spanish, some French, occasionally German, and sometimes Italian - and you can see who all is participating in the chat (especially on computer, it's super easy to view their profiles). But here arises one of my two pet peeves, though this isn't so much CE's fault as that of its users.
On the forums in particular, if one is a native speaker of English, other people may sometimes ignore that person's target languages and still try and talk to them. I finally had to put a notice in my profile that I wasn't willing to help anyone whose native language wasn't one of my target languages, and even then I still got those kinds of messages. (My other peeve is when people try to hit on me. I have had this happen on CE, but it's not too bad because it's rare and because the chats are easy to close and ignore.)
So if this sounds good to you, definitely give it a try; the good thing about CE is that if you don't want to reach out to someone else, someone else will probably reach out to you. (As a shy individual myself, this has sometimes come in handy. ;) Whatever you decide to do, best of luck!
Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.
That is a great point, I agree with you. Duolingo is not supposed to meant for chitty chatty, it is meant for trouble shooting of duolingo, questions about trouble shooting or at least just something of a topic related to a language. Thank you for bringing that up. Because that is really important to know. And those who want to chit chat then use one of the website rainatdawn provided.
Let's not get too serious here - frowning over our phones or glaring at our computers.
The forum is a wonderful learning device where we can share/ask for knowledge, etc.
But it's also a place where languages learners - of all levels - can connect - (nicely of course!)