To get it setup, there will be need for an initial capital to get a hosting box for about a year. This money can either be contributed by a number of people, or a single person takes over and manages the site. Alternatively, scoop site owners like rusty can also contribute space for a while till the site gets going.
In such a case, one could make a collaboration between K5 and the site, in that articles that are posted on K5 can be translated and discussed in other languages on the website. However, I would think that the content should be a bit lighter, and there should be more room for tomfoolery, since langauge learning should not require excessive brain use.
And like Kuro5hin, stories should be voted on from a story queue, but the edit queue should be a langauge learning experience for the Author also.
Comment Threads and Stories
The site is targeted at people with basic pre-knowledge of the language, and not people that are yet to learn a single word. People who learnt a foreign langauge formally, but never actually used it in real conversation will so have a chance to use and practise the language.
When comments are replied to, the reply can either be to the content, or to correct the sentences. This is left to the discretion of the users. Like suggested here by TON, one can allow editorial comments be shown all the time.
Stories should not be country centric. Rather, a broader international theme should be used, with stories about travel (like the interesting diaries we see here), about experiences in foreign lands, foreign policy discussions, international politics, real humour, artifical languages (including programming languages), reviews of langauge learning books and websites, columns like "Spanish Basics", etc.
The site will also have to have links to Babelfish translate comments and stories. There should also be various foreign language "skins" of the site.
For such a project, an initial capital will be needed, as well as a running capital. If such a community grows, the disk space as well as bandwidth needs will grow. All this will require financing. The site has got to make some money.
I suggest a truely democratic site - people contribute towards the financing of the website, but these contributions will be similar to shares. The more a person contributes, the larger percentage of the site he owns, and should the site ever turn a profit that exceeds the needs of the site (bandwidth and space), the money is shared out among everybody who contributed in the ratio they contributed.
Also, the 20 largest shareholders make the decisions regarding the site. They vote on every decision in a truely democratic manner.
As a signal of appreciation, the people who contribute the server and bandwidth money for the first 12 months get the uids, 1 to 12. That way, they will be recognized as the "founders" of the site.
But how exactly could such a site make money? Well, taking the cue from Kuro5hin, "Focus On..." sections could be made, but targeted specially at online language learning schools. A school that teaches Spanish, for example, can post short articles for their students to discuss as an exercise. The language schools offer student interaction with one another, and with native speakers on various topics, which makes that school more attractive.
Advertisment is also likely to work, since the group that attends is quite niche, and thus of interest to people who are in the language teaching business. And like TON remarked, textbook publishers already advertise on existing language learning sites.
Another idea is one-on-one language learning. There is something like a Diary, but just accesible by 2 people; a mentor and a student. The student posts a diary in the langauge he would like to learn, and the mentor corrects his grammar and spelling, and discusses the mistakes with him. For the focused one-on-one session, the student pays a minimal sum, example $10. The site takes 2$, and the teacher takes the rest. It doesn't seem like a lot, but all it involves for the teacher is a bit of commenting, much like we do everyday on K5. And if the teacher has 20 people he is taking care of, that would come to 200$ a day.
There are other ways the site can make money without descending into blatant commercialism, or plastering ads everywhere. And of course, the money will not go towards enriching any particular person, but to keep up the site, and to compensate the people who contribute.
I personally like the idea, as it would help me improve my Spanish, English and German. I don't claim the idea, anybody who wants to do it should please do so, but try to make it collaborative, and in collusion with K5. I would contribute a bit for scoop hosting if it came to that, perhaps to host for a single month.
What do you think?