Christy Zurcher's "Element14: A Global Community of Engineers" Presentation and Notes -- NY/NJ User Group, October 16, 2015

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Below please find the presentation given by czurcher at the October 16 NY/NJ User Group Meeting, along with my notes.




About the Element14 Community:

  • 360,000 electronic design engineers from 24 countries
  • Distributor of electronic components
  • They have been on Jive since 2008, on premise, and are currently in the middle of upgrading from v6.0.5 to v8


How Element14 has handled localization and language:

  • Every users's country and language is detected using their IP when they arrive on the site (they can change this preference if somehow the site gets it wrong)
  • They have officially translated the site interface into 9 languages (even their logo)
  • They use an integration with Google translate for user-generated content
    • You can tell Google what you would like it to translate and not translate per page
    • The Google translate button appears at the top of every page
    • Google Translate not perfect, but for the most part will give you the gist and is helpful for moderation.
  • A "superwidget" shows different things depending on your IP address - for instance, Youtube is blocked in China, so it won't show a Youtube video to Chinese participants
  • A Microsoft API auto-detects what language a user is typing in when they type something, and uses this information to surface content in the users' native language to the top of the list
  • Pokeshot SMZ plugin is used, which allows you to create translations of your navigation and see the translation in context, which allows for a much better translation


UI Challenges:

  • Since there is not yet parity between tiles and widgets, things like the Element14 "superwidget" might not yet be available to cloud Jive users
  • Question is whether to create language-based communities, which could end up creating silos, or try to provide a customized experience of the same platform for all participants - they chose the latter, but have toyed with the idea of offering a dedicated community for Chinese-language users



  • Machine vs. Human Translation: using Google Translate and Microsoft APIs, both of which are free, and Google seems to learn as it goes along.  Element14 actually had to provide their own full interface translations in Thai and Chinese before Jive provided it
  • However, some things will always provide a human touch, and a combination of the two approaches is probably the best


Moderation & Data Privacy:

  • Their servers are located in Europe, and they must follow European regulations.
    • They do not pre-moderate most content, which allows them to be not considered a content publisher under European law
    • However, they had to start moderating content in China per Chinese law, so they created a spam filter that would flag all Chinese content for moderation
    • They allow users to report abuse
  • It's important to have local help, including local moderators and local General Counsel, so that you can best satisfy data privacy requirements



  • Huge problem for Element14 of late, and they have had to write a custom anti-spam plugin, this is something communiteis should be aware of when expanding



  • Having so many customziations does mean it takes a long time to upgrade Jive, but it was worth it to them because they needed to have these customizations to be successful in international communities
  • They partnered with Jive PS to build customizations at first - now they have enough expertise in house to do most of the customizations themselves




Q: Does Google Translate work while in the moderation queue, in case a moderator has to approve something written in another language?

A: GT works on any page with the Jive header, so if the moderation queue has the header, then GT works with it!


Q: What is the experience using a widgetized page with "superwidgets" while on mobile?

A: Element14 has overridden the "end of widgets" decision and you can still see their widgets using a mobile browser.  However, they have implemented some responsive web design in their superwidget, and set a property so that certain widgets appear only when the screen is full sized and disappear when the screen is mobile-sized, and vice versa.  They had to write a script to find all the superwidgets in the platform and add a "desktop only" property to them. CZ agrees that the mobile experience is very important and believes it is possible to provide a good mobile experience using widgets and overview pages but you have to put some effort and thought into it.  The Element14 community had a strong uptick in activity even just from introducting the v6 mobile plugin.


Q: Do you provide any kind of disclaimer on  your site about what's human vs machine translation and the corresponding accuracy of each?

A: No disclaimer - it's pretty obvious which things have been officially translated because they provide little flags for the country/language that you can click on to get to the specific translation you want.


Q: Do you ever not want Google Translate to be on because you don't want to send certain data/content to Google?

A: Not a huge concern as it's an external facing community, but you could turn off Google Translate for a certain space if you didn't want to allow that.