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How are different languages on SCN working out for you?

Instead of continuing an argument on Idea Place I thought I'd post a question here to pick the collective SCN mind.

There seem to be a lot of confusion regarding non-English content on SCN. On one hand, the non-English users are struggling with how to post or find content in their language (Exhibit A just from the top of Q&A list, there are others).

At the same time, those who speak only English from the list of SCN-supported languages are now seeing items like this (this is from ABAP Q&A):

From what I see, status quo is not really working for anyone (personally, I'm getting annoyed by scrolling through German or Chinese blogs all the time, no disrespect). And while for the English speakers this could be easily solved by adding a filter, I'm afraid that would just cast all the non-English content into obscurity.

One of the factors mentioned in the Idea Place was moderation. Since now moderator is assigned to a tag, to facilitate languages one would need a Spanish, Chinese, etc. speaking person in every single tag. Which is, of course, unrealistic (not sure why no one thought about this when making a design decision).

All things considered, I believe it would've made more sense to convert language-specific spaces to their own tags instead of adding language on top of the tags as an attribute. In this way only one moderator is needed and also other-speaking folks would continue to stay warm and cozy in their own designated spots.

What are your thoughts on the new language concept?

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4 Answers

  • Dec 03, 2016 at 04:00 PM

    What makes sense to me, could be the assignment of moderators to be for a combination of tag + language, if no expert is available for this combination, the question can be forwarded to a group of moderators for the language. If moderators managed to handle non-English communities in the old platform with different kinds of questions, this probably means that they can still provide some guidance on multiple topics (assuming that the former moderators have not abandoned the site already). If we start considering language as a primary property, then, hopefully, a user can get something like this:

    Why have the questions separated by language, if you stated, that you can speak all of these?
    Just because you speak a few languages, this does not mean that you can easily switch between them.
    For example, I have no problem switching my thinking into English from my native language (1-2 seconds), from English to Russian it takes me a bit more to adapt (still acceptable), but I find it harder to switch fast between German and Russian - the alphabet, grammatical and lexical differences are too big. I prefer to read and respond to questions one language at a time.

    Why SD/MM/LE and not the current official tag names?
    Because if we ever get some option for non-English communities to collaborate here, it will be after finally SAP realizes, that poor product naming won't force people to use it. As a functional consultant, I think in different terms - MM, SD, LO, FI-AA, IS-BEV. "Smart Business"? I won't use this term to speak with a colleague...

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  • Dec 02, 2016 at 09:30 PM

    Well since you ended your post with a clear question, I don't feel conflicted in using the 'answer' option instead of a 'comment', but we have another thread discussing this design decision...

    Since English is the only language I know, I personally can neither answer a question in another language, nor can I read a blog post, so having them appear in my activity feed or in a CTP for the tags I follow is more or less meaningless to me. With 2800 or so tags, finding per tag / per language moderation is quite impossible.

    The space concept really had an advantage here because it provided a logical container within Jive for all discussions and content for a certain language or community topic area - if only we could have a space concept with tags, I think the combination would work.

    Has anyone looked at the overall list of languages made available in the people profile...perhaps this could be used to establish a user preference for establishing an IN clause in the query for populating a feed, in such a way that I only see English, but others see their multiple languages. This same list in the people profile could be used to 'flag' a post to associate to a language and not a tag. Leave the tags English. I could be talking nonsense here, but I would hope for a simple solution that community members could configure.

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    • Well, as I said, the problem is probably easy to solve for the English-speaking population. I'd imagine a language filter should not be extremely difficult to add in this "best of breed" platform.

      But this does not solve the problem for the non-English content, especially the questions. The more I think about this the more it reminds me of the notorious SAP Enterprise Services few years back. As someone said, "SAP laid the pipes but forgot to fill them with the content". Same here - language was added as an option but it seems that no one really thought through how such content would be managed or moderated. We have yet to see an explanation from the SCN team on what was their thought process.

  • Dec 02, 2016 at 11:23 PM

    the activity stream should only show followed content which is in the same language as your chosen languages in the profile.

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  • Dec 05, 2016 at 06:49 PM

    Thanks for this beautiful discussion.

    I think that all the community members should STOP talking about this, and SAP* MUST re-think, and re-write this post: "Non english languages in the new community".
    *Note: when I refer to "SAP", I do not mean SAP mentors, SAP moderators, SAP employees, I mean SAP staff. Or whatever they call it.

    ---<hr />---

    I find it extremely strange that SAP, a leading company in the world, with knowledge of all kinds, has not defined a content strategy suitable for launching a new platform, and that we are currently "debating" whether or not the community will have spaces in Spanish, Portuguese, German, Chinese, etc.

    It's really sad.

    I think the best thing for all is that SAP defines that the "new community" will only admit Q&A in English, (like Quora does for example), and that the rest of the content that members want to communicate in blog's posts, can have a "Primary Tag" in your language (this if you continue with this path of the tags).

    If there was the magic way to filter content by languages, it would be a success. I could write my blogs in Spanish, discuss with other people in Spanish, and not bother those who speak other languages. But is not the case.

    Currently I follow the FI tag, for example, and I get activity in the Chinese language.
    However, I can not write content on SAP FI in Spanish if I wanted to, since I have been told that we do not have moderators in Spanish, there will not be a "dedicated" tag.

    ---<hr />---

    Well, here we are ... entangled in something we should not worry about. Come on! We are users of this platform.

    But ... where are the people who should have been concerned in making this decisions (or implementation) of this type of migration or platform launch?

    ---<hr />---

    PS, and final comment: I feel like when the customer complains that the SAP partner has not left all the documentation, and they are in the post-go-live, they feel "alone" and look at the monitor without understanding why SAP "walks" as it walks.

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