Kontur.Staff + Glavred: an enterprise social network gets proofreading tips

There’re numerous proofreading tools which help us achieve the writing excellence. Everybody’s familiar with red wavy underlines of his favorite text processor or web browser. One extends the latter with online tools (e.g. Grammarly) like I do while writing this story on Medium.

Maxim Ilyakhov’s tips and online editor

A few years ago Maxim Ilyakhov’s set of editing rules and tips emerged and became popular among Russian community of editors and writers, although its ideas originate to books by William Strunk, Jr. and Nora Gal published several decades back in the 20th century.

Soon Maxim and Anatoly Burov launched a single-page online editor, Glavred, for Russian texts with orange wavy underlines and built-in proofreading tips. Glavred also enables desktop and web applications (e.g. Safari, Google Docs, and Wordpress) to aid writers via its API.

Glavred comes to SKB Kontur

Growing over several hundred employees, many software companies (Yandex and JetBrains to name a few) develop their own tools to facilitate internal communications. SKB Kontur is no exception to this rule: during last few years Kontur.Staff evolved from an employee directory to a fully fledged social network. Now it’s the number one choice for anybody who wants to spread the word throughout the company, so lots of articles and comments are created daily.

Half a year ago I came up with the idea to bring Glavred’s proofreading tips to Kontur.Staff. Many colleagues were already familiar with Ilyakhov’s approach, so it surely was a safe bet.

It took about a week of part-time work to develop the feature, thanks to the independent component architecture of Kontur.Staff’s front-end which was implemented with JasperJS (a framework on top of AngularJS) and written in TypeScript. The extension for the editor mimicked Glavred’s look and feel but also had an essential ability to switch proofreading off: either to keep critical information in-house or to keep a hesitant writer undistracted.

Left to right: Glavred score, the “on/off” switch, text issues with a short tip

Five months with Glavred

The renovated editor was released on September 23, 2015. It was switched off by default for all employees due to security concerns. About 5 % of employees were notified via Kontur.Staff’s Meta group. The rest were to discover the new feature on their own or by word of month.

Since day one every time an article was written and published while Glavred is switched on, an anonymous event was sent to Google Analytics. Each event is associated with a numeric score from 0 to 100 which is calculated by Glavred and subjectively estimates text quality.

Total number of events, monthly

During last five months, a total of 90 articles were published with the aid of Glavred. So there’s an audience which values this feature. Note the decline in January—it must be the implication of having only 15 working days this month in Russia.

Average Glavred score, monthly

The average text quality score steadily grows. The minimum score of 75 (in September, the release month) is significantly lower than the recent scores of 84 and 80 (in January and February). It’s a substantial change, taking in account that one should try hard to get a score less than 50.

Thanks to these metrics, I’m glad to say that the whole story of bringing Glavred to Kontur.Staff was worth doing.