Courses communicating back to metrics.articulate.com

Hi

Is there anyway to prevent a storyline 360 course communicating back to metrics.articulate.com?

I have no reason to believe that the data that is being sent is anything other than metrics information. However, it is quite a sensitive issue for our customers, some of which have raised GDPR concerns.

Many Thanks

34 Replies
Justin Grenier


Hi, Thomas.

You're correct that only analytics on browser/device usage is sent to the metrics endpoint.  Knowing this information helps us understand the impact that browser changes (such as auto-play prevention in Chrome 66) have on learners.

You can disable this communication as follows:

  • If you're publishing Storyline output targeted for the Web:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within story_html5.html
    • For Flash output, set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within story_flash.html.
  • If you're publishing Storyline output targeted for an LMS:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within story_html5.html and within index_lms_html5.html 
    • For Flash output:
      • Set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within 

        story_flash.html.

      • Replace !g_bSuppressAnalytics with false  within \story_content\story.js.

Please let us know if you have any other questions!

Justin Grenier

Hi, Daniel.

  • If you're publishing Presenter output targeted for the Web:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within presentation_html5.html
    • For Flash output, set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within presentation_flash.html.
  • If you're publishing Presenter output targeted for an LMS:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within presentation_html5.html and within index_lms_html5.html 
    • For Flash output:
      • Set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within 

        presentation_flash.html.

      • Replace !g_bSuppressAnalytics with false  within \presentation_content\presentation.js.

  • If you're publishing Quizmaker output targeted for the Web:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within quiz_html5.html
    • For Flash output, set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within quiz_flash.html.
  • If you're publishing Quizmaker output targeted for an LMS:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within quiz_html5.html and within index_lms_html5.html 
    • For Flash output:
      • Set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within 

        quiz_flash.html.

      • Replace !g_bSuppressAnalytics with false  within \quiz_content\quiz.js.

Have a great weekend!

James Johnson

Hey guys,

When I look into our courses, suppressAnalytics and g_bSuppressAnalytics are set to "false" by default. Is there a setting in the application where we can change this or do we have to publish the file, change the .html files; then zip then for each course we have?

The latter would not be ideal since we have hundreds of courses.

James Johnson

To build on my previous post,

A customer noticed an issue because their course kept crashing. When they looked at what was using the most CPU, it showed that a JSON file in the SCORM package was controlling the metrics.articulate.com service.

This caused the computer to crash because it used 100% CPU (when opening a course in IE). In Chrome, 70% is being used…which is still a lot. You pretty much have to close anything else on your computer to take a course…and even then It still might crash.

When our support team looked at it in a Fiddler capture, they could see that 300 to 500 MB per slide was being sent to metrics.articulate.com. Fiddler is a network traffic sniffing tool.

This is unacceptable! Why do you need that much data? That's more than just browsing and usage data.

We have have a lot of content that is customized for our clients, some of them government clients. You can't just take our data and not give us an option to opt out. You guys don't even give us a choice.

Ashley Schwartau

Just learning about this issue and frankly, I'm a bit shocked that this isn't more obviously stated somewhere. WHERE do we opt in to this data collection? I totally get that you can learn a lot from the data collection, but you should give people the choice, especially in the GDPR era. 

Additionally, those things are NOT default set to true. This is what it looks like when we opened the HTML5 file in a text editor, clearly set to False.

Brian Gil

Hi Ashley,

We understand the concern and want to assure you that the information collected is solely used to improve our products. Regarding consent, the info is considered “usage data” in our Privacy Policy and has been gathered since we launched Articulate 360 and as of update 3 of Storyline 3. You may not see it in older courses because this process has evolved as we’ve learned what is useful to our product team.

Also, you’re correct that the collection defaults to false. That was an error on our part which we'll correct in the post above for future visitors.

Please drop us a line at privacy@articulate.com if you have any additional questions about our data collection and usage.

Thank you,

Brian

James Johnson

Hey Brian,

I don't see usage data info in your privacy policy. The only info about data is regarding you host it. You're not hosting our courses, we are and we don't want you collecting that data. We want to opt out of that.

Is that something we have to bring our legal team in to handle or can you guys handle it on your end? 

Ashley Schwartau

As this data collection is something that I'm sure our clients wouldn't be too thrilled about, even as innocuous as it is, do you have plans to include a 'switch' in the publishing settings to turn this option off  so we don't have to modify code for every single course we publish and prepare for clients? 

Brian Gil

Thank you both for digging in on this topic. Our intent is pure and I agree that we can do better in both our policy statements and the controls we provide. We're currently looking into the issue James reported with 3.17+, are evaluating if we can provide a switch to opt out by default, and will update our Privacy Policy to make it clearer.

Justin Grenier

James and Ashley:

If you're launching your published output in an LMS, my original instructions are inadequate, and I've updated them accordingly.  Here's a more complete approach to suppressing these analytics:

  • If you're publishing Storyline output targeted for the Web:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within story_html5.html
    • For Flash output, set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within story_flash.html.
  • If you're publishing Storyline output targeted for an LMS:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within story_html5.html and within index_lms_html5.html 
    • For Flash output:
      • Set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within 

        story_flash.html.

      • Replace !g_bSuppressAnalytics with false  within \story_content\story.js.

  • If you're publishing Presenter output targeted for the Web:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within presentation_html5.html
    • For Flash output, set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within presentation_flash.html.
  • If you're publishing Presenter output targeted for an LMS:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within presentation_html5.html and within index_lms_html5.html 
    • For Flash output:
      • Set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within 

        presentation_flash.html.

      • Replace !g_bSuppressAnalytics with false  within \presentation_content\presentation.js.

  • If you're publishing Quizmaker output targeted for the Web:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within quiz_html5.html
    • For Flash output, set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within quiz_flash.html.
  • If you're publishing Quizmaker output targeted for an LMS:
    • For HTML5 output, set suppressAnalytics=true within quiz_html5.html and within index_lms_html5.html 
    • For Flash output:
      • Set g_bSuppressAnalytics=true within 

        quiz_flash.html.

      • Replace !g_bSuppressAnalytics with false  within \quiz_content\quiz.js.

When we implement the global opt-out switch that Brian referenced, we'll put together a comprehensive Knowledge Base Article that covers these per-course methods as well as the global opt-out, and notify all who have subscribed to this Forum Thread.

Please let us know if you need anything else!

John Just

So the above is very involved to do for each course that all of our publishers have. Is this something that will be resolved through the interface in future releases? Since we have been requiring many people to use your product to publish, this (and a few other open bugs) seriously bring into question that approach. Is there someone we can talk with about what is on the roadmap to address this and the fonts on IE in an Enterprise way rather than workarounds in the documentation: https://articulate.com/support/article/Learners-See-the-Wrong-Font-or-Missing-Letters-in-Internet-Explorer Please let me know who the best person is to escalate with. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi John,

Yes, our team is working on a "global opt-out switch" so that you could turn off that metrics gathering.  We'll let folks know here and in that Knowledge Base Article as soon as it's ready! 

If you'd like to talk with our Support Engineers I'm happy to open a case for you or you can connect with them right here. We can get you in touch with our team who manages Enterprise accounts as well. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi all,

Update 19 for Storyline 360 is available today, and you now have access to opt-out of sending usage data to Articulate. Thanks for bringing this to our attention and your patience while we implemented this change! 

The article here will walk you through the steps on how to opt out, and it also details the data that Articulate is collecting from the published output, and will show you how to turn off analytics for individual courses. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, let me know! We're here to help. 😀