· latest edit 30 June 2020 ·
Whose site is this
I am both the IT and Creative departments. I have no collaborators, neither human nor conjured by the arcane code of hired stylometricians. Marlowe wanted in after I let Ben Jonson guest-post his revised First Folio preface, but I told Kit to sod off and find a Shakspere blog to leech from. He’s already caused me enough trouble.
I don’t write this blog as bait to obtain user data. I pay my own money to be here, to share my thoughts and occasionally some new poetry or verse. I don’t run adverts or sell tourism or tea towels or other silliness. I have a PayPal link for voluntary donations, if you’re so inclined. The site exists because it amuses me to amuse you while you think, or re-think, about Shake-Speare.
What personal data do I collect
I can’t collect what isn’t here. No blog comments means no comment data. If you wish to comment or converse, you can easily find me on Twitter. I’m happy to chat with you there.
Contact forms and surveys
No contact forms here either. Once in a while I put survey questions inside a post using Crowdsignal, as something different for readers to engage with. Answering those questions is always optional. If you respond, I see your answers (as do you), and I get a chart with the responses tallied by country. My Crowdsignal account is a free one, so I don’t get IP addresses. I cannot determine which response comes from which country, I only see totals.
Cookies (set by WordPress)
Cookies serve a variety of purposes. Some are needed for technical reasons; others enable a personalized visit. Some cookies set when a page loads, or when you take a particular action, such as clicking the Like button on a post. Some cookies set if you are registered with WP, for example so that you don’t have to log in each time you visit. Others set when you visit any WP site, whether or not you have an account.
Cookies are also used to enable the Site Stats functionality in WordPress (see Analytics, below). Advertising cookies are not relevant here, since I have no advertising.
If you subscribe to receive email notifications of new posts (see the sidebar), WordPress retains the address you subscribe with. I can see a list of my subscribers’ addresses. I don’t use them for any other purpose. If you unsubscribe, your address disappears from the list.
If you follow this blog through your own WordPress account, posts display in your Reader. I can see my followers’ WP usernames, and links to their WP blogs. If you unfollow, your entry disappears.
Embedded content from other websites
Don’t panic: I prefer to post my own content, so I don’t have a great many embeds. I upload my own videos within WP whenever I can. Most of the embeds I do have are videos hosted at YouTube.
How and why do I look at site traffic
WordPress software includes its own built-in Site Stats traffic information, which I’ve used since I started the blog in 2015. The number of page views and unique visitors per day are counted, their location by country, entry and exit links, and that’s about it. It’s pretty low-fi.
In mid-2019 I set up access to Google Analytics, to see the searches and referrals that bring people to the site, and the pages viewed once they’re here – what my visitors are looking for, and what they stay for. I did this for two reasons: to improve what I post, and to obtain some near-real-time feedback. Even a posthumous playwright likes to know what his audience is thinking. For this new writing, I don’t have a hall or theatre full of faces to watch. I miss that.
How does it work
Google Analytics uses an authorized (by me) connection to my site to gather traffic data, except from those viewers who opt out via the browser add-on linked below. Google formats the data into graphs and tables, which I can view. No one else at my end sees these results. They display no personal information, only interactions with my site. I do not look at data beyond the period I choose for the display of trends, typically a month. No visitor can be personally identified or located. I do not save any of this data in local files for other uses.
Opting out of Google Analytics
If you prefer to hide from GA, you can install the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on (extension). The add-on can be installed into Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer 11. It disables GA tracking on all the GA-enabled sites you visit with that browser.
With whom do I share data
1. WordPress.com hosts my site on their servers. Traffic and viewer data originates there, and as the host they have access to it.
2. Google Analytics has my permission to snag traffic data in order to turn it into visual formats I can see and interpret.
3. If you donate via my PayPal link, our PayPal accounts connect. Transaction information is exchanged, money is transferred. That’s the nature of PayPal. I can’t do paper cheques in the post. If you’re a donor, my ever thanks.
This blog, the recreational project of a dead poet endeavouring to entertain while correcting four centuries of badly flawed literary history, is not a place where your digital privacy is at appreciable risk. I’m not selling you anything, nor selling you to anyone else. I want to open your mind, not your wallet. What little personal information I see I take to my grave, wherever that is.
If you have questions, please contact me on Twitter and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Thank you for being here.
- • Cipher key belonging to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (detail) [nationalarchives.gov.uk]
- · circa 1586
- · Seized by Walsingham’s agents after the discovery of the Babington Plot, which led to Mary’s 1586 trial and 1587 execution.
- · Look who’s just to the right of the King of France. My code glyph looks like a little awareness ribbon.