· latest edit 14 December 2020 ·
A. Whose site is this
I am both the IT and Creative departments. I have no collaborators here, neither human nor conjured by the arcane code of hired stylomancers. Kit Marlowe wanted in after I let Ben Jonson guest-post his revised First Folio preface, but I told him to sod off (so to speak) and find a Shakspere blog to leech from. He’s been trouble enough.
I don’t write this blog as bait to obtain viewer data. I pay a substantial amount of 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 bathtub toys or other silliness. If you’re so inclined, I have a PayPal link for voluntary donations. This site exists because it amuses me to amuse you while you think, and re-think, about Shake-Speare.
B. What personal data do I collect
B1. Comments (none)
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. Happy to chat with you there.
B2. Contact forms (none)
No contact form either. Again, Twitter. For questions, direct messages are best. As long as you’re polite, you’ll get a reply.
B3. Surveys (next to none)
Once in a rare while I may put survey questions inside a post using Crowdsignal, as something for readers to interact with. Answering the 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 free so I don’t get IP addresses. I can’t tell which response comes from which country, I only see totals. I’ve only done this twice in the blog’s first five years, so it’s not a common feature.
B4. 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’re registered with WordPress, for instance so that you don’t have to log in each time you visit. Others set when you visit any WordPress 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.
B5. Email subscribers
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 subscribers’ addresses. I don’t use them for any other purpose. If you unsubscribe, your address disappears from the list.
B6. WordPress followers
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.
B7. Embedded content from other websites
Posts and pages on this site may include embedded content from other sources. Embedded items (as opposed to external links) display here but behave as if you visited the source websites. Those sites may collect data about you, set cookies, employ additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with the embedded content, including tracking your interaction with it if you have an account at that site and and are logged into it.
B8. Twitter sidebar widget
As of December 2020, Smash Balloon’s Twitter widget is used in the blog’s sidebar. In order to display my tweets in your browser, your IP address is sent to Twitter so that they know where to send the feed. They don’t obtain any other data in this exchange. Twitter’s own policy concerning data from third-party embedded timelines can be found at https://twitter.com/en/privacy#chapter2.5, Twitter for Web Data.
The widget includes Reply, Retweet, and Like icons below each tweet in the feed. If you have a Twitter account you can use these icons to interact with the tweets, just as if you were on Twitter’s website. In this case, Twitter may collect additional information such as your browser’s user agent, and set cookies or other tracking to monitor your interaction with the widget. This is how they correlate the actions you take on the widget’s feed with your account at Twitter. If you aren’t logged into your account, clicking one of the icons will popup a login window first.
C1. Why do I look at site traffic
I run analytics to provide feedback on how viewers interact with the blog, which helps me improve what I post. That’s it, that’s all. Even a deceased playwright likes to know what engages his audience, and I no longer have a hall or theatre full of faces to watch, applause to hear. Now I look at graphs. Much less fun, but better than nothing.
WordPress includes built-in Site Stats traffic information in its admin tools, 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. It’s pretty low-fi.
C3. Google Analytics
In mid 2019 I added Google’s analytics, to see what searches and referrals bring people to the site, and what pages they view once here – what visitors are looking for, and what they stay for. GA 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 they gather into graphs, charts, and tables, which I can view. No one else at my end sees these results. They display no personal information, only interactions with the 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 for other uses.
C4. 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.
C5. Cloudflare Analytics
At the end of 2020 I enabled new privacy-oriented web analytics from Cloudflare. Pros: not as complex as GA, not aimed at commercial sites, not run by an advertising company. Cons: doesn’t display history older than one week, no information on searches, the UI needs work.
D. With whom do I share data
1. WordPress.com hosts my site on their servers. Traffic and viewer data originate there, and as the host WordPress has access to it.
2. Google Analytics has my permission to snag traffic data in order to turn it into useful visual forms.
3. So does Cloudflare.
This blog, the recreational project of a dead poet endeavouring to entertain readers 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. My aim is to open your mind, not your wallet. What little 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.