· latest edit 2 November 2020 ·
A. 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 stylomancers. Marlowe wanted in after I let Ben Jonson guest-post his revised First Folio preface, but I told Kit to sod off (so to speak) 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 viewer 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. 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
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.
Contact forms and surveys
No contact forms here either. Once in a rare while I may put survey questions inside a post using Crowdsignal, as something for readers to engage 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 cannot determine 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Don’t panic: I don’t have many embeds. Almost all of the ones I do have are YouTube videos. The Twitter widget in the sidebar is probably the dodgiest thing on the site, due to the script that Twitter uses to supply my tweets to the widget. I have no control over this, other than not to use it. If you don’t see the feed but only a My Tweets link, your browser is set to block Twitter’s voodoo. You can click the link to see the feed at Twitter, or relax your setting, or not worry about it.
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 Google Analytics, to see what searches and referrals bring people to the site, and what pages they view once 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 feedback. Even a deceased playwright likes to know what lights up his audience. I no longer 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 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.
D. 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.