I find web analytics invaluable. The insight I get from basic statistics (things like page view counts, referrers, and countries of origin) helps me understand which posts work and which do not. Knowing that my posts are broadly read is what keeps me motivated to write new content. For this reason, this site has and will continue to use web analytics.
The tracker on this site (which is a custom-made tracker designed to replace Google Analytics) collects the following information:
- The page you are visiting so that I can know which pages are popular and which aren’t.
- The site you came from (referrer) so that I can engage in conversations that happen around the web.
- Your user agent so that I can tune the visual appearance of the site.
- Your country, based on your IP, so that I know how “far” each post has reached and whether translations are worthwhile.
- A client-specific ID so that I know how you navigate the site, whether you come back in the future, and whether you voted on individual posts. This is implemented via an ID generated by the FingerprintJS library.
Be aware that most of this information is captured by every web server on the Internet unconditionally. The exception is the persistent, client-specific ID, used to correlate page views and handle the per-post voting logic. Given that this ID is not used to track your navigation patterns across the web, I think it strives a good balance between usability and privacy.
This site only uses a cookie to store the client-specific ID once it is generated in an attempt to keep it more stable across visits. This cookie is only stored if you are outside of the EU.