Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by NCommander on Friday June 06 2014, @08:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the seeing-how-big-our-userbase-is dept.
So, right now, I'm currently sitting with mrcoolbp and martyb in meatspace working out the finer points of incorporation, and the future needs of SoylentNews. One thing that has come up is we really don't have a great idea of our actual usage numbers are. Slashcode has decent internal numbers which give us some rough numbers, but they're only really valid for logged-in users (which bypass the varnish cache), and we're not 100% sure they're accurate anyway. According to slash, we're averaging approximately 50-60k page views per day (I've included the statistics email below), but it doesn't help us in knowing what AC usage look like. According to varnish, we average roughly 400-500k connections per day, but that number is inflated since we're not using keep-alive or HTTP pipelining as of yet.

Furthermore, since we don't log IP addresses in access.log, and IP's run through Slash are turned into IPIDs, its hard to get an idea of where our userbase is (the general feeling is the vast majority of us are based in the United States, but even then, that's more because our peak hours of traffic are between 4 and 10 PM EST). We've wanted to get a better idea of what our traffic and userbase are, so we're asking permission from the community to install piWik, and embed its javascript tag in the footer of each page, which will give us a wide berth of solid information to work from.
Our plan is to setup piwik on a separate server, and have it available at stats.soylentnews.org, which can easily be killed via a hostfile. Furthermore, piwik honors the Do-Not-Tracker header for all web browsers except IE10, allowing easy opt-out. I can understand that a lot of users have concerns about any tracking, but we're trying to be upfront and honest about this, so no one gets hugely surprised. While we might post general information (i.e., usage from countries, user agents, etc) that piwik generates, we will purge IP addresses out of the piwik database as soon we're able, to limit the amount of personal information we're keeping about any user. While we're running piwik, we'll have a persistent notification in the "Site News" slashbox that collection is ongoing which will link to this post.

I'd like to get this setup over the weekend, and start collecting information by Sunday at the latest, then run collection for a few weeks. After that, we'll remove the tracking code, publish the results, and purge the piWik database of all personal information. We'll likely periodically re-enable stat tracking to get an idea of how we're doing, with a similiar notification post going up before we do so to give people the chance to opt-out before collection. Obviously, if the community feels dead-set against this, we'll abandon this plan, and simply work with what little information we have available.

SoylentNews Stats for 2014-06-05

                   UIDs      IPIDs      Pages
        total:        -          -      57452 (1341.1 MB)
 static total:        -          -       3822
gstatic total:        -          -       5972
  grand total:      892       4549      59666 (1561.6 MB)
 secure total:        -          -          0
sbscrbr total:        -          -          0

        posts:      153        219
     comments:      437       1546      19402 (330.4 MB)
        index:      726       2319       9107
     articles:      683       2860       9889 (373.1 MB)
       search:       11         92        209 (5.7 MB)
     journals:       43         98        229 (6.2 MB)
        users:      109        161        593 (15.9 MB)
          rss:       46        362       2214 (220.6 MB)
        other:      217        700      18023 (173.3 MB)


     formkeys:      487 rows total
     comments:      573 posted yesterday
  submissions:       16 submissions
 sub/comments:     31.2% of the submissions came from comment posters from this day



    not found:     4769 pages sent with status 404 (not found)

   total hits: 140856136





------------------------
                            Yesterday   | 2 days ago | 3 days ago
    Avg Hits Per Article:          706.4|       690.1|       629.9
Avg Comments Per Article:           30.4|        32.1|        18.4



Pages From RSS By Section
------------------------------------------------
Section		         Pages     UIDS    IPIDS
           Main Page      2508       87      539



For Main Page
                  Pages      IPs   Bandwidth    Users
        total:    57452     4353   1341.1 MB      885
        index:     9107     2319    436.5 MB      726
     comments:    19402     1546    330.4 MB      437
     articles:     9889     2860    373.1 MB      683
       search:      209       92      5.7 MB       11
          rss:     2214      362    220.6 MB       46
        other:    18023      700    173.3 MB      885


-----------------------

Top stories viewed by article.pl:
   883 14/06/05/0025257 n1         First-Person Shooter Engine in
   789 14/06/04/2126226 n1         Apple CEO Says Users Buy an An
   708 14/06/05/0132243 n1         Seattle Approves $15 Minimum W
   617 14/06/05/0121251 n1         Tesla S Road Trip Report
   578 14/06/04/2131208 n1         Intel Wants Your Next PC to Ha
   468 14/06/05/1256249 Woods      Dwarf Fortress Update Coming N
   453 14/06/04/1343246 janrinok   ISPs Urged to Quarantine Infec
   332 14/06/05/1418207 martyb     Computer Programs Are People,
   328 14/06/05/133219  Woods      FBI Offers $10,000 Reward For
   261 14/06/04/1329216 janrinok   Underwater Sound Examined for
   259 14/06/05/1419254 janrinok   How to Spend $750 for One Minu
   252 14/06/05/133201  LaminatorX Apple to Allow Virtual Currenc
   230 14/06/04/1310212 janrinok   Pixar Releasing its 3D Renderi
   225 14/06/04/1337244 janrinok   Vincent van Gogh's Severed Ear
   217 14/06/05/1315234 LaminatorX High Brain Integration and Cre
   194 14/06/04/1212207 martyb     Google Trying Out End-to-End E
   178 14/06/04/111243  LaminatorX Domestic Terror Task Force is
   155 14/06/04/1315250 janrinok   Ambulance Drones Might Appear
   141 14/06/03/211257  n1         What's Lost as Handwriting Fad
   139 14/06/04/1059208 LaminatorX Learning to Eat Vegetables in
   125 14/06/03/2048227 n1         Battlestar Galactica Reboot
   122 14/06/04/0527240 LaminatorX Windows Start Menu Won't Retur
   118 14/06/05/149215  janrinok   British Recording Industry Thi




-----------------------

Top referers:
84  http://www.netvibes.com
67  http://feedly.com
61  http://www.google.co.uk
42  http://google.com
38  http://barrapunto.com
30  https://www.google.com
29  http://7rmath4ro2of2a42.onion
29  http://maps.google.com
27  http://www.newsblur.com
22  http://www.inoreader.com
19  http://www.protopage.com
15  http://t.co
14  http://li694-22.members.linode.com
14  http://sylnt.us
14  http://theoldreader.com
10  http://www.google.com
9  http://www.jaruzel.com
7  http://hager.pipedot.org
7  http://pi.local
6  http://www.igoogleportal.com

Related Stories

Battlestar Galactica Reboot 75 comments

It looks like Battlestar Galactica is rebooted for a third time.

Universal is ramping up a movie version of the sci-fi franchise "Battlestar Galactica" aiming to develop the film as a complete reimagining of the story.

"Transcendence" writer Jack Paglen has signed on to write the screenplay. Paglen has also committed to Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" sequel for Fox that will start production this fall.

Original series creator Glen Larson will produce the "Battlestar Galactica" film.

What's Lost as Handwriting Fades 77 comments

The NY Times asks does handwriting matter? The Common Core standards stop teaching handwriting after the first grade, preferring a proficiency in typing after that.

However, studies are showing that children learn faster, are able to retain more information, and generate new ideas when they first learn to write by hand. The process of thinking about how to form a letter and putting it on the page stimulates more areas of the brain. This come from the inherent messiness in free-form writing, which can be a valuable learning tool.

Windows Start Menu Won't Return Until 2015 52 comments

Mary Jo Foley reports at ZDNet that according to sources who've had good track records on Windows information, Microsoft won't be delivering a new Start Menu for Windows 8 with its coming Windows 8.1 Update 2, after all. "Up until recently, Microsoft was hoping to make a new "Mini" Start Menu part of a second update to Windows 8.1," says Foley. "Windows 8.1 Update 2 was and still is, last I heard slated to arrive in August of this year." Microsoft's operating systems group has decided to hold off on delivering a Microsoft-developed Start Menu until Threshold, the next "major" release of Windows. Threshold, which may or may not ultimately be called Windows 9, is expected to be released in April 2015.

The original Windows 8 interface lacked the Start Menu, a familiar component of previous versions of the operating system, replacing it with the live tile-driven Start screen. Many users didn't like the change, and some PC manufacturers and developers offered ways to bring back versions of the old Start Menu. Microsoft appeared to relent at Build when it unveiled the revised Start Menu, enhanced with Windows Modern UI improvements.

Learning to Eat Vegetables in Early Life: The Role of Timing, Age and Individual Eating Traits 33 comments

A study into repeated exposure of vegetables to pre-school children has found that age had a significant affect on the eating pattern, with older children being more likely to be non-eaters of the novel food (in this study artichoke puree was used).

Successful repeated exposure is dependent upon tasting even small amounts of the target food. Thus, repeated exposure is more likely to be effective at a time when most tastes are easily accepted, namely the weaning period. The first year of life presents a window of opportunity before the onset of food neophobia, which then peaks around 2-6 years, thus introducing novel foods such as different vegetables is optimal earlier rather than later.

Domestic Terror Task Force is Back! 52 comments

A few sites are starting to get a story about how the "Domestic Terror Task Force" is being ressurected. '"But now, as the nature of the threat we face evolves to including the possibility of individual radicalization via the Internet, it is critical that we return our focus to potential extremists here at home," Holder said in the video broadcast.'

Google Trying Out End-to-End Email Encryption 26 comments

Today Google announced the alpha release of a Chrome plugin that works with their Gmail service to enable end-to-end encryption for email sent through their system. This will reduce Google's ability to data-mine the content of messages, but it won't stop anyone from tracking senders and recipients. Their plugin is based on OpenPGP and they are publishing the source code.

With a focus on ease-of-use lets hope that this plugin is enough to start a broader movement towards end-to-end encryption for all email, regardless of provider.

Editor's Note: This is an early release of the code and should not be relied upon just yet. Google invites the community to test and evaluate the extension; it is even eligible for their Vulnerability Reward Program.

Pixar Releasing its 3D Rendering Software Free for Non-Commercial Use 23 comments

Pixar is to release its 3D rendering software free for non-commercial use.

The 3D rendering software behind films such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Harry Potter is to be given away free for non-commercial use.

RenderMan, which is developed by Pixar, has faced increased competition from rival animation rendering programmes such as VRay and Arnold. Although Pixar, which is owned by Disney, produces its own films, it licenses RenderMan to rival studios. The company has also cut the price of its software for commercial use.

In a statement, the firm said it would release a free version of RenderMan "without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions". "Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use," it added.

Ian Dean, editor of computer graphics magazine 3D World, told the BBC the move "could be seen as a reaction to the rise of alternatives such as Arnold," but that Disney/Pixar are also looking to "build a community".

Ambulance Drones Might Appear on the Battlefield 13 comments

Removing casualties from remote battlefields is often dangerous and highly skilled work for helicopter pilots.

But a prototype air ambulance drone developed by Tactical Robotics is hoping to make these evacuations safer.

Part funded by the Israel's Ministry of Defence, the AirMule, has a top speed of 120 knots (140 mph, 190 km/h) and can reach an altitude of 12,000 ft (3,600 m).

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27617418

Underwater Sound Examined for Links to Missing Jet - Thought to be a Slim Chance of Connection 25 comments

A team of Australian researchers looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 released data on Wednesday about an unusual underwater sound recorded around the time the plane vanished.

A team of Australian researchers looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 released data on Wednesday about an unusual underwater sound recorded around the time the plane vanished, though the lead scientist acknowledged the chances it is linked to the jet are slim.

The low-frequency sound was picked up by underwater listening devices in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia on March 8, the same day the Boeing 777 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. Researchers at Curtin University in Western Australia have been analyzing the signal to see if it may be the sound of the plane crashing into the ocean.

But Alec Duncan, who's heading up the research, said the sound appears to have originated well outside the jet's projected flight path that officials determined based on satellite and radar data, and is therefore unlikely to have come from the plane.

"It's one of these situations where you find yourself willing it all to fit together but it really doesn't," said Duncan, senior research fellow with Curtin's Center for Marine Science and Technology. "I'd love to be able to sit here and say, 'Yeah, we've found this thing and it's from the plane' - but the reality is, there's a lot of things that make noise in the ocean."

The noise could have come from a natural event, such as a small earthquake, Duncan said. He put the chances of it being linked to Flight 370 at less than 20 percent.

Vincent van Gogh's Severed Ear Lives Again - It's Art 14 comments

A living copy of Vincent van Gogh's ear has been grown and put on display in a museum in Germany. The Associated Press reports that artist Diemut Strebe took samples from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson to Vincent's brother Theo, after failing to acquire genetic material from the deceased virtuoso. She then shaped the cells into the painter's severed ear with a 3D printer. Strebe says the organ is currently being kept alive in a nourishing fluid and could "theoretically last for years."

Its amazing what medical science is capable of nowadays, but I can't help but think that there must be better uses for all of this knowledge.

ISPs Urged to Quarantine Infected Computers 43 comments

The recent effort to disrupt the Gameover Zeus botnet includes plans for Internet service providers to notify victims, but some security researchers think ISPs should play an even bigger role in the future by actively quarantining infected computers identified on their networks. Law enforcement agencies from several countries including the FBI and Europol announced Monday that they worked with security vendors to disrupt the Gameover Zeus botnet, which is estimated to have affected between 500,000 and 1 million computers. "Individuals in the U.K. may receive notifications from their Internet Service Providers that they are a victim of this malware and are advised to back up all important information - such as files, photography and videos," the U.K.'s National Crime Agency said in a statement on its website.

Notifying Internet users of malware infections, especially when their computers become part of known botnets, has become a relatively common practice for some ISPs in recent years. For example, in the U.S., Comcast introduced security alerts for its Xfinity service subscribers back in 2010, while in Germany the government partnered with ISPs to notify users whose computers are infected with malware on an ongoing basis and help them clean their machines.

Apple CEO Says Users Buy an Android 'By Mistake' 54 comments

Chris Smith writes that Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking during the WWDC 2014 opening keynote, took clear hits at his company's main rival, making fun of Google's Android several times. "Over 130 million customers who bought an iOS device in the past 12 months, were buying their first iOS device," Cook said. "Now, many of these customers were switchers from Android." "They had bought an Android phone... by mistake," Cook added, igniting the crowd in attendance, "and then sought a better experience, and a better life, and decided to check iPhone and iOS." Cook went on to say that nearly half of Apple's customers in China in the past six months came from Android.

Cook took another hit at Google for its fragmentation issues. "If you look at a broader group, over a third of [Android] customers, are running a version of Android from four years ago," Cook said. "That's like ancient history." Cook also addressed Android's vulnerability to malware. "Android dominates the mobile malware market," the exec said, because of its fragmentation. "No wonder experts are saying things like this," Cook said, quoting ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: "Android fragmentation is turning devices into a toxic hellstew of vulnerabilities."

Intel Wants Your Next PC to Have No Wires 28 comments

From Computer World:

Intel wants to completely eliminate wires from computers, and is working on a series of wireless technologies to make that a reality in the coming years.

PCs are on the way to a "true no-wire" experience, and Intel is working on technologies to remove the clutter of power cords, display connectors and peripheral cables, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president, and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, during a speech at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

Intel is working on new wireless charging, docking, display and data transfer technologies. Skaugen shared details of the new wireless technologies and provided demonstrations of how they would work during the keynote.

Intel's hoping for a completely wire-free PC by 2016. The company will deliver a reference design of a Core processor code-named Skylake which will succeed the next generation Broadwell chip that will enable wireless docking, charging, display and data transfers.

First-Person Shooter Engine in 265 Lines of Javascript 37 comments

From Boing Boing:

Hunter Loftis, who created the fractal terrain generation in 130 lines of Javascript engine, has done it again: a full-blown first-person shooter engine in 265 lines (source). He used a technique called ray casting, and goes into some detail about this choice and where this could go next.

More information can be found here.

Raycasting feels like cheating, and as a lazy programmer, I love it. You get the immersion of a 3D environment without many of the complexities of "real 3D" to slow you down. For example, raycasts run in constant time, so you can load up a massive world and it will just work, without optimization, as quickly as a tiny world.

Tesla S Road Trip Report 57 comments

Just came across a Tesla S review at Winding Road Magazine, it's a roadtest from trip from Texas to Wisconsin. [Article 4, Issue 148]

Lots of interesting details about real world use of the Tesla, for example:

How Far Can You Go Each Day?
Our total trip was 1300 miles, plus or minus a few mistakes and detours. So in principle we needed to recharge five times. That is, we started with 250 miles range and once that was used up, we had to recharge enough to go 1050 miles. That's 4.2 charges at 250 miles each. Or if you count the number of times we had to recharge, it is five recharging events, in theory. Also in theory, if recharging were instantaneous, we could travel say 60 mph for 24 hours or 1440 miles. Thus, we could have done our trip in one day.

But, it doesn't really work that way. The first limit is recharging time. With J1772 chargers, full recharging takes 14 hours. Again using our 60 mph average, we could go 240 miles every 18 hours (14 recharging hours plus 4 hours of travel). That means, theoretically, our maximum distance per day is 320 miles. Our 1300 mile trip should take a little over 3 days.

In practice, we did it comfortably in 4 days. There is some time lost because you don't necessarily take off exactly when your charging is done (for example, we didn't get up at 5am if that's when charging finished). There is also some time gained on the calculation above when you use a Supercharger. But 300 miles per day is a reasonable rule of thumb.

They found that charging at Whole Foods and other places was all free, however:

Note that with the extra time required for recharging, and the resulting extra hotel and restaurant charges, our free electricity didn't save us money. In fact, this trip cost more than it would have in a gasoline powered car. Economy is not the raison d'etre for EVs.

Seattle Approves $15 Minimum Wage 98 comments

The NYT reports that in a unanimous vote, the Seattle City Council went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality. "Even before the Great Recession a lot of us have started to have doubt and concern about the basic economic promise that underpins economic life in the United States," says Council Member Sally J. Clark. "Today Seattle answers that challenge." High-tech, fast-growing Seattle, population 634,535, is home to Amazon.com, Zillow, and Starbucks. It also has more than 100,000 workers whose incomes are insufficient to support their families, according to city figures and around 14% of Seattle's population lives below the poverty level. Some business owners have questioned the proposal saying that the city's booming economy is creating an illusion of permanence. "We're living in this bubble of Amazon, but that's not going to go on," says businessman Tom Douglas. "There's going to be some terrific price inflation."

Dwarf Fortress Update Coming Next Month 30 comments

Dwarf Fortress, the free ASCII fantasy world simulator and rogue-like game will soon be getting a new version after a two-year development cycle. The long-awaited new version is slated to be released next July according to its developers.

The game has been in constant development for the past 11 years and its developers, "Toady One" and "Threetoe", have been living solely on fan donations since its initial public release in 2006.

A comprehensive list of the changes and additions has been compiled by the community and can be found on Google docs. The list includes long-awaited features such as multi-tile trees (that will hopefully still grow over time), people (and dwarves) of the world having long-term goals and dreams as well as a complete combat and dialog system rewrite.

All these features will contribute to make this accurate fantasy world simulator even more realistic... and possibly even more complicated to play.

PC Gamer article about the upcoming update.

High Brain Integration and Creativity 7 comments

Study finds brain integration correlates with greater creativity in product-development engineers:

Creativity may depend on greater brain integration, according to a new study(Paywalled) published in Creativity Research Journal (26:2, 239-243) by Maharishi University brain researcher Fred Travis and University West quality management researcher Yvonne Lagrosen. Scientists refer to brain integration as mind-brain development. People with high mind-brain development are alert, interested in learning new things and disposed to see the whole picture. They think in wide circles and are emotionally stable and unselfish. "It's a simple fact that some people stand out, and we're trying to tease out why," says Dr. Travis. "We hypothesized that something must be different about the way their brains work, and that's what we're finding." Dr. Travis uses a measure he developed called a Brain Integration Scale. He uses EEG recording to assess frontal brain wave coherence (a measure of connectedness among the various areas of the brain) and alpha power (a measure of inner directedness of attention). He also assesses the brain's preparation response, which measures how efficiently the brain responds to a stimulus.

In all of his studies so far, top-level performers consistently show higher levels of brain integration. Previous studies by Dr. Travis and colleagues have found that greater brain integration is present in world-class athletes, top managers, and professional musicians. This current study was conducted on 21 product-development engineers in Sweden a group that would be expected to have high levels of creativity. Drs. Travis and Lagrosen assessed their level of creativity using standardized Torrance measures and found them to be in the 70th to 90th percentile. They also looked at their levels of brain integration, speed of processing information, speed of executive decision-making, and Sense-of-Coherence.

Apple to Allow Virtual Currencies in App Store 10 comments

Apple has changed its policy to allow payments in virtual currencies in its App Store. It will be limited to a list of "approved" currencies, although this list has not been released yet. What impact will such a large established market have on exchange rates between the different currencies?

FBI Offers $10,000 Reward For Aircraft Lasering Arrests 25 comments

The FBI has announced that they are expanding their campaign nationwide aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft-by rewarding those who provide information about individuals who engage in this dangerous crime and aggressively prosecuting the perpetrators. A key part of the publicity campaign is reward money. The FBI will offer up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. "We want to encourage people to come forward when they see someone committing this crime, which could have terrible consequences for pilots and their passengers," says George Johnson.

Since the FBI and the FAA began tracking laser strikes in 2005, there has been more than a 1,100 percent increase in the number of incidents with these devices, which can be purchased in stores or online for as little as a few dollars. Last year, 3,960 laser strikes against aircraft were reported. It is estimated that thousands of attacks go unreported every year. In March a 26-year-old California man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for aiming a laser pointer at a police helicopter and a hospital emergency transport helicopter. The man and his girlfriend were using a device that was 13 times more powerful than the permissible power emission level for handheld lasers. The girlfriend was also convicted and recently sentenced to a two-year prison term.

Computer Programs Are People, Too 44 comments

Samir Chopra at The Nation proposes that we treat algorithms as agents of the companies that deploy them. In effect, treat computer programs as people, too.

From the article:

I suggest we fit artificial agents like smart programs into a specific area of law, one a little different from that which makes corporations people, but in a similar spirit of rational regulation. We should consider programs to be legal agents--capable of information and knowledge acquisition like humans--of their corporate or governmental principals. The Google defense--your privacy was not violated because humans didn't read your e-mail--would be especially untenable if Google's and NSA's programs were regarded as their legal agents: by agency law and its central doctrine of respondeat superior (let the master answer), their agents' activities and knowledge would become those of their legal principal, and could not be disowned; the artificial automation shield between the government (the principal) and the agent (the program) would be removed.

If such a position were adopted, there could be a significant impact on the permissibility of scanning of emails for targeted advertisements or on ISP's ability to perform deep packet inspection.

How to Spend $750 for One Minute of Data Roaming on AT&T 33 comments

Jeff Reifman reports his experience traveling to Canada and getting hit with a $750 roaming charge for just one minute of data usage on his AT&T cell phone. Apparently, as a result of a navigational problem, Reifman decided to have a quick peek at Google maps. It took less than a minute.... but:

"My iPhone went to "No Carrier", then gradually found a new carrier but didn't seem to be getting any data. Google Maps wasn't updating. Within 60 seconds, I turned off data roaming. Immediately after, I received a text from AT&T that they'd suspended my data access in both countries due to high international data usage.

My phone was on AT&T's U.S.-based LTE for the hours leading up to my Canadian border crossing - in other words, it and its apps were fully synced before I entered the country.

AT&T texted me about crossing the border at 1:02 pm and again with the account suspension at 1:08 pm. Most of the time in between was spent driving from the border to Notti Biscotti before I ever turned on data roaming."

British Recording Industry Thinks Google can do More to Prevent 'Piracy' 16 comments

I think that we have all heard of Google's decision to comply with the EU ruling on an individual's right to be forgotten. The British recording industry have reasonsed that, if Google can implement a ruling allowing a person to be forgotten, then they should also have the capability to remove data on demand from other organisations - in particular, themselves.

In the past when there have been requests to delete search results pointing to sites that are offering media that is being 'pirated', Google's response has been that it is not possible to sanitise the data that they display as a result of a search. However it would seem that if they can remove data referring to individuals then they can, at least theoretically, remove links to unauthorised films, music and other media. The article also provides counters to this logic

However, if Google does so then it and all the other search engines will no longer be agnostic and will become censored versions of their current selves. Furthermore, Google isn't allowing entire sites to be deleted from their search results, as is being requested by 'big media', but only specific items supported by an reasoned case and evidence of the identity of the individual requesting the deletion.

An interesting article, and in my opinion well worth a read.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Friday June 06 2014, @08:10PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:10PM (#52373)

    The key here, at least for me, is that there are no 3rd parties involved. All the analytics data stays with Soylent at all times. That's what the piwik FAQ says:

    http://piwik.org/faq/new-to-piwik/#faq_15 [piwik.org]

    How is Piwik different to Google Analytics and other web analytics tools?

    Piwik is the leading open source web analytics software, but there are dozens of other free and paid web analytics solutions; why choose Piwik? One of the principle advantages of Piwik is that you are in control. Unlike remote-hosted services (such as Google Analytics), you host Piwik on your own server and the data is tracked inside your Mysql database. Because Piwik is installed on your server, you enjoy full control over your data. You can access the data easily via the Piwik APIs. Advanced users can use Custom Variables, Segmentation, or even run manual queries on the database in order to build advanced reports.

    I don't use javascript so it won't affect me anyway. But, if I did use javascript I'd be OK with it.

    • (Score: 2) by Tramii on Friday June 06 2014, @08:13PM

      by Tramii (920) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:13PM (#52374)

      Exactly, as long as you keep all the info you collect to yourself and don't involve any third parties, I'm cool with it.

    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday June 06 2014, @08:14PM

      Yep, it's nothing a webserver not behind a load balancer wouldn't be able to see to begin with and it's strictly single site tracking, so I've no beef.
      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 2) by pbnjoe on Friday June 06 2014, @08:28PM

      by pbnjoe (313) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:28PM (#52384) Journal

      I feel the same. Just using it to get an idea of numbers is perfectly fine, but no third parties (and no cross-site tracking etc, but that's not being proposed).

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by datapharmer on Friday June 06 2014, @08:54PM

      by datapharmer (2702) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @08:54PM (#52402)
      Transparency and data retention policies are key. I normally block piwik type scripts from running as do many of your other users, but if you tell me why you are collecting the data and how it is to be used and I agree I will make an exception and allow my usage to be tracked. I think your policy should make mention of a few things:
      • What data will be collected?
      • How long will data be stored?
      • Where will it be stored?
      • Who will have authorized access?
      • What measures will be used to protect personally identifiable data?

      My suggestion is to keep personally identifiable data as short a time as possible, and do any matching queries against a local database (ip to geolocation lookups etc) to avoid giving a list to a 3rd party. Beyond that have fun and let us know what you find. Big data can be used for good just as much as it can be used for evil!
      We know slashdot users were targeted by nsa previously; I suggest you make them cast a wide net if they must go fishing on the site.

      • (Score: 2) by buswolley on Friday June 06 2014, @11:07PM

        by buswolley (848) on Friday June 06 2014, @11:07PM (#52445)

        N S A? really?

        --
        subicular junctures
        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:33AM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:33AM (#52465) Homepage

          Yeah, really. Soylent News was built to accommodate those disgruntled with increasingly corporate and establishment views, which would make it a perfect honeypot for forwarding the information potential anti-establishment malcontents to some fusion center.

          Okay, so I don't believe that's true either...but you won't be able to fully convince some users no matter how hard you try.

        • (Score: 1) by pert.boioioing on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:27AM

          by pert.boioioing (1117) on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:27AM (#52555)
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:18PM (#52595)

          Off topic so I've removed the karma bonus and gone AC, feel free to mod this post down further if you think it's worth it: I won't disagree at all (I being Yog-Yogguth but there's no way to confirm that)

          Yeah [thehackernews.com]. Of course it's all a lie and nobody needs to worry about anything, it's only crazy people with their conspiracy theories (should I really have to add a sarcasm tag?).

          So that's one individual that was important enough for direct measures by somebody, everyone and everything else is dumped into the "future reference" haystack on a FIFO basis. As an example IP telephony eventually ends up going to CONVEYANCE voice processing and then the NUCLEON voice repository, or so the NSA says. Nobody has made a big deal out of that particular specific yet but you can find it within the details here on the APEX VoIP Exploitation slide [firstlook.org]; what it means is that the NSA already owns the sound of the voice of quite a few people.

          Because it would be very odd if they don't have enough data there to recreate the individual voices when they have enough to recognize the same voices, right? Useful for releasing audio that benefits whatever you want, maybe some politicians whose phone-call is supposed to have been bugged or maybe the replies of an airplane pilot, anything you can and want to. Conspiracy theories are useless when everything has been made possible or even plausible.

    • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:21AM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:21AM (#52583) Journal

      I agree with you but fail to see the point of it, aren't they're making large assumptions on the validity of any non-local data? I know it's an established industry standard to make those assumptions but I'm still lost on what they hope to gain from it and for what decisions.

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SpockLogic on Friday June 06 2014, @08:15PM

    by SpockLogic (2762) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:15PM (#52376)

    OK, exactly how long will this run for?

    ... and when do you give the results to the NSA. No, don't answer that, I'm joking.

    --
    Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Friday June 06 2014, @08:22PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:22PM (#52381)

      And what will be your data retention policy?

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:54AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:54AM (#52471)

        i'm surprised there's no terms of use, privacy policy, copyright notice and disclaimer already. not that it matters to me, but just sayin.

        • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:30AM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:30AM (#52586) Journal

          Such things are usually just meaningless legalese bs for cya anyway, however you've missed:

          The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.

          It's on every article page above the comments.

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Friday June 06 2014, @08:21PM

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @08:21PM (#52378) Journal

    If you want to reach the majority of the community, I suggest that you pose the question when most of the community visit the site. The weekends are notorious for low numbers of submissions and page hits. And where I am it is already evening on Friday.

    However, I have no objections to the use of this method of data collection.

    --
    It's always my fault...
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday June 06 2014, @08:41PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday June 06 2014, @08:41PM (#52392) Homepage Journal

      And that is why it went out at 4PM on Friday, which is start of peak hours during the week :-)

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Friday June 06 2014, @08:46PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @08:46PM (#52395) Journal

        I'll bet it's not peak from outside the USA though - if you are trying to find out where people are, you could try putting it out to cover a time period when everyone gets to see it. The Europeans have already gone home for the weekend, while the USA is still winding down.

        --
        It's always my fault...
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by captain normal on Friday June 06 2014, @09:57PM

          by captain normal (2205) on Friday June 06 2014, @09:57PM (#52419)

          Plus it's already Sat. eve in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan...etc.

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:38AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:38AM (#52466) Homepage

        Peak drinking hours during the week.

        So don't be surprised if some people start posting obscenities and everybody else slobbers all over you and the other admins' nuts telling you all how you're the coolest people they've ever met.

      • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Monday June 09 2014, @08:50AM

        by lhsi (711) on Monday June 09 2014, @08:50AM (#53164) Journal

        Peak hours in the USA maybe...

        Do I need to allow something in Ghostery to let this work? It is crossed out by default. I'm going to miss the little "0" on the icon, it was a rare occurrence when browsing the net...

        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday June 09 2014, @09:37AM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Monday June 09 2014, @09:37AM (#53172) Homepage Journal

          For you to show up on the stats, you need to allow javascript, allowing the tracing image to load (this is something I didn't realize when I posted the article; it WILL get non-JS users), and allow stats.soylentnews.org to work. I won't worry about it to much.

          Out of curosity, does it still say zero? The tracking code been enabled since late Saturday

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Monday June 09 2014, @10:05AM

            by lhsi (711) on Monday June 09 2014, @10:05AM (#53174) Journal

            It does not say 0 anymore - it says 1 (With "Piwik Analytics" crossed out). I think I have enabled it now (it still says 1 but it is no longer crossed out).

          • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Monday June 09 2014, @10:38AM

            by lhsi (711) on Monday June 09 2014, @10:38AM (#53176) Journal

            Have you made a change to the Piwik thing? Ghostery has gone back to "0" but I have a little shield in Chrome that says "This page includes a script from unauthenticated sources" with an option to "Load unsafe script".

            I get this if I click on "Learn more": https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/1342714?hl=en-GB [google.com]

            I am on the https SN, I don't know if that makes a difference.

            • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday June 09 2014, @02:03PM

              by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Monday June 09 2014, @02:03PM (#53221) Homepage Journal

              We had a problem that https access would get caught up due to a misconfiguration on nitrogen (the error manifested itself as "Kerberos Authetication" boxes, since it tried to access a resource on the staff slash. I forced piwik access to http only until we can get it resolved (we need a second IP which linode just granted us). It will be restored later today, I've got new SSL certificates which will be installed in a few hours.

              --
              Still always moving
  • (Score: 2) by lx on Friday June 06 2014, @08:21PM

    by lx (1915) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:21PM (#52379)

    Your link to piwik.org has a typo in it.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by kwerle on Friday June 06 2014, @08:21PM

    by kwerle (746) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:21PM (#52380) Homepage

    Run it like a business. Do however many (few) lines of code it takes to integrate google analytics and get on with your life.

    • (Score: 2) by Ryuugami on Friday June 06 2014, @08:36PM

      by Ryuugami (2925) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:36PM (#52389)

      I'd imagine that a significant percentage of Soylent community blocks Google Analytics (and all the other third-party content & scripts), so I'm not sure that data would be all that useful. Hosting their own tracker, with a heads-up on what's going on, has a much greater chance of being accurate.

      --
      If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by kwerle on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:06AM

        by kwerle (746) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:06AM (#52491) Homepage

        If that were a real concern (probably not) for a real percentage of the users here (probably not), then the simple solution is to implement the APIs in server-side code. Which is a little more work, but not all that much.

        My advice for any tracking is that the numbers are not to be believed or used for their values (since there are all kinds of things that can inflate or deflate them), but to look at the trending as you make changes and see what's going on in relative terms.

        But the bottom line is that implementing their own analytics is the kind of over-engineering soylent seems to do.

        After all, it's pretty damn easy to look at how many submissions, stories, and comments are posted in absolute numbers and get a feel for what's going on.

    • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Friday June 06 2014, @08:46PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:46PM (#52396) Journal

      and watch google come by to buy us out in a few years; and replace the site with ads thinly veiled as news?

      i think that's why we wanted a Non-profit site; and why we shouldn't hand over data to a third party. .

      • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:58AM

        by kwerle (746) on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:58AM (#52488) Homepage

        Yeah... That does not seem like a real thing. I'm pretty sure that google already has a news arm, and that when it buys something, it expects to get users out of it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:37PM (#52610)

      Run it like a business. Do however many (few) lines of code it takes to integrate google analytics and get on with your life.

      Do you realize that a sizable chunk of the user population here is here because the former joint acted like a business? Fuck google or anything remote, which is what a lot of the other comments are saying as well. Some things should be either done properly or not at all, this is one of them.

  • (Score: 1) by meisterister on Friday June 06 2014, @08:32PM

    by meisterister (949) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:32PM (#52385) Journal

    ...you allow at least registered users to look at it. I personally think that it would be awesome to look at the raw data and graph the trends seen over time. It would be neat to see how quickly the site is growing, as well as what articles generate the most feedback. I do share other people's concern over selling the data, however.

    --
    (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Friday June 06 2014, @08:49PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday June 06 2014, @08:49PM (#52398) Homepage Journal

      We may do something like this in the future, but at least for the time being, we're going to limit it to staff only to make sure we don't leak personal information. Right now, this came up because we're trying to work out real numbers for stuff relating to incorporation.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday June 06 2014, @10:46PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @10:46PM (#52434) Journal

        Call me pedantic (or paranoid) if you like, but I need to ask.

        When you say "We may do something like this in the future", you are answering to which of the points raised by GP:

        1. "I personally think that it would be awesome to look at the raw data and graph the trends seen over time."
        2. "I do share other people's concern over selling the data, however."
        3. both of them

        Thanks in advance for a candid answer.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by buswolley on Friday June 06 2014, @11:09PM

          by buswolley (848) on Friday June 06 2014, @11:09PM (#52447)

          Do you see my eyes rolling?

          --
          subicular junctures
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Nesh on Friday June 06 2014, @08:35PM

    by Nesh (269) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:35PM (#52386)

    yes to piwik. No to third-parties (this includes google). Third parties get blocked by requestpolicy anyway.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Horse With Stripes on Friday June 06 2014, @08:36PM

    by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:36PM (#52388)

    We use piwik for visitor information on our sites. It works well, though it requires visitors to allow cookies in order to accurately count unique visitors and it requires javascript to function. Our community has a higher than average number of members that block one or both.

  • (Score: 1) by Lazarus on Friday June 06 2014, @08:37PM

    by Lazarus (2769) on Friday June 06 2014, @08:37PM (#52390)

    I have nothing to contribute to your tracking project, but just want to congratulate you on the level of traffic that you're currently monitoring from signed-in users. That's very impressive for a site that's this new.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bradley13 on Friday June 06 2014, @08:50PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @08:50PM (#52399) Homepage Journal

    I almost always start as an AC; I have to explicitly log in every time. Dunno why - I don't have this problem at /. or other sites, but at Soylent the cookies don't work for me. Assuming I am not alone, this means that you are right: your stats are borked, because lots of time people just want a quick look and won't bother to log in.

    I see no problem with stats collection, because it isn't going through third parties. But you'll see more AC and fewer registered users until the cookie problems are solved.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday June 06 2014, @09:13PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday June 06 2014, @09:13PM (#52407) Homepage Journal

      I'm looking at trying to get this fixed soonish, as I've got some time this weekend.

      --
      Still always moving
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by captain normal on Friday June 06 2014, @10:08PM

      by captain normal (2205) on Friday June 06 2014, @10:08PM (#52423)

      I see NC has said he was working on it. Just want to note to bradley that if you (like me) use several different IPs and/or use a mobile connection most of the time, you do have to log back in on each change of IP.

      • (Score: 1) by paulej72 on Friday June 06 2014, @11:42PM

        by paulej72 (58) on Friday June 06 2014, @11:42PM (#52459) Journal

        What happens if you change you password preferences so that your login cookie is valid everywhere instead of default of your subnet?

        --
        Team Leader for SN Development
      • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:03AM

        by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:03AM (#52545) Homepage Journal

        As with most software problems, the solution is what we lovingly refer to as "RRU" (Remove and Replace User). Maybe there aren't any cookie problems...

        I had never noticed that option restricting cookies to a single subnet. We have a load-balancing router that goes out over two different IP addresses. Presumably, every time it swapped connections on my I was logged out. I've now changed cookie validity to "everywhere" and that will presumably solve my problems...

        --
        Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @08:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @08:50PM (#52400)

    Oh my goodness. It's a web site -- run it like a web site. People who are allergic to 3rd party tools can block them very easily.

    You do NOT need users' permission to install a piece of back end server software to monitor your own traffic!

    It is unbelievable how much attention is being paid to things that don't matter in the least (whether a 501(c)(3) is quite good enough, what state the admin should live in, whether it's "okay" to install a piece of server software, a site motto), but hugely important things like the site's nearly unusable design and truly terrible domain name are left to fester. (And no, unfortunately the new "+" features to expand comments are not significantly better from an ease-of-use or information density point of view. The site name is really sad and inappropriate, and even the owner doesn't like it. Just crazy.)

    You are not wed to the whims of your current fickle audience -- make the RIGHT decisions.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by martyb on Friday June 06 2014, @09:28PM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @09:28PM (#52412) Journal

      Thanks for your feedback. From the earlier comments in this discussion, it appears that many here appreciate our openness. That you do not wish to receive so much information is well noted. Thank you for speaking up. We DO listen! But there is a wide-ranging community here, and we would rather err on the side of being too open, rather than making decisions from above to the consternation of the community. That is, in large part, why this whole community got started in the first place.

      There is much more that happens "behind the scenes" and we strive for openness and buy-in. We realize it may inconvenience or even bother a few here. We cannot please everyone.

      So, your comment is well noted, we will keep it in mind when assessing what level of things we should put out to the community for input.

      And, as an interesting side point, the fortune at the bottom of the page at the time of writing this was: "Do nothing unless you must, and when you must act -- hesitate."

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Friday June 06 2014, @10:03PM

        by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @10:03PM (#52420)

        I have a dissenting opinion about whether or not you need to ask to run javascript designed for tracking, as I'm sure others do as well. It's really nice to have the transparency.

        As long as it's not 3rd party, and the traffic is sent back to your server, I don't feel that I'm losing all that much privacy.

        I'll add the exception to allow the tracker, although I'm logged in, so I don't see what extra information you will receive.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Friday June 06 2014, @09:39PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @09:39PM (#52416) Journal

      You do NOT need users' permission to install a piece of back end server software to monitor your own traffic!

      It is unbelievable how much attention is being paid to things that don't matter in the least ... site's nearly unusable design and truly terrible domain name are left to fester.

      He had the decency to ask. As he should have. After all he's the same guy that posted this tirade. [soylentnews.org]

      Nearly unusable design? The hell you say!

      And the terrible domain name was voted it.
      Sorry, you should have spoken up sooner, I'm sure we would have all immediately changed our votes had we only known that YOU didn't like it.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by anubi on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:36AM

        by anubi (2828) on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:36AM (#52481) Journal

        And the terrible domain name was voted it.

        Shakespeare would have it that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet...

        Personally, after seeing the list of suggested names, I thought "DotStar" was the best. SoylentNews is fine with me too.

        The fact this site exists and is run by competent people even more worked up than I am over the sorry state of affairs in our internet community is what is by far most important to me. They are running this as an open forum so anyone can come over here and run something up the flagpole and see if anyone else salutes.

        That alone is unliked by those who want to shanghai us into a steady diet of prepared propaganda.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tathra on Friday June 06 2014, @09:44PM

      by tathra (3367) on Friday June 06 2014, @09:44PM (#52417)

      except in this case, the community is the entire reason for the site. the admins and editors are here to serve us, not the other way around (as a side note, this is how government by democracy is supposed to work - the government is there for the people, not vice versa). there is no "audience" at this site because the community is providing the stories and comments, rather than being spoonfed prose from one or several people like on a blog or newspaper site.

      the right decision is absolutely asking the community for their thoughts and input on the matter.

      • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Saturday June 07 2014, @10:23AM

        by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @10:23AM (#52569) Journal

        the admins and editors are here to serve us

        Well, I wouldn't put it quite like that! But I do agree with your general point.

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:14PM

      by Bot (3902) on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:14PM (#52746) Journal

      > the site's nearly unusable design

      this guy is suggesting a soylent beta...

      > and truly terrible domain name

      terrible maybe, but easy to remember*

      * disclaimer: I had seen the movie and got the slogan. Also, bots have rather good memory.

      --
      Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 1) by biff on Friday June 06 2014, @11:03PM

    by biff (170) on Friday June 06 2014, @11:03PM (#52443)

    I use it on my site, where I wanted an analytics package that didn't "share information" beyond my site. It doesn't strike me as that different from running analytics over an access log, except that it can pick up some additional useful information like browser dimensions and can with a bit of effort track and graph specific activities like "posted comment", which can help determine things like when your users are more likely to be skimming and when they're more engaged.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Friday June 06 2014, @11:08PM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 06 2014, @11:08PM (#52446) Journal

    I'm seeing various questions and position being raised on the area of "How" (implementation and post-implementation), I'd like to hear more details in the area of "Why" - what is the reason behind the action of getting the number of non-logged-in visitors?

    What is hindered or impacted by the lack of those numbers?

    (to other-than-the-tech/editorial-team SN mates: please hold your horses and refrain from posting your assumptions. This is an open question, take it at the face value. I have no hidden agenda nor do I want to imply anything).

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by NCommander on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:43AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:43AM (#52469) Homepage Journal

      We're trying to work out specifically how large our community is in terms of individual users, locations, and so forth. Furthermore, we're working out rough numbers on what we may reasonably expect to see via subscriber-ship (a post on this is forthcoming) and if need be, what sort of revenue adversing may bring in if we're forced to run it. Part of our incorporation process is having a business plan put together, and knowing what we can expect to see cash in vs. cash out.

      On a more border category, we're also just plain old curious, and I'd like to know how much of our userbase uses Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, where are folks, etc.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:05AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:05AM (#52473) Journal
        Thank you indeed.

        Furthermore, we're working out rough numbers on what we may reasonably expect to see via subscriber-ship (a post on this is forthcoming) and if need be, what sort of revenue adversing may bring in if we're forced to run it.

        In the forthcoming post, may I kindly ask you to state your estimations (both the most conservative and the most exuberant) in regards with operational/enhancement costs?
        If it can be reasonably helped, I'd be happy to avoid a dependency on the advertising generated income.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:59AM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:59AM (#52489) Homepage Journal

          We've got some very rough estimates based on what we're planning and what we can expect, and the numbers we came up fell short. What I plan to do is implement a box that people can pledge for the subscriber level they want, and then we can use those for more reasonable numbers (maybe something I can implement over the weekend) instead our guessaments. This should get a more reasonable idea of what we can expect, but we need to evaluate all options.

          If we're going to run ads here, there will be plenty of forewarning and discussion.

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:25AM

            by Lagg (105) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:25AM (#52500) Homepage Journal

            Piwik is pretty much the only analytics thing I don't dislike because of the self-hosted nature and decent features. So as far as that goes I don't care. I wish more people would do this in fact because it'd be better for both parties. Them because my script blocker doesn't catch it and me because I can contribute data without it being given to google or whoever else so long as the server's party doesn't go off and sell it somehow.

            Advertising is what concerns me though, remember: Even though I'll give serious thought to paying into subscription I do run an ad and script blocker and if your ads are non-text third party content I'll likely not see them. I might not see them anyway if the script is ran from something I've blacklisted. So try to either sell ad space directly or use a third party that isn't google. Also note that when I say "I" I really mean "users like me" and given that you have not only people prone to being stubborn about scripts but also people who migrated from slashdot because of similar bullshit I don't envy your position NC, and will try my best to contribute financially despite not being a man of much means. Also be sure to emphasize the benefits of paid subscription in an obvious manner in the same way other non-profits do for donations. Slashdot and other sites that do this kind of thing made a huge mistake not doing that and as much as it might irritate people to say this, I think you should take cues from the reddit gold model. They're doing it pretty right.

            --
            http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:01AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:01AM (#52517) Journal

            We've got some very rough estimates based on what we're planning and what we can expect, and the numbers we came up fell short.

            I would love (can't wait?) to see some details of your forecasting.

            What I plan to do is implement a box that people can pledge for the subscriber level they want, and then we can use those for more reasonable numbers (maybe something I can implement over the weekend) instead our guessaments.

            Cool. If you also give course to my suggestion on disclosing some estimates on the operational+future enhancement cost, you may find in a situation very similar with the initiation of a crowd-funding action, except you use the very site you want to maintain for raising the funds (no commissions to pay to Kickstarter/IndieGoGo, only some commissions to pay for the "online merchant account" services - you won't avoid them anyway).
             

            ---
            Endnotes
            (for example - and with a face value limited to an example, don't take it as a suggestion for a payment processor - PayPal already offers [paypal.com] crowdfunding. Other may as well)

            (yes, I know, you need to be incorporated to start receiving funds and you need some numbers to proceed with the incorporation. But, I think a scenario like the below would be acceptable/feasible:

            1. take the SN site on your name as a business - it's a defacto situation anyway. I don't know US/New Hampshire, but in Australia one can get something like a "sole trade-person" business number, which is distinct from the tax number as a person (yes, you finish paying your taxes on the cumulative income, however you can deduct a lot more expenses as a business)
            2. organize, on your (business) name, a crowdfunding for the site expenses 'til the end of the FY - no guesstimate for projected income, the crowdfunding is "an expression of the needs" - and I imagine you already know those needs
            3. once incorporated, transfer the business - assets (site/domain/etc) and the remainder of the funds - to the new entity. Come EoFY, your income statement shows 0 on the side of the SN site

            )

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:22AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:22AM (#52508) Journal

        I'd like to know how much of our userbase uses Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, where are folks, etc.

        On any given day, you would likely see me showing up from a hand full of different IPs, using Linux, Windows, OpenBSD, and three different versions of Android.

        How would that help you in a business plan?

        I can see counting users, and attempting to unduplicate the anonymous cowards, and maybe determine which continent, but beyond that, it gets pretty sketchy.

        If I come up on my android device on LTE, for example, my IP may vary from Florida to Phoenix, or Seattle, depending on where my carrier happens to have the most free bandwidth to dump that page request onto the net.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by useless on Friday June 06 2014, @11:25PM

    by useless (426) on Friday June 06 2014, @11:25PM (#52453)

    Sounds reasonable to me. Just make an announcement when it's live so people can remember to white-list it.

    • (Score: 1) by ankh on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:29AM

      by ankh (754) on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:29AM (#52522) Homepage

      Sounds reasonable to me too
      And definitely: explain how it gets blocked, by whatever tools block this sort of thing, and how to white-list it.

  • (Score: 1) by idetuxs on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:11AM

    by idetuxs (2990) on Saturday June 07 2014, @12:11AM (#52461)

    I've already white-listed SN in Noscript and AdblockPlus. Surprisingly don't need to with RequestPolicy.

    Even more, as it's piwik, it should be fine for most of the readers as they mention in the comments, since it doesn't get third parties in the way and is GPL

    Cheers

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cmn32480 on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:35AM

    by cmn32480 (443) <cmn32480NO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:35AM (#52480) Journal

    I commend you for being open about wanting some basic usage data and about specifically what you are going to collect.

    Put up a banner that tells us with the link to this post, as you described and I bet most folks here are good with that.

    Personally, while I would find the data interesting, it should be scrubbed before the general public can get to it.

    As a suggestion, the only way to really track growth is to enable it and let it run. You can say that you want to let it run for a few weeks to get a reasonable idea, but to be able to accurately track growth, and to see if there is a period that is an anomaly due to a few stories that gather a lot of comments (for instance, the headlines about the changes in the site and the progress toward the non-profit status seem to garner very large numbers of comments) you need to install it, and just let it run. This will give you some decent data and much like my MRTG (http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/ [oetiker.ch]), it gives a baseline to see when something happens and you suddenly get a clue if something might be going wrong if numbers drop off or suddenly spike.

    For the long term (which is what we all seem to be in this for), it is a tool to see ongoing site stats and it will give a better idea then just looking at a relative snapshot of a few weeks every so often.

    --
    "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
    • (Score: 1) by albert on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:43AM

      by albert (276) on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:43AM (#52484)

      Odd day of the month: run stats

      Even day of the month: no stats

  • (Score: 1) by kbahey on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:40AM

    by kbahey (1147) on Saturday June 07 2014, @01:40AM (#52483) Homepage

    I reiterate what has been said, i.e. that the information stays within SoylentNews and is not shared with marketers or any other third party.

    However, it requires Javascript, and therefore will track only those who have Javascript enabled.

    One reason I came here from Slashdot, is that the abomination that is Beta requires Javascript, and I browse with Javascript off for performance, privacy and security reasons.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:02AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:02AM (#52490) Homepage Journal

      Generally, those with Javascript disabled are those who would have the most issue with being tracked even for our own internal purposes. There are other ways to collect information from piwik such as hidden image but my rough guess is less than 1-2% disable javascript on the site, so the numbers by and large would be accurate.

      My thought is if you don't run JS, you don't want to be tracked, and don't want to be executing foreign code. I can respect that, and this provides a nice middle ground.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 1) by kbahey on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:07AM

        by kbahey (1147) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:07AM (#52492) Homepage

        Don't like to be tracked nor have foreign code executed. But more importantly and more practically, I don't want my CPU usage going up and the fan whirring just because there is crappy code on many sites. Mainly it is Flash stuff, but that often gets loaded via Javascript from ad servers.

      • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:37PM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:37PM (#52621)

        > My thought is if you don't run JS, you don't want to be tracked, and don't want to be executing foreign code.

        FWIW, the overwhelming reason I disable javascript is to avoid malware. For all intents and purposes, every browser exploit over the last 15 years has had javascript as a necessary component. Completely self-hosting exploits (like a corrupt gif that does a stack-smash on the gif parser) can be counted with the fingers on one hand. Disabling javascript protects against malware served from 3rd parties like ad networks as well as if the site itself has been secretly compromised.

        The plugin I use to avoid data-stalking is primarily requestpolicy [requestpolicy.com] which stops cross-site requests so that whether it is a simple web-bug or a giant set of javascript functions, my browser doesn't even load them.

        I'd like to think I'm not unique in making this analysis and that most people who disable javascript do it for security first. So I hope you will take that perspective into account when thinking about improvements to soylent -- the temptation to start using javascript is very strong and it is easy to believe that soylent's own server will always be trustworthy. But having a site's own server hacked to install drive-by malware is a very common attack, so trusting javascript from any source is a security risk.

  • (Score: 1) by Solaarius on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:50AM

    by Solaarius (127) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:50AM (#52503)
    My ISP and the NSA already know what I'm up to, why not you guys? At least I like you guys.

    ps. Thanks for asking.
    • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:17AM

      by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:17AM (#52531) Journal

      I was having split feelings until I saw this comment. Every word of Solaarius is 100% correct. Very well crafted response.

      What problems do I have against y'all collecting info? I don't like government snooping and I don't like businesses snooping and selling my info.

      I live in Germany and I know it isn't just the NSA that is looking at my packets. (Especially since it isn't https.) The European government is too. So, from a governmental standpoint, it doesn't matter if the three letter agencies know I'm visiting Soylent News. They already know. I have no doubt the ISPs collects the info and sells it. Can't prove it, but why wouldn't they?

      Which leaves the question: After you encrypt the packets, what can your database collect and eventually sell? (It will happen. Even if it takes 50 or 75 years, but all organizations change over time for the worse.) Can we not collect that data? What is most important to me is that I retain power over my Common Joe persona so that I can make opinions without it affecting me in my real life when job hunting or making friends. I even have a second persona on Soylent News so that I can keep a second part of my life separate from Common Joe. The other persona comments about other things that Common Joe wouldn't. They are one of several facades I try to maintain across the Internet and I don't like people tearing down those facades. (I was courteous. The other facade is a 4 digit UID. I purposely didn't take all the good numbers. I'm not cruel.)

      From a user perspective, I hate the idea of you collecting data, but from an admin perspective, I understand the desire for it. As Solaarius said: Thanks for asking. I like you guys.

  • (Score: 2) by Hyper on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:42AM

    by Hyper (1525) on Saturday June 07 2014, @03:42AM (#52513)

    Your proposal is very good, thank you for asking. A permalink to site stats and data retention policy on the front page (footer?) would be appreciated.

  • (Score: 1) by fleg on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:12AM

    by fleg (128) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @04:12AM (#52520)

    with me.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:22AM (#52562)

    I browse SN regularly with my phone using a browser that retrieves the page through a proxy somewhere in India, I think. No Javascript, no cookies. Your solution won't work with me.

  • (Score: 1) by mrMagoo on Saturday June 07 2014, @10:37AM

    by mrMagoo (4165) on Saturday June 07 2014, @10:37AM (#52570)

    If I was worried about being tracked, I wouldn't be on the Internet.

    --
    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment." -Originally attributed to Nasrudin
  • (Score: 1) by quixote on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:51PM

    by quixote (4355) on Saturday June 07 2014, @02:51PM (#52625)

    I agree with others that transparency and no (non-this-specific-purpose-directed) data retention are key. That said, since I'm logged in, maybe I shouldn't speak for ACs?

    (I use piwik on my own site. How could I object? :D )

  • (Score: 1) by bzipitidoo on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:08PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:08PM (#52677) Journal

    This seems a question about 2 related things. Statistics is only the surface. It's really about how to fund a news web site, and how to keep it honest, keep it from degenerating into a propaganda organ. How to do that I don't know.

    It is amazing and scary just how badly compromised much of our news reporting is these days. An example of this is the treatment of Noam Chomsky. Mostly, he is simply ignored. His writings appear only in fringy sorts of Internet sites. At first read, he seems like he could be a lunatic. That seems a more likely proposition than that all of mainstream media is so badly corrupted that they could and would slant coverage of major events like the current mess in the Ukraine. The mainstream media take on the Ukraine is that Russia has reverted to form, the evil empire is back and eager to expand. And Putin has irrationally decided he just plain doesn't like the West anymore, if he ever did to start with. He doesn't have any good reason for this, it's all about greed and glory. This narrative doesn't pass the smell test. It's also very dangerous. What if Putin decides he can't shake this image, can't get a fair hearing in the western media? If he's painted as a bastard no matter what, why even try to be nice? What isn't reported is that the US engineered the coup in the Ukraine, putting in power these ultranationalists who are so extreme even many Nazis didn't want to associate with them. It is these extremists and their attempt to purge the Ukraine of all Russian people that pushed matters to the point that large sections of the country went into open rebellion. That story makes a lot more sense than the mainstream media line of basically "stuff happens", and that the fighting broke out just because, and then Russia seized on it as an opportunity and made things worse. It happened because it's man's nature to fight, or some such implication.

    Our media has meekly gone along with other propaganda campaigns, like the smearing of the leftist government of Venezuela as economic incompetents, crazy business bashing thieves of the rich, and so on. Why? Follow the money.

    As to funding, the trouble I've had with ads, and why I always end up just blocking everything, is that they always push too far. I don't mind a few ads, I really don't. I do mind when a significant % of my bandwidth is being used for extremely annoying, loud video advertisements, or ads that cover what I'm trying to read, or distract me with constant flashing of bright colors and motion. Marketing bosses haven't figured out that getting in people's faces is suicide. Or they just don't care, so long as they can count an ad blocked the same as an ad read, and have their bogus numbers accepted by clients.

    Even ones that pledge not to do disruptive advertising don't take that far enough when they look away from less scrupulous operators. CAN-SPAM is a case in point. It's an acknowledgement that spam emailers go too far. But the first version actually winked at the problem. It seemed more like a power play by bigger, more established advertisers to squeeze out competition.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday June 09 2014, @02:16PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Monday June 09 2014, @02:16PM (#53229) Homepage Journal

      For any ads thing, we're going to poll the community for recommendations on ad networks, as well as give anyone "first dibs" to buy adspace on us which we can fully manage. Subscribers will be able to turn off ads (since they'll be helping to fund the site), and perhaps high-karma users as well, for their contributions. Unfortunately, Google seems to have really taken over this area, and while there are still a few other ad companies, none of them seem to great towards user's privacy and such. I'd love to be proven wrong.

      --
      Still always moving
  • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:31PM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:31PM (#52768) Journal

    Seriously, you need this kind of data for planning and for some eventual monetization to pay the bills.

    Ultimately it comes down to trust. Just as I (perhaps foolishly) trust Google with my e-mail and data because I (mostly, although less every day) trust them, I go to great lengths to keep my Facebook account unattached to anything, and fill it with bogus information.

    In this case I tend to trust you guys implicitly until you prove me wrong.

    Besides - there's not much here that I think has great privacy implications for me.

  • (Score: 2) by monster on Monday June 09 2014, @09:15AM

    by monster (1260) on Monday June 09 2014, @09:15AM (#53169) Journal

    I'm OK with this, but have a question about respecting the DNT setting:

    I use DNT. I also want to help with this movement, and since it isn't using third party scripts it would fit nicely with my whitelisting of Javascript for SN, but if you select to respect the DNT setting I'm faced with two nonpleasant options:

    - Keep my configuration as is, and not be part of the data collecting.
    - Disable DNT and loss whatever protection for my privacy I'm actually getting, given that it's a global option and not per-site.

    I'm not saying that there is a perfect solution, but it would be nice if we could find a good option for everyone, as I'm sure I'm not the only one with this setup.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday June 09 2014, @02:06PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Monday June 09 2014, @02:06PM (#53223) Homepage Journal

      I won't worry about it too much. DNT is unfortunate its an all or nothing (noscript actually forces it on all the time unless the plugin is physcally uninstalled) so we're aware that its somewhat of an issue. We're working on rough numbers, not a perfect/accurate count :-)

      --
      Still always moving
  • (Score: 1) by Max Hyre on Monday June 09 2014, @05:42PM

    by Max Hyre (3427) <{maxhyre} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Monday June 09 2014, @05:42PM (#53329)
       Yeah, I know if you use the results to do anything serious, you're crazy, but it might be worth a try. If nothing else, leave it up for a few days to make sure almost everyone sees it, and in the question, put in a pointer to this article.

       BTW, as described, I'm completely cool with it.