[Foundation-l] Wikipedia tracks user behaviour via third party companies #2

Tisza Gergő gtisza at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 21:22:24 UTC 2009

Nathan <nawrich at ...> writes:

> Others have since discussed more centralised and secure methods for
> providing these statistics via the WMF - this is the ideal outcome, and one
> that might have been achieved earlier had you proposed your method rather
> than simply going ahead alone.

Setting up an off-the-shelf awstats with an invisible pixel is web statistics
101, not something that needs to be invented. The reason nothing similar got
implemented is not that nobody thought of this method, but that it wouldn't work
with enwiki so nobody cared. Actually, the old knams stat (which also collected
referrers, so it was in some aspects superior) could have been easily kept
working by filtering out enwiki, and maybe the next few largest projects; again,
nobody cared. Features that only benefit the smaller projects rarely get enough
developer interest, which is understandable, but then it is only natural that
those smaller projects try to solve their issues for themselves. And we did it
with privacy in mind - we would have obviously preferred Google Analytics
ourselves, but we didn't switch because we didn't want the logs to leak to
servers not controlled by WM community, and because it shows data that can be
used to identify IP adresses.

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