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May 21st, 2022, 14:28
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I think that's pretty clear. If you have blocking plugins setup in your browser that can show what's going on, hoo boy - you hit the jackpot on the Codex.

But also, if you go through the privacy control popup (for what it's worth) that pops up for the EU, it specifically talks about tracking you to show you "more relevant adverts", and mentions profiling your device to create a unique identifier, to do it better. Lol. Nope.
Ah, OK. I saw the number of ads, and an insane number of cookies, but I didn't see any privacy pop-up when using Chrome. But I've tried on Edge and there it shows up.

Yes, "we value your privacy" indeed… what a twisted wording.

Is the UK law still providing a protection of your privacy, or has it all changed since the Brexit?
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May 21st, 2022, 14:31
As for the fears about "tracking" -- I personally don't track anything specific beyond the website statistics that every other website does as well. And what's being tracked is listed in the privacy policy. The advertising providers on their own naturally do various levels of tracking, depending on the ads, but that's the same as on every other website. Anyone in fear of their privacy has the option to disable it all via the cookie notice on the site(s) in question though, so it's really a non-issue. And naturally, supporting the site with a donation doesn't load any ad code at all, so there's no ad tracking either.
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May 21st, 2022, 14:33
Thanks for clarifying, @Taluntain
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May 21st, 2022, 14:35
No problem. I can't +1, how many posts do I need?
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May 21st, 2022, 14:36
Originally Posted by Taluntain View Post
No problem. I can't +1, how many posts do I need?
I believe 10
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May 21st, 2022, 14:37
Nope, 7, I can now.
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May 21st, 2022, 14:40
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I'd be curious to know if that removes all the tracking services on the site. That's the part I think is the problem. As I said, if we were just being shown dumb banners, without the profiling and tracking, I'd have no problem with that, and agree not to block them. But if the perk is that you don't get shown the ads, but with all the shenanigans still tracking you in the background, to me that has zero value.

I'd also want some transparency on the money before I'd be prepared to pay like that, while they're still asking for donations and so on.
Yes, I was intrigued by this question as well yesterday: does blocking ads, via an ad blocker or via the site by paying sum x, mean you are not being tracked? I gave up my search after 15 minutes or so. One needs to dig deep I guess, and I won't be doing that.

You are forgetting the analytics tools, Ripper. I think I saw somewhere SP is using an Amazon tool?
The one Myrthos uses secures your privacy.

I think you raise good points, Ripper. It is definitely a step back compared to the present situation. But I guess most of our members will accept it. Seeing the vast amount of sites we all visit every day and know nothing/little about their tracking possibilities.

The thing that I think is not okayish is the deficient transparency about the revenue and expenditure when seeing at the same time that the sites of Taluntain largely depend on dedicated volunteers.
But maybe that is pretty standard for forums, and RPGWatch is a rare exception?

It is not the reason I'll be leaving btw, in case anyone wonders.

Edit
O, did not see Taluntain posts, I was too busy writing this one.
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Last edited by Eye; May 21st, 2022 at 15:24. Reason: Added the post I replied to, when writing I missed #260 and higher
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May 21st, 2022, 14:44
To be honest, I'm usually not paying enough attention to privacy. Then now and then we see how it is abused - not by enthusiasts trying to keep even with their costs when they provide added value to others, but by big companies or even nations.

There's always solutions like disabling cookies or even using Tails (a bit extreme), but it's not always easy to see the extent of what is going on.
Last edited by Redglyph; May 21st, 2022 at 14:46. Reason: typo
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May 21st, 2022, 15:39
Well, as for taking care of my privacy, that is doable, consider me Ripper's little sister.
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May 21st, 2022, 16:16
As long as people are using chrome they apparently don't care much about privacy as that browser still is sending stuff to Google, even in Incognito mode.
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May 21st, 2022, 16:28
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
As long as people are using chrome they apparently don't care much about privacy as that browser still is sending stuff to Google, even in Incognito mode.
Same for other Google's products. But hey, they sworn not to be evil

Here's a small FOSS article explaining the differences between Chrome and Chromium (and ungoogled-chromium), which may be an alternative. They briefly talk about privacy too. I didn't copy the links in the quote.

The Privacy Angle

Google Chrome should be good enough for most users. However, if you are worried about your privacy, Google Chrome tracks usage info and some browsing-related information.

Recently, Google introduced a new Chrome API that lets sites detect when you are idle and when you are not. While this is a massive privacy concern, it isn’t the only thing.

Google constantly experiments with new ways of tracking users; for instance, Google’s FLoC experiment wasn’t well-received, as pointed out by EFF.

Technically, they claim that they want to enhance users’ privacy while still providing advertising opportunities. However, that is one impossible task to achieve as of now.

In comparison, Chromium should fare way better concerning privacy. However, if you hate anything Google-related in your browser, even the slightest telemetry, you should try UnGoogled Chromium instead.

It is Chromium, but without any Google components.
EDIT: see in the comments about Brave, too. I don't know if it's good. It's presented as a faster alternative with more privacy.

EDIT2: tried Brave quickly, it's more CPU-intensive when playing videos and not playing them as smoothly, but otherwise it seems fine. It can't remember my login here though it has accepted the cookies, which is weird. And it insists heavily on this reward system. Bottom line, it's not for me, but it may interest others.
Last edited by Redglyph; May 21st, 2022 at 16:56.
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May 21st, 2022, 17:10
Well, this is why I think open speculation can be useful - it often helps to discover more, by how people do or don't respond, and what other people may know. I'm sure the explanation will be satisfactory to many folks, and I'm not suggesting it's in bad faith, but we do have confirmation that SP is fundamentally a commercial venture, does make a profit (however small that might be, which could mean different things to different people), does ask for donations (however few may or may not be made), and doesn't account for that transparently, for whatever reason. No need to make a meal of it, but, personally, I do find that problematic, and I hope there won't be any donations asked of the Watch community after the changeover.

I'm a bit curious about why the Codex is having their own fundraisers, when the terms of the hosting say that there's no need to raise your own funds after signing up. I'm not sure what the six grand would be for, if all the hosting is taken care of. But that's none of our business.

With regard to tracking and privacy, many people are of course dismissive of it, and fair enough - they spend a lot of time on the socials, and know they have trackers up the wazoo anyway. But some of us don't, and see a real problem there. The argument that all sites do it is not a good one, in this case. Most sites I look at only as a viewer, and the shields are up. There are still many ways of being tracked in theory, but with the proper setup, most of the real attempts can be thwarted.

But for a site on which I choose to participate, it's more of a bummer. Probably you'll want to trust scripts for functionality, and so on. And it's a bit of a shame to have a non-trust relationship with a community site you like, because of the payload it's carrying. Personally I'd like the community protected from that.
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May 21st, 2022, 17:25
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I'm a bit curious about why the Codex is having their own fundraisers, when the terms of the hosting say that there's no need to raise your own funds after signing up. I'm not sure what the six grand would be for, if all the hosting is taken care of. But that's none of our business.
At times in the past they've said it's for software costs, for example one of the reasons given for the 2021 donation drive was the XenForo 2 upgrade (which is now in progress). That makes sense, but sometimes the campaigns say they are for "server upgrades", but since they're using Taluntain's servers, I don't know how that works then.
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May 21st, 2022, 17:46
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
At times in the past they've said it's for software costs, for example one of the reasons given for the 2021 donation drive was the XenForo 2 upgrade (which is now in progress). That makes sense, but sometimes the campaigns say they are for "server upgrades", but since they're using Taluntain's servers, I don't know how that works then.
Maybe they are paying for all the other sites as well? RpgWatch included as of end of July.
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May 21st, 2022, 17:53
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Well, this is why I think open speculation can be useful - it often helps to discover more, by how people do or don't respond, and what other people may know. I'm sure the explanation will be satisfactory to many folks, and I'm not suggesting it's in bad faith, but we do have confirmation that SP is fundamentally a commercial venture, does make a profit (however small that might be, which could mean different things to different people), does ask for donations (however few may or may not be made), and doesn't account for that transparently, for whatever reason. No need to make a meal of it, but, personally, I do find that problematic, and I hope there won't be any donations asked of the Watch community after the changeover.

I'm a bit curious about why the Codex is having their own fundraisers, when the terms of the hosting say that there's no need to raise your own funds after signing up. I'm not sure what the six grand would be for, if all the hosting is taken care of. But that's none of our business.
Yes, I think the donations are an issue too. Myrthos always took the remainder to the next year, and everybody could see no more money was needed this year.
And how much was short next

In 2022 there is money until the end of July, hence the 'End is nigh' date.

When that all is invisible, the donations may reach a big number every year. Who knows?
Or perhaps people will stop paying for the greater good, but only to get an ad free site themselves?

Perhaps it would be nice if somehow the community could pay collectively to not put ads on the Watch, for all?
That some people pay more and others not at all (because e.g. they can not miss it) has never been an issue on this site.
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Last edited by Eye; May 21st, 2022 at 19:26.
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May 21st, 2022, 18:02
Originally Posted by Taluntain View Post
No problem. I can't +1, how many posts do I need?
Nothing that two or three 'Me Toos" won't solve
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May 21st, 2022, 18:19
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
At times in the past they've said it's for software costs, for example one of the reasons given for the 2021 donation drive was the XenForo 2 upgrade (which is now in progress). That makes sense, but sometimes the campaigns say they are for "server upgrades", but since they're using Taluntain's servers, I don't know how that works then.
Off-topic, really, as the Codex doesn't figure into this discussion in any way. I'll just say that it is by far the largest and the most active of the communities that I host, so it has some specifics that differ compared to all the other websites that I host. It also occasionally requires specific software and hardware upgrades, custom work, etc. that quickly translate into thousands of dollars of expenses and/or hundreds of man-hours of work due to the heavily modified and custom-coded environment. This is something that websites run on a shoestring budget with volunteer work only usually can't afford to do, so they either linger on without doing the necessary upgrades and improvements for years, or end up closing down once maintenance becomes more trouble than it's worth.

Transitioning a website from one generation of forum software to another along with the entire back-end dependent on it is one such major step that requires an insane amount of time and effort that mostly happens behind the scenes, so the end users can never really appreciate it as they will only see a fraction of it. Everything else needs to happen on the back-end, behind the scenes, and it's a daunting project even for an experienced team, let alone one or two people working on it, as is usually the case with small independent websites. I've been there and done it myself several times, so I've got plenty of first-hand experience.

Naturally, there will always be naysayers and second-guessers with their own view of how it's all just fun and games with no effort required and ideas how they would do it all better, cheaper, more effectively and so on. But that's just part and parcel of being on the internet, where talk is very cheap. In the end you either put some trust into the person who is ultimately responsible for the whole website, or you don't. I've been at this for 23 years now, so I'd like to think that that counts for something.
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May 21st, 2022, 18:42
Originally Posted by Taluntain View Post
Off-topic, really, as the Codex doesn't figure into this discussion in any way. I'll just say that it is by far the largest and the most active of the communities that I host, so it has some specifics that differ compared to all the other websites that I host. It also occasionally requires specific software and hardware upgrades, custom work, etc. that quickly translate into thousands of dollars of expenses and/or hundreds of man-hours of work due to the heavily modified and custom-coded environment. This is something that websites run on a shoestring budget with volunteer work only usually can't afford to do, so they either linger on without doing the necessary upgrades and improvements for years, or end up closing down once maintenance becomes more trouble than it's worth.
And how much work, according to your estimation, does the Watch ask compare to the Codex?
And if, at a certain point, donations fall short, what is the chance of it ending up closing down?

Originally Posted by Taluntain View Post
Transitioning a website from one generation of forum software to another along with the entire back-end dependent on it is one such major step that requires an insane amount of time and effort that mostly happens behind the scenes, so the end users can never really appreciate it as they will only see a fraction of it.
Will this site be ready then to make the transfer from Myrthos to you by the end of July?
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May 21st, 2022, 19:21
Originally Posted by Taluntain View Post
Off-topic, really, as the Codex doesn't figure into this discussion in any way. I'll just say that it is by far the largest and the most active of the communities that I host, so it has some specifics that differ compared to all the other websites that I host. It also occasionally requires specific software and hardware upgrades, custom work, etc. that quickly translate into thousands of dollars of expenses and/or hundreds of man-hours of work due to the heavily modified and custom-coded environment. This is something that websites run on a shoestring budget with volunteer work only usually can't afford to do, so they either linger on without doing the necessary upgrades and improvements for years, or end up closing down once maintenance becomes more trouble than it's worth.

Transitioning a website from one generation of forum software to another along with the entire back-end dependent on it is one such major step that requires an insane amount of time and effort that mostly happens behind the scenes, so the end users can never really appreciate it as they will only see a fraction of it. Everything else needs to happen on the back-end, behind the scenes, and it's a daunting project even for an experienced team, let alone one or two people working on it, as is usually the case with small independent websites. I've been there and done it myself several times, so I've got plenty of first-hand experience.

Naturally, there will always be naysayers and second-guessers with their own view of how it's all just fun and games with no effort required and ideas how they would do it all better, cheaper, more effectively and so on. But that's just part and parcel of being on the internet, where talk is very cheap. In the end you either put some trust into the person who is ultimately responsible for the whole website, or you don't. I've been at this for 23 years now, so I'd like to think that that counts for something.
Certainly does and like most people I believe we appreciate that the Watch will live on, but having 20 years of experience does not mean that things couldn't possibly be done better. I'm one of the people who has donated hundreds of pounds to this forum over the years and one of the sole reasons for me doing so is that I felt there was a strong sense of transparency involved.

If Myrthos had not been transparent about it I would likely have donated much less or none at all.

Obviously you will end up running your website however you want, but be aware that - at least in my opinion - transparency counts for a lot.
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May 21st, 2022, 19:39
Like other Watchers I'm a long-time member of the RPG Codex. I've participated in fundraisers there and donated some money as well. I had never any security problems or other account problems on this site. So I trust our new owner just like the old one.
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