Tue 21 Oct 2014 7:04AM

Analytics Tracking

DU simonv3 Public Seen by 52

We should maybe not feed all of their data to Google?

We can use something like Piwik which is open source, and we control.


Markus Osmers (mo22) Tue 21 Oct 2014 7:59AM

I've used piwik for image and company websites and it is a good tool.
But when I think of a community platform which may got lots of visits I wouldn't decide against analytics.
And also piwik would make the server a lot slower in response etc.
In my opinion it also would just be thrown away money to not use some AdSense on such a Site.
Yeah I realy mean some advertising is not too bad for a free content website if it's not everywhere.
And Analytics would make it just a lot more easy to manage and optimise.

I often got some intense discussion with some friends about that, but what is the downside to have some monthly income from advertising. It just could help refinance the monthly costs and help investing in faster growing and development.

Just my opinion, don't hate me for that :-)


simonv3 Tue 21 Oct 2014 9:21AM

Hey Markus, thanks for your thoughts, they're definitely welcome.

Here's a really good write-up about why a social service (which OpenFarm is) shouldn't work with advertising

Also a good read is this article on growstuff's wiki. That's a good read because they're targeted largely at the same audience as us.

TL;DR: Doing advertising right is hard. Relying on something like adsense creates ads that are largely not relevant to our users. It's ugly and no one wants them (except, presumably the people making money off of them). It also brings in a negligible amount of money.

Aside from advertising not being a solid business model, I personally have some qualms with how Google (and several other advertising services) gather user data without users knowing. The "it makes us money" argument is a weak reason to do anything.

Have a look at the ind.ie manifesto to see a good breakdown of what's wrong with advertising ethically.


Markus Osmers (mo22) Tue 21 Oct 2014 11:20AM

Well I'm familliar with all those opinions and they may are all good minded!
I could write a lot of why they actually not, or they just don't know better. But that's not the place to do so.

My approach on using advertising is take also from the rich and invest in the open. I wish their would be a site where I can just do 10 clicks a day on advertising helping funding projects instead of giving mony directly. Cause you were taking money from the bad guys right ;-)

And that's beacause you just can't change the whole world overnight. You need to get in their game and beat them to have the power and influence you need to really make a change. Or you change the game but need carfully have a look at money as the game haven't changed so far. And espacially if not over 50% out there are allready convinced and supporting changing this game.

I understand this project as to change the game while it is about making a change in the peoples needs and dependense. Which is the far more sustainable way to go. And my faved way too. :-)

So I think our opinion isn't that diffrent. And concerns about advertising is important.

So just to make me clear and don't get blamed quietly :-)

So back to the piwk vs. google thing:
If openfarm don't become a hidden service via TOR or something like it all data is available to google and others anyway. [I don't want it be a hidden service ;-)]
So I think it realy doesn't matter.

Go for what you like would be my answer just related to tracking users on openfarm.


simonv3 Tue 21 Oct 2014 11:57AM


You're right, this isn't the place for a discussion about the evils of advertising, and whether or not OpenFarm will ever do advertising. (but your argument is seriously flawed: by putting adsense on our page we're feeding money to Google, of which we would get a only small percentage Google are whom I have issue with, not with "the rich" you seem to want to take money from, though I doubt the people using google adsense are generally "the rich". Additionally, your ten-clicks-a-month would not generate the amount of money it cost a service to host the ads you'd be clicking.)

It is a discussion about the privacy of our users though, philosophies of using free and open source software where they're usable and where they apply, and whether we share information about our users to companies and organizations over which we have no control of what they're doing with the information our users supply us.

Like you said, we can't create the world we want by pretending we're already there, and it's exactly for that reason that I think that we can take the incremental step of transitioning to private analytics software.


digital dreamer Tue 21 Oct 2014 12:22PM

I agree with you, simonv3 - unless we really need to use Google analytics, we should go with the open, privacy respecting alternative. Also, if the project starts running out of money to cover hosting and other costs, it will be much more effective to ask the community for donations directly. We saw how the kickstarter went, and that was basically just a promise. This will work even better when OpenFarm becomes an established and useful resource, with a significant community around it. The donation model viability largely depends on the project's reputation as a beneficial non-profit, and annoying the visitors with advertisement ruins it. Who would want to donate money to a website with flashing banners trying to sell you completely unrelated stuff?

Markus is right that the Google's data collection + advertising business model is still dominant on the web today, and doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. But there are already many other alternatives (https://gist.github.com/ndarville/4295324), and the voluntary donation/crowdfunded model is starting to gain mainstream acceptance (Wikipedia, Archive.org, etc.). Let's go the open way, and keep Google's game only as a last resort.

We're only slightly off topic, this decision is relevant to the open source analytics proposal, because if we are forced to include ads, the user privacy is gone anyway, and there is no real benefit to using Piwik then.


Mike Beggs Tue 21 Oct 2014 2:16PM

I support avoiding Google analytics tracking and avoiding advertising as much as possible. I have no experience with Piwik or other such tools so I can't provide an informed opinion on them. In general, I support "open, privacy respecting" options and agree wholeheartedly that OpenFarm should build its reputation as a beneficial non-profit without relying on selling access to its members or to data about them.


Rory Aronson Tue 21 Oct 2014 6:37PM

Great discussion everyone, glad to hear the varying opinions and preferences!

I think the choice is clear: There is a great open-source analytics tool available (http://piwik.org/) that will add a marginal cost to our operations while keeping our users' and site data away from Google. Apart from the initial setup, it will not be a burden on our development. I'm going to open up voting for the next week.

Advertising is another topic entirely, and I've opened up a new thread for it: https://www.loomio.org/d/bynYIPDv/ads


Poll Created Tue 21 Oct 2014 6:38PM

Should we use an open-source analytics tool instead of Google Analytics? Closed Tue 28 Oct 2014 6:09PM


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 55.6% 5 RA DU MB DD S
Abstain 22.2% 2 S R
Disagree 22.2% 2 RC MO(
Block 0.0% 0  

9 of 39 people have participated (23%)


Rory Aronson
Tue 21 Oct 2014 6:38PM

I don't think there is much of a reason not to.


Tue 21 Oct 2014 7:25PM

I've never used Piwik before and don't feel strongly about sticking with the status quo of using Google Analytics.

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