As I mentioned previously, I’m working to make this site as respectful of privacy as it can possibly be. To that end, it was pointed out to me by a reader (thanks @maclm) that the comment system I’ve been using, Disqus, is actually pretty bad for privacy and tracking. Hilton Lipschitz wrote about this back in 2018, and I’m just slow to catch up, apparently. Since most people reply to me on Twitter anyway, I don’t have such lively discussions on the blog that I’m willing to make a tradeoff on this.

After a little searching, I found RemarkBox, a comment system that doesn’t track you or store private information not necessary to its functionality. It was built by a solo developer as an alternative to Disqus. I’ll be testing it out for a while. One feature of RemarkBox is that you can comment without logging in. You’ll get an email, and if you verify it by clicking the link, you can change your display name and link your comments in the future. It will store your username and email, and your IP address for abuse prevention, but privately and will never sell your info to a third party.

I’m also removing Carbon ads from the site. There’s not a high enough click-through rate to justify the audience data collection they’re doing. I’ll rely only on sponsors and reader support to keep this site running. And some affiliate links, sans data collection, which I’ll be writing more about shortly.

So no Google, no Facebook, no private data collection by Disqus or advertising services. I feel better, how about you? You can help me test out the new comment system by telling me what you think of it down below… :)1.

  1. I try to never use emoticons on my blog—they always feel like a cheap way to do something I could more effectively do in prose—but this time it just seemed appropriate. I do feel dirty, though.