Cookies & Privacy

Good morrow to you fair traveler of the ‘Internet’; or as I like to call it: The ‘Webninsula’. I am Nathaniel Ward, and I write arthurwingsmith.com. Do not be alarmed, I write as Arthur, so anytime you read something from him, you are really reading me. Arthur is something between a pen-name and a character in his own right. But that is not why you are here.

You are here, on this page, because you have concerns about Cookies and Privacy. I do not blame you. This is a very reasonable concern in an age of general arse-hole-ery perpetrated by the faceless mass of the internet They/Them. I would like to do my best to put these fears to rest. (If, indeed, I can.)

Before we start, I should warn you this could get pretty dry. I will do my best to make it as little like a desert as I can, but you should probably have some tasty beverage of your choice near by, just in case. … You have your beverage? Good, let’s proceed.

We shall start with:

‘Cookies’ (that you can’t eat).

Cookies. What are they, and why should we care? Rather than try to write some quirky – yet obviously entertaining – explanation of them, I’m going to quote from someone else. This someone else is Jetpack:

Cookies are small pieces of data, stored in text files, that are stored on your computer or other devices when websites are loaded in a browser. They are widely used to remember you and your preferences, either for a single visit (through a session cookie) or for multiple repeat visits (using a persistent cookie). They ensure a consistent and efficient experience for visitors and perform essential functions, such as allowing users to register and remain logged in.

Cookies may be set by the site that you are visiting (known as first party cookies), or by other websites who serve up content on that site (third party cookies).

Now, I could have quoted from anybody to give you that information about cookies. I chose Jetpack for a very good reason. The reason is this: I use Jetpack to do quite a lot of things on this site, and they require the use of cookies. If this is your first time on Arthur Wingsmith, you would have seen a banner that informed you the site uses cookies. That’s right, I use Jetpack to do that. It also does these other things:

  • Provides Sharing Buttons, so you can spread my dubious genius across the Webninsula.
  • It allows you to Subscribe by email, so you can get aforementioned dubious genius delivered to you without the need to visit me here at all.
  • It provides the Contact Form that allows you to … well, contact me.
  • It also provides me with Site Statistics, so I have something to cry about at night.

I will say more about site statistics in the next section.

It may be, that you are uncomfortable with cookies of any description. That is fair. So, for more detailed information about them – including how to turn them off – I refer you to this handy document from Jetpack: Cookies

Site Metrics (a.k.a. statistics).

As I mentioned in the previous section, I run metrics on this site. This provides me with useful – often crushing – information about how well my site is doing. This information includes things like:

  • How many times a post has been viewed.
  • How many visitors the site has had.
  • How long a visitor has stayed on the site.
  • Bounce rate (my least favorite of all metrics).

Obviously, that is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you the idea.

I use two types of plugins for metrics. The first is that powered by Jetpack, and which I mentioned above. You can deal with cookies related to it, by reading the document available through the ‘Cookies’ link already provided.

The second plugin I use is provided by Google Analytics. They call this GADWP. What you need to know, is that for GADWP to work, it uses a tracking code; this allows it to provide me with statistics relevant to activity on my site. Neither I, nor Google, collect personal information to do this. I have no interest in such information. Still, you may have concerns about that, so I suggest you read: Google Analytics, GDPR, and user data privacy compliance.

This next part is important, so please PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.

You can OPT-OUT of GADWP associated cookies now by clicking this button:

[gadwp_useroptout html_tag="button"]Google Analytics Opt-out[/gadwp_useroptout]

If you have concerns about whether or not that button actually worked, or would prefer a different solution, I have good news. Google Analytics has also developed a browser extension that will allow you to opt-out of tracking across all websites. Here is the link to take you to the download page for that: Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add On.

Okay, we’re almost done …. How’s your drink? Alright? Excellent. We now turn to the last section of this page, and that section is:

Privacy (is important).

You might find this hard to believe, but I am actually a very private person. For this reason, I also respect your privacy. I have even taken certain steps to ensure it on this site. Before I get to that, though, I’ll need to explain what your status is while you are here.

What you are, is a Visitor. This is different from being a User. To be a User, you must log or sign in to Arthur Wingsmith. You can’t do that. Only I can do that; I am this site’s only User. I am also its OwnerAdmin, and sole Contributor. This being the case, I can have no User Data about you.

However, because I do run Google Analytics (GADWP), I have taken precautions to protect any accidental information being passed on to third parties:

  1. I have enabled the Anonymize IPs While Tracking function in Google Analytics.
  2. I have enabled the Exclude Tracking for users sending Do Not Track header function on Google Analytics.

For more information about either of those two functions, I refer you again to: Google Analytics, GDPR, and user data privacy compliance.

Even though you are a Visitor, rather than a User, there are two occasions when I will require personal information about you: If you Subscribe by email, or if you Contact Me through the contact from. I’ll deal with these separately.

Subscription By Email.

For the subscription process to work, you need to provide a Valid Email Address in the subscription box. You do not need to provide a name. Once you have done that, you should get an email asking you to confirm that you subscribed. If you do not confirm, you aren’t subscribed, and I have no record of you having done that.

However, if you do confirm (and why wouldn’t you?), that email address goes on the subscription list, so that any new post can be sent out to you automatically when it is published. I can see that list. If you don’t want me to know your name, you need to use an email address that doesn’t use it; otherwise it’s a bit of a giveaway. Here’s what you need to know about that list:

  • I do not pass on email addresses to any third parties.
  • do not use it to send promotional emails. I don’t need to; my writing speaks for itself.
  • All you should be getting from Arthur Wingsmith are new posts. Frankly, that’s all you need.

If, for some mysterious reason, you don’t want to get emails from me anymore, you can simply Unsubscribe. You do this by following the unsubscribe link at the bottom of an email you have received from me. If you unsubscribe, your email address disappears from the subscription list. That is to say, I don’t have your email anymore, and keep no permanent records about who has, or hasn’t, subscribed to me.

Using The Contact Form.

If you want to contact me, you’ll have to use the contact form. There is just no other way to do that. For this you will need to provide a Name and a Valid Email Address. I need a name, because I have to know what to call you when I reply. It doesn’t have to be your real one; you can call yourself ‘Kitten-pants Carcave’ for all I care. I need the email address for obvious reasons. I DO NOT NEED YOUR WEBSITE.

Here’s what I get when you you contact me:

  • Your name.
  • Your email address.
  • Your website Url (if you have decided to give me that – it is not compulsory).
  • An IP address (for some reason, I don’t really want that, it’s just what I get).
  • Your message.

I keep this information for only as long as I need to reply to the message. Once I have replied to your message I delete it, and all the information that came with it.

But what if you have sent me a message, and you still haven’t heard back from me? In that case, one of three things has happened:

  1. I just haven’t had the chance to reply to you yet; but I will as soon as I am able.
  2. I have judged your message to be Spam. In this case, I have deleted your message, and all the information that came with it.
  3. You have been a Wanker to me in your message, so I have deleted it, along with any information that came with it. I do not reply to wankers.

* * *

Well, that’s it. That’s all the information I have for you. The reason I didn’t tell you about comments, is because I don’t allow them on this site; so there is really no need to provide you with that information.

So, thanks for reading this. If you have any specific questions, you can use the contact form provided below.

Sincerely,

Nathaniel Ward/Arthur Wingsmith.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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