[PD-dev] Survey (was Re: opt-in usage statistics 'phone home')

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Sun Nov 12 00:21:50 CET 2006

On Nov 3, 2006, at 8:20 PM, Chris McCormick wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 03, 2006 at 10:43:31AM -0500, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:
>> On Thu, 2 Nov 2006, Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
>>> Right now, there have been roughly 17,000 downloads of the last
>>> Pd-extended release, according to SourceForge:
>>> http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php? 
>>> group_id=55736&package_id=76013
>>> I'd like to know how many people use it, and for what.
>> I bet that 16,000 of them were made by Cycling74 to make us feel
>> overconfident. ;)
> Hehe
>> The pd-list has only 1457 subscribers. pd-dev has 506 subscribers.
>> A lot of them have subscription disabled, possibly because the email
>> address has changed and MailMan never really removes subscribers.
>> For example, pd-list has only 1002 enabled subscribers.
> I am not sure that number of subscribers to the mailing list is an
> accurate representation of number of current users. I know from  
> releases
> of my own software in the past, the subscriber to download ratio is
> always very very low. I hypothesise that a majority of software users
> are interested only in the software itself, and don't know/don't care
> about the community, or don't like mailing lists.
> 1000 users on the mailing list is a good sample for a survey
> though! Attached is a survey, please have a look and add to it,
> change it, whatever. I think Hans probably has a good idea of all
> the different sets of externals and libraries out there since he does
> packaging of them all. I was not sure whether or not to include  
> questions
> about sex/age/whatever because I'm not sure if it's relevant, or even
> offensive. It would be cool to make this into a web form on the plone
> site, but I don't know anything about that, so I've CC'ed this to the
> pd-web list.
> I am against the idea of Pd 'phoning home' for the same reasons as  
> Tim,

I am a strong advocate of privacy, and I think this can be done  
without any violation of privacy.  There are a number of ways to do  

- having it an opt-in
- make it overt (i.e. pops up a window to ask permission each time)
- make the code open-source (people can see exactly what it is doing)
- make the unique ID a resettable random number (i.e. stored in prefs)

If you have cookie support turned on in your browser, then you are  
being tracked.  99% of people allow cookies at least some of the  
time.  Most of the time none of the above conditions apply to how  
websites use cookies.

Then, on top of this, I think it is very good to have working  
examples of how to do this while maintaining privacy.  Right now,  
companies, governments, etc. implement such systems with few privacy  
protections because its easier and there aren't working examples of  
how to do it better.

> and I think it would be too hard to get the code into all the  
> different
> versions of Pd out there anyway.

It would be trivial to get the code into Pd-extended.



News is what people want to keep hidden and everything else is  
publicity.          - Bill Moyers

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