Tiago Tresoldi's Website

Linguist, post-doc, etc.

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30 December 2020

Blog updates

by Tiago Tresoldi

My main goal for this website and blog is to have something easy to update and to browse, as discussed in the previous post on “less is more. Two important things were still missing for a “proper” site/blog: some kind of analytics, so that I can know at least approximately how many people eventually come here, and a some kind of comment support.

Both issues involve ethical (such as giving the due value to readers’ privacy) and practical (a static website hosted on GitHub pages, where most Jekyll plugins cannot be installed) concerns. Analytics could be easy, from a purely technical perspective: just drop in a Google Analytics script, as most websites do, and be happy with the information it provides (including the Google search terms that the company apparently does not offer to other services…). A number of different solutions could be offered to the second problem: hosting a comment system somewhere (like on Heroku, perhaps along with a custom analytics system), integrate with Twitter or Mastodont, or just decide to offer no comment box, having people write plain emails.

I was previously using StatCounter, but it seemed to commercial-oriented for my purposes. Looking for alternatives, I decided to start experimenting with GoatCounter. It looks more privacy-oriented, should be easy to block if desired, and is free for my purposes. But I am pretty happy with it after five minutes and I will probably sponsor it on GitHub if I decide to keep it in here.

As for the comments, I have decided to go for the easiest possible solution: just tweet about new posts and let people comment there, embedding the tweet itself on each post page. It is easy to do, each page will have something resembling a comment box without affecting people concerned with their privacy (as the “non-track” is activated and as I can assume they already block embedded tweets), and I can reach a broader audience by forcing me to tweet about each post. Embedded tweets can be easily removed in the future if desired, and there is no need to actually tweet about each post.

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tags: blog