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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: [WWW] Web analytics
Date Fri, 12 Aug 2011 22:52:32 GMT
On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 5:57 PM, TJ Frazier <> wrote:
> On 8/12/2011 17:15, Simon Phipps wrote:
>> On 12 Aug 2011, at 22:01, Rob Weir wrote:
>>> On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 4:30 PM, Simon Phipps<>  wrote:
>>>> I suggest the right question is "which project members need which data
>>>> and why". The answer today may well be "none", since we don't actually have
>>>> any resources to visit yet. This is also likely to change over time, and
>>>> we'll need to add analytics as and when people request (and justify)
>>>> according to their specific needs and remove them when they're no longer
>>>> justified.
>>>> I suggest we resist the idea of capturing bulk analytics "just because",
>>>> and instead devise a lightweight process for justifying and requesting
>>>> collection of data. I'd guess there is already a process to copy somewhere
>>>> in Apache - any mentors with suggestions where to look?
>>> I see that tracking code is used with the websites of most of the
>>> groups you are affiliated with:  LibreOffice (Piwik), ForgeRock
>>> (Google Analytics, including in the community pages) and OSI  (Google
>>> Analytics).  And as was mentioned before, uses Google
>>> Analytics currently.
>> It is indeed endemic. We have a unique opportunity to address the issue
>> thoughtfully. And by the way I am delighted you're paying such close
>> attention to my career.
>>> Have you given them similar advice?
>> Where possible, yes. Abuse of personal data is something which concerns me
>> greatly.
>>> Or is there something special
>>> about OpenOffice at Apache
>> Yes. At the moment as far as I am aware AOOo has no significant resources
>> of interest to non-project-members and no groups of members with active
>> applications for the data from analytics. Both situations will certainly
>> change, but on best YAGNI principles I suggest doing what's needed when it's
>> needed, on the basis of actual documented requirements.
>>> that suggests that we should not be
>>> optimizing our website based on visitor stats like others, including
>>> LibreOffice, are?
>> When we have an end-user website capable of optimisation along with
>> project members stepping forward to harvest the data, process it and act
>> upon it, that will be a fine thing to do. What's needed, when it's needed.
>> S.
> Two points, not definitive but worth considering:
> 1) Technically, is it easier to build in analytics now, or would it be just
> as easy to add them later?

Slight advantage to adding it now:

A) We're already updating page footers on the website as part of the
re-branding effort.  This is where the tracking code typically goes.

B) The plan is to put together new terms of use and privacy policy
pages, and send them, along with the new headers/footers, to review by
Apache Legal Affairs and Apache Branding.

But adding them later is not technically difficult.  What you do lose
is the value of the data you had not collected.  You can never get
that back.

> 2) Might we want to do something dramatic (<sarcasm> say, actually make a
> release... </sarcasm>), and measure the effect on the site? Suddenly, months
> of un-analyzed data become a valuable baseline.

I think baselines are very valuable.  Another way they work is by
Google storing a cookie on your machine.  So you can tell who is a
new, first-time visitor versus one who has been here 20 times before.
So when we do a new release, we can look at the different behaviors
for these two different groups.  Remember, the website is trying to
service many different kinds of users: first time, repeat visitors,
power users, project members, etc.  Each of them has different
patterns of use.

It is part of a data-driven approach.  Good web design and the
principles of User Centered Design will get you far.  You can make a
good website knowing nothing more than basic principles and an image
in your mind of how the users will interact with it.  But to make a
great website you need more than that.  You need to know how users
actually behave.

> $0.02
> --
> /tj/

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