Protect user privacy by using Matomo, dumping Google Analytics?

(Brett Delmage) #1


I’ve been becoming familiar with the discourse community. I am considering setting up discourse for two completely different communities. I have slowly become familiar with it on other sites like letsencrypt.

I was disappointed that my tracker-blockers reported discourse is using

Of course, I’m protected from that intrusiveness because I use a blocker, but not everyone will be. And not everyone wants to end up in a Google database, even if it claims that tracking data won’t leak into other divisions.

Has discourse never considered using f/loss Matomo (formerly Piwik)
instead of Google Analytics? Nothing came up in a search on any of these analytics before I posted this question. Matomo is a pretty decent product these days.

(Michael - #2

(Brett Delmage) #3

Hi Michael, thanks for sharing this helpful post. I will again refer to it after I get my own discourse up and running.

What I was asking (sorry if I was not clear) is why discourse itself does not use Matomo on itself, instead of google analytics. That is why I asked this question in meta. Otherwise I suppose I should have asked in support or somewhere else? This is my first post so perhaps I asked in the wrong category?

It would be preferable, at least to me, to use open source GPL’d software on, and to take this additional step to protect the privacy of users by not involving google.

Maybe I am wrong but it seems that many who would want to use discourse for their own communities also do not want to involve google collecting data on all their users, and should be aligned with that.

Additionally, the quality of the analytics might improve, as google analytics is likely blocked more than Piwik/Matomo.

I have used Piwik/Matomo for 5 years on sites that I operate.

(Sevos) #4

Matomo is based on PHP, which means you’d have to prepare the environment and then care about this. Also, more people use Google Analitycs instead of Matomo. Discourse already has its statistics.

(Brett Delmage) #5

Responses so far are not to the question I asked. :anguished:
One non-response even received 6 likes.

I am disappointed after posting my first question here.
“Does your reply improve the conversation in some way?” is missing here.

Perhaps nobody wants to answer my actual question, or I have posted in the wrong forum.

(Jeff Atwood) #6

Perhaps not as many people care about this issue as you do?

That does not mean you are wrong in any way, it just means that other people may not necessarily share your concerns or goals.

(Michael - #7

Maybe more people misunderstood your question…

(Brett Delmage) #8

Perhaps. Anyway, the wonderful thing about discourse is that it is very configurable open source software and so none of us have to use it identically. I won’t have to take privacy away from my users. And I appreciate @michaeld for pointing out the howto. cheers.

(Jeff Atwood) #9

Exactly, and it’s not like Google Analytics is forced on anyone… certainly not by Discourse.

(Brett Delmage) #10

@codinghorror, I’m not sure you understood my question?

Of course anyone who installs discourse is free not to activate g-a.
But google analytics is forced on everyone who does not actively defend against it on this website, That was my concern as a new user and why I posted in meta, not support or suggestions.

And perhaps g-a’s not even that valuable, because discourse itself tracks a lot more about site users activity.


I suspect you’re right. I didn’t understand either until your latest post.

This probably still applies. Many people don’t care (me for instance) and those that do are free to protect themselves as you have.

I don’t know enough about the comparative pros and cons of Matamo vs. GA. Do you know of any good articles? GA is a pretty fundamental tool for a huge portion of our customer base, many don’t have the choice, so we won’t remove it but I guess we could potentially add another option if enough people would like it.