Privacy Policy

Here’s the privacy statement for the Words blog ( Unlike other posts I’ve written, it’s not particularly entertaining or useful – but apparently I need one.

What personal data we collect and why we collect it


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymised string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Required Cookies

Math Captcha

To ensure comments stay as spam-free as possible (while avoiding the insane privacy implications of using Google’s reCAPTCHA service), there are a number of cookies prefixed with mc_session_ids that are part of the Math Captcha service. These cookies contain no personally identifiable information, are not sent to any third party and are set for 30 minutes.

Tag Management

This site uses Tealium iQ to manage analytics and marketing tags, as well as consent for optional cookies. The utag_main cookie contains a unique identifier for your browser, but it does not identify you personally unless you provide personal information. This cookie lasts for 1 year.

Tealium’s privacy policy is available at:

Consent Management

In order to allow you to opt in or out of analytics and marketing, there are two cookies set: cookieconsent_status and CONSENTMGR. These cookies only contain your consent status and are used by Tealium iQ to determine what to load. These cookies last for 90 days.

Optional Cookies

The following cookies can be avoided by either opting not to save your details (comments) or opting out of cookies (everything else).


If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies last for 1 year.


This site uses Google Analytics to better understand traffic to this website and to gain insights to help improve your experience. By it’s nature, website analytics involves storing certain usage data and setting cookies for record-keeping purposes.

Usage data includes things like the website you clicked through from, the parts of our site you visit, the date and duration of your visit, your anonymised IP address, information about the device and browser you’re using, etc..

Google’s privacy policy is available at:


This site uses ShareThis to enable social sharing, sending and saving content. When you share using a third-party service (such as Facebook), you do so under the terms and conditions of that service.

ShareThis’ privacy policy is available at:


No one likes ads, but it’s how this site pays for itself – I’ve intentionally kept the advertisements to a minimum and off to one side to avoid disturbing you as you read.

This site primarily uses Google AdSense, which from time to time will also load ads from partner networks. The cookies used by Google AdSense and their partners can identify your browser, but they don’t identify you personally unless you provide personal information.

Google’s privacy policy specific to advertising technology is available at:

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracing your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

How long we retain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

Website analytics data is retained indefinitely. Aside from the reasons outlined above, this is so we can see which posts are the most interesting over time in order to write more of them.

What rights you have over your data

If you have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Visitor comments are processed by Akismet – a spam detection service from Automattic. To keep the blog comments spam-free, information you provide (the comment itself, as well as your name, email, IP address, user agent and so on) are sent to Automattic so they can determine whether your comment is spam or not – much the same as commercial anti-spam services for email.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about Akismet:, and you can also review Automattic’s privacy policy for the Akismet service:

Contact information

Privacy concerns? Please send email to