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.


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 will last for one year.

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.


This site uses a local installation of Matomo ( for website analytics. Like pretty much every website in existence, that involves storing usage data and setting cookies:

  • Usage data — when you visit our site, we will store: the website from which you visited us from, the parts of our site you visit, the date and duration of your visit, your anonymised IP address, information from the device (device type, operating system, screen resolution, language, country you are located in, and web browser type) you used during your visit, and more. We process this usage data for statistical purposes, to improve our site and to recognize and stop any misuse.
  • Cookies — we use cookies (small data files transferred onto computers or devices by sites) for record-keeping purposes and to enhance functionality on our site. You may deactivate or restrict the transmission of cookies by changing the settings of your web browser. Cookies that are already stored may be deleted at any time.

Data stored in Matomo isn’t shared with third parties. Even so, if the idea that we might be interested in seeing which posts you looked at seems icky, you can opt out here (if you don’t see a checkbox below, disable your adblock program and reload the page):

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