Oops, I deleted my Newsletter
Programming · May 7th, 2023
Tracking data is bullshit. I hate when websites track me. And I hate it that technically I am collecting data about you too. Think about it: If I want to have a newsletter, I need to store your email somehow. And this provided me a great deal of headaches, ever since I got my newsletter system working.
First off, I can't make backups. I have yet to experience an SQL Injection Attack, but eventually someone or something will drop all my tables. This is no big deal for my blog, since I store according files separately. In the worst case, I have to fill in the database by hand. But with emails, I can't do that. Assume for a second my tables are dropped, and in that exact time you want to unsubscribe from my newsletter. If I had a backup and restore it, and send the newsletter for a new blogpost, suddenly you receive an email from me, even though you unsubscribed. This is an opportunity for you to sue me, and I don't want to be sued.
Also, people who want to steal the data are free to attack me. I am no IT security professional. I do have basic knowledge, and I did put some safety measures in place, but I am not arrogant enough to say that my system is failsafe. The systems I had were good enough to an extent, such that to my current knowledge, I haven't leaked a single email. But if I do manage to leak an email anyhow, I am the one who is responsible. Again, you could sue me if that happens, and I really really don't want to be sued.
All this is pain. And it has led me to delete my newsletter. At the time of writing this post, all emails stored on my database are already eradicated. Maybe, if the development of my game engine is far enough, such that I can release a working product, I may introduce a newsletter again. But then I am probably in a position where I would pay a professional service for that. There is no way I am ever touching something sensitive like storing user data ever again.
While cleaning up my legal mess, I used the opportunity to get rid of Disqus as well. I am proud to say that I don't use trackers or cookies. I think that's honorable, considering that tracking people has become the norm. And this non-tracking also allowed me to not show you an annoying popup whenever you visit my website. For Disqus however, I displayed a warning that they will track your data. I feel also very proud about this solution, as this thing doesn't even load Disqus, when you don't press the button.
Unfortunately, no one uses the comments. Probably because I have no reach, but probably also because that warning deters that lone wanderer that found me. If this is an indicator for anything, then that people simply don't want to be tracked. Therefore, Disqus serves zero purpose, and I deleted it as well.
After these adjustments, I am very happy about the state of my website. A major headache gone. Now literally the only thing that collects data is my contact form. But since this sends an email, it should be pretty obvious that this is data that is stored somehow somewhere, and I think there is nothing controversial about that.
Now my website is exactly how I always described it: A blog and project-collection.
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