Support » Requests and Feedback » WordPress.org creepy behavior, spying on visitors?

  • Knocks

    (@knocks)


    When I visit various pages at WordPress.org, such as a plug-in’s page, I often get the message “This page has not been translated into your language yet. Help translating it.” That message is not in English.

    I find it creepy and uncomfortable that either: 1) WordPress.org thinks it knows what “my” language is OR 2) It makes assumptions that I am not an English speaker based on the IP I am accessing the site from (I travel overseas frequently). What’s particularly disturbing is that the people who run WordPress.org apparently think it’s OK to openly tell visitors that they are stereotyping them based on location or who knows what else. Anyone who uses common sense can quickly come up with lots of scenarios where those assumptions can be flat wrong.

    I use a U.S. version of Windows, and my browser’s user agent is set to English. Can you please make your site stop being a stalker and showing me these creepy messages?

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Dion hulse

    (@dd32)

    Core Developer

    Hi @knocks,

    WordPress.org uses two specific pieces of information for the alternative-locale suggestions.

    1. Your browsers “Accept-Language” header, I’m an English-only speaker but the header my browser sends (You can see yours there too) indicates that I’m willing to accept “en-AU,en-GB;q=0.9,en-US;q=0.8,en;q=0.7,fr;q=0.6” which roughly translated says English (Australian), otherwise British English or American english if you have those, then any other English locale, and finally French. As a result when viewing plugins pages I see the message you’re referring to asking me to translate it to French.
    2. In limited situations, Your browsers IP address. When you access WordPress.org from a location where English is not the primary language of that country, we will suggest the languages which are most commonly spoken in that region. I do not believe this is used for the plugins tip, but is used for the main WordPress.org homepage I believe.

    While I can understand you might be uncomfortable with the locale suggestions / non-english text being displayed, for many people in that location they simply do not understand english and that banner is the means for them to access the content they’re looking for.

    The intention is not to stereotype, discriminate or, spy on users – simply to provide the most people the best possible experience using the information your browser provides us. That ultimately does mean that sometime it’ll get it wrong, but we do have to weigh up the benefits for others.

    As we do not track users of WordPress.org, the site is unable to detect that you usually access from within the US and don’t need the tip. That would require us to store ongoing information about users that we do not wish to collect.

    WordPress.org’s full privacy policy is available here and details how information about you is used and/or stored.

    I hope this helps

    Thanks for the explanation. The WordPress.org message was indeed in one of the languages listed in the ACCEPT-LANGUAGE header. How does Chrome know which languages I am willing to accept? I have never touched that setting.

    Also, doesn’t that mean that if you speak a rare language, then the entire internet can try to guess your ethnic group since you are advertising it on every site you visit?

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by Knocks.
    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    (@otto42)

    WordPress.org Admin

    How does Chrome know which languages I am willing to accept? I have never touched that setting.

    It’s just a setting in Chrome.

    Go to the chrome settings page, and search for Language. Like so:

    chrome://settings/?search=language

    There’s a setting called “Order languages based on your preference”. This controls the Accept-Language header which is passed to every website you browse. Basically, it tells websites what languages you prefer, and websites can act on this information. This is how WordPress.org primarily determines when to show you that information or not. Feel free to adjust that setting according to your preferences.

    In other words, the plugin pages are showing you that message because your browser is actively telling the site what languages you prefer, not because we’re making a guess at it.

    How Chrome sets that information initially, I do not know. But it is entirely within your control.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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