Starborn: play statistics

I searched if there is already a discussion here but nothing found, sorry if there is, merge the topic plz mods/admins :slight_smile:

Since I guess most ppl here check every day Planet IF, this shouldn’t be news to anyone… But just in case :

Now, this is very interesting, go and read all the stats at the above page, it really is a nice read…

The problem is, ehm… You know ppl, it’s just a tiny thing, trivial I guess but, shouldn’t players be ADVISED beforehand that the transcripts are saved ?? :confused: And by this i mean no disrespect to the author who had an awesome idea, but I’m thinking about the future and the what if scenarios abusement of the above will bring… And trust to online IF to players too… I for one dont feel AT ALL comfortable knowing my transcript could be saved without me even knowing it, so I guess playing browser based IF will be even more far away for me from now on…

Thanx for your time …

(It’s the author here.)

I’m sorry if you feel misinformed. I did think about this, but came to the conclusion that because saving anonymous statistical information is standard in both online games and the world wide web itself, there’s no need to draw attention to the fact. Every time you visit a web site the server saves information about the visit, including your IP address and browser information. If there are ads on the web page, it’s almost certain that they are tailored to you based on tracking data from visits to other sites, or at least the page tries to do that unless the visitor has some countermeasures in place. Most likely almost every (commercial) online game saves every move you make while playing the game.

What my setup does is much more anonymous than the above examples since there is no way to trace the transcripts back to the player. The transcripts won’t contain names, e-mail addresses, credit card numbers or even IP addresses. Also the saved transcripts are not on public display. You could play the game using the “official” Parchment installation, but even that has a standard Google tracker to collect page load statistics.

I am open to discussion, of course, but I do believe the data collected is far below the standard level of online data collection and because it’s untraceable to the player it’s genuinely anonymous.

Thanx for replying :slight_smile:

I agree that in this case it’s acceptable even if personally i would prefer to know it anyway… What is worrying, I think , is this I wrote :

We have a parser here, and , I’m not trying to sound paranoid, but what if someone made an online text adventure and could hide and collect much more personal data or even harvest clues to break into e-mails by secret questions etc…

I know I sound paranoid, I again say mate that I agree on your points I’m just worried of a possible abuse of this… :nerd:

If it’s a regular type of IF then they couldn’t do that, they have no direct access to JS or anything. If they used a custom interpreter where they did have direct access then they’d still not be able to do anything more than any other website. If you use a modern browser and aren’t stupid enough to give out your credit card details etc. to anyone who asks then there’s no risk.

I think it starts getting ethically gray if someone wrote something that’s less clearly a game - say, a more serious version of ELIZA. A fake psychotherapy session should stay optionally private, just as a real one should, even if it’s anonymous. (Unless there’s a compelling interest in releasing it, of course.) I remember entering real info into Bureaucracy when I first played it; I don’t think I’d put something like that up without a heads up to the player.

I’d say releasing individual transcripts of regular IF at this point is almost harmless, and statistical analyses are so far removed that there’s really nothing to worry about.

I agree that the privacy issues here are slim to none. I do think it would be nice if there were a way to offer something back to player, though–how about asking whether the player wants to view/download the transcript after play completes? (e.g., when the player typed QUIT, or when he has reached an ending.)


I’m not too excited about the silent transcript capture. I use my real name when prompted in games like Bolivia by Night, and I often perform actions that I don’t identify with and wouldn’t care to have aggregated and analyzed by a third party. (A certain scene in Vespers comes to mind.) This behavior signals my willingness to invest time and energy in the work, to participate in an experience crafted by someone else.

Players and authors both benefit from that sort of engagement. Capturing data - even anonymous data - without warning or consent undermines the implicit trust that makes it possible. Even Microsoft asks permission before opting users into automatic error reports via CEIP. I don’t see how what you’re doing is so different as to merit a free pass.