Opt-in / Opt-Out? A breakout topic for the F40 Change Request on Privacy-preserving telemetry for Fedora Workstation

Exactly!

It is okay to say “I think that what you are proposing is, actually, tricking people.”

It is not okay to say “You value tricking people.”

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I have not read anyone accusing others of valuing tricking people. All I have heard is people say that people will be tricked. That some are unconcerned that people will be tricked as long as they get what they want (data), which is an accurate representation. It does not assume an intention at all (other than data being the most important thing to some). 100% false. It assumes a result and a priority of concerns. Which is 100% fair.

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There’s nothing risky here. They don’t collect PII and even have said it explicitly.

There will obviously be people who are against the “opt-out” spirit, and to that, I say that there’s nothing we can do.

And yes, I value developer action more, because their decisions affect everyone, for better or worse. Developers have maintained this project for decades and having them take the wrong decisions in the foreseeable future is going to impact literally everyone.

If I have the choice between a vocal minority who cries about opt-out telemetry vs the majority of users who will be negatively impacted by lack of research and misguided conclusions, then I will happily choose the latter. I prefer “tricking” a mass of people into opting-in than degrading their experience overtime in the name of an idea that doesn’t work well in practice.

I’ve already addressed that:

Of course, users can always opt-out if they want, but at least these data get us much closer to something that is representative and accurate.

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I appreciate that you acknowledge that. However, I argue that in the end what you would do with that data wouldn’t actually be helpful to the users as you are actually doing it for you and not for them.

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LOL, well, I must adjust my statement that no one says they “prefer tricking users”, although I do note the scare quotes.

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It depends what you say specifically.

This assumes a result “Choosing this method may cause people to be tricked into selecting a different choice than they otherwise would have”.

This assumes an intention “You are choosing to trick people instead of giving them an honest choice”.

To be fair, for me, the actual quoted statement seems OK but there are plenty of other places it is used in the other way.

I’m an enthusiast. Not an average Fedora user. I’m literally using an LTS kernel on Fedora Silverblue, distrobox as opposed to toolbx, got rid of the Firefox RPM for the one on Flathub, got rid of QGnomePlatform/Adwaita-Qt, etc. The telemetry I provide will very likely not help Fedora whatsoever (which wouldn’t help me either), because I have fundamentally accepted that I’m not an average computer user and my setup is way too unconventional.

Disclaimer: I don’t work at Red Hat and have never worked at Red Hat in the past. I won’t have any access to your data.

The same theme is present in the proposal author’s statements as well. You can dance around it all you like, but the general theme is I want people to choose this option and need to find a way to herd people to that result.

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No, they are both saying basically the same thing. You can choose something because it does something you want even though it will result in something different. You can also choose to see it differently, cognitive dissonance. There are actually four (there is also total ignorance of the result) ways to see it, only one of which would be choosing to trick people. But all four would result in people being tricked.

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And it is no way unfair to point this out. It is unfair to attempt to prevent the facts from being discussed honestly.

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That’s it. I won’t repeat myself any longer: you value more developer work than user respect, our points of view are the opposite on this.

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This is a big point of contention. In order to collect this data, it means having both my IP address and/or other identifiable elements and behavioral information about me. To me that is high risk for my personal risk profile.

Even if the intention is to de-identify that data and store it anonymously, that doesn’t mean that Fedora wouldn’t be possessing the identifiable data. Further, doing that correctly is fairly complicated stuff. I don’t trust that an organization of mostly volunteers can do that without ever making a mistake.

Do you have data that the group of Fedora users who are concerned about collecting behavioral telemetry are a “vocal minority”? I have seen nothing that supports that position so far. In fact, if anything, there is limited data demonstrating the opposite.

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No he doesn’t because you would have to ask them and that isn’t reliable, insert eye roll emoji again. You could implement the telemetry without asking and see how many use it and then you can assume they all love it.

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I quote:

To be fair, they do say “difficult” so I can see why there’s a risk to it, so you have a fair point. I apologize.


No, I do admit that I wrote this while I was annoyed, so I apologize. Point was, I’d pick the majority of the people who will get negatively affected by bad decisions over people who are concerned about opt-out telemetry.

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Definitely a better statement but it’s also very easy to make bad decisions w/telemetry. The ACTUAL harm to the user is unknown. You are basically making a bet.

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I never said that opt-out telemetry was perfect, but I am convinced that it’s far more reliable than opt-in, especially for a project that is actively trying to make the Linux desktop more accessible for newcomers.

Fedora has shown that they’ve chosen the right decisions most of the time, e.g. Flatpak, Wayland, PipeWire, immutability, etc. Sure, it may be a bet, but their history is enough to convince me that they’re going to make good use of it.

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We are Fedora, and this process of confrontation between different point of view is exactly the one that has created so many good decisions in the past!

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Considering all the recent unpopular decisions made by RedHat under IBM, i think it isn’t the right time for this.

I would advise to different forms of getting feedback, like polls, which gives much more elaborate data, but much less. The question is more about how to advertise such polls.
If you have to collect telemetry, then you should stick to what GNOME, the default destkop environment on Fedora, does, and have it explicit opt-in.
On KDE i think its a hidden opt-in. You have to specifically go into the settings to turn iton.

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Hi folks,

Cross-posting on this thread too as this is deeply connected to the original change proposal post. The proposal owner needs more time to work on their submission and is trying to gather feedback from multiple threads, so we should probably have a reprieve on this thread too to give them that time to make edits to the original.

There will be a new discussion post created for the revised F40 change when the proposal owner feels like the proposal is ready to be re-submitted, and a further opportunity for our community members to give their valuable feedback on the revised proposal before it goes to FESCo.

What I posted to the main thread is below, and I do think it will be very valuable to the proposal owner to be able to consume this topic separately when revising their original proposal, so thank you for creating this space and sharing your thoughts on this specific topic.

"Hi all,

It’s evident that there is a lot of revision to be made and feedback to be captured before this proposal is submitted to FESCo. The proposal owner has asked for more time to digest the discussion and is not ready to submit the proposal in its original proposed state. While this thread (and the many others it has spawned) has proven how powerful open discussion is, it has also been contentious at times and it may not be constructive nor in anyone’s best interests to keep this discussion going. A lot of valid points have been made across the board and unless there is something that is blatantly absent, either for or against or somewhere in between, that has not already been voiced by someone, it might be best to allow the proposal owner time to work on the proposal and we can discuss their revised version when they are ready to re-submit one.

We will post a new thread when the proposal owner feels that the proposal is ready to be re-proposed for feedback, and thank you to everyone for engaging thus far. It has clearly been a tough topic in tough times, so thank you all for showing up and showing how much you care about the Fedora project."

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weird, they want as much feedback as possible — In fact, they want so much that they want default-on telemetry in Fedora itself — but they do not want this feedback here. Reading through those 519 comments in this thread, i see a very constructive discussion with legit proposals and ideas for changes.

Since i now have to question the honesty of the proposal, i change my stance and am now strongly against it in any form.
Even the simplest usage statistic can be interpreted in a biased way. If there is a danger of such a thing happening, it would harm the project more than it benefits us.