Straw poll on your preferences about opt-in / opt-out for possible data collection

As you have probably seen, we have an ongoing discussion about a proposal for gathering information from Fedora Linux systems to help the desktop-team make data-driven decisions.

One of the most controversial aspects of this is how we obtain user consent — whether that is “opt in” or “opt out”. In the ensuing discussion, it became clear to me that this term has different meanings to different people, which adds to confusion in the conversation. @cassidyjames has a nice post about this and I’m borrowing his terminology here.

Please note that this is a “straw poll”, to get a better sense of sentiment, not a referendum or official vote. FESCo is an elected group, and it’s their responsibility to make decisions like this. And, in any case, a web forum poll is far from scientific approach. There is self-selection bias, and can be influenced by the wording.

Added note, about a day after opening the poll: on the topic of wording: @ittechnodrone quite fairly points out that the text I copied to describe “explicit out-out” would be better as “until a user is presented with the dialog” rather than “sees this choice” — we can’t know if someone really sees the option or overlooks it.

Also, with data privacy the topic of the day, I should note that even when Discourse polls don’t publicly show who voted, that information is available to administrators (e.g., me). I don’t intend to do anything with that information, though.

And so:


This poll uses @cassidyjames’s suggestions for opt-in/opt-out terminology. I’m keeping Cassidy’s definitions and removing some of the commentary — see the link for details. Please note that no one is suggesting or considering a “buried opt-out” approach here. That option is just here to be complete.

I would be willing to accept[1] Fedora Workstation gathering FESCo-approved aggregate metrics, using the following approach:

Multiple choice:
  • Buried opt-in: this would be, say, requiring digging into settings or installing a package to enable a feature.
  • Buried opt-out: this would be on-by-default feature that requires digging into settings or uninstalling a package to disable it.
  • Explicit opt-in: this would be similar to how location services works in GNOME today, where it is presented clearly upon first-run, is unchecked, and requires performing an explicit action to opt in.
  • Explicit opt-out: It is just like the explicit opt-in, but the checkbox is checked by default. Notably, the feature is not enabled until a user explicitly sees this choice and continues without opting opt.
  • Explicit opt-out for sending data, but data collection may begin immediately: [mattdm: This matches the original proposal — see details there.]
  • Explicit choice: A feature is clearly presented with two options, enable or disable, and the risks/benefits are clearly laid out as part of the choice. The user must actively make a decision, and neither is considered the “default.”
  • None of the above: I don’t think any such proposal should be considered
  • None of the above: I don’t like this proposal but would consider something with significantly different implementation
  • None of the above: Something else
0 voters

  1. By “willing to accept”, I mean something between “I’m satisfied that this is a reasonable approach for Fedora” and “I am opposed, but do not feel negatively enough about it to walk away from the project”. This is part of consensus decision making. In a community, we don’t always agree, and in fact we sometimes strongly disagree. But, as long as we have reasons to stay together and work towards a bigger common goal, in some of those cases, we agree to express our dissent and step aside. Other times, one might decide that a particular issue is too important for that. Because we have a bigger shared purpose, when that happens, we work find a different answer that everyone can accept in this way, even if it isn’t their preference. Thank you to @bob131 for asking me to clarify this! ↩︎


Because the conversation is already large and sprawling, please don’t respond here except to make clarifying questions about the poll itself. If you’d like to discuss[1], use Opt-in / Opt-Out? A breakout topic for the F40 Change Request on Privacy-preserving telemetry for Fedora Workstation or one of the existing topics — or start a new linked topic . Thank you!

  1. for example, if you want to elaborate on your “None of the above: something else” reply ↩︎


28 posts were split to a new topic: In which we discuss the opt-in/opt-out telemetry straw poll

I’d like to add “with benefits and risks clearly outlined as part of the choice” to Explicit opt-in option, similar to the Explicit choice one. You can’t make an informed decision otherwise and users will likely not opt-in then.


Sounds reasonable. I can’t edit the poll at this point. I think it might be a good idea to run a new one once there’s a revised proposal, and rather than one person (like me) making one on a whim, we could collectively develop the options so we have better wording. Let’s discuss in In which we discuss the opt-in/opt-out telemetry straw poll

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: In which we discuss the opt-in/opt-out telemetry straw poll

A post was merged into an existing topic: F40 Change Request: Privacy-preserving Telemetry for Fedora Workstation (System-Wide)

I’m going to close this poll — I don’t think more results coming in are going to substantially change things, and the proposal has been withdrawn and a substantially different one will be proposed.

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