Writing on faith, technology, and being in 20xx

Here’s what I want to know about you:

  • Whether you found something I’ve written helpful or illuminating
  • Your definition of human flourishing
  • Your deepest hopes, fears, and commitments

Here’s how I will find out the above:

  • By direct communication with you, a human being.

But you must collect information about visitors!

Yes, I collect emails when someone signs up for my newsletter or becomes a paying subscriber, and then those emails are used to send out issues of Good Words — that’s it.

To understand how visitors find the site, mattcivico.com uses privacy-preserving analytics from Plausible. There’s no “tracking” happening, instead I get minimal but actionable information about how many visits/views posts get. I know what class of device readers visit on and the country of origin of the visit, that’s it.

After you’ve enjoyed a post, you’re free to go with the knowledge no one is following you. I’m too busy reading and writing to care.

That sounds good, I guess. What are you not telling us?

My goal is to create a thoughtful community of curious people who want to live whole lives. I hope to maintain an exemplary digital space that imagines the Internet as it could be, not as it is.

But I understand that the Internet as it exists today makes us distrustful, so here are some promises:

I promise that mattcivico.com will not…

  • Record your clicks and movements across this website or allow third-parties to do the same.
  • Use any ad-tracking technologies like Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, or bloated “free” services full of ad-tech.
  • Show visitors ads.
  • Use annoying pop-up dialogues to get you to do something or autoplay anything.

That sounds pretty nice, actually.

Right? I have one caveat, though. Because writing is my vocation and I need to help provide for my family, I sell subscriptions. To do this, I rely on the payment processing services of Stripe.

This is the only element of mattcivico.com I cannot vouch for directly. That’s why you’ll find the results of The Markup’s Blacklight privacy audit below.

If I could build my own anti-fraud features, I would. Maybe one day.

For all my idealism, there remains a third-party cookie on this website and I'm unhappy about that. I recommend using Better Blocker (Safari) or tools from Duck Duck Go (Firefox, Chrome, Safari) to block trackers across the web.

Hmm, you're name-dropping now. Do you get paid to that that?

That's a fair question with a simple answer: no. I do not participate in affiliate programs or accept payment for product placement. If that changes, I'll make sure to update readers and provide an explanation. I want Good Words (and all my work) to be independent and reader-supported because there are enough people trying to sell you junk and disrespecting your time on the Internet already.

So, when I recommend a book, some software, or anything else, that's exactly what I'm doing. Rest assured that I'll only recommend things I think were worth the time and money I spent on them. If not, I'll give you the TL;DR version.

Godspeed, digital revolutionary. Everything is terrible and probably won't change because of you.

That's alright. I'm less interested in leading a revolution than I am in clearing the way for reform. Revolution is easy; you simply leverage grievance, start fires, and move power around. Reform is hard work, more like gardening than clear-cutting. Consensus must be carefully built around meaningful compromise and mutual benefit, which is a lot less satisfying than starting fires.

I would much rather reveal complexity than win shallow converts. It's one reason why I don't always conclude with clear, simple answers–the other being I don't have all the answers–and why I focus on creating a thoughtful community.

Resisting the worst of the status quo starts with imagining alternatives and then wrestling with the complexities of reality. It's work, but it's work we can do together to the benefit of all.


Got questions? Contact me or subscribe to get access to a small, thoughtful community on Discord.

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