screenshot of telemetry data

Backdrop core developers and project leaders are frequently called upon to make important development decisions, with very little information about how site owners and administrators typically use Backdrop CMS and how they configure it. With the release of Backdrop 1.20.0 (and later versions), we hope that situation is getting better, but we need your help.

We would love to have as many Backdrop site administrators as possible enable the new Telemetry module on their sites after upgrading to Backdrop 1.20.0 (or later). The Telemetry module will be on by default for any news sites built with 1.21 or later.

[The featured image above is a screenshot of the public display of information collected after only about 3 weeks.]

When you enable the telemetry module, your Backdrop site will send limited anonymous information about your site and server configuration to help us better understand how Backdrop is being used and help us make better design/development decisions. 

screenshot of module page with listing for telemetry module and checkbox to enable it.

One of the founding principles for the Backdrop project was "Focus: Include features for the majority." But, it's often hard to figure out which features will benefit the majority of Backdrop sites and their administrators. We hope that with the release of the telemetry module, we'll begin to get a better understanding of what they need. 

If you enable the module, you will find the following report on your site explaining exactly what information is being shared. The Backdrop team is collecting an aggregation of this data without tracking any information about any specific site.

screenshot of the report generated by telemetry module
A display on your site of exactly what information is being shared with

Initially, we are collecting four data points from each site that enables this module:

  1. The version of PHP running on your server
  2. The version of MySQL running on your server
  3. The operating system of your server
  4. Which webserver is hosting the site

In the future, after discussion and input from the Backdrop community, we expect to gather additional information about how Backdrop CMS sites are typically configured. Things like:

  1. Which system modules are enabled
  2. How many sites are using the default theme (Basis)
  3. How many sites are using multi-lingual tools
  4. How many sites are using Multi-Site installations
  5. How many sites were built using an install profile other than standard
  6. The average number of custom content types and/or fields on sites

All of this information will be collected anonymously and stored in aggregation without any identifying information about the site that sent the data. 

Our only goal is to better understand how people are using Backdrop CMS, so that we can better allocate our limited time and resources on fixing the problems and developing the features that will best meet their needs. 

The following statement was approved by the PMC on Jan 3, 2022.

We understand that privacy is important to you and we pledge the following. 

- That we will not collect private or identifying information. No personal
  information is being stored on our servers.
- That we will be transparent with users about what information is being
  collected and how it is being used.
- We are collecting anonymous data for internal use only, but in the interest
  of transparency all the aggregated data will be made public for anyone to see.
- That we will provide clear and transparent options to opt-out of sharing data.