[HacktionLab] Anonymous survey tech?

Charlie Harvey charlie at newint.org
Tue Dec 11 10:51:41 UTC 2018

On 10/12/2018 17:47, naomi wrote:
> Thanks Charlie
> But it seems to me you'd have to store the IP in order to do that, as
> you would have to compare the IP of each submission with the previous
> ones in order to decide which integer to give it.

Hi naomi,

Yep you do have to keep track of the integer, but that doesn't need you
to futz with IP addresses that I can see.

Given you have to store your responses anyway, you could just use the
row id in your database to store it and rely on your database to
increment it.

<potentially nerdgaggable bit>
i.e. your database table would look like this:

create table responses (
	submission_id int auto_increment not null primary key,
        q1_answer varchar(255) not null,
        q2_answer varchar(255) not null,

And when you get a submission you do something like:

insert into responses (submission_id, q1_answer, q2_answer) values
(null, "houses", "people");

And end up with a table like:

submission_id | q1_answer | q2_answer | ...
1             | trees     | dolphins  |
2             | houses    | people    |

</potentially nerdgaggable bit>


> On 10/12/2018 17:16, Charlie Harvey wrote:
>> On 10/12/2018 16:14, naomi wrote:
>>> By order of the crown, or what? I made a suggestion that I thought was
>>> useful, and no doubt you have good reason to disagree but it would help
>>> if you offered some explanation - the thread is about learning, after all!
>> Hi Naomi,
>> Sorry - I didn't mean it like that.
>> What it is is I can't see a reason to store people's IP/useragent/other
>> browser characteristic whether hashed or not unless you want to use it.
>> The only way I could think of to use it would be to ensure you could
>> distinguish your participants.
>> But that would be as easily achieved by assigning a simple integer to
>> each response. That has the advantage of:
>> * Being simpler (than hashing various things)
>> * Not involving storing potentially identifiable metadata (albeit in an
>> obfuscated fashion)
>> * Being easier for humans to understand
>> Cheers,
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Charlie Harvey
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