Baltimore Regional Dance Survey and the Facebook issues

In light of recent Facebook-related scandals, a few words about the Baltimore Regional Dance Survey and how it’s set up.

This year, BRDS is self-hosted, so there is no survey company that has access to the data. There are no ads, no trackers, and no analytics services attached to any pages within the survey itself. The survey operates on a shared Ubuntu (Linux) server in the United States (pretty sure this is southern California). Of course, the hosting company can access pretty much anything they want on their servers, but the one we picked has a history of standing up to intrusive warrants (e.g., this case). We think they’re among the “good guys.”

The survey runs on LimeSurvey (and that should be very apparent if you visit the survey page at – the LimeSurvey logo remains in place). LimeSurvey is open-source, so you can check that out. The BRDS website is SSL-encrypted. The Baltimore Regional Dance Survey is configured for anonymity (that’s why you get the tokens and links in your registration email) – it’s an extra step, but it removes your email address from your survey results. You do have to register with an email address, and associated with that address is information about when you registered, if you completed the survey, and your first and last names (if you provided them).

A special note about email – if you register with an email address that’s different than the one we originally used to invite you (this is perfectly ok), we won’t [necessarily] know you’ve participated, and may keep bugging you. Apologies in advance, but please respond to the invitation email and let us know you’ve completed the survey or don’t want to hear from us anymore (or until there are results to see, or for another year…). There is a question toward the end of the survey about participating in workshops and events – several people have picked “yes” but haven’t followed up with an email outside the survey, which means we don’t know who you are (we can count “yeses” and compare to the inbox, and there’s a big difference).

In the Dancer’s Studio does have Google Calendars on the front page (and if you go there, Google CAN track you), but if you stick to the BRDS category (, there is nothing to track you there. In invitations and registration emails, we’ve tried to make sure that no links take you to a place that can snoop on you. Your participation in the survey and access to results and updates on the survey (like this one) should be tracker-free.

Some of those steps do make it more difficult to participate in the survey, and that will reduce participation. Please help us by sharing the survey with your colleagues.

While we can’t guarantee things won’t go wrong, we think we’ve done what we can to protect the integrity of the survey and you as respondents. Of course, if you have any questions, please do get in touch.

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