Privacy policy

This is the privacy policy for the Comics Curmudgeon site. I’m going to try to keep it in as plain English as possible. Just a few definitions up front: when I say “I” or “me”, I mean me, which is to say: Josh Fruhlinger, the creator of this blog; and when I say “site admin”, I mean any other individual who writes entries on the main blog as I usually do, or who accesses the site’s admin features for technical reasons.

Here is the big picture when it comes to privacy on my site:

  • I never rent or sell personally identifying information to anybody. By personally identifying information, I mean names, email addresses, IP addresses, information on the devices with which users access the site, or credit card payment and billing address information.
  • Likewise, I never disclose personally identifying information to anybody unless legally required to do so.
  • Site admins and I have access to some of this personally identifying information. I detail below what this data is, how it’s stored, and how and why we would access it.
  • I work with third parties to provide advertising and payment services, and these all collect data as well, some of which I (though not other site admins) have access to. I list these services below.

To get into more detail:

Data I directly control. The Comics Curmudgeon is hosted on a server that is in turn hosted by Digital Ocean, and I have administrative access to that server, as do site admins who work for Digital Ocean or who I employ to write posts or make technical upgrades to the site. Like virtually all web servers, mine keeps a server log recording every visit to my website. If you visit my site, my server records the IP address of your device along with its user agent, which describes certain technical details about your device, including your operating system and browser. This information is used for security and troubleshooting purposes, and is discarded after 28 days.

All the public-facing content on the Comics Curmudgeon site is created and formatted using WordPress software. WordPress stores all its data in a SQL database; for the Comics Curmudgeon, that data is stored on my server with Digital Ocean, not with or any other third party. When you leave a comment on the Comics Curmudgeon, you are inputting some information into that database:

  • The contents of your comment and (if you choose to include them) a display name and URL, which are immediately made public; and
  • The IP address of your device and (if you choose to include it) an email address, which are never made public, but which I and other site admins can access.

Site admins and I may use any email addresses given as part of a comment post to contact commenters about technical or other concerns. IP and email addresses may also be used to identify and block users who are behaving abusively. Comments remain public for a 20 days after they have been posted, after which time they are removed from the public site. However, they are still stored in the WordPress database indefinitely, as this helps me track down abusive users and helps my antispam software distinguish real users from spambots. If you would like your comments removed permanently from the site and from the database, please email me at with as much information about the comments in question as you have available.

Users who choose to become a Comics Curmudgeon website subscriber in order to see an ad-free version of the site will have a user account created on my WordPress installation via the PaidMembershipPro plugin. Site admins and I have access to the following information after you enter it during the account creation process:

  • Your full name
  • Your email address
  • Your billing address and phone number

This information is stored in the WordPress database indefinitely, even if you cancel your paid subscription. Please email me at if you would like your user account and the information associated with it permanently deleted from the database.

Actual payment processing is handled by Stripe (see below for more), and no credit card numbers are ever stored in any database or server under my control. No site admin other than myself can access any data about user credit cards beyond what’s outlined above; the data I can access is outlined in the section on payments below.

Data collected via third parties. I use a number of third parties for several purposes, and all of these collect data to one extent or another. I’ve broken them down by category here, explained what kinds of the data that they collect that I have access to, and provided links where you can find out more about their policies. Any data described below is accessible only to me, not to other site admins.

Newsletter delivery. You may choose to become a paid Comics Curmudgeon newsletter subscriber, a service which is provided by Buttondown. Buttondown stores your email address, and provides me with a dashboard that aggregates some data about my subscribers (such as how many people opened an email newsletter or clicked on links within it). For more information, see Buttondown’s privacy policy. Actual payment processing is handled by Stripe (see below for more), and no credit card numbers are ever stored in any database or server under Buttondown’s control. No site admin other than myself can access any data about user credit cards beyond what’s outlined above; the data I can access is outlined in the section on payments below.

Analytics. I use two different analytics services to help me better understand my users and traffic volume. I use Google Analytics to analyze how users interact with the site. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about the site use by means of cookies that are stored on users’ computers (more on which below). The information generated relating to the site is used to create reports about the use of the site. Google will store this information. See Google’s privacy policy for more information.

I also use StatCounter for analytics. StatCounter stores and makes available to me the IP address and user agent information for the last 5,000 visitors to my site at any given time, as well as aggregate information about the number of visitors and pageviews I’ve received over longer periods of time. For more information, see the StatCounter privacy policy.

Payment processing. As noted, if you are a Comics Curmudgeon website or newsletter subscriber, your recurring credit card payments will be processed by Stripe. Stripe gives me access to the name, billing address, credit card type (AmEx, Visa, etc.), and the last 4 digits of the credit card number of subscribers; in addition, I will be informed if an attempted charge to a credit card has been declined. All of the actual payment and subscription information is held by Stripe; for more information, see Stripe’s security and privacy policies.

There are a few different methods you can use to donate through this site’s tip jar.

  • If you use PayPal, I will be able to see the e-mail address, name, and street address associated with the credit card and/or PayPal account you use, though not the credit card number itself. See PayPal’s privacy policy for more information.
  • If you use Venmo, I will only be able to see the name and username associated with your Venmo account. See Venmo’s privacy policy for more information.
  • If you choose to set up a recurring payment to me via my Patreon account, I will have access to your name, email address, and (if provided) mailing address; in addition, I will be informed if an attempted charge to your credit card has been declined. However, I will receive no other information about the credit card itself. For more information, see Patreon’s privacy policy.

Advertising. I use a rotating cast of advertising partners to make money off the site. These advertising services generally collect and store some information on site visitors, such as the amount of traffic the site gets, where it comes from, what sort of devices are accessing the site, and so forth. These partners share with me aggregated data, but no individual or personally identifying data. They may also use cookies (see below) to track users who visit both my site and other sites that employ the same advertising services, in order to present those users with ads they deem more relevant; I am not given access to any data about these users’ browsing habits.

This is the list of my advertising partners circa March 2021, along with links to their privacy policies:

Merchandise sales. My merch store is entirely hosted by CafePress. For privacy information about that site, please see their privacy policy. If you purchase an item from my CafePress store, I will be able to see the name, city, state, and country associated with the credit card that made the purchase, but no other personal information of any kind — not the actual street address, for instance, and not the credit card number itself.

Cookies. Some or all of the above services make use of cookies, which consist of information which is sent by a web server to a web browser, and then stored by that browser. The information is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. This enables the web server to identify and track the web browser.

I use both session cookies and persistent cookies on the site. The session cookies keep track of you while you navigate the site; the persistent cookies enable the site to recognize you when you revisit.

Session cookies will be deleted from your computer when you close your browser. Persistent cookies may remain stored on your computer until deleted, or until they reach a specified expiry date. Any cookie can be deleted whenever you choose to delete it. Find out more about how to delete cookies from your browser.