This Disclosures page is intended to address technical and political concerns people may reasonably have about Control-Alt-Backspace in an understandable way. If you think there’s something missing, shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do.


I believe most websites have way too much JavaScript these days, which makes sites complex, fragile, and opaque and is often used to hide behavior that violates users’ privacy or other rights. Here is a complete list of all the JavaScript Control-Alt-Backspace loads:

  • One small script to handle layout, animations, and so on, which comes with the Minimal Mistakes Jekyll template.
  • The loader for FontAwesome, which improves the fonts on the site.
  • lunr, which provides the search functionality in the corner.
  • On pages that require mathematics notation, MathJax.
  • Simple Analytics (see below).

All of our JavaScript is 100% free and open-source, and the site works fine without running any JavaScript at all (except that you’ll have to drop out to an external search engine to search the site).



We don’t need them, we don’t want them, and we don’t use them.


TL;DR: I use a small service that respects your privacy to gather statistics on how popular various pages are and how people get to the site. Neither I nor any advertisers can track the activity of individual users via this service, even anonymously. You can opt out should you not even want to share aggregate data.

Control-Alt-Backspace uses Simple Analytics to collect basic information about how you use the site. This tool provides me with useful analytics without tracking you personally, like Google Analytics and other popular packages do. Here’s how this approach is different:

  • All statistics are aggregate only: when the visit arrives on Simple’s servers, appropriate counters are incremented and then the data about your individual visit is permanently discarded. (But if you got here through Google, Google still tracks the fact that you came here and could share that information with third parties. The only solution there is to use a search engine that respects your privacy, like DuckDuckGo.)
  • Simple Analytics (and CAB in general) places no cookies whatsoever on your computer, nor does it store any data that could be used to identify you again (see browser fingerprinting). If you leave the site and come back, you’re counted as a separate user.
  • We track only the data that’s actually useful to an average blogger: how many users have viewed a page, how people find the site, what countries they’re in, and what kinds of devices people use. Google Analytics sweeps up a vast array of data that most people never even use, keeps it semi-permanently, and cross-references it with users’ activity on other sites without their permission (or, usually, their knowledge).
  • I 150% respect Do Not Track. Simple Analytics is not meaningfully “tracking” you in the first place, since all it knows is that someone accessed the site via a particular source, but if you have the Do Not Track setting on in your browser, I won’t even note down that anyone accessed the site at all.


Control-Alt-Backspace is served from an Amazon S3 bucket, fronted by the CloudFront CDN to increase performance. The only time the bucket is written to is when I update the site: none of your data is stored on Amazon’s servers. Of course, in order for your browser to see a page, it has to ask Amazon for it and send some basic information about what it wants and what kind of system you have, but I have web logging disabled, so in theory that information should go away once the request is over. But I am unable to vouch for what Amazon does with it.

GDPR, CCPA, etc.

Control-Alt-Backspace is not a business, so we do not legally need to comply with any of the consumer data protection regulations in the first place. That said, we also do not collect any personally identifiable data about you whatsoever, by any means, and we don’t want to.

Gendered language

Modern English writers have a curious dilemma: how do we refer to a hypothetical singular person? For decades the convention was to use “he”, but nowadays this is rightly seen as sexist. Using “she” just turns the problem the other way, though it does at least acknowledge the existence of the issue. Using “they” will result in some people spouting off about your bad grammar, despite being informal common usage for centuries. Using “he or she” works once, but becomes infuriatingly verbose once it’s needed more than a couple times. Using “one” sounds stilted. Rewriting the sentence to make the subject plural often works nicely, but it can make the example seem overly abstract and sometimes has other undesirable side effects, so it’s a valuable technique but a poor general rule. Giving the hypothetical people names is convenient but often unnecessarily obtrusive and introduces the new question of how to choose names. Using neologism pronouns would resolve the issue, but nobody can agree what, exactly, they should be, and they induce confusion or annoyance in some readers in the meantime.

On Control-Alt-Backspace (and in much of my own writing), I have chosen to address the issue by randomly choosing between “he”, “she”, and “they” for each example. This technique seems to me to read the most naturally out of all the available options while avoiding bias in the long run, and it makes it clear what I’m doing without hitting the reader over the head (unless someone has the misfortune to stumble into a single section that happens to need only one pronoun and judges me without further consideration). I’ve modernized this older technique by putting “they” in the rotation to include nonbinary people, for whom this is the most common chosen pronoun.

Is there any reason to choose this policy over just using “they” every time, except for (sometimes) satisfying snobby grammarians? I think there is. I think it quietly celebrates human variety and makes examples feel more concrete and relatable, in a way that we possibly couldn’t get even with a bona-fide gender-neutral singular pronoun. It also in all probability helps to combat gender bias: studies have found that even when the language is perfectly gender-neutral, if the example itself involves a person serving in a role historically dominated by one gender or another, readers usually unconsciously assume the example person to be of the dominant gender. Occasionally using an explicit counterexample steers people into considering more options.