On 28/03/07, Jason Cartwright <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
 and will result
in thousands of emails asking why IE, and it's box model, has messed up
the pretty design.


I wish this happened were I work! If only users would blame the IE
rendering engine (rather than the site or designers) everything would
be right with the world :-)

J

-----Original Message-----
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
[mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Andy
Sent: 27 March 2007 17:19
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] Browser Stats

On 26/03/07, Jeremy Stone <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> 0.4% of users at the time used a Linux operating system  ;)

That's not entirely true is it?
Please do not try to mislead people.

What is more likely is:
0.4% of users WHERE DETECTED AS using a Linux operating system AT THE
TIME THEY VISITED THE BBC SITE.

This number can be wrong for a multitude of reasons.

1) the BBC stats are biased, the site is target at Windows users and on
certain pages blocks users of other OSes (bbc.co.uk uses ActiveX for
instance)

2) Detection software may not have been as tuned to recognize a Linux
OS, after all many distros don't call them selves 'Linux', it may not be
in the user agent string. (simply looking for the word Linux is not good
enough).

3) A Linux user may have been misreporting the Operating System
(commonly used to cater for sites that do user agent sniffing badly,
also used to blend in with the crowd for anonymity).

4) Someone may have a dual boot (or triple or more), and may only be
using Windows to view bbc.co.ku, possibly due to being locked out by
previously mentioned technological practices of the BBC.

5) Some 'users' may not be real people, they may be robots spoofing
there user agent. 90% of email is spam. How have you accounted for web
robots browsing your site looking for email addresses or trying to post
spam comments (they would not hit robots.txt or say robot in the user
agent, that would give them away)? I am thinking most spam bots would
impersonate IE on Windows as it probably has the highest market share so
much harder o filter. (by how high we are unsure).

Additionally you could argue you would get the less knowledgable users
in this sampling, I rarely hit the BBC home page, why bother? I know
where I want to go and I get the news feeds in a handy RSS so I probably
don't hit news.bbc.co.uk's homepage either.
I have the pages I need on bookmarks, (Favourites for you IE users).

This is the great thing about statistics people like you claim they show
something and try to cover up the failings of how the sampling was done.

It shows only as much as it records. The number of recognized User Agent
strings for hits on the BBC website.

(Quick question, is this per IP or per page hit? page hit would be bad
as it would allow robots to skew the results badly as they would hit far
more pages).

I really do dislike statistics, especially when people try to claim that
they prove something without accounting for the method of gathering.

And now a quote:
> There are three kinds of commonly recognised untruths:
>
>      Lies, damn lies and statistics.
>      - Mark Twain
>
> This quote from Mark Twain is accurate; statistics are often used to
> lie to the public because most people do not understand how statistics
work.

And this quote is from where you ask? Why it is from the BBC of course!
(well I had to use the BBC quote didn't I? especially it is the first
result on Google for: lies damn lies statistics)

Maybe you should improve your stats?
1.Group each unique header together and have a Skilled Human with
knowledge of all operating system classify them according to OS.
2. Make each visitor pass a Turing Test prior to using there User Agent.
3. Verify details of OS using other methods, i.e. Javascript could
check, or use OS fingerprinting (hopefully it wouldn't hit NAT routers,
otherwise you'd probably get the OS of a router,. which although
interesting is not what we are looking for is it?).

On the subject of whether to support IE 5, is it supported by Microsoft
or has it been end of lifed? If it's been end of lifed then maybe you
don't need to support it.

Why do you need to 'support' specific browsers anyway? This is what
standards are ofr, I don't need to check the compatibility with every
piece of software on every switch between here and my destination node,
they are using a standard I just make sure I follow that standard. Why
should the HTML content be any different?

The underlying TCP/IP and HTTP system seem to work much more compatibly
than all these websites, many of which display poorly if you stray so
slightly of the most common browser and settings, does this not show
that standards work better?

Andy

--
First they ignore you
then they laugh at you
then they fight you
then you win.
- Mohandas Gandhi
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--
Gareth Rushgrove
morethanseven.net
webdesignbookshelf.com
refreshnewcastle.org
frontendarchitecture.com
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