Mailing List Privacy Awareness

Dear GNOME Mailing List Maintainers,
We are computer science researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology. As part of an on-going academic study on

how GNOME developers and users use the mailing lists for communication, we are mining GNOME archives. One of our observations

pertains to inclusion of email headers in the archive: these headers often contain the IP address from which a message was sent;

in turn, IP addresses can be resolved to geographic locations using something like; ultimately, one could

reconstruct a history of all the geo locations a given person has sent emails from.


We are wondering how sensitive such information would be considered by you or the GNOME community. Would this represent

a privacy concern? Has anyone raised the issue before? While list participants are surely aware that "all messages sent to 

mailing lists will be archived" and they "should not include any information in [their] postings that [they] would not wish to become publicly 

available for the indefinite future" (as described on the website), they might not aware that such a history of geo locations can be (easily) reconstructed. 


We are asking because in our field (mining software repositories) we see a growing awareness of researchers and researchees alike

towards privacy issues (for instance, researchers performing case studies of open source communities are not explicitly mentioning

developer names or email addresses anymore in their papers, but are rather referring to these using generic names such as Developer A, B, C..).


Thanks in advance,

Erik Kouters

Bogdan Vasilescu

Alexander Serebrenik, Associate Professor

TU Eindhoven, MDSE

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