Our web developer, Simon Dickson, explains the cookies in FSD’s kitchen.

What are cookies?

Like many websites, Free Speech Debate uses ‘cookies’. These are small data files, saved within the web browser on your computer or other device, as you view our site. Some of these cookies are essential for certain functions, such as logging in; others are non-essential, and merely enhance or improve the user experience. Although the name is now understood to have evolved from ‘magic cookie’, a long-established piece of Unix programming jargon, the technology’s initial specification said it had been chosen ‘for no compelling reason‘.

Most web browsers include the ability to see full details of the information stored within cookies saved on your computer or other device. Browsers typically include a setting to reject some or all cookies; or to notify you each time a website attempts to save a cookie.

Google Analytics
Cookies with names beginning _utm

We use Google Analytics to gather information about how visitors use our site. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the website. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the website, where visitors have come to the site from and the pages they visited.

For more information on cookies in Google Analytics, see:

Cookies with names beginning wordpress- or wp-

Free Speech Debate is built on the open-source WordPress web publishing platform. WordPress uses cookies to manage the login process: acceptance of cookies from our site is therefore necessary to be able to comment. Other WordPress cookies are non-essential, enabling customisation of the website interface which may or may not be visible to all users.

For more information on the WordPress platform’s use of cookies, see:

Voting mechanism
Cookies named wp_silv_votes

Cookies are used in the mechanism for voting on the site’s Principles, to show a visual indication on the page where a user has already voted for a given principle; and as part of our strategy to prevent multiple votes being cast.

Homepage welcome message
‘hideintro’ cookie

The Free Speech Debate homepage includes a welcome message from Timothy Garton Ash. If a user clicks the button to ‘hide this introduction in future’, a cookie is saved to prevent it being shown on subsequent visits.

Read more:

Leave a comment in any language


Swipe left to browse all of the highlights.

Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.

The University of Oxford