Lots of Google stuff in Discourse?


An admin in the /e/ forum did a search for “Google” in the forum settings (Admin -> Customize -> Text Content) and found 29 results. He didn’t understand what they were exactly and asked at meta.discourse twice, but only got bogus replies and his topics were deleted quickly.
Like on the F-Droid forum, but unlike many other Discourse forums my browser addons don’t find any trackers on the /e/ forum, so are these just harmless settings that if disabled should be of no concern, or might there still be some phoning home going on in the background?
What do you think?


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@paulakreuzer On the images you posted it says:

You can customize any of the text on your forum. Please start by searching below:

Therefore, all these results are just pieces of texts (so called strings) that contain Google in them. They aren’t active connection to any of Google servers.

There are indeed functionalities inside Discourse that lead to connections to Google. But from what I can see, they only happen when you expect them to happen. For example, it’s possible to make login from Google possible. That’s also what the first entry is about, google_oauth2 (OAuth is an open authentication standard). Another result is about adding things to Google Calendar, which will redirect you to their page if you click a button like that. Another one is about Google Chrome, which is displayed in the “suspicious login” view which is only visible for admins and which shows logins of admins that come from other places than where they usually login.

A more interesting approach to find out whether Discourse is “calling home” to Google is to search in its code at GitLab for things like “google.com”: https://github.com/discourse/discourse/search?q=google.com&unscoped_q=google.com
Note that this is most likeyl only possible if you’re logged into GitHub (for reasons of DDoS).

Do you have any links to the posts of the /e/ admins? Can you forward this answer to them? Or, what do you think about moving this to a publicly visible section? I don’t think this needs to be hidden.


Thanks for putting things into perspective. I unhid the topic and forwarded it to the /e/ team.