Bridge status website

Karsten Loesing karsten.loesing at
Wed May 26 11:02:15 UTC 2010

Hi everyone,

Roger, Sebastian, and I have been discussing a possible bridge status
website that provides information to bridge operators whether their
bridge is considered running, is being distributed to users, and sees
actual users.

The problem is that, right now, bridge operators get little feedback
about the usefulness of their bridge. This is in contrast to relay
operators who have TorStatus, cached-consensus, and the like. Some of
the bridge operators may assume their bridge is not needed and stop
running it. We need to give bridge operators better support if we want
more bridges.

Here's the idea:

Bridge operators find a non-secret identifier in their logs or Tor data
directory. This identifier is the bridge identity hash. They can enter
this identifier on a public website and learn (a) whether their bridge
is marked in the most recent bridge network status as
Running/Stable/etc., (b) how many users the bridge had from which
countries in the past 24 hours, (c) whether the bridge is given out via
https/email/etc., (d) how much bandwidth was utilized in the past 24
hours, and so on. The assumption is that all of this information is
already public or will be made public in the future. The website may
contain the most recent information plus, say, a 30-day history
displayed in graphs. Bridge operators can bookmark this website and
share it with others without revealing the IP address or raw identity of
their bridge.

Here are some questions to discuss (people here will most likely have
more questions):

- Would such a website be useful for bridge operators and lead to more
people running bridges? What information would bridge operators want to
learn about?

- Can we publish the pool assignments from BridgeDB saying which bridge
identity hashes are contained in which pool? This information would also
be useful for researchers to learn more about blockings. What risks are
there in making this information public?

In addition to the possible bridge status website as discussed here,
Sebastian is working on heartbeat log messages containing the locally
known information about usefulness of a relay or bridge. There are two
shortcomings of heartbeat messages for bridges compared to a bridge
status website, though: The heartbeat log messages cannot contain
information about assigned flags or assigned distribution pool. Further,
bridge operators would need to log into the machine running the bridge
and read log messages or use Vidalia in order to see these heartbeat
messages. This is opposed to going to a website which can be done from
anywhere. Maybe we should do both approaches.


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