[tor-dev] Using the consensus-health web page to debug the Tor network

Damian Johnson atagar at torproject.org
Wed Sep 25 16:43:39 UTC 2013

> I disagree.  It's useful information to know if some authorities don't
> assign flags or assign extra flags to a relay.  That can help explain
> why the relay sometimes gets the flag if some of the authorities don't
> vote.  Or in case of Named/Unnamed and Exit/BadExit, the flags contained
> in votes can help explain why a relay gets the Named or Exit flag.
> There may be more examples.  Sure, this is like debug information, and
> not many relay operators will understand what's going on there.  But
> saying that the information contained in the table is not useful is not
> correct.

If we were to surface flag votes on a one-off basis then we should do
so in Atlas. Actually, it would be pretty slick if hovering your mouse
over the flags showed the votes for each authority. I still disagree
that any except a vanishingly small group will find this useful, but
if this is a use case we want to support then Atlas is the spot.

> Consensuses and votes contain these lines:
> valid-after 2013-09-25 13:00:00
> fresh-until 2013-09-25 14:00:00
> valid-until 2013-09-25 16:00:00

Thanks! Added a note to the ticket. It'll be a while before I can
implement it, but definitely on my list of things I'd like to do.

> Not sure if that's going to swim.  Is it really a good use of Roger's
> time to write or adapt Python scripts?  I guess he can answer that
> better than I (though I'm not sure it's a good use of his time to follow
> this thread ;)).  However, we shouldn't be developing this tool just for
> Roger, because hopefully other people care about debugging the network,
> too.  Just imagine what Tor devs would want to use whenever somebody
> shows up on #tor and asks why their relay doesn't have this or that
> flag, and imagine what's the easiest way to share results with the relay
> operator.

Is debugging the tor network a good use of Roger's time? I can't
answer that. That said, if Roger is trying to answer exotic questions
like "i wanted to know how many relays had a Running flag from those
two authorities and no Running flag from any others" then I can tell
you that scripting is the right answer. Not a huge table.

Learning to script both empowers Roger to solve harder problems and do
so more efficiently. If he wants to answer the questions like the one
above then he should either learn to script or ask me to do it.

Cheers! -Damian

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