[tor-dev] Proposal for improving social incentives for relay operators

Martin Kepplinger martink at posteo.de
Thu Jun 12 15:46:17 UTC 2014

Am 2014-06-10 02:26, schrieb Virgil Griffith:
> For a while I've been seeking to grow the Tor network in both size and
> goodput.  Towards this end, I've explored various avenues such as
> increasing user-awareness via tor2web.  More recently, I've been
> exploring financial incentives like TorCoin.
> Not wanting to strictly limit ourselves to financial incentives, I began
> reading the literature on incentivizing volunteers.  The most relevant
> papers I found are:
> * http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/facbios/file/LMS2_ManSci-Paper-Final.pdf
> * http://pareto.uab.es/~prey/gneezy_254.pdf
> * https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3308162/Slonim%202013.pdf
> The most relevant of these papers (Lacetera 2013) cites the major
> motivations for volunteer labor are: "pure altruism, warm glow,
> self-image, and reputation".  Upon reading this I realized TorCoin's
> technical interestingness had blinded me to much easier to leverage
> motivations of "warm glow" and "reputation".
> I propose the following system for harnessing "warm glow" and
> "reputation" for Tor relay operators.  I am willing to fund this in its
> entirety.
> I propose establishing a subdomain on torproject.org
> <http://torproject.org> giving each Tor relay operator (hereafter
> affectionately called "Torati") his/her own page using the information
> her machines provide to the Tor Directory Consensus.  The fields to show
> on her "Torati profile page" would be things like: ContactInfo, PGP
> fingerprint, list of server nicknames, date the Directory Authorities
> first saw her contact info, etc.  You can also imagine a receiving
> special "special recognition stars" for operating an exit or bridge
> node.  Moreover, some bandwidth measurement like EigenSpeed or TorCoin
> gain traction, the Torati page could recognize contributors with by
> listing the sum total she has relayed to the Tor network.
> Naturally a node can opt-out of Torati recognition by setting a
> parameter in the torrc file.
> I argue this would be a cheap and easy way to motivate operators to
> volunteer more bandwidth for the Tor network.  As mentioned before, I am
> willing to fund this in its entirety.
> -Virgil

That'd be really awesome indeed. Thanks for these thoughts. I love ideas
on how to motivate people to run relays.

Even if not applicable here, I'd like to point out one issue with
getting paid for running relays. In many laws (in europe at least) it is
crucial for relay-operators NOT to recieve any money for running a
relay. It's the base why we don't fall under complicated regulations and
can work with general laws instead. Just keep in mind, getting paid (for
your benefit) for running relays can hurt.


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