[tor-dev] Scaling Tor Metrics

George Kadianakis desnacked at riseup.net
Thu Nov 26 19:01:38 UTC 2015

Karsten Loesing <karsten at torproject.org> writes:

> Hello devs,
> the Tor Metrics website [0] claims to be "the primary place to learn
> <snip>
>  2.2 Link to external websites
> Somebody might write a website that visualizes Tor network data.  The
> Tor Metrics team reviews the idea behind it, but not necessarily look
> at its code, and adds an external link to Tor Metrics.  It becomes
> obvious that the authors remain responsible for their visualization,
> so there's no risk involved for Tor Metrics, but users may not trust
> it as much, because it doesn't have the Tor Metrics label.  Note that
> we're already doing this approach by linking to the visualizations
> showing "Tor users as percentage of larger Internet population" [2]
> and "Data flow in the Tor network" [3].  Also note that we could as
> well have hosted the former directly on Tor Metrics with appropriate
> attribution, because it's a static image.  This is not the case with
> the latter.
>  2.3 Run an externally developed website as if it were part of Tor Metrics
> Let's imagine that somebody produces a visualization of Tor network
> data and would like to make it part of Tor Metrics but without
> limiting themselves to the technology used by Tor Metrics.  We could
> let them write their visualization as website and integrate it into
> Tor Metrics after reviewing its code.
> Technically, part of this integration would be to "redress" the
> website by applying the Tor Metrics design (which has lots of room for
> improvement, but let's just say the result will look as seamlessly
> integrated into Tor Metrics as the "Network bubble graphs" [4]).
> Another part would probably be to rewrite web requests, so that users
> still think they're talking to https://metrics.torproject.org/, but
> really they're talking to another webserver behind that.
> Regarding hosting and maintenance, in theory, the website could be
> hosted by the original creators, but that effectively means that the
> Tor Metrics team gives up part of the control about what's on the Tor
> Metrics website.  The creators of the external website could change
> parts or add new parts that wouldn't be reviewed by Tor Metrics
> developers, but they would be perceived as part of Metrics, which
> seems bad.  The Tor Metrics team could run the externally developed
> website on a separate host or on the same host as Tor Metrics.  We
> could imagine variants where the original creator stays around to fix
> any issues as they come up, or we could imagine that they donate their
> visualization that the Tor Metrics people will then maintain.  We
> could even imagine that the Tor Metrics maintainers some day decide to
> integrate the originally external website into Tor Metrics proper, but
> that would not be required for this model to work.

I find this idea of external graphs interesting and fun with a small potential
for disaster.

if the external graphs are added with a strong indication of being "unofficial
graphs made by third parties" or "experimental graphs" I think it might help in
making them look less official.

Also, even if the graphs are hosted on a third party server, you can always
remove the link from metrics, if they end up replacing the graph with a rickroll
video or something. Of course, if we don't trust the third parties here and they
are malicious, they could do this selectively in a way that we never notice.

Do we have a list of graphs and figures that we would like to include to metrics
but we can't currently because they are hard to integrate to the current system?
I can imagine the uncharted graphs showing network activity being one of
them. What else?

In any case, I liked the thread and I really appreciate we are thinking of
scaling metrics for the future. It's really important!

More information about the tor-dev mailing list