[tor-project] GSoC idea - Feedback/Report extension for TB

Georg Koppen gk at torproject.org
Mon Mar 14 08:23:44 UTC 2016


Nima Fatemi:
> Hey there,
> As I've mentioned on IRC, I've this idea to create an extension for Tor
> Browser. Such a thing could really improve our relationship with
> end-users while helping us to collect the metrics we need for UX on an
> opt-in basis.
> Initially I was thinking of this as a mechanism for users to give us
> feedback and report problems they might encounter while using the
> browser. But after some thoughts and specially after seeing dcf's notes
> from UX session at dev meeting[1], I realized we could even take this
> further. This could be even used by users who have problem connecting to
> Tor network to troubleshoot their connectivity issues or it could give
> us a hint on how and when a network starts blocking Tor connections.
> To write a simple list of the things I think this extension could do:
> - Have a message box to submit feedback
>   + we could let them to attach img as well
>   + or we could include a checkbox that would automatically take an
> screenshot of the Tor Browser window. I think chrome used to have such
> feature.
> - Have an option to opt in for network tests. Test different protocols
> and see if vanilla tor or any of the Pluggable Transports are being blocked.
> - Collect some information about their network and computers: such as
> operating system, version of tor browser, country code, maybe AS Number,
> etc.
> There are some open questions to answer. eg how to safely submit
> collected data? I was thinking maybe over onion but that's only if user
> has gotten past tor-launcher and tor is running properly.
> All of this obviously should be opt-in only and is a very good thing for
> the review-board to approve before going live.
> What do you think? Is it worth to give it a shot at GSoC? sukhe and
> willscott have showed interest in mentoring. Can we have three mentors
> for GSoC?

I think this is not a good project for GSoC at least for two reasons:

1) It seems to me that it is underwhelming for three months of work
given that students are supposed to code full-time on it.

2) I am not convinced we should develop yet another extension for all
the things you listed. E.g. why should a way to give feedback not get
implemented in Tor Browser directly instead of having it in a separate
extension? Or why should those censorship related things not get
implemented in Tor Launcher given that this is already the primary point
for users to deal with bridges and pluggable transports? Keep in mind as
well that we have the goal to suggest the user a pluggable
transport/bridge that works for her/him anyway in the future in case it
is needed. This would avoid having to try all the transports hoping to
finally find one that works.


> [1]
> https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/meetings/2016WinterDevMeeting/Notes/UXII
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