[tor-project] Plan to shut down Tor Weather

Matthew Finkel matthew.finkel at gmail.com
Thu Mar 17 04:05:22 UTC 2016

On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 06:51:10PM +0100, Karsten Loesing wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Hi everyone,
> I'm planning to shut down Tor Weather.
> Unfortunately, Tor Weather is broken:
> There are a few possible alternatives to Weather:
>  - We started rewriting Weather using Onionoo as data back-end in 2014
> [0].  That project didn't produce working code, but somebody could
> pick up these efforts and finish the rewrite.
>  - The Roster developers said that they're planning to include an
> email notification function in Roster [1].
>  - We developed a simple Python script that provides information about
> a relay operator's eligibility for acquiring a t-shirt [2].
> None of these alternatives is a full replacement of Weather, and I
> don't think that we should work towards deploying an alternative
> anytime soon.  The best scenario that I can imagine here is that, once
> Weather is shut down and people realize they really want to have
> something like it back, the relay operator community gets together and
> develops a thing or two.  Those alternatives wouldn't run on
> torproject.org, but that seems secondary.

Hi Karsten,

I know you said we should respond if we strongly object to your plan. I admit
I don't object but I'm responding anyway.

Tor Weather is a great project, and it is one of the only ways The Tor Project
actually communicates with relay operators and gives them feedback about their
contribution. I'm very much looking forward to Roster acting as a replacement,
especially if it is integrated with the t-shirt system. But, with that being
said, I am saddened that we're getting rid of the service without having ready
a drop-in replacement. However, considering the current problems, it seems wise
that the service is shutdown before the situation becomes worse.

I think I prefer a service like this run by the Tor Project, but considering
all relay contact information and its uptime/bandwidth/etc are all public,
a third-party service wouldn't receive much additional personal information,

> I'm thinking about the following timing for shutting down Weather:
>  - By end of month, March 31, we disable Weather's email notification
> functionality and place a big warning on the homepage that it will be
> shut down 2 months later.  We also blog about this like we did when we
> shut down Tor Cloud [3].

The one problem I foresee with this date is that it is nearly 1 April and that
date is associated with jokes and pranks in some parts of the world. So, if
this association is something we care about then maybe Weather should be
disabled a few days earlier or later.

>  - By June 30, we take the Weather host offline.

That day seems like its as good a day as any.

Thanks for running Weather this long. Hopefully someone(s) will produce a
working replacement soon.

- Matt

> [0] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/weather-in-2014
> [1] http://www.tor-roster.org/
> [2]
> https://gitweb.torproject.org/metrics-tasks.git/tree/task-9889/tshirt.py
> [3]
> https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-cloud-service-ending-many-ways-remain-help-users-access-uncensored-internet

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