[tor-project] Plan to shut down Tor Weather

Karsten Loesing karsten at torproject.org
Thu Mar 17 08:22:30 UTC 2016

Hash: SHA1

On 17/03/16 05:05, Matthew Finkel wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 06:51:10PM +0100, Karsten Loesing wrote:
>> 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,

Hi Matt,

> 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.

Well, to be fair, the main purpose of Onionoo and all its clients is
to give relay operators feedback about their contribution.  The
Onionoo page contains an (incomplete) list of clients:


And Weather could be listed there as well if somebody changes it to
use Onionoo data instead of keeping its own database.  It's not that
we're abandoning all our efforts there just by shutting down Weather.

> 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.

Agreed.  I would have preferred having a replacement before shutting
it down, but I wanted that for over two years now and the replacement
did not materialize.

> 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, anyway.

Right, it's all public data.

>> 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.

Huh, you're right.  Let's move that date to April 4 then.

>> - By June 30, we take the Weather host offline.
> That day seems like its as good a day as any.

Right.  I'll also ask our sysadmins if they prefer an earlier date.

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


> Thanks, - Matt

Thanks for your response!

All the best,

>> [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
>> https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-cloud-service-ending-many-ways-remain-help-users-access-uncensored-internet
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