[tor-project] Intent to Minimise Effort: Fallback Directory Mirrors

teor teor2345 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 02:27:35 UTC 2017


Fallback directory mirrors help Tor clients find the tor network, and
take load off Tor directory authorities. [0]

Since Tor 0.2.8, I've generated a fallback directory mirror list
every 6 months or so. I'd like to minimise the amount of effort I put
into this in future. (But I think it's valuable, so I won't abandon it.)

I'm happy to spend half a day every 6 months to update the input lists
and run automated checks on a bunch of relays [1]. But contacting relay
operators to agree to go on the list (opt-in), or check their relay
details, is a time-consuming process.

Here's what you can do to help:

* We ask relay operators to opt-in. We could ask them to opt-out (contact
  us to be taken off the list) instead. The opt-in list hasn't been updated
  for about a year, so we will have to switch to opt-outs soon to get
  enough good fallbacks.
  - If we do opt-ins, who is going to contact relay operators?
  - If we do opt-outs, how do we make sure operators know they can opt-out?
  - (And how do we make sure we get stable relays?)

* I wrote down the opt-in process in [1]. Maybe it's too complicated.
  - Can you design a better process?

* If you're good at mail merges or scripting mail, that's one way we could
  contact a bunch of relay operators without it being time-consuming and
  - Can you do mail merges? (I can't!)

* We can improve the fallback script to make it easier to use.
  (See [1] and [2].)
  - Can you write python?

If anyone wants to help out with any of these things, let me know.

I'm going to do a fallback directory mirror refresh some time in the
next few weeks. About 12% of fallbacks have failed, and it looks like
this is placing extra load on the directory authorities. [3]

There's already a ticket for it [4], and I'm happy to do a minimal refresh.
If we don't get 150 fallbacks from a minimal refresh, I'll switch to opt-out
and see how that goes.

[0]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/FallbackDirectoryMirrors
[1]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/UpdatingFallbackDirectoryMirrors#b.GeneratingtheList
[2]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/query?status=accepted&status=assigned&status=merge_ready&status=needs_information&status=needs_review&status=needs_revision&status=new&status=reopened&component=%5ECore+Tor%2FFallback+Scripts&col=id&col=summary&col=status&col=type&col=priority&col=milestone&col=component&order=priority
[3]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-relays/2017-August/012886.html
[4]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/22271

Tim Wilson-Brown (teor)

teor2345 at gmail dot com
PGP C855 6CED 5D90 A0C5 29F6 4D43 450C BA7F 968F 094B

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