[tor-project] online environment blurb

George george at queair.net
Thu Oct 11 13:21:00 UTC 2018

I know there's occasional issues regarding how some people interact on
IRC and mailing lists, and I also know there's no magic bullets to
ensure a friendly environment. But I jotted down this as a draft for the
content of some solution or another. I don't know the form it would
take, but at least it's a start at the substance.


Tor Project channels such as mailing lists and IRC are primarily
populated by diverse, uncompensated volunteers and privacy enthusiasts,
with a wide range of native languages and computer experience, dwelling
in an array of real-life conditions.

The average online participant is motivated to assist others or seek
help in circumventing censorship and mitigating surveillance.

On that note, we implore everyone to maintain a friendly and collegial
tone. You are unlikely to personally know other online dwellers, so
realize their own physical circumstances may be very different from your

Online Tor channel participants might not be fluent in the most commonly
used languages, in particular English. Interpretations and tones are
easily deceptive, even among speakers of English variants. Conducting
oneself with patience and understanding is vital in keeping online
discourse collaborative and productive.

In other cases, online Tor participants may not be expert computer
users. Clearly phrasing technical questions isn't an innate ability, and
more experienced users should look to ask simple, non-patronizing
questions to help them articulate issues they face.

Finally and maybe most importantly, online participants may be in
high-pressure environments, from dodging the watchful eyes of management
or more starkly, evading an oppressive government. Possible
repercussions for engaging in the Tor online community could mean loss
of employment, harassment or worse.

Keep that in mind when engaging in online Tor channels. Patience and
understanding, in addition to a imaginative empathy, allows us to make
our community stronger and more capable of assisting each other.


34A6 0A1F F8EF B465 866F F0C5 5D92 1FD1 ECF6 1682

More information about the tor-project mailing list