[tor-project] Disabling Comments on Most Blog Postings (was: Re: Have "anything goes" blog post?)

Matthew Finkel sysrqb at torproject.org
Mon Jun 22 20:46:23 UTC 2020

On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 10:45:33AM -0700, Philipp Winter wrote:
> We have many comments on our blog that are unrelated to the respective
> blog post but still bring up reasonable topics.  To make it easier for
> our users to be heard, why not have an "anything goes" blog post once a
> month?  A user suggested this idea over here:
> <https://blog.torproject.org/comment/288185#comment-288185>
> The idea is for users to comment on any topic as long as it's not in
> violation of our blog comment policy (minus the "on topic" requirement):
> <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/community/blog-comment-policy>
> Hopefully, this will give our users an opportunity to talk about
> problems they have, ask us questions, and request features.

At Today's Tor Browser meeting we discussed the need for (additional)
blog comment moderators. The responsibility of approving and responding
to pending comments generally falls onto whoever writes/publishes a blog
post, but some groups have a better process for this than others. We can
think about creating a more formalized process for this, maybe with
rotating responsibilities, unfortunately we are faced with two (hard)

1) The number of paid individuals who can spend time on supporting Tor's
operations/responsibilities/goals is smaller than it was two months ago.
We should expect some tasks must be reduced/cut, and maybe moderating
blog comments should be one of them.

2) Drupal's blog comment system is terrible for supporting reports from
people about bugs or feature requests. We get stack traces and console
messages without context, vague descriptions of crashes and UI bugs, and
opinions about Tor's politics.

I know real bugs are reported through blog comments, and anonymous
comments make Tor Browser (and other Tor projects) better. This is a
fact, too. However, the overhead required for finding the signal in the
noise is significant, and this is especially true now with fewer people

One proposed solution is we agree that all blog posts are published with
closed/hidden comments except the once-per-month "open" blog post. This
requires an agreement because experience showed that closing comments on
one post but allowing comments on another results in people submitting
their questions/comments/bug-reports on whatever blog post allows
comment, regardless of topic.

One longer term solution involves integrating a feedback mechanism into
Tor Browser (like Whisperback, SecureDrop, GlobaLeaks, etc), but we
can't work on something like this any time soon and we need an immediate
solution for this comment moderation problem.

Supporting users of our projects is an on-going challenge and we have
varying degrees of success (and media) from IRC, to blog comments, to
RT, to Twitter...

Maybe centralizing and time-bounding the comments we must watch will
help us be more successful (or, maybe it'll be worse).

Thoughts, arguments for/against?


More information about the tor-project mailing list