[tor-relays] T-shirts and Confirming Relay Control

Matthew Finkel matthew.finkel at gmail.com
Sun May 3 20:49:45 UTC 2015

On Sun, May 03, 2015 at 09:18:30PM +0200, Sebastian Urbach wrote:
> On May 3, 2015 7:45:39 PM Matthew Finkel <Matthew.Finkel at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Matthew,
> >Hi Ops,
> >
> >We recently began responding to t-shirt requests again. Sorry for the
> >long silence. There's been a lot happening around here but not enough
> 0> time or people to do everything, so the t-shirt requests simply remained
> >untouched. But, despite the overload, t-shirts are important because
> >they are a small token of our thanks and appreciation for making the
> >network what it is today.
> >
> >We responded to around 70 t-shirt requests from relay operators in
> >April, which comprised all requests for which we could verify (within
> >reason) the request came from the person who controlled the qualifying
> >relay. We still have another 20 requests where the requestor is not
> >obviously the owner of the relay. Currently the content of a relay's
> >Contact field is used, but this does not always provide enough (or any)
> >information. For this case, we need an authentication mechanism which
> >proves control of the relay but is something relay operators won't mind
> >running.
> I'm really not amused. As i recall a bunch of people including myself
> offered to help. 

Amused? This really has nothing to do with amusement. If you want to
work on something, then please come work on it, we really are
overloaded. That being said, correctly handling t-shirt requests and
other similar communications is important and delicate. The Tor Project
is in a difficult situation where it wants to support the Tor network
but not run it. This means, to some extent, we become a trusted
third-party with some information. T-shirt requests are a perfect
example of this, where we receive requests from people who choose not
to publically publish their contact details yet they would like a reward
for their work - which they absolutely deserve. This requires that
operators trust us, so letting anyone help take care of these requests
is not wise.

> I get the distinct impression that you keep everything
> within a small circle of people, no matter what. Even if that means that
> services are suffering.

We're a group of security and privacy conscious individuals who want
a world where everyone has secure and private communications, this isn't
exactly a good combination which leads to publically discussioning
everything. I certainly admit sometimes I default to discussing topics
privately rather than sending it to tor-talk or tor-relays - I nearly
did that with this thread. It's a bad habit, but it's not as common as
I think you think it is.

- Matt

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