[tor-relays] Tor Weather has been discontinued

Eran Sandler eran at sandler.co.il
Mon Apr 4 15:31:33 UTC 2016

So, I was also thinking about basing a new system off of onionoo. It should
be fairly easy to handle that.

Basic flow would be the same:

   - Register with fingerprint + email + select notifications (down, low
   bandwidth etc).
   - Get confirmation email
   - Confirm

We can discuss what notifications are needed (the same or others as before).

Regarding T-Shirts, I think automatically sending emails might be a bit too
much. Perhaps it should collect that data and send an email to the people
responsible sending out the t-shirts 1-2 a month. They can review some data
(when the node first appeared, how stable it is, etc - or we can determine
new parameters for getting a t-shirt) and authorize sending out an email.

I would be interested to know what other notifications are worth while.

Regarding operational details, I have a few questions:

   - How are emails being sent today?
   - Is there a main torproject.org email server that was used? Obviously
   we would all rather have these emails reach their destination and not fall
   into SPAM folders.
   - How open are every one to run the new Weather system on a PaaS like
   Google AppEngine? We can probably get free credits to run it and it will
   save us a server to run. We can use AppEngine's cron feature to do the
   scheduling and check if things are up and running. That should be much more
   efficient as this system won't really be taking 100% CPU from a server (and
   its one less server to maintain).


On Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 5:58 PM Eran Sandler <eran at sandler.co.il> wrote:

> I have played quite a bit with onionoo and wrote a wrapper in Go for it.
> I am willing to rewrite Tor Weather using Go (or python if you like).
> I'll go over the old code and this email again to make sure I understand
> the full scope of the project.
> As an operator I have relied on the Tor Weather alerts to know if one if
> my nodes were down and while it's wasn't quick enough in sending alerts it
> was a good tool.
> I have some ideas about the t-shirts alerts so that we won't miss sending
> to those that need it and wouldnt send to those that don't need it.
> Eran
> On Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 17:49 Karsten Loesing <karsten at torproject.org> wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> Dear relay operators,
>> as of April 4, 2016, Tor Weather has been discontinued.
>> Tor Weather [0] provided an email notification service to any user who
>> wanted to monitor the status of a Tor node.  Upon subscribing, they
>> could specify what types of alerts they would like to receive.  The
>> main purpose of Tor Weather was to notify node operators via email if
>> their node was down for longer than a specified period, but other
>> notification types were available, including one where operators would
>> be informed when their node was around long enough to qualify for a
>> t-shirt.
>> The main reason for discontinuing Tor Weather is the fact that
>> software requires maintenance, and Tor Weather is no exception.  Tor
>> Weather was promising t-shirts for relays that have not been around
>> long enough or that provided too little bandwidth to be useful to the
>> network, and it was almost impossible to deny a t-shirt after Tor
>> Weather has promised it.  Apart from that, Tor Weather was likely not
>> offering t-shirts to people who have long earned it, thereby confusing
>> them.  An unreliable notification system is worse than not having a
>> system at all.  Relay operators shouldn't rely on Tor Weather to
>> notify them when their relay fails.  They should rather set up their
>> own system instead.
>> We have tried to find a new maintainer for Tor Weather for years, but
>> without success.  We started rewriting Tor Weather [1] using Onionoo
>> [2] as data back-end in 2014, and even though that project didn't
>> produce working code, somebody could pick up this efforts and finish
>> the rewrite.  The Roster developers said that they're planning to
>> include an email notification function in Roster [3].  And we
>> developed a simple Python script that provides information about a
>> relay operator's eligibility for acquiring a t-shirt [4].  None of
>> these alternatives is a full replacement of Weather, though.
>> We encourage you, the community of Tor relay operators, to step up to
>> start your own notification systems and to share designs and code.
>> Tor Weather is still a good idea, it just needs somebody to implement it.
>> Tor Weather is discontinued in two steps.  For now, new subscriptions
>> are disabled, new welcome messages are not sent out anymore, and
>> existing subscriptions continue working until June 30, 2016.  From
>> July 1, 2016 on, Tor Weather will not be sending out any emails.
>> Sorry for any inconvenience caused by this.
>> All the best,
>> Karsten
>> [0] https://weather.torproject.org/
>> [1] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/weather-in-2014
>> [2] https://onionoo.torproject.org/
>> [3] http://www.tor-roster.org/
>> [4]
>> https://gitweb.torproject.org/metrics-tasks.git/tree/task-9889/tshirt.py
>> Comment: GPGTools - http://gpgtools.org
>> WaKjcvIT0WiZJ8prZASNSxF7ART6r2trG50+Pd2GCdu0SOjIz3eeQNSkx251RaqF
>> xF7dw2RVhExcYOar4FG5+KkXu6X3k0svMvNeMGzcRd51yaaVeW8OaAgV0NC+CHgE
>> ZkA7bg26jCvG8EFrKCg4fuZ3JW3+O3mvcquea+aB4q6gbuQFjgoxzfH5+XkmpA5i
>> gDZnsIRuBDYuUW8V1ior/7DG2wGlCjWZUotoTysfsFW2FSMUrTBZOlvhpHicMfER
>> VpLxY8+b3ZGC6Olit50ISZql8l12yO3Hik32eKIcgK2fpx6vgKE+T83I8voIpOU=
>> =LVj8
>> -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
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