[tor-relays] Report on the FOSDEM relays meetup

Nicolas Braud-Santoni nicolas at braud-santoni.eu
Sat Feb 10 10:19:28 UTC 2018


I facilitated the meetup at FOSDEM, last Sunday, and I wanted to report
back on what happened, and what worked (or did not).

We had around 20 people, with relatively little overlap with the 34C3 meetup (I
could be wrong, though, as I'm bad at recognising faces). This seems quite good,
esp. considering that the 34C3 meetup was a month before, and that the meetup
wasn't announced especially early (we announced ~2 weeks in advance there would
be one, but the time and precise location couldn't be fixed until Sat. morning)

The room configuration wasn't exactly ideal (typical lecture room, not great if
you want people to talk to one another). That's something we can probably
improve next year, by organising the meetup at a side-event (say, on Friday
early evening) at one of the local hackerspaces or somesuch; this way, we get a
better location and we could communicate time & locations much more in advance.

Communication-wise, I started publishing the events in blog.tpo (thanks hiro!),
which seems to have helped some people; if we organise it as a side-event next
year, we shoudl also get it on their website:


Content-wise, there were some pretty fruitful discussion, but we spent quite a bit
of time on questions that recurr at other meetups too:

- What's the most useful thing I can bring to the network?
  (TL;DR: Ideally, fast relays (if possible exits); if you can't contribute
  more than 1MB/s, make it a bridge)

- Can I run my relay on a Raspberry Pi (or similar) ?

- Why does my relay (or Internet connection) die once I have TLS connections
  established to most other relays?
  (This instance was likely caused by an ISP-provided router with bad
  TCP connection tracking.)

- Why doesn't Tor support IPv6 yet?

(Feel free to add more questions if I forgot some here)

Those are all somewhat simple, and I think we would definitely benefit from
having better, and more visible, FAQs for those.  I will try to take the time
and make/improve wiki pages for those, but I wouldn't mind some help from one
of the website-makers to see how we can make it more visible.

Getting people to ask a bunch of questions at the start, and broadly
categorizing them, as suggested by Roger last meetup, seemed to work well: we
managed to cover all topics people were interested in, and were only 20 minutes
over time.

However, I had people shortly introduce themselves before adding their question,
and that might not be so good in retrospect, as the intros took a bunch of time,
and might have been an obstacle to people suggesting more questions.

If people are interested, I can start collating advise on how to facilitate
tor-relays meetups in some wiki page, though I'm not sure yet how to convey that
“nicoo's way of relays meetup” isn't meant to be authoritative or prescriptive
at all (read: I have no clue what I'm doing, but hopefully it works not too


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