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Re: [tor-talk] is it me or did tor talk get really quiet?

Thanks Moritz. Yes, the reply was helpful. Comments / follow-up inserted below.

On 9/28/2016 3:01 AM, Moritz Bartl wrote:
Is tor-project list not for fairly advanced users, or bug filers, or
those giving more to the community than just asking questions (but never
contribute useful input)?  Or is it only for devs or people providing
highly technical input (e.g., providing code suggestions or highly
technical bug work arounds, etc.)?
So, one thing, and the most important one, is that _tor-project is for
non-technical discussions "about the Tor Project_". Which can be a lot of
things, but it should not be technical discussions (tor-dev), relay
operation discussions (tor-relays), onion service stuff (tor-onions),
but also _not_ anything else _related to Tor the software_, but Tor the
project. Which basically means the website, organizational stuff, etc etc.
Your comments mostly follow what I assumed. But, seems to leave even advanced users abandoned on timely Tor / Tor Browser & related software tech support. I get that "tor-project" is intended to discuss project related issues. The ideal scenario may be for quality contributors to return to tor-talk. They may not come back to the same unmoderated list.

It's not happening, now. As you said, no one can be forced. If tor-talk remains unmoderated, the ranting will likely continue. *"If nothing changes, nothing changes."* Same is true for most unmoderated forums or lists I've briefly viewed - they're usually a free-for-all. Something about hiding behind computers...

This leaves 2 questions. 1) Where is the real technical support for Tor / Tor Browser & network now? The questions & problems didn't disappear.

2) If tor-talk is unmoderated / unstaffed, doesn't that leave users in a bind? Tor-talk exists, but isn't providing consistent support. Apparently, being unmoderated drives away technical users, but allows long rants.

For a *technical support list,* why not moderate tor-talk? To keep peace, but also provide qualified support? There's nothing preventing making changes.
If a few just want to insult, they could start their own "Tor Sucks" list.
I know of very few developer run forums allowing endless rants or pointless, crude comments.

_Polite, sincere_ suggestions for features or policies changes are often necessary. Many forums allow that. I've made polite, critical suggestions on many forums, that lead to change - though sometimes initially got criticism. A few got snarky, initial comments from the devs, until the reasoning was clarified or they thought it over. Then some showed up on change lists. Very different from ranting.

AFAIK, there are very few major softwares w/o _moderated_, active forums or lists. Usually with mods' or official reps' technical input, as needed. Otherwise, users are on their own. With Tor, lives or freedom could be at stake. It's unimaginable that Mozilla wouldn't have actively moderated, staffed support forums for each product. Now, Tor users might get better support on Mozillazine, if mods allowed the question. There may be more advanced Tor users on Mozilla / Mozillazine forums than on tor-talk.

It seems that's what's happened to Tor users. For most software or hardware, if users can't get timely support, the user base may decline. Even one man, open source projects often have active, moderated tech support forums.

The archive and subscription is public, so everyone can have a look at
what has been discussed there so far. There is a lot of overlap with
things that used to be covered on tor-talk and still are, and the
distinction is not clear at all. But, on the other hand, going through
the archives you can probably identify a lot of things that are
"accepted" on tor-talk that don't fit the range of topics covered on
tor-project (-- and not the other way round).

Is tor-talk now for the most basic beginner questions / answer /
discussion?  If still for technical issues and fairly technical people
rarely visit it, there may be mostly questions & few answers.  Is this
partly because on tor-talk, numerous times that unmoderated discussions
strayed from Tor issues?
Not only partly, but mostly. :( A lot of people just didn't want to cope
with the amount of off-topic threads, nonconstructive endless debates
and other violations of netiquette that happened on tor-talk. tor-talk
degenerated quite a bit over time, and due to the libertarian nature of
a lot of people nobody stepped up and intervened until only a short
while ago. Users of tor-talk cannot be fully blamed because for a long
time there were no clear guidelines on what is acceptable behavior and
topics on it (which there still aren't) and no moderation. Sane people
just gave up and moved to a moderated list, which is tor-project.

Everyone, especially the active Tor contributors, want tor-talk to
become as useful again as it has been a long time ago, but only very few
of them are remaining as subscribers, and less than a handful are
reading or writing on it. If we manage somehow to get this back to a
list with meaningful discussions and content, other Tor contributors
will come back, but the ball is in our hands; we can't "demand" that
they come back to a list full of crap, given the desire for effective
and efficient collaboration.

There is no clear policy for tor-project@, and everyone acknowledges
that "actively contributing to Tor" can mean a lot of different things.
Maybe a good approach is that if you feel like you have something
constructive to add to a thread, and are capable of properly quoting
relevant parts of an email and your mail client is able to keep
threading intact, feel free to reply and the chances of the mail and
eventually your address being accepted by one of the moderators is
pretty high. It is not meant to exclude anyone, but sometimes it _is_
better to have a noise-free channel for only those that actively follow
a certain topic or discussion, and not mixing active work with
education. The educational side is important, and is in many respects
covered by it having a public archive. If you feel you have a
contribution to make, but don't feel "authorized" to directly post to
tor-project, and you don't want to annoy all the "professionals", you
can also always quote from tor-project and simply post your comment to

Does this help?

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