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

Hi Joe,

I agree with what you wrote. The topic comes up at every dev meeting,
but we have not found a way to address that problem, or, phrased
differently, it is unclear what path to take.

On 09/28/2016 08:28 PM, Joe Btfsplk wrote:
> For a *technical support list,* why not moderate tor-talk?  To keep
> peace, but also provide qualified support?  There's nothing preventing
> making changes.

Personally, I believe a mailinglist is a poor tool for support questions
(and answers). Some of the problems are: Archives are a pain to search,
older posts are a pain to reference, most people want a questions
answered and get freaked out if they get a flood of messages that are
not relevant to their current question, etc.

That's one of the reasons why Tor created https://tor.stackexchange.com/
. I'm not saying it is the perfect answer, far from it, but I think it's
a fine platform and it could use a way larger number of people answering
questions (a problem any other platform will have, too). Also, I've been
advocating for a "support portal" for years, and there seems to be some
traction now to finally get one online. I don't know what it will look
like, but at least from the "technical support" side of things, it will
help a lot more users than those who are comfortable using mailing lists
these days. I'm not saying I like that, I do embrace mailing lists, but
I accept that most of Tor's users hate them or at least don't understand
them well enough.

That being said, tor-talk is now moderated, sort of. A few annoying
fellows were asked to find some other forum for their rants. I also try
and tell people within Tor that unless _they_ come back and use this
list as a forum for their conversations, we cannot expect it to become
better. The other chance is for all the people who still follow this
list to use it more and try and answer questions that come up or
politely point to relevant resources, even if it does not immediately
bring back "the hardcore Tor experts".

> _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.

I think this is happening here as well. Even if people might be too busy
to reply, more Tor people than you think still at least read it, and
more often than not pick up things from here to other Tor people.

> 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.

I totally agree, and this is being worked on. I wished this list would
be used by more Tor folks, and the plans and ideas for improving support
channels could easily have happened here, but I also acknowledge that we
have quite a number of new(-generation?) Tor folks who are not into
mailing lists (or IRC!). Crazy, I know, but that's how it is. :-)

Moritz Bartl
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