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tomk
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 2:48 pm    Post subject: Forums upgrade feedback and questions Reply with quote

If you've got any questions or feedback about the latest forums upgrade please post them here.
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jmbsvicetto
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tomk,

thank you for removing the flood control when editing a post. I've met this limit quite frequently.
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amne
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good work, tomk. :D
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Nossie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI,

I just posted something :) https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-365031.html

I would like to be able to read the forum while using Tor.

Nossie
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jmbsvicetto
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nossie,

I didn't knew Tor before reading tomk post. I'm interested in the idea and will look at it. I think there's an increasing pressure to limit people's liberty, privacy and anonimity, so I will look carefully at this EFF's supported software.
However, I think that for any forum it's very important to be able to know the users so that moderators can block abusers and spammers. I'm not interested in having these forums plagued with spam. How can the moderators prevent someone using Tor from doing that?
Perhaps a more interesting feature would be to have the ability to make anonymous posts. That should not be possible in all forums, but why not in Chat or OTW?

PS - Do you mean that you can't read while using Tor or that you can't post? I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do the former.
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Nossie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the moment it is not possible to read the forums with Tor.

I understand the need to do something about spammers and abusers, but I don't think blocking Tor users completely is the way to go.

There already was a way to stop a spammer/abuser, you could disable his account.

Nossie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nossie,

as I told you, unless it's for a technical reason, I don't see why users using Tor should be prevented from reading the forums.
I think that besides blocking an user, it's also important to be able to block an IP address! Tor doesn't allow the latter.
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Nossie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An ip address does not always equal a user. There are lots of natted or proxied networks out there (I think AOL stuffs more than 1 user behind the same ip address), so if someone behind such a proxy or nat gateway is blocked, the rest of the users have to suffer the consequences as well ?

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tomk
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nossie wrote:
At the moment it is not possible to read the forums with Tor.

I understand the need to do something about spammers and abusers, but I don't think blocking Tor users completely is the way to go.

There already was a way to stop a spammer/abuser, you could disable his account.

Nossie


We've had people who are abusing the forums whilst using Tor in an attempt to hide their identity from the admins, simply disabling their accounts isn't effective as they can create a new one straight away. We have been discussing this issue and eventually the only option available was to ban Tor. Due to the way that this is implemented, it is impossible to differentiate between users who are logged in and those who are not, this is why you can't read the forums whilst using Tor.

It may be seen as a drastic measure, but it's one that had to be taken.
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nixnut
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nossie wrote:
An ip address does not always equal a user. There are lots of natted or proxied networks out there (I think AOL stuffs more than 1 user behind the same ip address), so if someone behind such a proxy or nat gateway is blocked, the rest of the users have to suffer the consequences as well ?
The Tor network is a limited set of servers with known ip's. Only Tor users will be blocked. Not innocent bystanders because nobody justs happens to accidentily share an ip with a Tor server.

What reason do you have that you must read the forums anonymously?
Is reading the forums forbidden in your country? Are you afraid of being prosecuted for accessing subversive literature?
Do you think the admins are going to sell your soul just because they happen to know your ip?
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Nossie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand the decision, it is the easiest way to stop this particular problem.
But if I really wanted to abuse the forum, I could just find a nice open wifi network or an Internet cafe and create a new account. I would be (almost) just as anonymous as with Tor.

Nossie
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Nossie
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What reason do you have that you must read the forums anonymously?
Is reading the forums forbidden in your country? Are you afraid of being prosecuted for accessing subversive literature?
Do you think the admins are going to sell your soul just because they happen to know your ip?

Maybe I live in China or Iran or some other suppressive regime or maybe I don't like my boss to know what pages I visit. There are numerous reasons a person might want to be anonymous.

edit by nixnut: I mucked up this post by mistake. :oops: I've tried to restore it as much as possible
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TrueDFX
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tomk wrote:
Due to the way that this is implemented, it is impossible to differentiate between users who are logged in and those who are not,
I don't know how this is implemented, but as an alternative, would it be possible to remove the check for Tor from specific pages?
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amne
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think/hope nobody gets repressed for visiting the Gentoo forums. Of course tor has some advantages, but abusive behaviour via tor was taking quite some of our time recently.
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nixnut
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Maybe I live in China or Iran or some other suppressive regime
Maybes, but do you? If not, what is your reason? Besides that, what is so important about these forums that people in countries with suppressive regims need to be able to access them?

Quote:
or maybe I don't like my boss to know what pages I visit
That is between you and your boss and has nothing whatsoever to do with the forums.

Quote:
There are numerous reasons a person might want to be anonymous
Well, so far I've heard none. These are Gentoo support forums. I really cannot image why one would need anonymous access to them. More anonymous than you already are actually. All the admins know about you is the ip numbers you post from, the email address you supplied and any other information you freely supplied without having to.
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TrueDFX
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nixnut wrote:
Quote:
Maybe I live in China or Iran or some other suppressive regime
Maybes, but do you? If not, what is your reason? Besides that, what is so important about these forums that people in countries with suppressive regims need to be able to access them?

Telling the Chinese they have no business here doesn't make much sense when there's a forum just for them...
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nixnut
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrueDFX wrote:
nixnut wrote:
Quote:
Maybe I live in China or Iran or some other suppressive regime
Maybes, but do you? If not, what is your reason? Besides that, what is so important about these forums that people in countries with suppressive regims need to be able to access them?

Telling the Chinese they have no business here doesn't make much sense when there's a forum just for them...

I didn't.
I asked a question. Let me rephrase that to make it a little clearer. What is so important on these forums that is a) considered off limits by a suppressive regime for their population and b) necessary for such a population to be able to view unrestricted? If the answer is nothing, then the argument about suppressive regimes is void. And since the Chinese seem to be able to post in the Chinese forum it would appear that at least that country has no problems with the content posted here and so anonymous access does not seem necessary for this group of users.
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TrueDFX
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhetorical questions are certainly statements, even if they're not formulated as such. And you decided to significantly change your post, rather than merely rephrase as you claim you did. I will happily discuss this with you further, but for now, that would be pointless. When you can make a decision on just what your point is, please let me know.
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nixnut
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrueDFX wrote:
Rhetorical questions are certainly statements, even if they're not formulated as such.
My question was certainly not a rhetorical question, at least not in my mind. A failure of communication I tried to rectify by rephrasing it.

Quote:
And you decided to significantly change your post, rather than merely rephrase as you claim you did.
A matter of opinion. In my view it is a clarification of my earlier question, not the change of subject you seem to imply it is.

Quote:
I will happily discuss this with you further, but for now, that would be pointless. When you can make a decision on just what your point is, please let me know.
Look, if you are trying to convince me that tor and freenet and other anonymisers have a real reason to exist, that's not necessary. I'm aware of all that and I agree that there is a need for such tools. But I simply fail to see why the Gentoo forums should accept traffic from tor. And so far I've not heard arguments to convince me that there is a real reason to use tor to access these forums.
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TrueDFX
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh... I should just learn to shut up already. But somehow I never can...
nixnut wrote:
TrueDFX wrote:
Rhetorical questions are certainly statements, even if they're not formulated as such.
My question was certainly not a rhetorical question, at least not in my mind. A failure of communication I tried to rectify by rephrasing it.
Oh, you actually expect an answer to "what is so important about these forums that people in countries with suppressive regims need to be able to access them?" Well, people in those countries, if they use Gentoo, come here for support, of course.
Quote:
Quote:
And you decided to significantly change your post, rather than merely rephrase as you claim you did.
A matter of opinion. In my view it is a clarification of my earlier question, not the change of subject you seem to imply it is.
You wrote:
What is so important on these forums that is a) considered off limits by a suppressive regime for their population and b) necessary for such a population to be able to view unrestricted?
Your post before that had nothing on a), and that is a drastic change, because it doesn't matter what is or isn't off limits now. If these forums are considered off limits anywhere at any time in the future (if you want an example reason, ask away), by not thinking about it now, you're already shutting people out.
Quote:
Look, if you are trying to convince me that tor and freenet and other anonymisers have a real reason to exist, that's not necessary. I'm aware of all that and I agree that there is a need for such tools.
Could you please explain the need? Because obviously our opinions differ, and I'm not sure what you think about this. For me, it is simply because I see anonymous access to information as a right, but I don't believe you agree with this.
Quote:
But I simply fail to see why the Gentoo forums should accept traffic from tor. And so far I've not heard arguments to convince me that there is a real reason to use tor to access these forums.
Okay, here's some of my views of why, then:
If Tor is used, it takes extra effort to disable it just to get to these forums.
And if Tor is used primarily for illegal activities, it only makes it easier to try to get it itself declared illegal. It's important that if you use and support Tor, you use it for completely legal actions just as well.
And, "why not?" The reason for blocking posting from Tor has been given. The reason for blocking reading for Tor has not.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 8:57 pm    Post subject: Tor Blockage Reply with quote

I for one, am one of those people whose only access to the net, is via a proxy server. TOR actually. through both work and home, as my net access is provided through work. and unfortunately I dont get to configure my own net access. It's TOR or nothing.

I am a dedicated gentoo user. however I no longer have access to the forums either at work or home now. This actually does present a bit of a problem to me.

I can't always go to a friends house just to jump onto their cable so I can read these forums.

Why do I get to be punished?

- Elric
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jmbsvicetto
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I understood correctly nixnut point on how the Gentoo forums are preventing users from Tor to use the forums, I wonder if there is no alternative.
From nixnut explanation, I got the impression that the forums are either a) dropping any packets coming from a server belonging to the Tor network or b) refusing to serve any page to a server on the Tor network. If a) I assume that is done with iptables or some similar tools. If b) it's either done at the http server or the phpBB code. I wonder if it's not possible to allow Tor users to connect and include a check at the post code to prevent any posting from a Tor server. That would allow Tor users to read, although not to post in the forums. Is this feasible or is it a hack to phpBB that you're not willing to do? Will you wait for an update to phpBB that incudes this? If so, I would assume almost all if not all forums based on phpBB will be interested in having this feature with regards to Tor.
Anyone cares to comment?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:42 am    Post subject: Re: Tor Blockage Reply with quote

Elric93 wrote:
I for one, am one of those people whose only access to the net, is via a proxy server. TOR actually.
Tor is not simply a proxy, but an anonymising proxy. This makes a big difference in practice.

Quote:
through both work and home, as my net access is provided through work. and unfortunately I dont get to configure my own net access. It's TOR or nothing.
That's unfortunate, but really that's between you and your employer. You choose to use those facilities so you are bound by the limitations your employer sets on them. Is it not possible to use a non-anonymising proxy though? Frankly I'm astonished you're allowed to use TOR from their network. My employer would not take kindly to such things.
You live in Seattle if the location in your profile is accurate. There are ISPs providing internet access in your area aren't there? It's not as if you absolutely have no other options is it?

Quote:
Why do I get to be punished?
Only because you wish to see it as punishment. As tomk earlier pointed out in this thread recent behaviour of certain "visitors" forced the admins to implement the current restriction against TOR. This decision was not taken lightly. Just because not all discussion of admin and moderator issues are visible to you (for obvious reasons I should think) does not mean that decisions are made by tossing a coin, throwing some dice or reading the entrails of a sacrificed goat (ok, so sometimes the goat thing...nevermind that).
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrueDFX wrote:
The reason for blocking posting from Tor has been given. The reason for blocking reading for Tor has not.
Actually it has.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nixnut wrote:
TrueDFX wrote:
The reason for blocking posting from Tor has been given. The reason for blocking reading for Tor has not.
Actually it has.
If you're referring to "Due to the way that this is implemented, it is impossible to differentiate between users who are logged in and those who are not, this is why you can't read the forums whilst using Tor." -- that says neither why it's required nor why it's desirable, plus I already responded to that earlier.
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