Opened 6 years ago

Closed 6 years ago

#10799 closed enhancement (wontfix)

Scrap Prodromus as chat support framework and use Qwebirc

Reported by: mttp Owned by:
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: User Experience/Tor Support Version:
Severity: Keywords: SponsorO
Cc: lunar, phoul, Sherief, mrphs Actual Points:
Parent ID: #10755 Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description

Based on the volume of emails the support desk receives, I'm concerned that the support team could quickly become overwhelmed with requests for private chats using Prodromus. A private chat system could quickly become more popular with users than the Tor Project is equipped to handle, resulting in frustrated users.

Qwebirc is a Javascript IRC client. http://qwebirc.org/
It acts as a web portal to any IRC channel.

Most of the work here is already done. All we would need to do is link to http://webchat.oftc.net/?channels=tor
or
http://webchat.oftc.net/?channels=tor-support
if we want to make a support-specific channel.

Digital Ocean uses exactly this model on their website. A chat button on their site's banner links to:
See: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=digitalocean&uio=d4

Note that freenode includes recaptcha_ajax.js as part of the interface.

Using Qwebirc does not even require setting up a VM, although it could be set up as a private instance on the Tor infrastructure, if that's what we wanted to do.

A previously expressed concern with using IRC is that it's hard to get on IRC. Normally, one needs to download and install an IRC client, and, if one is using Tor, configure the proxy settings. This is too much to ask of most users.

With qwebirc, the browser is the client, so joining IRC is as easy as using a web browser, and connecting over Tor is as easy as using the Tor Browser.

A drawback of using IRC is that support would not be private. I think this is a good thing though. Besides making support more transparent, Tor users will have the opportunity to lurk, to learn from other public support requests, and maybe to fix their own issues as they see how others' issues are resolved. If they use the Tor Browser, they will already be anonymous.

A benefit of using IRC is that we will be able to leverage the support of the community. If a user wants to chime in and offer insight for another user regarding a support issue he or she previously had, that helps us.

If support chats are public, users will queue themselves, because there are only so many people who can talk at once.

Child Tickets

Change History (8)

comment:1 Changed 6 years ago by Sherief

+1 for this and if people refuse it I will go back to complete my work on Prodomus.

comment:2 Changed 6 years ago by phoul

During the Boisterous meetings, I thought it was made rather clear that providing support through IRC in a public manner would not be what the sponsor had in mind.

While I appreciate the discussion of the help desk being too busy being brought up, I do not think (after multiple months of getting this going) that this is a great time to suddenly change our entire plan.

At the very least, we will need to have another meeting with everyone and gather opinions again. We have / had a roadmap for deploying Prodromus, we have no such thing for qwebirc. Also, there are concerns with allowing anyone to provide this support, especially if the sponsor is expecting "Official Tor Support" out of this portal.

The lack of privacy is also concerning. I realize that email sent to RT or even chat over Prodromus isn't super private, but this would be 100% public.

comment:3 Changed 6 years ago by phoul

We also have to consider the fact that OFTC randomly blocks the Tor network, which could make certain support situations rather tricky. Of course they could resort back to emailing the help desk, but I do not like the lack of control over this type of solution.

comment:4 Changed 6 years ago by phoul

As a side note, we have the VM regardless of what the final decision is (as far as I know). So hosting whichever solution ourselves should not be an issue.

comment:5 Changed 6 years ago by lunar

  1. Since the beginning of this project the amount of funding that was available has been unknown. A private one-to-one chat system can have opening hours. This can help adjusting how much time is spent depending on how much funding is available.
  2. We need a support channel where we can give out bridge addresses. An IRC channel does not cut it. Please note that we already have a public support channel. It is #tor on OFTC. The result is that no one can possibly monitor it 24/7 and sometimes bystanders give dubious advices.
  3. The timing for this is really really bad. The winter dev. meeting is in two weeks. This means we can be in the same room together at least with Andrew, Roger, Matt, Colin, Vmon and me. Half an hour later, I'm pretty sure we'll have a better understanding of our budget, what we must provide and how we can provide it.

If people have concerns, are frustrated or are afraid their work can go to waste, just wait two more weeks. I'd rather not spent time discussing this online when we have such opportunity on the horizon.

comment:6 in reply to:  5 Changed 6 years ago by mttp

Replying to lunar:

  1. The timing for this is really really bad. The winter dev. meeting is in two weeks. This means we can be in the same room together at least with Andrew, Roger, Matt, Colin, Vmon and me. Half an hour later, I'm pretty sure we'll have a better understanding of our budget, what we must provide and how we can provide it.

I realize that the winter dev meeting will be a much better place for discussing all possibilities, the thoughts in this ticket being only one of them. This ticket is meant to be one of many springboards for those later conversations. I do not expect any action to be made on this ticket until after that time.

comment:7 Changed 6 years ago by lunar

Keywords: SponsorO added; BoisterousOtter removed

comment:8 Changed 6 years ago by mttp

Resolution: wontfix
Status: newclosed

An invitation-based chat system addresses many of the concerns I had. Discussion on technically implementing invitation tokens is taking place #10755.

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