Opened 4 months ago

Last modified 4 days ago

#23169 accepted defect

Explain why metrics are important and what we do to make sure they're safe

Reported by: arma Owned by: irl
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Metrics/Website Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: metrics-2017
Cc: Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description

In trying to answer the comments on https://blog.torproject.org/blog/we-enhanced-security-and-integrity-tor-metrics-supported-moss, I realized that our metrics site is just a bunch of graphs and stuff, with no easy-to-find explanation of *why* we collect stuff, what our goals are and why collecting these things will get us there, what our constraints are (e.g. which things we won't ever do even if they would also help us achieve our goals), etc.

I see a little sentence under 'Philosophy' on the about page. That's a nice start.

But explaining why metrics are worthwhile, when we're a privacy project, seems like something we should address directly rather than leave implicit.

It might be that some of the safety board principles could be useful to articulate here: https://research.torproject.org/safetyboard.html#guidelines

Child Tickets

Change History (7)

comment:1 Changed 4 months ago by karsten

Agreed. And we can probably even re-use some text you wrote in the blog comment replies. Not grabbing this ticket just yet, but we should do this soon.

comment:2 Changed 3 months ago by karsten

Summary: metrics site should explain why metrics are important and what we do to make sure they're safeExplain why metrics are important and what we do to make sure they're safe

Rewrite the summary a bit.

comment:3 Changed 3 months ago by karsten

Keywords: metrics-2018 added

comment:4 Changed 3 months ago by karsten

Keywords: metrics-2017 added; metrics-2018 removed

comment:5 Changed 4 weeks ago by irl

Owner: changed from metrics-team to irl
Status: newaccepted

I have requested a git repository in #24373. Moving this into my queue.

comment:6 Changed 4 days ago by irl

I've done a little work on the homepage to make it clearer right from landing on the website what it is that Tor Metrics is about, with a link to the about page. I've also added links at the bottom for relay search and exonerator, which could help to show that Tor Metrics isn't just the graphs.

Demo at: https://people.torproject.org/~irl/metrics/

I plan to write further text into the About page including some diagrams of flow of data collection (relays/dirauths/onionperf -> collector -> onionoo/statistics) and safety of data collection (minimisation, source aggregation, transparency and linking to research safety board).

comment:7 Changed 4 days ago by karsten

That's pretty cool! I could imagine merging this right away. Just two rather minor comments:

  • Maybe we can avoid hard-coding relay/bridge/client numbers. Two ideas:
    • We could say "several thousand", "a few thousand", "millions", etc. which don't need to be updated very often.
    • We could parse our own CSV files once per day and put in rounded numbers. No need to be super precise, but something like "6500+" relays could come from the CSV file as well. Unclear if that would be too surprising to users, though. And just in case parsing fails we could still fall back to "thousands", etc.
  • Let's be consistent with our choice of American vs. British English. There are arguments for and against, and having a British English native speaker in the team is for sure a good argument for deciding on that. But we'd have to update existing text on Tor Metrics to be consistent, and we'd start being different than the other Tor websites. But regardless of what we decide, we'll have to do it consistently. Also, Oxford Comma.
  • Did I say two comments? Another thing that we might do is move some of the sentences under "Welcome" down to "Analysis" and to "Query". Like, a single sentence each. Or, we could format the text under "Welcome" using two columns to make the text a little less intimidating. Or both.
  • And fourth, we might drop the sentence at the bottom that starts with "Let us know if...", or at least move it somewhere else.

Thanks, this is really a great start!

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