Opened 8 years ago

Closed 8 years ago

#8205 closed enhancement (duplicate)

Stop this usability hell while using bridges (at least give more hints)

Reported by: cypherpunks Owned by: chiiph
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Archived/Vidalia Version:
Severity: Keywords: Vidalia BridgeDB usability
Cc: Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


  1. What I am trying to do:

Going to and building-up a basic layer of anger while solving the captcha (so far everything is alright) in order to get bridge addresses for Vidalia and Orbot to surf on the web using a tor bridge.

  1. What actually happens:

I'm copying and pasting the whole line starting with "bridge" - because that's what seems to be most intuitive - of course it doesn't work. But it's not explained on (or in the automated mail) that this is the wrong thing to do, nor is it explained in Vidalia.

Vidalia gives a hint:

[Warning] We were supposed to connect to bridge '!12.345.67.890:1234' using pluggable transport 'bridge', but we can't find a pluggable transport proxy supporting 'bridge'. This can happen if you haven't provided a ClientTransportPlugin line, or if your pluggable transport proxy stopped running.

While it's nice of Vidalia giving a hint why it fails to connect, this one is not easy enough to understand for beginners and people shouldn't even come to a point where they need to look into the message log.

Orbot shows a WARNing message in its log and tries to connect to the tor network without using this bridge.

  1. It gets worse:

Suppose someone needs an obfs2 bridge and goes to

He's even more likely to go mad: How on earth should the poor soul know that he has to write

obfs2 !12.345.67.890:1235

without "bridge", but with "obfs2" prior the "ip:port" part when using Vidalia?

Orbot seems to handle this in a better way as there are checkboxes, whether you want to use a bridge at all and whether this is an obfuscated bridge or not. And there's the hint "IP address and port of bridges" at the box where people have to write nothing more than "ip:port". This seems to be a solution that's more obviously understandable.

  1. It gets even worse:

In my experience it can easily happen that a setting in Vidalia isn't applied immediately (haven't tested when this happens exactly). So suppose someone is trying to figure out how the syntax of using different types of bridges with Vidalia looks like - such a person might get completely confused. Additional fun: Mix in errors such as mistyping a symbol, blocked ports and bridges which are offline.

  1. Possible solutions:

I don't have a clue what's the best way to uniformly (regarding Vidalia, Orbot etc. as well as regarding new pluggable transports) solve this problem to make Tor more user-friendly. Surely it would be eased a lot by just writing some explanations in Vidalia or on and into the automated mails.

Child Tickets

Change History (1)

comment:1 Changed 8 years ago by mo

Resolution: duplicate
Status: newclosed

Valid concerns. For a proposed fix and ongoing discussion for Vidalia, see #6724.

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