Version 45 (modified by lunar, 7 years ago) (diff)

add what to do when users are unable to login


The Tor help desk lives on, and support assistants answer questions in Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Mandarin, and Spanish. The help desk is coordinated by Lunar. If you want to know how many support requests we receive and resolve every month, see the tor-reports mailing list. If you have a question or need help with Tor, please email help@….

Support assistants should be subscribed to tor-qa in order to be notified of upcoming TBB releases.

Known issues, updated daily

The page will contain a list of known issues. The idea is that support assistants and developers can check this page to get an overview of what is broken today, what was broken yesterday, what the relevant Trac tickets are, and so on.

RT and queues

Request Tracker is the ticketing system we use for the help desk. RT has been configured with the following queues; help-ar (support requests in Arabic), help (support requests in English), help-fa (support requests in Farsi), help-fr (support requests in French), help-zh (support requests in Mandarin), help-es (support requests in Spanish), and spam (we all know what this is).

An email to help@… will end up as a ticket in the help queue. To move a ticket to a different queue; open the ticket, click on Basics, select the new queue, and click Save Changes. If a ticket is clearly spam, change the status to rejected and move the ticket to the spam queue.

Working with tickets

To get an overview of all the tickets in the help queue (or any of the other queues), click on the name in the Quick Search box on the right. Click on a ticket to read the email from the user. If you feel that you are able to reply, click Basics, and assign the ticket to yourself first. When you are done replying to a user, change the status to resolved. RT will automatically re-open the ticket if/when the user replies.

Dealing with support requests

A lot of support requests are questions about where one can download Tor and why Flash and YouTube does not work. The short user manual answers some of the most frequently asked questions, and it's always good to attach a copy when replying to the user. In some cases, you will need to debug with the user, read through Trac tickets, ask #tor or #tor-dev on IRC, and search the Internet to find answers.

Asking for help

If you are unable to help the user, feel free to ask for help on the support-team-private mailing list.

Standard answers

We have template answers for a few commonly asked questions. They are kept in the Articles section of RT.

Tor does not work

If Tor is unable to connect, it could be because (1) the user is doing something wrong, (2) the user needs to configure Tor to work with a proxy, (3) Tor is blocked and the user needs to use bridges, or (4) Tor is blocked and the user needs to use the Pluggable Transports Bundle (the filename of the bundle will contain pluggable-transports-browser) and obfs2 bridges (this is true for users in China, Iran, Syria, and a few other countries). Remember that some users will not be able to access pages on, so emailing them a few mirror sites and some bridges will help a lot.

Unable to connect

Tell users to try again at each step.

  1. Ensure users have the latest bundle.
  2. Ensure their system clock is correct.
  3. Give away 3 classic bridges, with at least one 443.
  4. Tell users to use pluggable transports. Send some published obfs3 bridges.
  5. Ask their ISP/connection info for the record (and latter digging) and give away some unpublished bridges.

Random crashes

If Tor is crashing and you are unable to reproduce it, it might be due to conflicting software on his/her computer. Software known to have caused problems in the past are Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, Ad Muncher, OpenVPN, other VPN clients, and other circumvention tools.

Unable to login to one's favorite website

Try to diagnose the problem by asking the following:

1) Does it work in a vanilla Firefox ESR with PBM enabled? 2) Does it still work if 3rd party cookies are disabled as well? 3) Does it still work if HTTPS-E is installed, too? 4) Does it fix your issue if you disable PBM in the Tor Browser?

Ideally in that order (or maybe change 2) and 3)).

And fill a ticket if possible.

Unsupported things

Users email the Tor help desk with a range of different questions. You are not expected to know absolutely everything, and in some cases it is OK to refer the user to our public mailing list tor-talk@… (for example when a user wants help installing Tor on his/her Nintendo Wii).

Illegal things

If you take a ticket where the user is clearly asking for help with something that is sketchy or illegal, simply reply and say that you are unable to help.


Test to see if obfs2/obfs3 bridges work

It seems that people who run obfsbridges have a tendency of shutting them down after a few weeks. This means that sometimes support people are giving out dead bridges to people. An easy way to test if an obfs2/obfs3 bridge works is to connect directly to its IP:PORT (using telnet (on Mac or Windows) or netcat (on Linux)) and see if you get a random blob of data back.

Here is an example of a functional bridge:

If you don't get that random blob, the bridge is probably dead and you should replace it with another one.

(Obviously this method just tests whether the bridge is dead, not whether it is blocked in a censoring country.)