Tor website needs your help!

Tor started more than eleven years ago. The project website has gone through three major revisions in that time. It looks like it’s again time for important changes.

Tor has shifted in the recent years from being a project prominently used by researchers, developers, and security experts to the wider audience of anyone concerned about their privacy. Tor’s user base continues to grow. While this is a very good news for the anonymity of every Tor user, we need to make information that matters more accessible and better structured. The support team already receive close to 30 new requests every day, and it would be a better experience for newcomers, users, and journalists to directly find their answers.

Creating the ideal website for Tor is not an easy task. We have very diverse audiences with very diverse expectations. We need to gather information from different sources. Some pages should be multi-lingual. As outdated information could endanger our users, it should be easy to keep up-to-date. Our users deserve beautiful, clear, and comprehensive graphics to allow everyone to quickly understand Tor better. We’ve had some starting discussions, but we’re very much in need of your help.

Up to the challenge? Do you want to help improving a website visited everyday by millions of people looking for protection against surveillance? Then feel free to join the website team mailing list. We need usability experts, technical writers, designers, code wizards of the modern web, static website generator experts, documentalists… Join us and help!

Thanks for taking this on, Lunar!

I convinced Lunar to turn on the 'comments' section for this post, in case people want to ask for clarifications here that will be useful for other readers.

If you want to actually talk about making the website better, please join the mailing list and do it there. That way we won't splinter the conversation.

(If you want to flame us for having a crappy website -- or more precisely, a website that is non-ideal for some important subset of our user base -- the answer is "yes, we know, that's why we posted this blog post, please help".)

Thanks!

Anonymous

January 05, 2014

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I don't see much of a problem with the website. What type of complaints are people making? The only thing I think people really want is some type of user forum.

A forum also was one of the first things I've been looking for. But when you think about it, it would use up a lot of resources. It would require lots of administration and moderation, while in internet-forums scandals easily breed. It would also add lots of possible security loop-holes with a vulnerable, registered user-base.

IMHO, we need up-to-date, complete documentation down to config-file level for every package-version, no links to deprecated content, an easily searchable bug-tracker and a simple way to compare notes with the support. A forum would just be a burden.

Why does it need to have a registration system?
Textboards aren't a new thing, and you'd think the Tor people out of anybody would understand the desire for anonymity.

A forum is needed. Most "newbs" don't even know what "config-file" and "package-version" means. Tor needs to focus on those users that are most likely to shoot themselves in the foot. Therefore, Tor needs a forum.

Anonymous

January 06, 2014

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"a website visited everyday by millions of people looking for protection against surveillance"
All we need is find the download page and verifying the signature's packages. That's all for a vast majority of users. The documentation, blog, wiki, mailing lists and so on, are more than enough for those looking to understand the internals.
An a broader note, that sounds like a general complaint about GNU/linux
coming from "plug and play" users that doesn't have or take the time to read
what's already gracefully provided.

Anonymous

January 06, 2014

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Also please encourage subtitles on any videos so you reach wider audiences including deaf and hard of hearing people in the world

Anonymous

January 06, 2014

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Are there plans to integrate the blog into the main website?

At the moment, the website is mirrored in multiple places, but the blog isn't, which means the blog is more difficult for people in censored areas to access and read (unless they've already got a working Tor setup).

Anonymous

January 06, 2014

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I support the idea of having an improved website that must be easily accessible even from users of oppressive regimes: China, North Korea, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, etc...

However it is only as good as the people who find it useful.

IMHO it should have a multi-lingual forum with a section dedicated to newbies.

Anonymous

January 07, 2014

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Count me in. I'm Jack of all trads and work as digital product director in daytime. Contact me at @lajlev.

Anonymous

January 07, 2014

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Just to throw in my thoughts, I think web efforts should be focused on making things super easy for new users.

I second that... I'm new and need all the help I can get. I'm taking information gleaned here for lunchtime discussions with interested coworkers. We're used to digging into complex technical issues but none of us are programmers. Thanks for your efforts here!

Anonymous

January 07, 2014

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Iincreasing anonymous internet with Tor and Talis will beat any security agency
(even the NSA!).

Anonymous

January 07, 2014

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I would like to see a quick start guide for the novice that relates to enhancing the security/privacy of various operating systems and hardware. Things like firewall settings, services commonly exploited, malware prevention. Linux,Windows,Mac sections. Known exploits, risky services, best software and hardware for these systems.

Anonymous

January 07, 2014

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one nice idea is have an mobile version of the site, many people like my sister or some relatives just use tablets or smartphones for access internet, and theres tor for android its nice to have a simple site which a nice page adapted for the situation for notify they about tor and privacy matters. :)

Anonymous

January 08, 2014

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The anon in ticket 3593 is correct. The website is too confusing, not well laid out, and buries the user with too much information. You do not need to be flashy and lots of graphics. Get the information architecture behind the scenes working correctly and logically, and everything else will flow.

Examples of well organized, but not flashy sites are:

Berkshire Hathaway, http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/

Jakob Neilsen, http://www.nngroup.com/

Jakob is a top usability expert.

on second thought i'll add this comment to 3593 too.

Anonymous

January 11, 2014

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1/2-offtopic.Help:
Please, make Tails normal useable like TBB.
Since Control Port is disabled normal browsing gets more and more worst.
Tor Browser without 'New Identity' in Torbutton AND Vidalia IS....... not good.

There seems so much funding,action,discussions and things but no one can solve this?
Really?Sorry,iam no programmer but this sounds....... not normal.

Community could ask government get some dollar from the crypto-weakening-etat(-:? 250 000 000 Dollar enough?
Who is on this funny payroll?

Anonymous

January 11, 2014

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No matter what I do with my Joomla homepage, I can't take the giant Joomla banner off of the top of the screen and replace it with my own. Does anybody know how to do this?.

Anonymous

January 12, 2014

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Hello, i need help from the Tor programers:
please compile new (raw/expert)tor for old Windows versions like in older Tor versions, too. Pleeease.
Thank you.

Anonymous

January 12, 2014

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Poster above wrote
"Tor Browser without 'New Identity' in Torbutton AND Vidalia IS....... not good."

"...AND Vidalia ..." may a mistake? That would be really really worse.
But Torbutton without 'New Identity' function is serious worst enough for browsing. Serious.

My cursory look at this website is that it glosses over all the actual issues, and gives you meaningless scary or reassuring summaries.

So, please provide more specific bug reports. :)

(I also note that Firefox, both 17 and 24, gives the same answers as Tor Browser.)