Filename: 164-reporting-server-status.txt
Title: Reporting the status of server votes
Author: Nick Mathewson
Created: 22-May-2009
Status: Obsolete

Notes: This doesn't work with the current things authorities do,
 though we could revise it to work if we ever want to do this.


   When a given node isn't listed in the directory, it isn't always easy
   to tell why.  This proposal suggest a quick-and-dirty way for
   authorities to export not only how they voted, but why, and a way to
   collate the information.


   Right now, if you want to know the reason why your server was listed
   a certain way in the Tor directory, the following steps are

       - Look through your log for reports of what the authority said
         when you tried to upload.

       - Look at the consensus; see if you're listed.

       - Wait a while, see if things get better.

       - Download the votes from all the authorities, and see how they
         voted.  Try to figure out why.

       - If you think they'll listen to you, ask some authority
         operators to look you up in their mtbf files and logs to see
         why they voted as they did.

   This is far too hard.


   We should add a new vote-like information-only document that
   authorities serve on request.  Call it a "vote info".  It is
   generated at the same time as a vote, but used only for
   determining why a server voted as it did.  It is served from

   It differs from a vote in that:

   * Its vote-status field is 'vote-info'.

   * It includes routers that the authority would not include
     in its vote.

     For these, it includes an "omitted" line with an English
     message explaining why they were omitted.

   * For each router, it includes a line describing its WFU and
     MTBF.  The format is:

       "stability <mtbf> up-since='date'"
       "uptime <wfu> down-since='date'"

   * It describes the WFU and MTBF thresholds it requires to
     vote for a given router in various roles in the header.
     The format is:

       "flag-requirement <flag-name> <field> <op> <value>"


       "flag-requirement Guard uptime > 80"

   * It includes info on routers all of whose descriptors that
     were uploaded but rejected over the past few hours.  The
     "r" lines for these are the same as for regular routers.
     The other lines are omitted for these routers, and are
     replaced with a single "rejected" line, explaining (in
     English) why the router was rejected.

   A status site (like Torweather or Torstatus or another
   tool) can poll these files when they are generated, collate
   the data, and make it available to server operators.


   This document makes no provisions for caching these "vote
   info" documents.  If many people wind up fetching them
   aggressively from the authorities, that would be bad.