Stop this usability hell while using bridges (at least give more hints)
- What I am trying to do:
Going to https://bridges.torproject.org/ 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.
- 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 bridges.torproject.org (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.
- It gets worse:
Suppose someone needs an obfs2 bridge and goes to https://bridges.torproject.org/?transport=obfs2
He's even more likely to go mad: How on earth should the poor soul know that he has to write
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.
- 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.
- 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 bridges.torproject.org and into the automated mails.