Everybody Struggles

18 December 2020

This article was first published on championquizzer.dreamwidth.org

I’m almost three weeks into my internship and I think it would be a right time to talk about some of the challenges I’d been facing.

In the first two weeks, I have been mostly working on Tor Project’s Request Tracker - responding to user queries, trying to figure how to circumvent censorship, accumulating user feedback and provide that as a report for our teams and generally learning more and more about the various moving parts of The Tor Project.

The primary goal of the community team is to be a bridge (pun intended ;) between users and the developers and designers. We have to be technical enough but should also be able to present those technical concepts in a more understandable manner. I have already been in 14-day long email threads trying to figure out why Tor is not working for an user. There are so many things to be considered and most of the time I got stuck trying to figure what exactly might be happening at their end. For this it’s very important that I should be thorough with the documentation that we have, especially the manual and support docs. In the most challenging cases, my idea is to try and simulate those issues and then figure out how to solve them. At this point, if you’re wondering why this is an issue, I have to remind you that Tor is censored in many countries and the fight that we are battling for anti-censorship and the basic freedom of internet users all around the globe is a challenging one.

The other thing I have always been encouraged to do is to ASK. Yes, asking questions in a public forum isn’t easy. Yes, IRC can be tough sometimes. But the Tor Community comprises of excellent folks who are always willing to help. For instance, this has been a recurring issue for the past few weeks but upon discussion we decided that we could actually use that ticket for collecting feedback - turning an issue into a learning experience in the process!
But, emphasizing more on the previous point, I, more often than not, hesitate asking a question because it seems to be too trivial or something that “I should just know!” but I was encouraged to even ask those. If you, my dear reader, face the same thing, remember, no question is too trivial and it’s okay to not know about something. And more importantly, it’s alright to make mistakes!