Guide to Tor hidden services and elements of the Tor network/Chapter 0: Preface

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Like the rest of this book, THIS SECTION IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION as of 7/7/2014
See also: About this book

What this book is

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  • At the very least, this Wikibook serves as a "meta-index" of other primary, secondary, and tertiary sources also indexing the Tor network, and
  • this book is meant to be a place where:
    • (what is most necessary to hold this book together and make it meaningful:)
    • An established consensus of reliable Tor users can establish a basis of credibility for ascertaining the validity of, and attributing due credibility to:
      • Claims made by Tor websites about themselves (primary sources)
      • Claims made by Tor websites about other Tor websites (also primary sources, if they are established through the use of automated publicly-available algorithms such as crawlers)
      • Claims made by the media about Tor websites (secondary sources)
      • Claims made by Wikipedia and other tertiary sources about Tor sites, if such material can be made encyclopedic. This article aims to at least present material from primary sources in a publicly-demonstrably objectively sourced way.
    • This book also aims to be a place where established Wikibooks users who are known to be reputable (as users of Wikibooks) can post, comment on, and evaluate the reliability of existing sources about Tor
    • (and also, some other purposes of this book:)
    • hidden service operators who are doing something cool on or for the Tor network, may links to and information about their solution, and may even organize collaboration with others about it through article and user talk pages here
      • (preferably not with illegal things,
      • though this book is meant to encompass all aspects of the Tor network;
      • and neither Wikibooks nor this book's authors may be held responsible, either directly or indirectly, for said content,
      • as long as said activity isn't done directly here and resides only on Tor
      • -- so talking about and even promoting underground activity has its place here, as long as it falls under the #Editorial guidelines of this book)

Guidelines for editing

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Editorial markup comments should be with signatures and in purple

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Editorial comments made by individual people (such as me, whether or not I am the original author) should be written in purple font like this (using the HTML font color tag, see the Wikitext for an example) in order for them to be distinguished from the text of the book.
  • They should be removed if/when no longer necessary.
  • They are mainly meant to help guide other authors, or readers of the Preface, rather than to be taken as seriously as the rest of this book.
  • They should also be signed and timestamped using --~~~~ in Wikitext, like this: --ContingentConsciousness (discusscontribs) 08:18, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Establishing credibility as an author

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  • Suggested terms and conditions for editing this book if you are a Tor user
  • Users must be willing to provide their PGP keys, signatures, and e-mail addresses from a paid e-mail service such as /Lelantos (not a free e-mail service that enables users to create as many accounts as they want and thus allow a single user to impersonate hundreds of users with individual PGP keys, violating this book's guideline for editing to follow a "reliable consensus"),
  • Thus, we hear from users who can thus prove they have an identity, (whether or not it is tied to their real one) and are a part composing the Tor community, whether they contribute to it financially, developmentally, professionally, as amateurs, or otherwise

History of this book: Why this is a Wikibook (and no longer a Wikipedia article)

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History of this Wikibook (boring, but important if you want to edit it):

This book resulted from changes that were rejected to Wikipedia's Wikipedia:List of Tor hidden services. In this original author's opinion the article has virtually no verifiable content without these changes (which included adding Tor sites as primary sources about themselves), as the article lacked (and may still lack) any other sources, but they were rejected by other editors because they (and material about Tor in general) can virtually never satisfy Wikipedia's guidelines for reliability and notability. For reasons why, and the background and history of the editorial dispute that took place in general, see the Preface.

Use of first person by ContingentConsciousness

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Please note: This section of the book uses the first-person perspective as a way of explaining how the author discovered and learned more about Wikipedia and Wikibook policies (and the differences between them).
In general the first-person will not and should not be used throughout this book unless recounting similar types of experiences. This author claims no monopoly on the use of the first person but encourages other people to use it sparingly. The author shall continue to refer to himself in the third person as "the author" outside of this section.
Anytime the first person is used, please place your signature below the text you contribute as this author has a few paragraphs below.

Statement by the original author

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Early in 2014, I found, to my frustration, a widespread lack of reliable sources, both of and about Tor hidden services, as well as reliable guides for using them. The need for such a source is pervasive.

It simply shouldn't be the case that Reddit's darknetmarkets subreddit is currently the most reliable source of Tor URLs and reports on the reliability and quality of Tor hidden services offered across the darkweb. This is this author's personal opinion; other contributors who believe the contrary are encouraged to post here (please use your signature with --~~~~ in Wikitext when adding links here.

Other somewhat reliable sources include the following:

  •, an index of so-called darknet markets, that is, Tor websites where you can buy commodities (such as drugs or weapons) only legal "outside of legal jurisdiction" (that is, illegal in most jurisdictions).

This book is intended to rectify this problem. Among being a community-edited and community-backed source of information, Wikibooks has advantages as a source over other potential sources of the same information:

  • Automated spam prevention by robots. Hopefully they work.
  • Feedback on users to help judge content that is on the borderline between spam and simply poor editing
  • Intelligent editorial debates based on community-backed policies and precedents. This author has contributed to some of these on Wikipedia, see below.

As is Wikibooks custom and policy, constructive contributions by other authors are always welcome.

--ContingentConsciousness (discusscontribs) 04:41, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

The problem of sources in Tor guides and directories: (Why Wikipedia bans Tor URLs)

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A Tor directory cannot be encyclopedic content

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Editorial note to future authors: We want to cite relevant Wikipedia policies here, those that start with WP:*.

Use of primary sources

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Secondary sources generally don't index or guide people to Tor websites, and avoid making any definitive statements about what happens on Tor because

  1. they cannot obtain proof, as a third party (secondary/tertiary source), that the content they write of exists
  2. they cannot obtain proof, as an interested party (primary source) without becoming an involved part of the world they write about

Lack of secondary verifiability

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To future authors: Write about why it's hard for secondary sources (mainly the media) to reliably document Tor hidden services.

Lack of proof of notability

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To future authors: Write about why it's hard to establish notability of phenomena on Tor, including other primary sources.

Establishing proof and reliability in this book.

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This book needs its own unique policies. Why Wikibooks policy may not be conclusive as to how to edit this book.

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To future authors: Write about why the standard Wikibook policies are not clear as to how to deal with writing about Tor, mainly for the above reasons, and how this problem might be rectified by defining clarifications, interpretations, and new policies, right here in the Preface.

Establishing a reliable consensus

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To future authors: Write about how to resolve the problem stated in #Use of primary sources and #Lack of secondary verifiability above

Establishing trusted third-party primary sources

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To future authors: Write about how to resolve this problem by defining clear policies on how and when to trust primary sources.

Tor Directories versus this Wikibook: The "Meta" of All Hidden Wikis Everywhere

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To future authors: this section is intended to be about this book in summary