New "general admin, security & privacy" category?

I totally second this and I would actually be in favor of it, if framed in this way. Actually if this is to happen I’d suggest naming it “The Qubes life”. (I’ve heard it before and is something all Qubes user identify with!). I think It would be would be key, for people having an immediate understanding of the scope of the category.

We would, of course need to drill down a concrete category description to guarantee the definition of on-topicness, but it should be easier.

However, I feel like some people could then post stuff there that could belong in the discussion category and vice-versa. But that’s a much more tolerable problem than tin-foil-totally-non-Qubes-related discussions.

@Sven, would this be in line of what with what you were thinking?

It’s totally understandable. It’s an invisible job most of the time :slight_smile: @Plexus is also on the mod team, btw.

In discourse we have the ability to have moderators for only specific category. Maybe that could be a way of dividing up work.

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For what it’s worth: I’m against an “off-topic” forum, but for a “general admin, security, and privacy” forum.

Which is not surprising since I’ve created many topics that are edge cases in relevance.

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@Sven, would this be in line of what with what you were thinking?

Yes.

In my original post I wrote:

Things that might have very little Qubes specific content, but
nevertheless are things of high interest to a majority of Qubes users
by association

And then later in the clarification, once more:

conversations that a relevant but not specific to Qubes OS use

Then @JTeller3 called it:

topic-adjacent section, where anything related to Qubes OS and “the
Qubes life” goes so long as it is within a couple degrees of
relevance"

“The Qubes life” is catch, but fuzzy. “general admin, security &
privacy” is dry but much more narrow.

I feel at this point in the discussion that there is a general agreement
to have something like the above category, but that we should also be
very careful in defining the scope.

Personally I like “The Qubes life” too as it gives an intuitive feel for
what’s on topic. But as you wrote, “need to drill down a concrete
category description”. Here is my first attempt from yesterday:

In this category we discuss topics related to setting up what’s
inside your qubes, understanding your thread model, achieving and
maintaining a reasonable level of security and protecting your
privacy when using technology even if it’s not strictly Qubes OS
specific

What would you add/remove/formulate differently?

@Plexus is also on the mod
team
, btw.

Sorry for the oversight.

In discourse we have the ability to have [moderators for only
specific category] Maybe that could be a way of dividing up work.

It’s a standing offer if and when you feel you need help.

/Sven

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Apologies, @Sven, for misunderstanding your suggestion.

No issue here. I should have been more thoughtful in choosing the subject.

all the way back to Usenet,

I’m old too… comp.std.c :wink:

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After talking with other moderators, here’s the format we’re going forward with:

  • @Sven as moderator for this category

  • category only shows for trust level 2 or above
    This will ensure people join the forum because they are already interested enough in Qubes.

  • make it clear it is experimental

Still a few things to go through

  • choice of name
  • category short description (25 words or less)
  • criteria for inclusion / exclusion of topics and examples
  • category color & icon

Note: this is a wiki post. So, feel free to edit it to add your ideas in the indicated spaces. (You can also quote-reply and @deeplow will add them to here). Apologies to the forum email users but this way it’s more manageable.

Choice of name

Current proposals:

Proposal Advantages disadvantages
The Qubes life Catchy may be ambiguous (lead to creation of posts that belong in other categories)
General admin, security & privacy concise Too restrictive (e.g. what about hardware?) @Sven: “general support / hardware”
General setup, security & privacy concise Too narrow. Can we discuss free software?
Beyond Qubes concise 1) doesn’t hint at the boundaries
Not Qubes Related well auto descriptive 1) doesn’t hint at the boundaries @Sven: related but not specific! 2) Contains a negative, which is not a good style
All around Qubes descriptive, hints at the boundaries ?
Tangents descriptive, hints at the boundaries (if you know the context) Ambigous if you don’t know the context
(add here your proposal)

Category Short Description

Should be 25 words or less to display well in the categories list. There can be a slightly longer description, but needs to be a separate phrase.

gategories-list

(template) @<YOUR_NICK>'s description proposal

[proposal]

  • Comments
  • (add yours here)

@Sven’s description proposal

Setting up OS & programs inside a qube; general security & privacy considerations not specific to Qubes OS

Comments

@Ludovic’s description proposal

All discussions not directly related to Qubes OS but around the Qubes domains (privacy, freedom, system administration, security, Qubes alternatives, research, …).

Comments

@deeplow’s description proposal

All discussions not directly related to Qubes OS but tangential to it (privacy, freedom, system administration, security, research, …).

Criteria for inclusion / exclusion and examples

I suggest this because it’s likely easier for people to understand what belongs and what doesn’t. Something along the lines of what’s on the Qubes CoC, but applied to this category’s content.

*Does this sound like a good idea? If so, please add examples bellow each of these.

Inclusion criteria

  • relevant but not specific to Qubes OS
  • (add yours here)
topic criteria
Is your browser fingerprint unique? relevant but not specific to Qubes OS
Which messenger program to use? relevant but not specific to Qubes OS
OpSec / Threat modeling relevant but not specific to Qubes OS
Discussion on Purism relevant but not specific to Qubes OS
gaming on Linux in general
security/privacy implications of gaming
how to configure your firewall for specific games
dependencies of specific games
How do I … on Debian/Fedora/Windows/…?
How do these programs compare in terms of security / privacy?
OpSec around my Qubes computer
OpSec when using email/IM/communications
Comparing VPNs … what can they do and what not?
Advantages and disadvantages of Tor?
Reducing memory footprint of my Debian/Fedora…
Comparison of intrusion detection systems and how to use them
What can encryption do for me and what are the limitations?
Good books / presentations / tutorials about security / privacy / linux administration / …
Advanced firewall rules
(add yours here)

Exclusion Criteria

  • directly affects Qubes
  • specific to Qubes OS
    • @deeplow: add comment here that that belongs in the rest of the forum.
  • is not relevant to Qubes OS use
  • harmful to community / violates CoC – politics / activism of any kind
    • @deeplow: I think “politics / activism” should be a separate point as it may not consititute CoC violations.
  • (add yours here)
topic criteria
something that violates the Code of Conduct CoC violation
NitroPad X230 laptop directly affects Qubes (?)
European Union And OS level Backdoors directly affects Qubes (?)
How to promote Qubes Specific to Qubes
Installed Qubes on secondary SSD; boots into first drive (?)
(add yours here)

Category color & icon

It will likely sit between User support and Mailing Lists so the yellow might be the color to go with the keep the scheme. This way it won’t look too out of place. But I wanted to get other’s opinions.

general

Regarding the icon, we should probably find a font-awesome icon that kind of represents the content of this category.

color & icon proposals

color icon remarks
yellow dashed/crossed-out Qubes logo (add your remarks here)
yellow comments  f086 (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow comment-slash  0xf4b3 (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow comment-dots  0xf4ad (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow code-branch  0xf126 (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow mug-hot  0xf7b6 (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow paper-plane  0xf1d8 (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow door-open  0xf52b (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow lightbulb  0xf0eb (font-awesome) (add your remarks here)
yellow user-shield  0xf505(font-awesome) @Sven

Thanks for your input @ludovic!

For anyone who’s reading this via email, I can forward to them the current state of the wiki post. Just ping me.

Re: choice of name

@fsflover couldn’t hardware could fall under “admin”?

In the forum of Qubes OS, I would understand “Admin” as a person administering the OS or software installed. At least this is my personal impression.

Apart from that, would gaming on Qubes OS fit into such category? Or discussing how to promote Qubes among your peers? I’m sure there are many other things which are not security/privacy-related which are important for Qubes users.

I like this description, except the word “domains” may be misleading here, since it has a special meaning in the Qubes world:

All discussions not directly related to Qubes OS but everything having at least some relation to it (privacy, freedom, system administration, security, Qubes alternatives, research, hardware, trust, gaming on Qubes, …).

It fits well with my suggested name “All around Qubes”.

I see.

These would belong in the #general-discussion instead. Not on this off-topic category. It’s important that the description and title convey this message.

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Apart from that, would gaming on Qubes OS fit into such category? Or
discussing how to promote Qubes among your peers? I’m sure there are
many other things which are not security/privacy-related which are
important for Qubes users.
My 2 cents…

  • Gaming: GPU-passthrough and connecting game controllers would be
    “General support”, but everything else I can think of would fit:

    • gaming on Linux in general
    • security/privacy implications of gaming
    • how to configure your firewall for specific games
    • dependencies of specific games
  • How to promote Qubes is very much Qubes-specific and should therefore
    happen in “General discussion”

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added these to the list. We may have to shorten it to 5 examples in the end.

I also like @ludovic’s. But I would say Qubes alternatives could go to the #general-discussion instead as most likely the thread will be a comparison between the two.

I also agree with the criticism. Maybe like this:

All discussions not directly related to Qubes OS but tangential (privacy, freedom, system administration, security, research, …).

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To be fair, my original question in the linked thread was about the fingerprint in Qubes disposableVMs, so I think it belongs to the general discussion of Qubes. Later posts from other people shifted the discussion towards fingerprints in general, which belongs to the new category.

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I think strategic ambiguity with the forum’s name and description is the best way forward–at least during its launch period. This would give mod(s) flexibility in deciding what is relevant and what is just too far off topic, or maybe relevant but abusive (e.g. shilling an infosec product).

With time and experience a more substantial title and description could be applied, but at the start when things are still fuzzy and hazy I think it’s best that @Sven be given more leeway for personal judgment and not be too tied down by concrete descriptions, especially since he seems to be an established, thoughtful, and trusted member of the community. At the same time this doesn’t mean we should be ultra-ambiguous to the point where the description looks just like that of an off-topic forum.

It’s like that court ruling on porn:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it , and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

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In general I agree, but for my comfort I would like nevertheless to discuss the rough outlines the community wants to agree upon.

For example I would be inclined to shut down anything that would fall under politics or activism of any sort. Qubes OS users are bound to have strong opinions there that most likely spread the entire spectrum. Nothing good can come from allowing this kind of discussion even if it is somehow related to Qubes OS use. I have watched with horror what those discussions have done to other communities and do not want any of that to happen here.

Can we all agree on that?

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This is hard … maybe a positive way to describe it would be “keep it technical”… “how do I …” not “why do I …”

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Or maybe “I know it when I see it”?

For controversial cases get several established community members/mods to vote on it?

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Very much agree – just let’s please make sure people using the email interface only get to that trust level (I recall you had to manually promote @unman to that level? … if so then something is severely broken)