Configuration explained

Contents

Overview

The configuration of Net Responsibility (NR) refers to user-specific settings that enable the program to run on a particular computer system. Before you install NR you need to register an account on the website, if you haven't done so already. The information you enter during registration will be used during the NR install process to do the initial configuration on your computer system in order for it to work properly.

The configuration information is stored on the website and is periodically downloaded by NR as needed. To manually configure NR by downloading the configuration information you can run the following command in a terminal window:

sudo net-responsibility -c

Note: If you are not an Ubuntu/Debian user, you may need to change sudo to su. The main thing to know is that the net-responsibility command needs to be run as 'root', however your particular platform handles that.

Configuration parts

During and/or after the NR registration process (which is all done online at the NR website), you will have the opportunity to specify certain settings for the following parts of the program's configuration.

Name, password, etc.

Here you will choose a username and password, which you will use to log in on the website (i.e. to change your settings, write forum posts, etc.), and which you may also need to use on your computer (i.e., when you first install NR, or when you manually configure NR). Your password is only saved on the NR website, where it is used to verify your user identity. You will need to enter your password a second time, just to doublecheck that you've created the password you intended. You will also need to enter your name or you can enter an alias, as long as your accountability partners know what it is, since NR uses this name when sending reports.

Email addresses

One of the things you'll enter here is your email address, which will be the email used to activate your NR account. Note that when NR sends reports it sends them from the email address report@netresponsibility.com rather than your email address. In this part you will also enter the email addresses of those you wish to receive reports. These will normally be one or more accountability partners, but you may also want to enter your own email address as well, either to make sure everything is working okay or in case you want to get a copy of the reports. It may appear that you can only enter a limited amount of email addresses, but as you fill in the last visible field, an additional blank field will appear. This will continue until you've entered all the email addresses you need.

Tweaks

In this part, the following options can be set:

  • Logfile: The location of the logfile must be specified; otherwise, NR will refuse to start. WARNING: Don't change this unless you know what you're doing!
  • Pidfile: The location of the pidfile must be specified; otherwise, NR will refuse to start. WARNING: Don't change this unless you know what you're doing!
  • Report frequency: Here you will enter the number of days you want between the emailed reports. If set to zero, the automatic reports will be disabled and you'll have to send reports manually, or by using the task-scheduling package cron.
  • Instant threshold: Here you can enable instant reports, which means your accountability partner will get a report instantly when NR thinks you're looking at inappropriate content. You can also set the sensitivity. Entering zero means this feature is disabled. Otherwise, lower numbers mean higher sensitivity. (0 = Disabled; 1-5 = Very sensitive; 6-20 = Medium; 21+ = Low sensitivity)
  • Report strength threshold: Only matches with a strength higher than this number will be included in the Warnings section of the reports. That way you're able to set some sort of sensitivity for what to display. This number ranking system for these items is a fairly new feature that still needs to be tested and tweaked in order to make it accurate and useful. To find out more about this ranking system, including how you can help in making it more accurate, see this section of the "Understanding the Reports" guide.
  • Always perform tokenmatch: Using tokenmatch increases the report creation time because it's more complicated, but it results in much more accurate reports. If you're having problems with reports taking too long to create you might want to exclude it.
  • Provide improvement data: Use this option if you'd like to help with the development of NR. The program will anonymously send your warnings to our server and store them there. This will help the developers see how to improve the blacklists. (Note that if you or your accountability partners choose to help improve the accuracy of reports, the improvement data related to any rated warnings will be sent to and stored on the NR server, even if this option is not selected in your settings.)
  • Send me newsletters: Choose this if you want the latest information about new versions, how to help, and other things that might be of interest. These emails are not sent on a regular basis, but rather whenever there's a need to update users with fresh information.

Blacklist categories

In this part, you can choose one or more blacklists that you want NR to use when creating your reports. Each of these blacklists is full of keywords. If any of the words are found in the websites you've visited, it will show up as a warning in the report.

Report parts

Here you can choose what parts you want included in your NR reports. You can also choose to include a more detailed attached report, which is strongly recommended. (Also note that if you or your accountability partners want to help improve the accuracy of reports, you will need to have an attached report sent.) Following are the various report parts and related options, along with a brief description of each:

  • Shutdowns: NR records if it's shutdown manually or interrupted. Choose this to list these shutdowns, if any, in the report. This can be chosen for the regular and/or attached reports.
  • Warnings: The warnings part of the report lists any visited websites that contain one or more words from the blacklists. They could be inappropriate websites, but that is not always the case. Therefore, your accountability partner(s) should always double-check them, either by clicking the link or by reading the match in its context. It is strongly recommended to choose this option! This can be chosen for the regular and/or attached reports. A new feature that is being developed and tested for this section is a number ranking system to indicate the likelihood of an item in this section being a cause for concern rather than a false positive. To find out more about this ranking system, including how you can help in making it more accurate, see this section of the "Understanding the Reports" guide.
  • Whitelist: If a website contains a blacklisted word, but also a whitelisted word, it will be found in this part of the report. This way you will be able to tell NR that some websites are okay. This can be chosen for the regular and/or attached reports.
  • No history: Choose this if you do not want any of your browsing history to be included in the attached report (this option is not available for regular reports). Note that all websites visited will be searched for a blacklist match independent of what you choose here.
  • Complete history: Choose this if you want your complete browsing history (i.e. every webpage accessed) to be included in the attached report (this option is not available for regular reports).
  • Only hostnames: Choose this if you want just the hostnames (i.e. main website names, like www.yahoo.com, but not every page associated with that website) of your browsing history to be included in the attached report (this option is not available for regular reports).
  • Zipped: Depending on your internet activity and how often your reports are sent, the attached reports might become quite large. If you choose this option NR will zip (compress) the file before sending it. This means the receiver will have to unzip (decompress) the report every time, but it also saves space in his/her email account. The file usually decreases to 10-20% of the original size when zipped. If the report is larger than 10MB it will be zipped automatically.

You may find it helpful for yourself and your accountability partners to have NR send reports using various combinations of the above options. This will give you a chance to see some sample reports and decide together what will work best for you.

Personal blacklist

Here you can enter keywords to make your personal blacklist. If you click on the blank field for this option, some basic instructions with some helpful links will show up on the right-hand side. If you already have a list you want to add, you can copy and paste it in the field. It will be split at every line break.

Personal whitelist

Here you can enter keywords to make your personal whitelist. If you click on the blank field for this option, some basic instructions with some helpful links will show up on the right-hand side. Note that only the hostname will be matched against the whitelist. If you already have a list you want to add, you can copy and paste it in the field. It will be split at every line break.

Configuration changes

If you want to make any changes to the configuration of NR, here are the steps to follow:

  • Go to the NR website, log in with your username and password, and click on the tab that shows your username. This will take you to the page where your current configuration options can be viewed.
  • Click on the various sections to open them and make the desired changes.
  • Once you are done making changes, click on the 'Log out' section, enter the security code and click on 'Save and log out'.
  • Run the NR configuration manually (see instructions in the 'Overview' section above), which will download the new configuration information to your computer.

Once you have completed the above steps successfully, NR should now be running according to the new configuration options you chose. Also note that whoever normally receives your reports (i.e. your accountability partner) will also be notified when you change NR's configuration.