FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Contents

About the FAQ

This part of the documentation is meant to be a useful guide when you have a common question about Net Responsibility (NR) for which you need an answer. These are sorted by category and the categories are arranged alphabetically. Many of the answers may be short, but often links will be provided in case more information is needed. If you have a question or problem that is not addressed here, see this guide to find out other ways of finding answers and solving problems.

Configuration, Registration, and Account-Related Questions

How can I find out my username and/or password, if I've lost or forgotten them?

Go to the NR website, click on the 'Login' tab, click on 'Forgot password?,' enter your username or email address (the one you used to register) in the box provided, click on 'Send password,' and you should soon get an email containing your username and password.

How do I change my configuration settings?

Click here for instructions on how to make changes to your online configuration settings.

Can I use the same NR account for more than one computer?

Yes, but that means you will also be using the same configuration settings for each computer, so it won't work to use the same account if you want different report frequencies or other differences in settings.

Also, each computer will send out reports independent of the others. So if you've set up NR to send one report a week, and use the same account for two computers, your accountability partners will end up receiving two reports a week, without knowing which one is from which computer.

Can I configure NR for different users of the same computer, so that each user has their own NR account?

Currently this is not possible, as far as we know, but this is a feature that might be implemented in the future.

How do I delete my NR account?

Log in to the NR website, click on the tab with your username on it, click on 'Log out', and then click on 'Delete account'. If this doesn't work let us know and we'll try to help you out as soon as possible. In your email, please mention the username of the account you are trying to delete, as well as the details of what happened when you tried to delete the account.

Why are my accountability partners not being notified of configuration changes?

This could be because of improper online configuration settings, a bug in the NR program, or simply because the notification emails are being caught in a spam filter. See this guide for more information.

Is there any way for accountablility partners to be informed if the NR program is uninstalled?

Yes, they are automatically informed by email when Net Responsibility is uninstalled. If they have not received the expected email, see this guide for more information on possible reasons for this.

Development

How can I help with the Net Responsibility project?

Now this is a question we love to hear! :-) See the Contribute to Net Responsibility guide for some ideas of how you can help (even in small ways) make NR a better program for a wider group of grateful users.

How do I add a bug report or feature request to the issue tracker?

See this guide for a brief how-to with a few helpful screenshots. And thanks for contributing to the NR project in this way!

Is there a repository set up somewhere that can be accessed, if I'm interested in helping with NR coding (programming)?

The Mercurial repository for NR can be cloned from this URL: https://bitbucket.org/netresponsibilityteam/net-responsibility. For more information on how best to get started with NR coding, read this guide.

What is the current status of Net Responsibility for Windows?

There are some important features that are not yet implemented in the Windows version of NR. Therefore we've decided to wait before we release it. Once those things are fixed, we will create an installation file and make it available on our website.

If you're interested in following the Windows development process, you can stay updated through this forum thread. When logged in, you can click "Notify" for this topic in order to automatically receive email notifications about any new posts.

What is the current status of Net Responsibility for Mac?

We're working on creating packages for Mac users. It is technically possible to download the source code and compile it. More information about compiling it on Mac can be found here. However, the easiest thing would be to wait (or help us out with creating the package).

General

Is Net Responsibility like X3Watch, but for Linux?

The short answer is yes, NR is like X3Watch for Linux. It is developed by a different team, but it has the same intentions. While there is a definite focus on providing internet accountability for Linux systems, our goal is to eventually make it available on a variety of platforms, including Mac OS X and Windows.

Why is NR being developed for Windows, a platform for which there is already internet accountability software?

After version 2.0.2, we decided to rewrite NR using a different programming language that would have less limitations and give us more flexibility. While the focus of the rewrite remained on developing a good internet accountability program for Linux systems, we decided it was also a good opportunity to begin working towards making it compatible with other platforms as well. While there is other accountability software available for Windows, there are currently no good open source alternatives. Also, if we make NR available for more platforms, the chance of finding more developers also increases, thus improving the overall program.

Do my accountability partners need to be running a Linux system?

No, all they need is to have any system that is able to receive email, since this is how NR's reports are sent.

What is NR's privacy policy?

Click here to view our privacy policy.

When I try to access some part(s) of the Net Responsibility website, my web browser gives me a security warning. What should I do?

If you are already on the NR website or know the link you are using is a valid NR link, it is safe for you to grant a security exception in your browser, and then refresh to get to the page(s) you are interested in. If you make this security exception permanent, then you will no longer get a security warning when trying to access that part of the site. Here are the main points as to why this security warning appears:

  • The part of the NR website you are trying to access has been made more secure by using SSL encryption, which is evidenced by an 's' added to the regular 'http' at the beginning of the URL, and a closed padlock or similar symbol in your browser.
  • In order to use SSL encryption, an SSL certificate needs to be used. See this Wikipedia entry for more info on SSL certificates.
  • Most browsers, when they are used to access a site using SSL encryption, will check to see if the associated SSL certificate has been attested by a certificate authority (CA) (normally a large, well-known organization) who is known to be trustworthy. When it finds that none of its known CAs has attested a particular SSL certificate, then it displays a security warning related to this, since this could be evidence of an exploit someone is using to impersonate a secure website (like a bank) in order to obtain a person's login credentials or other personal information (often referred to as 'phishing').
  • Because of how expensive it is to obtain an SSL certificate attested by a CA, we have chosen to use the free alternative of using a self-signed SSL certificate. While this actually provides a higher level of security, it will trigger a browser's security warning, which is essentially a 'false positive' and can be ignored as long as you know you are on our site or the link you are using is pointing to a part of our site. See this Wikipedia entry for more info on self-signed certificates.

Installing, Uninstalling, and Upgrading

How do I download and/or install a copy of the NR software?

If you are interested in a precompiled package (installation file), see these instructions. If you are interested in compiling from the source code, see these instructions.

How can I test whether NR is running properly or not?

See the Troubleshooting Installation and Configuration guide for instructions on the best way to do this.

How do I check what version of NR is installed?

One way this can be done is by opening a terminal window and running the following command as root (for Ubuntu users, this means adding sudo and a space before the command):

net-responsibility --debug

One of the lines of output should mention what version of NR is installed.

Why does it say I have a later version of NR when I am trying to upgrade?

Depending on the software that is handling the upgrade (e.g. a package manager), this can happen when the current version and new version use different version numbering systems. Usually the problem can be resolved by first uninstalling the current version and then installing the new version. If using a package manager, you may need to refresh/update it after uninstalling the current version so it will recognize the new version as available to install.

I just upgraded to NR 3.x and I can't find the GUI that used to be one of my menu items.

The GUI that was used in versions 2.x for configuration, sending test reports/emails, and sending manual reports is not currently available in NR 3.x. See the second post in this thread for instructions on how you can do these same things using terminal commands.

Internet Monitoring

Which browsers are compatible with NR?

All HTTP traffic on your computer is monitored, logged, and reported, so NR will work with any browser.

Does NR monitor internet use with Google Chrome's 'incognito' mode, Firefox's 'private' surfing, etc.?

Yes, it will monitor and log all HTTP traffic on your computer, regardless of the browser, browser mode, or browser settings you use.

Does NR monitor all internet connections, whether or not they are made through a browser?

Any HTTP traffic on your computer is monitored, logged, and reported, so if a program other than a browser makes a connection over HTTP, that will be monitored and logged as well. NR does not currently monitor internet connections using protocols other than HTTP.

How does NR handle proxy forwarding websites?

Net Responsibility will probably not be able to catch anything viewed through a proxy site, but you may add keywords to your personal blacklist (found in your online configuration settings) that will report if you've visited a proxy site. Here are some examples:

proxy
proxies
glype
atproxy.net
proxy.org

You may extend this list as you find more sites you want to flag. Note however that all the domains containing the word proxy should get caught automatically if the keyword proxy is added.

You will probably have to inform your accountability partner(s) what the related warnings mean and why it matters that proxy sites are reported.

Reports -- Problems

Why aren't my reports being sent?

This could be for a variety of reasons. See the Troubleshooting the Reports guide.

Why am I not receiving reports?

This could be for a variety of reasons. See the Troubleshooting the Reports guide.

How do I send a test report/email?

This can be done by opening a terminal window and running the following command as root (for Ubuntu users, this means adding sudo and a space before the command):

net-responsibility -tr

Note that a test report is simply a brief email that is sent out to test NR's ability to send out email reports and to see whether they will get caught in a spam filter; it is not meant to contain a report of your internet activity.

Why are my reports empty (i.e. only showing titles)?

This could happen if you have not done any internet browsing since the last time a report was sent. Otherwise, it's possible that the internet monitoring part of the NR program is not working properly. See this guide for instructions on how to test whether NR is running properly.

Why don't my reports work right?

If you are a NR user or accountability partner who is having trouble with NR's reports, you may find a solution in the Troubleshooting the Reports guide.

Why are there so many false positives?

See this link for a brief explanation of what we are doing to improve the accuracy of reports, as well as information on how you, with only a minimal amount of time given, can provide valuable help with that.

Reports -- Timing, Characteristics, Etc.

How often are reports sent out?

The default is every 7th day, but this can be changed by the user in their online settings at the time of registration. It can also be changed anytime after that by the user logging in to the website to edit his configuration settings.

Is there a way to set up NR so that my reports will include a complete list of website addresses (URLs) visited?

Yes. To do this, go to the NR website, log in, click on the tab with your username on it, click on 'Report parts', and select 'Complete history' in the 'Attached report' section. Then click on 'Log out,' enter the security code, and click on 'Save and log out' in order to save the changes to your settings. The next time a report is sent out, it should include an attached file that contains a complete list of URLs visited. You may also find it helpful to read through the Understanding the Reports guide and the Troubleshooting the Reports guide.

Can I specify what time of the day reports are sent out?

No, not in your online configuration settings. However, you can use a task-scheduling package like cron to do it. The command to use in cron to send reports is net-responsibility —report and you need to make sure cron has root privileges. You will also need to set the report frequency to '0' in your online configuration settings to prevent Net Responsibility from sending out reports automatically.

Is it possible to send out more than one report a day?

No, not with your regular online configuration settings. However, you can use a task-scheduling package like cron to do it. The command to use in cron to send reports is net-responsibility —report and you need to make sure cron has root privileges. You will also need to set the report frequency to '0' in your online configuration settings to prevent Net Responsibility from sending out reports automatically.

If I use the 'tokenmatch' option, what is the expected time that it should take to generate a report, and what should it be without using it?

There is no definite answer to this, as it depends on your internet activity, your report frequency settings, and other variables. Versions of NR later than 2.0.2 are definitely faster in generating reports. If you use the internet at a fairly steady pace, you could try one setting for one report and then try another setting for the next report (for the same amount of days), and see if there was any notable difference.

Terminal Window, Commands, and Output

When I see the line "Other instance found" followed by the line "Shutting net-responsibility down" in the output, does this mean there is a problem with NR?

Even though this output sounds negative, this is what it means: "There is an instance of Net Responsibility that is already up and running, so this instance can safely quit, letting the running instance do its job." This normally means that NR is working as it should.

What does the output line "Downloading configuration file" mean?

Each NR user's specific configuration settings are stored online based on the settings they chose when they registered and any changes they made since then. This output line means that NR is downloading your configuration settings from the server, in case there were any changes made since the last time it downloaded it. These settings will then inform NR how it should run on your computer.

How do I use the terminal to move into a specific directory/folder?

Once you know the path of the folder you want to move to, you can use the cd command to go there. So, if you want to move to the folder /my/big/folder you can use the following command:

cd /my/big/folder

Assuming you are now in /my/big/folder but you want to move up one folder to /my/big you can use the following command:

cd ..

Whatever folder you are in, if you want to go back to your 'root' folder (i.e. where you are when you first open the terminal), you can use the following command:

cd ~

How do I run a command with 'root' privileges in Ubuntu?

To run a command with 'root' privileges in Ubuntu, you need to add sudo and a space to the front of the command. So if you wanted to run the command net-responsibility -c in order to manually download your NR configuration file, then the full command would look like this:

sudo net-responsibility -c

When you do this, it will normally require you to enter your Ubuntu username and password, unless you did that fairly recently with another command using sudo.