Academic communities need infrastructure, just as our local communities do. And infrastructure requires investment, which is why this Giving Tuesday we’re asking for your support for a new piece of infrastructure we have recently launched: hcommons.social, our Mastodon server.
Mastodon is an open source, decentralized social network developed by a non-profit that is gaining steam as an alternative to the increasingly unstable Twitter. For better or worse, Twitter has become an established part of the academic infrastructure, and while its issues have never been invisible, especially to those who are most harmed by them, recent events have pushed many to find a new space for their academic and social networks to live and grow.
We’ve long been in the infrastructure game, and see this new commitment as important to our work to ensure there are viable options for researchers, students and educators looking for an alternative to for-profit, extractive social media platforms.
Our experience also means we know that maintaining infrastructure is like the duck feet paddling hard under the surface of the water.
Recently, our Mastodon duck hasn’t been so subtle in its paddling as we find and fix the many kinks that have come with launching and seeing it grow so quickly. We’re thrilled that there has been such great uptake, and want to be sure we can continue to support this growth.
Clearly, though, with that commitment comes costs. And this Giving Tuesday, we’re asking for your help so we can continue to invest time and resources in growing hcommons.social.
Right now, our major costs are hosting and maintenance. The former we are currently covering with DigitalOcean credit and the latter is currently covered by volunteer labour. As a rule, we dislike not paying people for their time, so this is a big piece where we hope you as a community can support us to engage someone (or several someones) more regularly and adequately compensate them for their work. Right now, hosting is estimated at $150 per month and we’ve estimated support and maintenance at an additional $150 per month.
In addition, we are planning to establish a moderator community who can take on duties like responding to reported behaviour, approving new accounts and monitoring for spam. Once again, our goal is to be able to offer these moderators a small honorarium for their contributions. We’ve estimated this cost at $200 a month to start.
With these in mind, our goal for this Giving Tuesday campaign is to fund 6 months of hosting, maintenance and moderation for a total of $3000. Can we do it? There’s only one way to find out!!
If you’re as invested as we are in a future where communities build the product, instead of being the product, and in a position to contribute, we would be hugely grateful for your donation. And if you want to know anything more before making a commitment, please reach out to @firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon, or email@example.com (good old fashioned email).
Thank you for all your support,
The HCommons Team