I'm hosting a webinar about trust and safety on the fediverse this Thursday, Dec 8th at 12pm Eastern. It's an introduction to the state of content moderation and community safety here.

I hope it will be useful to people at civil society organizations who have perhaps heard about Mastodon and the fediverse and would like to know more about where there are gaps in funding and services, and places where orgs could potentially help augment what's already happening.

RSVP: meedan.com/event/webinar-trust

(As I told a colleague of mine who'd suffered a not-exactly-catastrophic but still serious data loss due to hard drive failure, the good news is that everyone I know who has ever experienced such a crisis has never done so a second time. One becomes vigilant, let us say.)

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Some of you may wonder what measures we've taken to shore things up around hcommons.social since the troubles. Here's some info about the new architecture:

1. We're no longer running with the application, the database, and the file store on a single VM. Instead we've got a somewhat overpowered VM for the application, with a managed database and an S3-compatible object storage bucket, all through Digital Ocean.

2. DO's managed databases are backed up quite thoroughly. They take a full backup every 24 hours, and then take a write ahead backup every 5 minutes, so if something goes wrong we can restore to a specific point in time.

3. We're also running up-to-date software! Our original installation was a DO one-click, but that configuration was super dated, so it was running an old OS, an old version of Postgres, and more. As we started updating Mastodon to catch up with the present, we wound up with some serious memory leaks. On Ubuntu 22.10, with Postgres 14, everything is super tidy.

Sometimes published research is so poorly done that you can't help but publish a reply that does it better. If you do write such a reply, keep rewriting it until it's generous enough that you can send it to the original author and they would endorse its publication. The world could use fewer take downs and hit pieces, and academia could use a more shared sense of purpose.

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Last summer, I removed my work email from my phone and disabled all work-related DM notifications (except for Slack, which I don't use with anyone at my institution). It made what turned out to be a brutal semester more humane.

Over the past few months I (re)learned that there are no real emergencies (at least not ones that come through email) and that people can wait a reasonable amount of time for a response. And I realized that I don't have to apologize for taking a reasonable amount of time to respond. I became more present at work and began establishing stronger boundaries at home.

I cannot recommend this enough. I don't think I can ever go back.

Hey, @chrisaldrich! It's been a while since I've been in touch with you around stuff. I'd love to know if there have been any new developments, or if there are new possibilities on the horizon, especially on Mastodon <=> WP front. I'm thinking about my writing workflows and how I'd like to structure them in the weeks ahead...

> Grounded in a model of individual success that rewards white men and the knowledge they have created for centuries, academia promotes competitiveness, exceptionalism, and ownership of history and knowledge-making. We are primed to believe we “find” history in an archive and therefore own it. We come up with ideas about major processes in society—from colonialism to historical legacies of oppression—and imagine no one else could possibly share similar thoughts, even when these are based on human experiences we share. We hold our critical thoughts and our important insights hostage until graced with coveted peer-reviewed publications that can forever grant us the seal of ownership.
> Lorgia García Peña, _Community as Rebellion_ (25)

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Financially comfortable academics (or other professionals) generously doing stuff for free that folks would otherwise charge for is very kind, *and also* undercuts people trying to make a living. If you don't charge what you're worth, other people trying to will suffer for it.

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I'm feeling all kinds of grateful for this amazing hcommons.social community this morning. It's such a delight to read through the local timeline and see post after post from folks doing transformational work in and around the humanities. Thanks for the inspiration at a moment when I can really use it. ❤️

Did you know that you can now link your Mastodon handle to your Commons profile?

Just go to Edit under your photo when you are logged into the Commons and under Institutional or Other Affiliation you'll find the field to add it!

Use the format @YOUR USERNAME@hcommons.social and don't forget to save changes at the bottom.


We’re invested in a future where communities build the product, instead of being the product. If you are in a position to contribute to our campaign, we would be hugely grateful for your support! tinyurl.com/yc28usz4

Maintaining infrastructure is like ducks on water: unseen, rapid, paddling. This , we’re asking for donations to continue investing time and resources in growing hcommons.social. Donate at tinyurl.com/yc28usz4.

Choosing a Mastodon instance 

We all have different reasons to join Mastodon: I thought I’d share why I jumped at the chance to chose the hcommons instance.

First: Humanities Commons is already built on tech values that I share: open access, community-oriented. I have reason to trust they will develop an instance with this in mind.

Second: for me, social media has long primarily been an organizing and solidarity building space. A broadly defined and open humanities platform felt like the best place from which to build alliances across disciplines, institutions, and professions. This, to me, is what the future of my work looks like. It’s exciting to watch that unfold here.

Good morning, and welcome back from the holiday to observing US folks! hcommons.social is up and running smooth as silk, I’m happy to report. Our apologies once again for the bumps (and losses) we experienced in the transition to our new server environment. Now that we’re settled in, I’m turning my attention to some questions of community . I’m looking into Loomio as a suggestion and decision-making platform, but I’d love to hear if there are more suggestions out there!

behind-the-scenes photo taken earlier in the week, of hcommons.social admin trying to get that mastodon moving again


Want to help redesign one of the most popular and widely-used tools for researchers?

Zotero is hiring a designer: zotero.org/jobs/ui_designer

Would do it if I could. Ideal for someone else who has great UX / product design chops.

Good morning, all! The server appears to be stable enough that I'm reopening account requests for hcommons.social. I am likely to space out approvals a bit to be sure that things remain stable.

We are still looking into ways of recovering some of the missing data. In the meantime, do alert folks who followed you since 11/17 that they might see you in their following lists but they may want to unfollow and refollow to ensure a proper connection.

More as we know it. And happy Friday, in the meantime!

Big shout out to Darius Kazemi (@darius). Who is he, you ask? Well, he *wrote* the fork of Mastodon we're using on hcommons.social (github.com/hometown-fork/homet), for one thing. But he's also a digital artist, a game programmer, an expert on federated systems, and someone actively trying to fix the internet (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_K). He's a big deal, really. But picture this: He gets an email from one of the thousands of clueless nerds trying to run a Mastodon server. He responds immediately, sets up a Zoom call, and takes the time to help us. It was a heroically kind thing to do, and @kfitz and I hope to pay it forward one of these days. Thanks again, Darius!

Seconding @sramsay here: it’s been a brutal couple of days with our fair share of mishaps along the way. But I will say this: if you ever find yourself in the middle of a technical disaster, you want Steve on your side. (Thanks as well to @darius, who took time out of his afternoon to talk us through a couple of issues.) Heartfelt apologies for the lost time, and the lost data. We’re hoping we can rebuild from here.

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hcommons.social is a microblogging network supporting scholars and practitioners across the humanities and around the world.