The Building blog joins the "Sustaining the Commons" blog as part of our effort to better connect with all of our users. Coming soon--'Growing the Commons'!

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Humanities Commons is launching a development blog called "Building the Commons". In this first post I discuss how we plan to use ActivityPub to create a decentralized Commons network.

@foundhistory @dh I totally agree, and yet I keep running up against one stumbling block that I'm not sure how to contend with: the building of those teams. Right now, many faculty only get "credit" for projects on which they are PI or co-PI, or are otherwise seen as leading "their" project. So how do we build a culture in which folks get appropriate rewards for contributing to the projects that are led by others, thus cultivating a more genuinely collaborative faculty?

I want to preface this with a genuine expression of solidarity with the NYT walkout… while also acknowledging that this is pretty darn funny.

@lachance Thank you! I really appreciate it, and hope the quiet contemplative time is in fact ahead.

This morning, I am officially kicking off the process of revising Leading Generously for final submission. As the discussions there will show, I’ve got a lot of work ahead. My hope is that in this revision I might get a good bit more clear about who this book is for, and about the complexities of what I’m arguing. The draft increasingly feels to me as if it’s undecided about its audience but overly decided about its recommendations, and that’s… problematic.

So! Last call for comments, I guess. And more from me as I get down into it.

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.


(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 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.

@tim @Bookish Our server problems are solved! But we remain good people. 😁

@chrisaldrich HUGE thanks for this!! I am going to dig in and explore this weekend. Super exciting stuff. (And thanks for the Hometown info. The local-only post option is one of the reasons we chose it. Also the ability to permit a longer post length. Both allow for a more experimental, creative space, I think.)

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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@pam Thank you for this. It's so important to think about the ways that our always-connectedness creates expectations that we not only can't but don't have to live with.

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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