🚨 Registrations at datasci.social are now open! Sign up here: https://datasci.social/auth/sign_up
How to migrate your account: https://mstdn.social/@feditips/107939441820299376
The present and future of datasci.social
The instance was set up on Nov 17, 2022, for this reason:
The goal of this server is to create a community of nice and diverse people who are researching human-centric data science and adjacent topics. For example human-centric data/network science, social data science, urban/geospatial data science, computational social science. Not welcome: bullies, harassers, big abusive/toxic egos.
Because this server was set up with personal funding, it initially only covered up to 100 active users. Therefore it was joinable by invitation only. After a first batch of invites and snowball invites, we have grown to around 50 active members so far. However, it still feels quite empty, and after an informal poll showed enough interest in growth we now decided to expand server capacity and to open registrations temporarily to grow.
Philosophy, and motivation
The server capacity has just been expanded from about 100 to 500 active members. It is still only financed from personal pockets, but we plan to soon set up a donation page where anybody can chip in if they want to help out. We have created datasci.social to counter the danger of surveillance capitalism screwing up social media and manipulating public opinion, as demonstrated recently by Twitter’s demise. We believe we can do things better in a “grassroots” approach. If you agree, then datasci.social could be a fitting place for you. And if you just came to post/discuss about research - or any other topic you find interesting - that’s perfect! 👍
Management, security and trust
Growing a community needs to be done in a responsible way - as we know from 20 years of community management experience. Therefore, we made sure to adhere to the Mastodon covenant, which specifies that there should be at least two people with emergency server access, and that in case of a shutdown 3 months advance notice must be given to have enough time for people to download their data and emigrate. Further, we have assembled a competent and diverse admin/mod team, which currently consists of Ben F. Maier, Erika Legara, Esteban Moro, Michael Szell, Silvia De Sojo Caso. Moderation was not needed so far at all, but we are preparing to grow also this important part for the community, as needed.
Plans for 2023
For 2023 we just extended our server capacity, we ensured adherence to the covenant, and we have set up our community pages to communicate updates. We have also opened registrations, and will close them once we have reached 300 members. Inspired by other science servers, registration at datasci.social requires stating a reason and your ORCID, followed by manual approval by our mod/admin team (which we aim to provide fast). This is just to make sure that we actually get researchers/professionals to sign up, and to avoid the server getting swamped overnight.
We will soon set up a donations page, monitor and adjust our server rules and community documents transparently, and grow our admin/mod team if needed. If we take any major new steps, this would be done only after some time to give the community enough time to build up and stabilize.
Plans beyond 2023
For the long-term we are very open to continue diluting power in the spirit of decentralization, so that datasci.social may establish a governance structure where there is never the danger that one person or a small group can screw up everything - if there is interest. Concerning growth, ideally we should not surpass some hundred active members, as more than that could become unmanageable. We are totally open to let datasci.social’s governance develop in any conceivable stable way, from a group-led instance to a self-organized, community-governed entity like social.coop. We will see what works best.
If you think you fit and are interested to join datasci.social, we encourage you to do so. But don’t hesitate too long, because 300 members could be reached quite soon. In any case, have fun with Mastodon!
Michael & The datasci.social admin/mod team