Major News

One year old is one year old

One year ago, was created! 🥳🎂 In this time has become a vibrant online community with 286 people who have joined from all over the world, from various disciplines or from industry, providing an online home for the data science community, broadly defined. Explore our awesome stream here: is 1 year old!

There has been smooth, mostly constant growth over the past year, and luckily we have been facing no moderative or technical challenges. Although we have a fantasic team of 6 voluntary admins/moderators, they didn’t have much to do: All that happened in a year was one week of interference from a few spam accounts spawning on other servers, which required in total 5 moderative actions. Our total downtime in this year was 488 minutes, which means an uptime of above 99.9%!

In the past months, we have also received more and more generous financial support from the community (Thank you!💕), which now covers half of our running costs. This enables running our space without ads or other interferences known from for-profit platforms, and has brought us on a realistic path towards sustainable long-term operation. Also, one year ago Mastodon hosting providers were overwhelmed due to a frenzy of new servers being created, but now the dust has settled and we might look into more affordable hosting options that might have become available over time.

Our server has not reached any capacity limits yet, and also the community is doing very well, so we continue to stay open. For now we also keep registration at to require manual approval so our server cannot get swamped with too many new, potentially malicious, registrations overnight. So far we have processed all new registration requests well within 12 hours, a time we keep striving for.

Although Mastodon is not the perfect online social network yet, it is better than other platforms we know, not least because of its extraordinary engagement and civility which makes it great for scientists. All in all, has turned out a fantastic project and experience, much smoother than anticipated, which we aim to keep nurturing for many more years! 🌱

Chart showing growth of users in blue and number of posts in yellow. Users are now at 286, posts above 4000. The chart did not update since October due to data issues. is marked with a yellow circle in the middle of the log-log scatterplot that shows users vs posts of all mastodon servers.

If you like, and if you have the means, please consider donating - every euro goes into server hosting:

Registrations opened

We extended our server capacity and opened registrations

🚨 Registrations at are now open! Sign up here:

How to migrate your account:

Before doing so, let us clarify our philosophy and roadmap:

The present and future of

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 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 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 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 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’s governance develop in any conceivable stable way, from a group-led instance to a self-organized, community-governed entity like We will see what works best.


If you think you fit and are interested to join, 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 admin/mod team

New team, roadmap, community pages

We assembled a new admin/mod team, and have roadmap and community pages ready

In preparation for opening registrations next week, some news 🚨

  1. New mod/admin team: @benfmaier @eflegara @estebanmoro @sdesojo Not a single report so far, but good to be prepared.

  2. We adhere to the Mastodon covenant:

  3. Roadmap:

  4. Community pages:, with info on management, moderation, security, server. Check it out! #mastoadmin #serverinfo

Stay tuned for opening news!

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Landing page of Social media for social data scientists. Especially welcome: Women, black, global south & marginalized researchers opened

Opening post

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First post from our shiny new server! Super happy it worked out 🥳 #mastoadmin #serverinfo

The goal of this #server is to create a community of nice & diverse people who are researching #HumanCentric #DataScience and adjacent topics. Due to capacity/funding limits, will be joinable via invites only for some time.

+Welcome to our first members @estebanmoro and @nerdsitu !


99.908% Uptime in 2023

Our uptime for 2023 was 99.908%

We crunched the numbers and are happy to report that in 2023 had an uptime of 99.908%. The difference to 100% was due to two unplanned downtimes of around 4 hours each. Our uptime from our founding in Nov 2022 until now is 99.923%, meaning a downtime of 34 minutes per month on average.

We strive to keep this high reliability. Despite not being a commercial service, our reliability level fulfils the 99.9% Service Level Agreements of cloud services of major industry players like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Mastodon version updated to 4.2.5

Mastodon version updated to 4.2.5

Our server got its Mastodon version upgraded to the latest version 4.2.5 yesterday, immediately after a critical vulnerability became public:

This long overdue update from version 4.1.9 also comes with new features that were added in the 4.2.x line, for example privacy settings where you can control if you want your posts to appear in search or on the Explore page. Both are opt-in, so if you want to have this, make sure to enable them:

Our stance on Threads is not preemptively blocking Threads (for now)

With Meta’s Threads recently starting concrete federation experiments, we have been asked about’s stance concerning preemptive suspension (also called “defederation” or “fediblock”).

Here my (Michael’s) short answer:

Has suspended or limited the domain?

Will suspend or limit the domain?
Possibly, if/whenever necessary. We are closely monitoring the situation.

Long answer: Given Meta’s abysmal history with surveillance capitalism and human rights it is reasonable to consider Threads a bad faith actor, meaning that its activities should be assumed to underlie as exploitative as possible motives. In the context of Mastodon this could mean some kind of “Embrace, extend, and extinguish” strategy, indiscriminate data collection, or worse. Therefore we are empathethic with any server admin who preemptively suspends or limits the domain. From our side however, we do not follow this strategy at the moment, because:

  1. Suspending an entire instance is a huge, irreversible hammer. As per our community pages, “we try to be reasonable: It can be important to block fast, but too indiscriminate blocking can also be harmful”. Since individuals can already block a whole domain by themselves, a server-side suspension should not be implemented rashly.
  2. It is not yet clear what potential benefits there could be from Threads federating. Although there might be little - or the cons might easily outweigh any pros - we need more information to understand this evolving situation before jumping to conclusions.
  3. There seems to be no imminent danger yet. This gives us time to first have a considerate discussion between all admins, moderators, and other members of Should there be an imminent danger at any point, we would of course reevaluate quickly.
  4. Even without any imminent danger, the reasonable point could be made that a federated Threads will undermine the Fediverse slowly or indirectly. Again, whenever there are concrete indications that this is happening or about to happen, we will act accordingly.
  5. See more detailed arguments here:

We will stay vigilant and keep monitoring the situation. For now we treat just as any other instance, and we are ready to react fast if necessary. At the same time, should we ever decide that we want to limit or suspend, we will aim to give as much advance notice as possible - especially if doing so could disrupt our members. Peace!

Thank you to our supporters!

We have more and more financial supporters

We have more and more financial supporters that help us maintain our Mastodon instance - A big thank you to all our supporters! ❤️

We are now covering around half of our running server expenses with voluntary donations, which is great news for sustaining in the long term. Every single $ helps. There are no commercial interests behind, just people who aim to build a good community around data science (broadly defined), therefore we will always be ad-free. We strive to provide the best possible service with voluntary moderators/admins and as few as possible downtimes.

If you have the means, you still have 2 months left to get your name on our list of 2023 supporters who helped kickstart

In any case, have fun on and Mastodon!

4h server outage

There was a server outage on saturday

We had an unplanned server outage on saturday for 4h14min, for technical reasons. We are sorry for the downtime and thank you for your understanding.

This downtime has decreased our server uptime in this year to 99.86%, which is still less than an hour downtime per month.

Six months old

We are six months old and have 133 members

This week has turned 6 months old 🥳

We are 133 people now (68 active), with increased growth in the past few weeks. Our server hosts a community for #DataScience, broadly defined. See below our place in the universe of servers: is marked with a yellow circle in the middle of the log-log scatterplot that shows users vs posts of all mastodon servers.

Chart showing growth of users in blue and number of posts in yellow. Users are now at 133, posts above 2300.

Admin dashboard showing increased users and activity in the last month.

Our operation is financed via donations, we are grateful for support:

New admin

New admin

One more admin joined our team today: Lucio La Cava (@luciolcw)
Lucio is a researcher researching the social network of Mastodon, so he has particular insights into the system.

We still had zero moderative reports on our server so far, and we have a calm pace of new sign-ups. Therefore, there is currently no necessity to extend our team, but we want to be well prepared for a possible flood of sign-ups in case other, larger online social networks collapse.

Welcome Lucio to the team, thank you for volunteering at!

4h server outage

There was a server outage today

We just had a server outage for 3h51min. We are sorry for the downtime. The reason had to do with a release of the IP by the infrastructure provider. According to our server host this is being worked on so it cannot happen again. Thank you for your understanding.

Donations pages opened

Donations pages opened

We opened a Patreon page to allow our members supporting our running costs financially, which is several 100$ per year:

We will list supporters on our support page:

We appreciate any support - every $ counts, and all goes directly to server hosting and maintenance!

Screenshot from our Patreon page, showing 4 different membership tiers

100 members

100 members reached

We have reached 100 members on! 🥳

Since opening registrations in Jan with 50 members we have doubled in size, following a nice pace of growth. We are now also steadily posting over 100 new posts/week.

With ample capacity to grow, we encourage everyone interested in data science, network science, computational social science, and related fields to join us, or to spread the word about our place. Although we have 5 mods/admins, we still had no single moderative report so far. Our server had 99.998% uptime. Smooth sailing!

Our next step is to implement a support page for members to have the possibility to donate to the running costs of our server.

Enjoy and see you on Mastodon!

Growth of members (top, blue) and posts (yellow, bottom) of Members are growing steadily, rate of posts is now over 100/week. The gap in january was due to a missing data source. is marked with a yellow circle in the middle of the log-log scatterplot that shows members vs posts of all mastodon instances.

Mastodon version updated to 4.1.0

Mastodon version updated to 4.1.0

Our server just got its Mastodon version upgraded to the latest version 4.1.0 which was released two weeks ago. Most notably, you can now add alt text to images you have already posted or edit existing alt text. It has been frustrating until now to be unable to add/edit forgotten or incorrect alt text.

Apart from alt texts and many small fixes, it is now possible for admins to import server-wide domain blocks which might come in handy for server-level moderation.

See the full release notes here:

Growth after open registration

After opening registrations, we are growing

Update after 1 week of open registrations at We had 24 new signups, growing to 64 active members. This is a nice pace - everything running smoothly. We have capacity for much more 😎 #mastoadmin #serverinfo is probably the only Mastodon instance dedicated to #dataScience or #networkScience - if you are active in these topics and want to be part in / build a place with like-minded people, join us here:

Screenshot from admin dashboard, showing 2 graphical timelines and text: 24 new users (+60%), 64 active users (+36%)

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New blog for server updates

We have set up this blog and a new admin email address

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I have finished setting up a blog about server updates for here: #serverinfo #mastoadmin

Was a great learning experience on #githubPages, #githubActions, and #Hugo 👍

We now also have a new admin email address: This will be important for whenever we possibly have more admins in the future.

Screenshot of our server update blog showing header and the last blog post

One month old

We are one month old and have 45 members

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Btw, today has turned 1 month old 🥳 #serverinfo #mastoadmin
We are 45 people now, see below our place in the universe of instances: is marked with a yellow circle in the middle of the log-log scatterplot that shows users vs posts of all mastodon instances.

Chart showing growth of users in blue and number of posts in yellow. Users are now at 45, posts above 600.

Poll on growth

We run a poll on the future of our instance

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If registrations were open, would you join :python: :rstats: :networkx:

(Context: Registrations are currently closed due to limited budget/capacity, but we could consider to grow in 2023. No promises though! #serverinfo #mastoadmin )

30% (15) Yes, 56% (28) No, 20% (10) I’m already there and want it to grow, 8% (4) I’m already there and don’t want it to grow

99.990% Uptime

After 3 weeks we report an uptime of 99.990%

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Happy to report that in the first 3+ weeks of running we had 99.990% uptime. We missed one 5-minute tick. #mastoadmin #serverinfo

status bar showing green statuses for the last 3+ weeks and 99.990% uptime

One week old

We are one week old and have 39 members

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Our instance is now one week old! 🥳 We are now 39 people, still a good way below our current server capacity of 100. Everything still running smoothly. Waiting for several 2nd-level invites to get used up or expire before thinking about further growth. #mastoadmin #serverinfo

Growth of users (top, blue) and posts (yellow, bottom) of over the last 5 days. Both user growth rate and rate of posts were fast first but have stabilized for now.

Instance indexed

Our instance is now indexed and has 33 members

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Update on our instance, day 3: We are now 33, and more people keep joining, slowly but surely. 🐌 Everything still running smoothly. #mastoadmin #serverinfo

We are also indexed and appear here (highlighted in light blue):

Scatterplot of users versus posts of all indexed Mastodon instances, loglog scale. is highlighted in light blue. Marker colors go from blue to white to red, showing absolute number of new users in the last 24 hours.

Members update, day 2

Update on our members

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Update on our instance, day 2: We are now 23, and more people keep joining, slowly but surely. 🐌 Everything still running smoothly. #mastoadmin #serverinfo

Hi-Five to us! 🙌
@carolinamttssn @LR @nerdsitu @estebanmoro @yaxi @martikagv @leoferres @alsbirk @trivikverma @NeaveOClery @eflegara @yy @sdesojo @pholme @alel @converge @lajello @annasapienza @Petem @robysinatra @benfmaier @lauretti @mherranz

Email outage

There was an email outage today

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We had a slight hiccup at with our email provider in the last ~16 hours which has been resolved now. (Was due to #TwitterMigration) Sorry for any delays in receiving system emails, like for sign-up. #mastoadmin #serverinfo

Custom emojis added

We added some fitting custom emojis

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Just added these fancy custom #emojis to our server

pandas :python:
rstats :rstats:
pandas :pandas:
numpy :numpy:
geopandas :geopandas:
osm :osm:

If I’m missing anything vital for #DataScience, let me know! #mastoadmin #serverinfo

First day members

Description of our members after one day

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After our first day we now have 14 active people on our server:
6 senior / 8 junior (research-wise)
6 female / 8 male
3 aged 40+ / 11 below 40

Wide variation of followers (2-2580). Everything still running super smoothly. Going to continue to grow veeery carefully for now 🐌 … #mastoadmin #serverinfo

Invite only registrations

Explanation why registrations are invite only

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About our #server We are doing invite-only sign-ups for now for technical/budget reasons, and not because of elitism. And because a slow ramp-up is more healthy for the community, #moderation etc.

(I have run a massive online community for 20 years, 15k active users at peak, so I have some idea what I am doing. #mastoadmin #serverinfo 👍 )