99.908% Uptime in 2023

Our uptime for 2023 was 99.908%

We crunched the numbers and are happy to report that in 2023 https://datasci.social 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 https://datasci.social got its Mastodon version upgraded to the latest version 4.2.5 yesterday, immediately after a critical vulnerability became public: https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/security/advisories/GHSA-3fjr-858r-92rw.

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: https://datasci.social/settings/privacy

Our stance on Threads

datasci.social is not preemptively blocking Threads (for now)

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

Here my (Michael’s) short answer:

Has datasci.social suspended or limited the threads.net domain?

Will datasci.social suspend or limit the threads.net 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 threads.net 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 datasci.social. 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: https://www.timothychambers.net/2023/06/23/project-and-the.html

We will stay vigilant and keep monitoring the situation. For now we treat threads.net 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 threads.net, 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 datasci.social 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 datasci.social in the long term. Every single $ helps. There are no commercial interests behind datasci.social, 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 datasci.social: https://community.datasci.social/docs/support/

In any case, have fun on datasci.social 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 https://datasci.social 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:

datasci.social 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: https://community.datasci.social/docs/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 datasci.social!

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: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=88962596

We will list supporters on our support page: https://community.datasci.social/docs/support/

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 https://datasci.social! 🥳

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 datasci.social. Members are growing steadily, rate of posts is now over 100/week. The gap in january was due to a missing data source.

datasci.social 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 https://datasci.social 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: https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/releases/tag/v4.1.0

Growth after open registration

After opening registrations, we are growing

Update after 1 week of open registrations at datasci.social: 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

datasci.social 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: https://datasci.social/auth/sign_up

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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109715558321049775]

New blog for server updates

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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109586707593045947]

I have finished setting up a blog about server updates for https://datasci.social here: https://datascisocial.github.io/blog/ #serverinfo #mastoadmin

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

We now also have a new admin email address: datasci.social@proton.me 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109529632807504224]

Btw, today https://datasci.social has turned 1 month old 🥳 #serverinfo #mastoadmin
We are 45 people now, see below our place in the universe of instances:

datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109528660377988552]

If registrations were open, would you join https://datasci.social? :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%

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109506480484787426]

Happy to report that in the first 3+ weeks of running datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109410236599220838]

Our instance https://datasci.social 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 datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109384382663865252]

Update on our https://datasci.social 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): https://observablehq.com/@mauforonda/what-goes-on-in-mastodon

Scatterplot of users versus posts of all indexed Mastodon instances, loglog scale. datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109377758797505850]

Update on our https://datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109374854036872933]

We had a slight hiccup at datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109372480577572934]

Just added these fancy custom #emojis to our server https://datasci.social

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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109371260177603579]

After our first day we now have 14 active people on our https://datasci.social 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

[Post copied from https://datasci.social/@mszll/109365042571003803]

About our #server https://datasci.social: 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 👍 )