This report covers the San Francisco Bay regional Mastodon instance sfba.social, with general statistics, financial details including income (donations) and expenses (hosting costs), moderation efforts, and changes made and being considered.
On December 31, we tallied roughly 36,750 friends on sfba.social. This is an increase of about 5,000 users during the month.
From Dec 1st-31st, the moderation team received 364 reports. This number decreased by 57% from November’s number, which is fantastic.
The Mastodon back end counted roughly 930,000 interactions, which is 7% less than what we saw in November, 2022.
We are very fortunate that financial contributions are easily covering the monthly hosting costs. We are even starting to build reserves to sustain the instance long-term. To further increase transparency of our finances, we moved to OpenCollective (OC) as our crowdfunding tool. In addition, OC allows us to decouple SFBA from any personal bank accounts and credit cards (work is in progress).
Our expenses are mainly monthly hosting costs with Linode and AWS:
Since we haven’t used up all donations of the last two months, we started to maintain a very simple balance sheet:
With our projected burn rate, the running costs of the instance are covered for five more months now.
Donations will remain the largest source of funding for the server and we are targeting 6-months of funding reserve.
We are accepting donations at: opencollective.com/sfba-mastodon
Moderators work to make sure the sfba.social rules are followed, so that the local feed posts follow our rules. Each user can actively curate their feeds with Filters and the Mute and Block tools, which we strongly encourage, along with promptly reporting users or posts that go against our server rules.
The Admin/Mod team handled 364 reports in the month of December. This is a decrease over November, where the moderation team resolved 680 reports. This is a clear return to the reporting levels required before the great influx of friends in November:
- Oct. was at 1.05 reports/100 users (2000 users)
- Nov. jumped up to 2.14 reports/100 users (31800 users)
- Dec. came back down to 0.9 reports/100 users (36750 users)
Way to go everyone!
We have added an additional moderator to our team to help us craft server policy and handle overflow. The vast majority of reports are resolved within 24 hrs.
At the end of the month, there were 0 open local report and 0 reports on remote instances, as well as 2 pending appeals.
In addition to account moderation, sfba.social has been addressing bad actors on the federated network by defederating instances with poor moderation standards or with a history of poor enforcement. We have also begun defederating tweet-forwarding services, since these do not have the consent of the tweeter for republication.
Added Admin/Mod Team Members
Our team expanded again, with @jeffkibuule and @neuralgraffiti joining @seb, @cd24, @moritz, and @ingurido.
Revised CoC & Server Rules
Due to the need to be both concise and clear, we worked on our server rules and Code of Conduct.
Our revised Server Rules can be found here: https://sfba.social/about
Our Code of Conduct can be found here: https://hub.sfba.social/code-of-conduct/
- Stopped using CloudFront: When we analyzed our cost structure for November we realized that AWS CloudFront was the biggest expense block with $681, larger than all virtual machines running on Linode combined (see transparency report for November). We used CloudFront to distribute media files (photos, videos, etc) from S3. Since we were already running nginx reverse proxies in front of the puma workers the configuration change to have those nginx instances also proxy (and cache!) all media content thereby replacing CloudFront was straightforward.
The additional load on nginx to serve the static files is negligible and the additional egress fits easily in the Linode Monthly Network Transfer Pool (with every VM comes some amount of free egress on Linode). The cache hit rate is greater than 80% resulting in cost savings of more than $500 for the single month of December.
- Completed Open Collective onboarding, began migration from Ko-fi for donations.
- Completed the registration process with the US Copyright Office to receive and respond to DMCA requests. (Additional information about our DMCA process is available on the info hub: https://hub.sfba.social/dmca-requests.html )
- Further refined server rules; they reflect our Code of Conduct and are blessedly concise, which helps our moderation effort.
- Adding a “Mastodon, by example” guide to the information hub to help new users get going quickly.
- Adding additional language to the Code of Conduct to provide ways for local businesses to engage without overwhelming the timeline and allowing users to opt-out. (Would be announced via @announcements account).
- We are pondering an increase of the character limit on posts, which is currently 500 characters. We are also thinking about switching code base from vanilla Mastodon to Hometown. If we decide that these things are doable and maintainable, we will involve the SFBA community in the decision making process, of course.
We look forward to the next month/year– If you would like to contribute, please donate to opencollective.com/sfba-mastodon
We are very grateful for everyone’s contribution, no matter whether you contribute through wonderful content, thoughtful remarks and discussions, or financially. This is our space and you show us every day how nice a social network can be – Thank you!
Your Admin & Moderation team:
@seb @cd24 @moritz @ingurido @jeffkibuule @neuralgraffiti