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    while the circumstances are tragic and I wish all the best for all involved, this is another example why crucial services cannot be provided for free.

    If they are, it is either based on self-exploitation or hidden interests – which is both not desireable.

    So please either pay for it (to an association or the like) or DIY – you are to one provider for your own cause that won’t go out of business surprisingly.

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      I think there’s a middle ground between a lone person working for nothing and risking burnout and full corporate stewardship. A healthy community can “work for free” and share the duties and responsibilities. Civil society is full of these organizations. It does require formal stuff like a charter, maybe elections, but the main thing it provides is a way for the community to survive even if some of its leaders decides to step down.

      In fact this is mentioned in the post:

      Choosing and vetting such a new admin would be a lot of work, not to mention the messy process of transferring each piece of infrastructure to them.

      If I had started this process six months ago, this might be possible. But I missed that window.

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        I agree. But it goes beyond just that. The fact that the software is free doesn’t mean the service needs to be. Or that if you pay for service, that you are giving over responsibility.

        With these federated things it’s even easier, you pay someone like masto.host 10$ a month and you’re fully served, and can easily transfer the ownership and responsibility even in urgent cases like this.

        It’s no different then your website. You can host your own, you can pay wordpress to host it for you, and those are probably things you want to keep longer term, unlike tweets and Facebook statuses.

        But it’s also not for everybody. I’m just happy that I have the option.

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          I do consider the time put in organisations for elections or administration also a cost even if volunteered.

          I don’t call for free what costs no money but time.

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          No, this is much more the case of a single person starting a project with no fallback admin. If this was a team there could’ve been a plan in place to find a replacement if just one of N people vanishes.

          That’s basically the reason I personally would not start such a project without a (small) team of people I trust, or at least a single other person to take over for a while. If this sounded like blaming the admin of that instance, it wasn’t intended - just a lesson I have learned. Also teams have different problems, but usually not this one.

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            team or not doesn’t mean a thing – if you want things for free you have no claim to make.

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              I didn’t make a claim. Just from the admin’s post I’d gather that providing a service for a fee could (I’m not saying would) have changed nothing. As long as there are no SLAs given they could still say “that’s it, server is shutting down”. A hypothetical different admin could even add “thanks for making me rich, suckers” - and it would not change a thing that the users would not have the instance they’re using anymore after date X.

              My point was… something happened that made them stop the server. Material costs aside, this could have been fixed by having a team in place “Choosing and vetting such a new admin would be a lot of work,”

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            Or, simply don’t invest in mastodon instances that don’t have proper administration behind them… One guy is a recipe for disaster

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              What instances do have proper administration?

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                No idea, not a mastodon user, but, given the reasons in the article, it seems to me the operators of these instances should be transparent to their users about their operations structure

                I’m assuming this guy was pretty transparent, and yet the users joined anyway… Maybe for smaller instances it’s fine to be run by one guy, but once it grows to a certain size, the community should decide on important matters like this

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                  Sure if that community contributes in any way. Partially you’re also correct, even Ash (the instance administrator in question) says that he should have set this up earlier.

                  But switch of trust to a committee might not be everybody’s idea of good practices. Personally I was okay with trusting Ash but if he did transfer the admin function, I’m sure a lot of people could see that as a problem.

                  But none of it matters -you just migrate your account elsewhere and you’re done

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                  e.g. https://digitalcourage.social which charges you a Euro per month.

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              This highlights some reasons I don’t believe federation (of the email or Fediverse variety) is a good architecture for social networks:

              1. Your identity is tied to one server, so migrating to another server isn’t just awkward, it has social ramifications.
              2. The server admin has access to all your data, so you put a lot of trust in them
              3. But admins are generally volunteers (who’s going to pay for an account when there are a zillion other servers that are free?) so it’s difficult for them to put sufficient resources into running a busy server.

              As I’ve said before, I favor an architecture partway between fed and p2p, where the only purpose of a server is as a store-and-forward relay/cache/proxy. All user data is signed and/or encrypted, and its location is irrelevant; it just flows between clients.

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                Your identity is tied to one server

                It is tied to one DNS name. You should always use one you control. You don’t have to be technical and self host for that, but you do need to use a service that lets you use your own name (such as masto.host or togethr.party) - then if they shut down or you want to move you just point your name at the new setup and no one has to know it even happened

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                  You should always use one you control.

                  Unfortunately the Mastodon model seems to discourage self-hosted instances, as it seems to encourage you to use your local instance as a way to find like-minded people.

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                    Yes, this is a toxic cultural problem, but not a technical one

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                    I use my own domain for federation, but this is a high bar to expect people to meet. Expecting this to be the answer to the problem will ensure that the community itself will stay very very small. Which is great for some communities, but not for creating real distributed platforms.

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                      You can get a domain for quite cheap these days. Togethr.party even includes them in the price if you like and will get it for you, but still let you transfer it wherever later if you want to leave or use it for something else.

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                        I think Adam meant a high technical bar, or at least a high bar in terms of effort. Having your own domain has always been a niche thing; either techies or folks who are serious about self-branding.

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                          Many domain registrars are awful it’s true, that’s why more offerings need to include the domain option right away so that it’s a package deal, I think, to get people used to it being easy

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                  A shame, I met a lot of nice people there and found couple friends too.

                  I have moved to Fosstodon, thankfully in fediverse migration from server to another is quite painless.

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                    can you describe how the process works a little? i’m interested but don’t have the time to look into it atm.

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                      AFAIK only Mastodon has implemented the process fully, but essentially, you send a notification to all of your followers that your account has been moved to some other place, and the servers of the followers are expected to automatically add your your new account to their followed list. I think some non-mastodon servers implement the automatic adding of the new account to follows, but sending the account change notification is only implemented in Mastodon.

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                        This is the first time that I’ve read about a plan for sunsetting though, and personally did experience more than one “oops, instance gone, no warning” before. So a blanket “migration from server to another is quite painless” is highly misleading.

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                          Two parts. Migrating your history (posts and media) is managed via expert/import function in Mastodon. Now managing followers you can pick: either you just point to your new account and say “please follow me there from now on, in which case some followers might be following, or a full “use that account from now on” which essentially shuts down your old account and automatically redirect all followers to follow your now new account