Week of 2022-11-27

Posted by Thomas on 27 November 2022

Since my last update, I've been working on this site, The Pub. Our server continues to grow, thankfully at a very manageable pace. We have only upgraded once since my last update and should be good on capacity and funding for a while. I have seen our first few reports, I am relieved they have been tame so far. I am still working on more for this site to share details on how I operate our server.

Updates to The Pub

I've moved most of the extra material from our server's about page to new pages here. I have left the most important, immediate information for someone considering joining on the server, namely a link to this site, a bit on how to support our instance, and the server rules.

The server rules are non-optional and I find the way they are managed in the Mastodon admin interface a little limiting. I plan to keep a copy of the current rules published on our instance. I am experimenting with a git repository (a software version control tool I use all the time) to keep the canonical version of our server rules. At a minimum, this allows me to offer a history of changes. I want to add more than only the rules, like examples of behavior that is acceptable and unacceptable for each. I have been thinking about codes of conduct, as well, which often define the concrete structures and mechanisms for reporting and dealing with violations.

If you want to help with the server rules, DM me and I can work on setting up access for you.

Upgrades and Capacity

Since my last update, I upgraded our server to the Galaxy plan at masto.host. That is sufficient capacity for about five hundred active users. As I am writing this, we have a little over two hundred active users. That is about double the number of active users since my last post, a little over a week ago.

We have seen increases in new people around the same time as most of the fediverse. At our scale, that has maxed out at about twenty sign ups a day. Currently we are around our usual average of two or three a day. Despite our super obvious domain name, seems like there are several other good instances beer and brewing folks have found as well.

I honestly prefer this slow growth. From my reading, trying to learn to be a better admin, there are specific technical and social risks that come with growth. I prefer that we have more time approach these challenges. Ideally I want to activate more community discussion so I am not navigating these challenges entirely on my own.


I moved the details of our current costs and funding to the support page. I will continue to update the numbers there as they change.

So far, donations have kept good pace with our needs. I have enough cash to operate the server at current capacity for around six months.

One additional note, I operate this site, The Pub, gratis. I already self host a handful of other web sites and small web services. Adding one more static site doesn't noticeably increase my costs. I consider even that marginal cost part of my contribution to support our community.


I have received two reports. One was from one of our users and I implemented a suspension of the remote account at the server level for spam. The other was reported for a post from one of our users. It came from a larger server, I did not see any more specific details. By the time I went to read the post in question, it had already been deleted. I marked that report as resolved on that basis.

If reports continue to come in regularly, I am consider some sort of regular transparency report. I like the idea of providing at least a high level view. I need to figure out an appropriate level of detail, though, that is transparent enough without adversely impacting anyone who may have been involved in a report.

So far, moderation has been manageable. It remains one of my biggest areas of concern for the future. I have read several stories of well intentioned moderation that led to bad outcomes for people that should have been helped. I worry about the day when I have to confront some truly terrible content or make an incredibly difficult decision.

I have not implemented any domain block lists yet. There still isn't a good technical way to do this. Proactively blocking domains feels like it could be good self defense. I blocked one domain already for this reason after seeing them called out on the #mastoadmin tag then reading their about page. That did affect several follows from our instance, a couple of remote accounts I recognized as usually good actors from tech and geek culture.

That first domain block is part of what is giving me pause. Adding a block can affect all of your timelines and the cause likely won't be obvious. That doesn't sit well with my goal of transparency. Yes, I publish our blocks on the server's about page but I doubt anyone checks that regularly, let alone examines it against who they are following. I like the idea of giving people here warning before a block goes into effect. That would help with the invisible impact otherwise. It could encourage outreach to maybe encourage otherwise good actors to consider migrating to a better moderated home.

I am still learning towards adding domain blocks from a trusted list but want to make sure everyone is aware before they go into effect. If you have concerns, questions, or suggestions about domain blocking, please reach out.


I would like to get a broader conversation going about governance for our instance. At our current size, everything feels manageable. I follow a good deal of you directly and am able consistently to keep an eye on the local timeline. The rate of reports likewise has been very low so far. Now seems like a good time to talk about what we as a community would like to do when that changes so we can be prepared.

If you are interested in questions of governance, please let me know. My current thinking is something like a coop but I don't have a huge amount of experience. I will need to do some more reading and learning. I personally would be way more comfortable if we had a structure in place that lets me step away if needed. I have no plans to do so any time soon but I think at a minimum having a plan for that option is wise. A good answer for that specific need could help point us in a direction that works for all of us in general.


I want to get in a weekly habit of sharing these updates. I have started some related conversations using CW with the description of server operations. I will likely continue that practice, too, for more detailed questions or topics. Especially where I could use some community input. I don't want the broad strokes to get lost to the timeline. (I personally also have my posts set to automatically delete after a few months.) I will try to capture any decisions, information, or other outcomes from discussions on the instance back to a page or post here.

If you have a question about how our server runs, I want The Pub to be the single best place to get an answer.

Additions I have started and hope to land here soon include a more detailed financial report and an FAQ. I want to produce a PDF monthly and share them here that shows funds flowing in from donors, payments to our hosting provider, and funds on hand. I have already had some great conversations that would be great to capture in a frequently asked questions format. I think this would be a super helpful resources to better understand our server rules.

Stay tuned! Cheers!