I’m new to the Fediverse, but I’ve been primarily using it to try and wean myself off a decade+ long reddit addiction.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot is how people on Lemmy seem to have a misconception about how difficult it is to administer and moderate these platforms. I’ve read a lot of people talking about how the ability to host your own Lemmy instance gives you the experience of Reddit, but without needing to worry about mods or admins. They are quick to talk about how easy it is to move on from an instance, saying things like “just create your own instance and move on.”

I think it’s true as a lurker that migrating instances is easy and low investment. But losing all the content and community is a huge price to pay. Yes, it’s relatively simple to set up an instance, but the difficult thing is keeping it up despite prices and wild fluctuations in users.

The owner of the nsfw Lemmy instance, for example, already has thrown in the towel this week, just two weeks after opening a relatively successful instance. He gave up moderating, but couldn’t get anyone else to take over hosting the instance. So he is now stuck with that. Honestly, I would be surprised to see that instance sticking around in the same form for much longer.

My point is simply that stewarding a community takes a massive amount of time, effort and money on behalf of those hosting and moderating. It takes a lot of trust for people to feel safe investing the time and energy to put down roots. It requires content creators and good engagement.

I’ve chosen Beehaw as my home instance because I find that the admin’s mission and commitment to stewarding a specific culture to have the best chance of building a worthwhile community.

So thank you to the admins for your work, and I look forward to my time here with you all. Let’s create a culture worth fighting for - one that we wouldn’t want to leave and move on from at the first sign of drama.

  • th3raid0rA
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    58 months ago

    I’m the instance admin of Tucson.social and I support this message.

    You see, Lemmy is steeped in what I like to call “Tech bro culture” - maybe not the original devs, but definitely the community that espouses these “tips”. These folks, despite their education, often fail to understand how non-technical people think, or even just how less technical (but completely competent) folks think.

    Let me tell you what it requires to host an instance:

    • Intermediate Linux Skills
    • Basic to Intermediate Docker Skills
    • Intermediate to Advanced Networking skills
    • Intermediate to Advanced Information Security Skills
    • LOTs of Time, especially when no one else wants to moderate or administrate.

    And that’s just the TIP of the iceberg. Sure you can run a completely private instance that negates the need for heavy moderation, but you still need to protect that instance and make sure it works from a wide range of devices and networks.

    So yeah, we see many instances that were created that are now dead or dying because the instance admins didn’t know they needed DDOS protection, or CAPTCHA, or any number of security tools, and now they are at the whim of bad actors or simply couldn’t keep up with the poorly documented changes that have now broken their instance.

    Then, once you get past that issue, and you have a popular instance, then Regulatory Compliance becomes an issue. This is intrinsically linked to the ability to moderate the content. Sure, there are ways to automatically report illegal content, but in say, a NSFW community that’s a never ending battle that could could end up with a subpoena or 10.

    So yeah, I recommend anyone who isn’t a seasoned Infrastructure / DevOps / InfoSec / Full Stack Engineer stay away from creating their own instances for now because those that do end up creating “Bot Bastions” that make the fediverse worse, not better.