Thu 1 Dec 2022 4:13AM

First gathering of collectively and cooperatively run Mastodon instances.

MN Matt Noyes Public Seen by 186

Let's organize a meet-up and sharing session among cooperatively or collectively owned/managed/governed mastodon instances. The net should be broad enough to include both instances that are democratically owned and managed by their members and instances that are run by democratically run organizations like cooperatives, unions, and collectives. This thread is for members of social.coop to organize the meeting. We may want to start a matrix chat room open to people from other instances...

See this list of collectively owned instances: https://codeberg.org/fediverse/fediparty/wiki/Collectively-owned-instances compiled by @[email protected].


Caitlin Waddick, @[email protected] Thu 1 Dec 2022 4:20AM

I am in. I'm wondering ... how many groups are we talking about? And, do we want this meet-up to include one authorized representative of those groups or any of the members who want to crash the party? I think the latter sounds more fun. What else might make it fun to meet? (Silly hats!) What kind of simple agenda do we want to create? I think we should invite people to be prepared to say something about their coop/instance in 2 minutes or less: what it does and why they are on Mastadon and what keeps them honest/authentic in the face of angst. (I'm being a bit silly here.)


Ana Ulin Thu 1 Dec 2022 7:03PM

I really like the idea of something with the lightest of preset agendas, where folks can come in, meet each other, and then in some way express interests / intentions for the meeting (or follow-up meetings?).

Could be something as simple as:

(1) round of lightning intros for everyone (assuming we have a sufficiently small group of attendees)

(2) round of Impromptu Networking (https://www.liberatingstructures.com/2-impromptu-networking/)

(3) some kind of discussion of what folks would want to get from the group going forward? commitments for future actions / gatherings? (could use 1-2-4-All, if the group is large enough to require more structure: https://www.liberatingstructures.com/1-1-2-4-all/)


Ky Wed 1 Feb 2023 10:14PM

I often find myself frustrated with large Zoom-like calls, especially for the purpose of Networking.

If we end up with a large group of attendees, I propose we use https://www.gather.town/ or a similar service.

It mimics a physical social environment. So, for example, groups can organically split into breakouts and form breakouts - just by walking somewhere together.


Billy Smith Thu 2 Feb 2023 6:31PM

One of the people from CoTech set up a GatherTown instance for a beta-test during one of the CoTech conferences during the UK lockdowns. :D

It worked well, but the participants will need to have a good bandwidth connection to get the best results from it, though that may just have been the beta-testing.

I'll try to get in touch with them, and point them here. :D


Eduardo Mercovich Wed 8 Feb 2023 7:54PM

I love these liberating structures. :)

If we are 20 or more we can also do it as an Open Space (brief liberating structures version in https://www.liberatingstructures.com/25-open-space-technology/ and more in depth version in https://openspaceworld.org/wp2/explore/).

If date/time allows it, I will happily help with the facilitation.


Matt Noyes Thu 1 Dec 2022 4:25AM

Party hats! Like that book: Go! Dog! Go!


Erik Moeller Thu 1 Dec 2022 5:13AM

Brilliant idea! I would also suggest involving the https://cosocial.ca/ folks who are looking to set up a Canadian co-operative. https://prodromou.pub/@evan is one of the key folks but awsamuel(@)social.coop is involved as well.


Kevin Flanagan Thu 1 Dec 2022 6:50AM

Yeah. Great idea. Could attendance also be open to people interested in setting up collective instances?


M. Page-Lieberman - @[email protected] Thu 1 Dec 2022 7:23AM

My understanding has been that the solarpunk instance Sunbeam City, which I'm a member of, is a cooperative, but I don't see them on the list. So, I just reached out to them to confirm.


Matt Noyes Thu 1 Dec 2022 5:28PM

Can you dm @[email protected] on Mastodon?


Kevin Flanagan Thu 1 Dec 2022 8:37PM

Ok, I just did. Asked if they could get back to you.

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Christina Bowen Thu 1 Dec 2022 7:52AM

love this. how do I make sure not to miss it?


Jamie Gaehring Mon 5 Dec 2022 3:52PM

me too, add me to the list!


Giacomo Thu 1 Dec 2022 11:40AM

I totally agree. BTW should we add bida, cisti, puntarelle and livellosegreto?


Matt Noyes Thu 1 Dec 2022 5:29PM

Can you dm @[email protected] on Mastodon?


mike_hales Thu 1 Dec 2022 1:39PM

Following @Caitlin Waddick, @[email protected] I'm definitely "a member (of social.coop) who would crash the party" 🙂.

Great proposal @Matt Noyes , feels like a good moment, as the population of Mastodon lurches. If well organised, could be a big gathering? So methodology/facilitation calls for thought. Plenty of breakouts? Using shared pads (Etherpads?)?? Plural language?

fwiw my first thought: populating the gathering calls for a typology of instances that's maybe more developed than the one @[email protected] deploys?

  • incorporated coop

  • not-for-profit organisation

  • affiliated with a non-profit

  • run by political parties - excluded from the list

It would basically be a typology of forms of governance, I guess? Including, for example, commons (not distinct from coops of course, but not identical either ;-)?

But I wonder, whether the intention(s) of the collectively-run instance might also be a dimension. Thus, for example, social.coop has an intention to foster understanding, capability and mutual association in collective/cooperative organising, and other instances have other kinds of intention to promote collective practice and organising? While some instances might be more simply 'social' - serving a present need of members (eg chat, gossip, news; or professional networking, informal publishing; or 'simple sharing' - bunnies/kittens, jokes, recipes, etc), as distinct from 'organising' in a politicised or movement/social-change sense?

Being a little more explicit about this might help an initial gathering to settle down? Without implying any judgement about which intentions might be 'better', 'more interesting' or (god forbid!) 'correct'?

@[email protected] list omits instances reserved for members of political parties. But then, are 'movement' organisations in or out? How is the distinction made? What kinds of membership are to to be embraced? What kinds of openness are to be cultivated? These are all things to discuss of course, not to nail down - and certainly, not at this point.

If the gathering might be social.coop hosted in our BBB/meet.coop space, then I'm also interested in participating as a member of a coop-governed meet.coop instance of another species of free-libre software.


Matt Noyes Thu 1 Dec 2022 5:32PM

Would love to get your thoughts on how best to organize the gathering (aka big dog party!). As for typology, I think it's tricky because many instances start without a clear legal or institutional type and that's okay. So I think we are looking for democratically owned and/or managed instances of whatever type. I would include anarchic groups and unincorporated collectives...


mike_hales Thu 1 Dec 2022 1:51PM

[email protected] references some of the above typology/inclusion questions ('movement' organisations, etc), when they write:

instances connected to hackerspaces, anarchic groups and other unincorporated collectives. Because it's hard to draw a line to describe such situations, they're not included here.

What are the differences between the instances of 'an anarchic collective' , a 'political' project (like, let's say, social.coop, meet.coop or mayfirst) and 'a party' 🙄 ?


J. Nathan Matias Thu 1 Dec 2022 7:35PM

I think this is a great idea and would be happy to amplify the efforts of an initiative that takes deliberate effort to recruit and support communities of color and participants from marginalized communities, in line with best practices across the coop space.


Matt Noyes Fri 2 Dec 2022 2:51PM

This is really important and needs to be done well. Step one is reaching out to people/instances we know or are involved in beyond our own.


Leo Sammallahti Fri 2 Dec 2022 3:21PM

Sounds good, wonder if we could set up a fund that helps anyone who wants to set up a coop Mastodon instance. We could pay for the first year of hosting and maybe pay some of our tech people a bit to help them set it up. Seems like we are financially in a quite a comfortable position; we could give a $100 grant to five new instances each month and still be left with more money than we had at the beginning of this year. And even then, around 50% of our revenue went to reserves IIRC.


Sam Whited Fri 2 Dec 2022 3:25PM

I like the idea; this could warrant further discussion (eg. do we care what software they're using? What about what protocol? Eg. do Pleroma or even Diaspora count? What if an existing instance asks for a grant to help them get a lawyer to transition them to a co-op model?) Probably this all could use its own thread though to discuss.


Leo Sammallahti Fri 2 Dec 2022 3:31PM

Yep. Agree it probably warrants a new thread, few additional questions to start off with:

  • What would be a fair compensation paid to a Social Coop member/s (who?) for the effort required to set up a new instance?

  • Are there cooperative hosting providers we could favour?

  • Could we make some deal with Loomio to get some referral scheme that would be beneficial for everyone (new instances that want to start a Loomio group + Social Coop that sponsors them to do so + Loomio)?

  • How do we promote this offer?

In a way it's a great problem to have that we are piling much more money than we know what to spend it on, but with the whole inflation running wild I do think we should be more generous in spending it.


Danyl Strype Thu 15 Dec 2022 12:56AM

This might be a good time to mention that I am part of a small group of Aotearoa-based techies intending to set up a hosting cooperative, initially for Mastodon instances, with a possibility of diversifying into other software later on. Depending on timing, one of us would be interested in attending this democratic instance gathering.


Lynn Foster Fri 2 Dec 2022 7:08PM

I love the idea! But why just Mastodon? Similar to @Sam Whited 's comment, but related to the broader topic. Could/should this gathering include cooperative/etc. groups using any software instance in the fediverse (pleroma, bonfire, epicyon, etc), i.e. federates using ActivityPub or some similar definition? Even software that goes beyond micro-blogging, like pixelfed, peertube?


Nathan Schneider Tue 6 Dec 2022 3:57PM

One thought: Let's invite the folks from Autonomic.zone. They're a tech co-op and are interested in providing managed hosting for new co-op fediverse instances. Happy to connect.


I'd be interested in attending, we have registered mastodon.coop and plan to use it to host an instance for our members and we might also offer Mastodon hosting as a service at some point in the future.


Darren Wed 14 Dec 2022 12:28AM

I created a matrix room to facilitate open chat about this idea. Just checked in there and noticed 50 people have joined!

Thinking it could be good to get more folks with democratic fediverse instance experiences to join us there or to connect to us on the fediverse by including #DemocracticFediverse in a post.

Then maybe in a week we run some kind of open scheduling poll to pick a popular date for the first meet?


J. Nathan Matias Mon 30 Jan 2023 10:48PM

Hi folks, I'm very interested to learn more about this meeting of cooperatively run Mastodon instances, even if I don't have time to follow a chat room. Is there an update here? I (and members of CAT Lab) would be interested to participate/help in some way if useful, and also help recruit attendees.


J. Nathan Matias Tue 31 Jan 2023 3:13AM

I spent a couple of years working with r/worldnews on reddit to create a process for community fact-checking. So if a working group develops around this, I would be happy to participate. https://medium.com/mit-media-lab/persuading-algorithms-with-an-ai-nudge-25c92293df1d


Nathan Schneider Tue 31 Jan 2023 3:49PM

@J. Nathan Matias Maybe we should just do it as a session at decentsocial.net?


tanoujin Wed 1 Feb 2023 6:33PM

I am very interested to attend on an audience seat to read qualified contributions and - maybe - ask some questions during a well-defined time period set aside for this. Allow me to recommend that those on the speaker roster agree on a moderator/meeting chair.


Django Sun 5 Feb 2023 5:09PM

Hey all, I’m also interested in joining the call


Stephanie Jo Kent Mon 6 Feb 2023 1:53PM

Me too. Need guidance, tho, on where and how! Please and thank you.


Matt Noyes Wed 8 Feb 2023 3:40AM

So, are we ready to choose times? It seems like we need times so we can get the word out.