The Sunny Gardener - June 2023
Meta Coming To Fediverse
It was leaked this month that Meta aka. Facebook aka. Instagram was working on a Twitter-like service known as Project 92. It’s of particular interest to fediverse users and admins that Project 92 is intended to federate with ActivityPub, connecting it to the same fediverse network as servers running Mastodon, Pixelfed, and so on.
The official name of the service is expected to be Threads, which was also the name of an service launched and then closed by Facebook in 2019. The initial launch of Meta’s service seems imminent, as the new Threads app was briefly and probably accidentally visible on the Google Play store.
The implications of Meta coming to the fediverse are many, ranging from privacy concerns, content scraping, the possibility of overloading existing servers, the threat of corporate Embrace, Extend, Extinguish tactics on the ActivityPub protocol, or the cultural impact of tens or hundreds of millions of Instagram users suddenly appearing on the fediverse.
The big question for a lot of users is…
Will my server federate with Threads?
My current stance, for sunny.garden, is that I’m going to wait until I have more information about how Threads is going to actually work, how federating with it is going to work, etc. before taking any concrete steps.
We don’t have a lot of information right now, but it’s my understanding that Threads will not federate with the rest of the fediverse when it initially launches. Federation is expected to come later, so I’m comfortable taking some time to find out more details.
This probably deserves it’s own post and I plan on writing more about it later. In the meantime, if you’re a sunny.garden user, I’d be happy to hear any feedback you have on the topic.
Twitter Migration Wave
As everyone knows, the best time to push major changes to your live service into production is on Friday afternoon just before a long weekend.
Twitter made a series of hugely impactful changes over the past few days such as blocking public access to the site, which includes blocking access to any
t.co shortened links, and rate limiting users to viewing a maximum of 600 posts per day unless they pay for a subscription.
The resulting flight from Twitter caused recent competitor Bluesky to halt sign ups due to overloading.
The fediverse has also been a beneficiary, according to Gargron:
Looks like Mastodon’s active user base has increased by 110K over the last day. Not bad.
I guess technically all of this should go into the July review instead, but since it’s happening right now as I’m writing this post, I might as well include it!
Due to the increase in fediverse activity, the daily bandwidth use of the sunny.garden server was double yesterday what it typically is, up to 133 GB on Sunday (UTC time) compared to the usual 60 GB.1
The increased load was also clearly visible on the server resource monitor…
I’ll be keeping a closer eye on the server load this week to hopefully keep things running smoothly.
New sunny.garden registrations
For most of last year, sunny.garden was listed on the joinmastodon.org server list, which also means it’s provided as one of the options to users signing up using the official Mastodon apps on iOS and Android.
When we reached around 1000 active users during the November wave, I de-listed in order to keep things manageable. Since things have been going pretty smoothly since then, and active users have cooled off, I re-listed in mid June, which has started to bring the active user count up again slowly.
Yesterday, due the Twitter wave, there were 26 new user registrations after which I closed registrations for the day.
I learned during the November rush that around 20 was a reasonably comfortable number of people for me to review and onboard in a day. Any more than that and I can’t take the time to welcome folks or answer questions without it consuming my entire day.
I’ll continue opening for registration each day either until things settle down again and I can leave them open safely – or – until things look like they’re reaching the server’s capacity, or my capacity to moderate during this spike in activity in which case I’ll keep them closed until things cool off.
Even while registrations are closed, if you are already a sunny.garden user and would like somebody to come and join you on the server, you can ask me for an invite that will allow them to sign up.
In a nice turn of events on the server shutdown front, crafting focused server handmade.social is not shutting down after previously announcing that they would need to close due to costs.
EDIT: handmade.social will remain open.
I’ve had many good offers to help with keeping the instance running long-term.
If you’d like to help with the funding, I’ve re-activated the donation page at https://buymeacoffee.com/handmade.social
Thank you all.
Mostly due to Elon shenanigans driving people away from Twitter, active user counts and interactions are up. And since there were no significant spam waves this month, reports were back down to their usual low levels.
We had gone slightly negative last month, but a couple of larger one-off donations more than made up for that, and we’re back in black once again for this month and the near future. So thank you for that!
It remains to be seen how much the current level of attention and fediverse activity is going to impact costs.
I don’t want to over-invest for a temporary spike, but with the combination of Twitter’s continual breakdown, and the attention that Threads will certainly bring over the coming weeks or months, it’s probably fair to say that we may be looking at some more upgrades in the near future.
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* Media files are served through a caching proxy with unmetered bandwidth, so external bandwidth charges are negligible.
Thank you, to everyone that has donated on ko-fi! There’s no obligation or expectation that you donate in order to use the server, and I’m able to cover the costs myself if needed.
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