Pretty straight question.

I see Lemm.ee is now the second most populated instance based on https://lemmy.fediverse.observer/list, with 3634 monthly active users.

I also know that Lemmy devs said that

lemmy.ml is bigger than beehaw, and only costs 80 euros per month for a dedicated server.

https://lemmy.ml/comment/2372503

As lemmy.ml has 3561 monthly active users, should we consider that around 3,5k-4k users is the sweet spot for an instance population, and stop recommending the ones that reached that threshold?

  • @14th_cylon
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    99 months ago

    donations should absolutely be considered essential.

    it is relying on the admin paying out of their own pocket that is guaranteed way to hell ;)

    • poVoq
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      9 months ago

      This is a very short-sighted view. Once you set up things to depend on a regular project related income (donations or otherwise), the entire project lives or dies with it.

      Even if donations right now are sufficient, sooner or later they will fall short and then the people running the service have no choice but to either close it down or try to find another source of income, such as advertisement or selling out to a company interested in the user data. The latter has already happened with such large Mastodon servers.

      If you want to ensure that the Fediverse stays a healthy, non-corporate and humans-first environment, then being able to run (small) servers out of the admin’s pocket is the only working solution. Of course it makes sense to try and find more than one admin and have all of them able and willing to cover expenses, but donations should always be just a “nice to have” on top of that.

      • @14th_cylon
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        49 months ago

        is the only working solution

        that is total nonsense. these smaller instances do cost money as well. so either million people needs to collectively shell out money to run one big instance, or they have to collectively shell out money running million small instances. the latter will cost more money when you sum that up.

        so, if you want the fediverse to stay healthy, people have to pay for it, one way or the other. your economic perpetum mobile does not really work how you think it does.

        • poVoq
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          9 months ago

          Yes, both costs money, but only one has a clear pathway for sustainability and one admin paying out of their pocket for a small instance of less than 1000 or so members is easily possible.

          And since most admins will rent a VPS in one of the larger cloud services like Hetzner, the economies of scale are the same or better than having a large instance needing dedicated hardware somewhere.

          Edit: and no. depending on a cloud host is not the same as directly running the instances by a corporation. Those cloud hosts are more like your ISP, i.e. infrastructure providers.

          Edit2: Also… one huge factor is labour costs of the admin. A small instance can be a hobby side project that only needs a few hours per month. A large instance is not and people will seriously start questioning why they are not being paid a proper salary for running a large instance sooner or later.

          • @14th_cylon
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            9 months ago

            yeah, no.

            again, your “lot of small instances” scenario is more expensive than few big ones, because there is a lot of unneccesary overhead.

            that is not to say that there should be only big instances, but you really seem to think you have invented some perpetuum mobile, and let me assure you - you did not.

            if you have enough admins willing to run small instances and finance them out of their own pockets, these same people can just contribute money to some bigger instance instead.

            and vice versa - if you’d end up in scenario where you don’t have enough people to finance the big instance, why do you think these same people would be suddenly willing to finance the small ones AND add some admin work on top of the money? (which they may be lacking both time and skill to do)

            also this is totally academic discussion, you are just drafting catastrophic scenario for which you have no basis in reality. just look at the wiki and you will see that people will pay for thing they consider useful.

            • poVoq
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              29 months ago

              You are the one that is far removed from reality and just talks as if this was some theoretical economic discussion with “rational actors optimizing for surplus value” 😅

              I am an instance admin of one of the oldest Lemmy instances and have been doing stuff like this for nearly 20 years now. I am not talking theoretically, but based on real examples that I have seen personally happening.

              • @14th_cylon
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                29 months ago

                I am an instance admin of one of the oldest Lemmy instances and have been doing stuff like this for nearly 20 years now. I am not talking theoretically, but based on real examples that I have seen personally happening.

                cool. and how many people who weren’t willing to contribute few bucks, but were willing and able to start and maintain their own instance, have you seen? 🤣

                • poVoq
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                  9 months ago

                  Very many. It’s a fun hobby and I know a lot of people that would rather contribute in hours and hardware they already have (or rent anyways for other purposes) than forking over hard earned cash.

                  • @14th_cylon
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                    19 months ago

                    people who already own their own server are not at all representative sample of general population.

                    so i am not going to say you are straight up lying, but you are definitely obfuscating a lot ;)

        • @hoodlem@hoodlem.me
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          09 months ago

          that is total nonsense

          While reading this thread, your comments stood out to me as seeming inflammatory. Instead of making a statement like that, maybe make a good counter argument?

      • @hoodlem@hoodlem.me
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        29 months ago

        Yep, I agree. Consider the scenario of, for a number of months, donations don’t reach that 80 euro number. If the admin simply doesn’t have that 80 euros, they have much more motivation to terminate the instance immediately.

        I don’t think 80 euros per month is an unreasonable “last resort” for an admin to be able to float for at least a few months if absolutely necessary to give users a heads up the instance will be shutting down.

        I don’t think 80 euros per month is an unreasonable hosting bill, either. However, compare that number with the number Beehaw lists on their financials for August: https://beehaw.org/post/6921483. $523.79. (That’s a total cost number, not just hosting)

        With all this said, I do absolutely think sites should ideally run purely from donations. However, I don’t think a prospective admin should jump in and create an instance unless they are aware of the potential costs that may fall on them, and be able to handle those costs independently for 2-3 months to give users a chance to migrate.

        • poVoq
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          59 months ago

          Indeed, if donations do cover the costs that is great and I agree that 80€ is still reasonable to cover for a few months to give people time to migrate, but that isn’t exactly sustainable over say running a community website for 10 years or more, which should be IMHO the goal.