Piggybank report 2020

Our last report on the state of chaos.social was over a year ago, so we’ve written a small update. To make the post helpful for newcomers too, we’re starting out with a bit of infomation on chaos.social itself. Experienced users can skip the tutorial and go to the finances section directly. 😉

Infodump

chaos.social is a Mastodon instance for people vaguely adjacent to the German Chaos Computer Club. The instance administrators and moderators are @leah and @rixx – we take care of backups, updates, and the general infrastructure. We block malicious users and instances, and handle the moderating of conversations that impact our instance and our users. We’re doing this in our free time, as a hobby – we kind of see chaos.social as our living room.

Now, to be fair, this living room is home to just over six thousand other people, of which an impressive 2.5k have been active during the last month. Since we are big fans of the decentralised nature of the Fediverse, our registrations have closed a long time ago: We want to make sure that we’re not the single central point of contact even within our social circle. All users of chaos.social can send out invites to their friends, though.

If you’re looking for an instance close to Chaos groups: social.bau-ha.us still has open registrations!

Finances

A Fediverse instance sadly can’t run on love or thin air – it needs bits and a box to put them in, too. Until a short time ago, chaos.social ran on Leah’s general infrastructure. Since we continue to grow, we’ve moved the VM to its own server. It’s equipped with a 1TB NVMe SSD, 8 cores, and 64GB of memory. It’s not the most lightweight of servers, though of course it never uses all the resources available. This server costs us about EUR 75 per month. Additionally, we also occasionally buy instance merch (stickers!) and pay for the domain.

To offset the costs, we have three (and-a-half) sources of income: You can donate to us on liberapay, send money to Leah via PayPal, or ask Leah privately for her bank details. Sometimes people also give us cash directly at Chaos events – and while this isn’t a significant part of our income, we always enjoy meeting our users in person.

We haven’t had to pay out of pocket for chaos.social in the past years. Our costs are currently covered roughly up until October 2020, and we’re happy to see the regular income both via liberapay and via some people’s standing monthly bank transfers.

We don’t publish blog posts often: It’s a lot of work to write a good and informative blog post, and since chaos.social is a hobby for us both, the intervals between posts will probably stay roughly the same (barring a sudden need for communication). This blog post was not intended as a call for donations – we just wanted to be transparent about our finances. But more than that: We wanted to THANK YOU – all of you who quietly fund chaos.social, and make our little corner of the Fediverse possible. You’re the best!