Mastodon update and brief downtime

The TechOps team will be performing an upgrade to the 4.1.5 version of Mastodon, as well as some database maintenance and upgrades. This is aimed to take place between 10:30am PST / 1:30pm EST and 1:30pm PST / 4:30pm EST, Friday, July 21st, 2023. There will be some brief downtime of 5 minutes or so in duration as a full restart of all systems will be required.

Tag the account if you notice any issues.

CoSocial Board Decision on Threads

Two weeks ago, the CoSocial board asked the membership to comment on the question of whether our Mastodon instance should pre-emptively defederate from the soon-to-be-released ActivityPub-enabled Meta community, Threads. The results are available under the hashtag #CoSocialMeta.

Only a few of the responses are in favour of pre-emptively defederating. The primary response is “wait and see”.

Based on this input, the board voted unanimously in favour of the following proposal: will not pre-emptively defederate from the Threads app fediverse instance by Meta. However, we authorise the Trust and Safety team to take all necessary steps to protect user safety on CoSocial.”

Our reasoning is this: CoSocial is a service that its members pay for. If the board and staff restrict that service in any way, it should be to improve the quality of the service for everyone.

We do block over 200 instances that have been set up intentionally for harassment and abuse, or that are so poorly managed that they are a haven for harassers and abusers. We think blocking those domains makes the experience of the fediverse better for all CoSocial members.

Until the Meta service is released, we won’t know what the impact will be on CoSocial members. Absent a very strong signal from our membership to do so, we should not preemptively block that server.

Individual CoSocial members will be able to block the domain. This should screen any incoming content from the Meta site for them, and keep anyone on the Meta site from following them.

First Operations Update

The board and core team leads meet most Tuesday evenings to move the co-op forward. Agenda items and team notes are gathered ahead of time and discussed live. We’re going to start publishing some basic updates around what we’re talking about and working on.

Special Topics

Blocking Meta’s new ActivityPub service

With talk of Meta joining, there are voices proposing to de-federate (a technical process with Mastodon to block connections for an entire server)

At this stage of the co-op, our approach is to solicit feedback from membership on whether we should de-federate, and then the board will vote next Tuesday. A server announcement has been posted, and we are encouraging members to provide feedback to the board by using the #CoSocialMeta tag.

Team Updates


Test Lemmy (Reddit clone) instance up at Early adopter members welcome to experiment, but ⚠️⚠️ currently undocumented and filled with bugs ⚠️⚠️. Follow #NewsCoSocial for updates, as well as the group.

Board previously approved a part-time sysadmin role, our first paid position. This will be a junior role, with only a few hours per month. First draft of a job description, to be posted next week.


First office hours / open working session hosted by Alka and Dawn. Tuesdays @ 4pm PST / 6pm CST / 7pm EST, watch for more posts and details.

Hosting some regular chat sessions on different topics. On deck: Tim Bray, next Wednesday June 28th, with the latest in hot fediverse topics, aka #HotFedi


Will be refreshing the info site here in the coming weeks. More content — and writers! — needed. Discussion on sharing basic info about the fediverse, both for new / prospective members, as well as for Canadian media who might be interested due to growing activity in the space such as Meta, Reddit, etc.

Want to help with comms, news, and documentation? Email


We have a bank account at VanCity! We’re still taking payments through OpenCollective, which has worked very well for us. Perhaps more important, we have cash on hand – member subscription fees, that’s all we collect – for many months of operations.

To-do: Review of OpenCollective setups, review of projected finances, updates from TechOps on hosting fees, and first paid role.

Trust & Safety

To schedule: a live review / tour of our test Lemmy instance. Moderation tools are very basic, manual block list.

CoSocial Update June 2023

Hello, CoSocial community! This is an update from the board and team leads of CoSocial, a Canadian member-owned cooperative.

  • We continue to welcome new members to the cooperative. We’re currently at 62 members, and want to close in on 100 ASAP. If you’ve been thinking about joining, or you are already a member and want to invite friends, family, or colleagues, now is the time.
  • Our volunteer teams are handling our current scale, but we want to be ready for continued growth, so we’re looking for new people to onboard. If you are interested in joining a team, please send an email to the appropriate team lead:
  • If you’re already a CoSocial member, make sure to follow the account to get news and updates about the coop.
  • The #CoSocialHour hashtag is a discussion hashtag for the CoSocial community.
  • Our first general meeting is coming up this fall! Members will vote for our next board and discuss important issues related to the cooperative. Keep an eye out for more news on this.

If you’re new to CoSocial, read more about us »

Scheduled Downtime April 11th

We have had a number of new users this week and that has caused a large increase in storage. We are moving to a scalable file backend, but for now we are going to increase the size of the server disk.

This will take up to 90 minutes of downtime, so we plan to perform it this evening, Tuesday, April 11th, at around 7pm PST / 10pm EST.

Large account migration, potential for service impact

We’re welcoming Tim Bray to the CoSocial Mastodon server today. He’s written a blog post talking about the move and what we’re doing here. Tim has quite a large following, so we expect some server load as part of him moving his account.

Things might be slow or unresponsive starting at 5PM PST, and we may even have a server outage. You can follow this post to find out current status.

This is the first TechOps status post. We’ll use this blog and messages like this to give updates about technical infrastructure, especially in case of downtime.

It’s Happening!

Hello, world! It’s been a while since we told you what’s going on with CoSocial. Here are some important milestones!

  • We’ve incorporated! We’ve edited and reviewed our articles of incorporation, assembled an initial board of directors, and registered a new cooperative on March 1st. The COSOCIAL COMMUNITY COOPERATIVE is now a real thing!
  • We’ve added our first members. We have about 10 new members to the cooperative, as seen on our OpenCollective page.
  • We set up a new Mastodon instance. Our instance at is up and running and connected to the rest of the fediverse.
  • Our volunteer teams are practicing maintaining a real instance. Our trust and safety team is actively moderating the instance. It’s a team of four, with more volunteers coming on in the next few days. Our tech ops volunteer team has handled a few server incidents, some planned downtime, and a server upgrade.
  • We are actively using as our main accounts. Some of our early members have already moved their other Mastodon accounts with thousands of followers to the new server. It’s running well and keeping up with the load of daily posts.

So what’s next? We think we’re ready to start letting more people on. For this reason, we’re reaching out to people who’ve expressed interest in CoSocial.

To get your Mastodon account:

  • Sign up for a new Mastodon account at . Make sure to note if you’re willing to volunteer for trust-and-safety, tech, comms, or other operations work. Our current limits are due to making sure we’ve got enough volunteers to keep the community and technology running smoothly, so the more volunteers we get, the more people we can let in! And bear in mind that CoSocial is designed for sustainability, so the plan is for ops and moderation to be paid work.
  • After being contacted by CoSocial trust-and-safety, sign up for OpenCollective. It’s a CAD$50/year annual membership. While many Mastodon instances are free, we are committed to a safe and moderated experience. So there is a fee that our non-profit will recoup the costs for moderation, servers, and all the expenses. Our research tells us that that price should be sufficient to build a co-op that’s sustainable for the long term.
  • Once we’ve been notified of the sign up, your account will be approved and you’re ready to get started! Come on board and post and #introduction!

We’re really excited to get started bringing new CoSocial members on board. We hope you’re as ready as we are to see cooperatively-run social media become a reality in Canada. It’s a big step and we’re glad to be taking it with you. A vision for inclusive social networking in Canada

Note: This was originally published as a call to action on this site in November 28, 2022. We’re preserving it in our blog however some info may no longer be accurate, please visit the Sign Up or About page for the latest information on our coop and how to join!

The crisis at Twitter has led to explosive growth and interest in Mastodon, a community-run and organized alternative to Twitter. And this sudden growth has presented all of us with a unique opportunity to do social better, by providing Canadians with a safe, reliable home on the network.

We have the opportunity to reimagine social media as a force for justice, equity, and inclusivity in Canada and around the world. We have the opportunity to turn back from a decade of corporatized social media that divided and exhausted us with hate speech, misinformation, and information overload. We have the opportunity to create a new kind of online community in Canada—with your leadership and support.

Equally important, we want to create a stable and reliable place on the Fediverse for people to call home. A place for connection and conversation. A safe place were we can all come together and build a community.

Want to get involved? Sign up

Why Mastodon?

Mastodon is Open Source software (like WordPress) that allows people to access the Fediverse. Groups can create and manage their own servers for Twitter-like discussions, but with better moderation against hate speech, misinformation, and without ads and algorithms controlling what you read. That’s

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook took the revolutionary promise of connecting people across boundaries…and turned it into something that feeds us a narrow and skewed perspective of the world around us. With Mastodon, you join an online community where you can participate in conversations, connect, and share with others.

What makes Mastodon different?
  • It’s a network of connected servers, called the Fediverse, instead of one site that a single company controls
  • Most Mastodon servers are small volunteer projects, non-profits or co-ops that are owned by their members
  • Each server can set its own rules to protect members and provide a unique experience
  • You can belong to (almost) any Mastodon server and still have conversations or get info from servers all over the network

Mastodon has unique features that make it more inclusive and more robust than any other social network. Instead of relying on a single company or person, Mastodon is a federation of servers that interconnect and share information. You can follow and read posts from anyone on any other Mastodon server, which creates the potential for a much richer social media experience than ever before. And Mastodon is just one part of what’s known as the Fediverse….so a Mastodon server is like a gateway to a galaxy that opens the door to an even larger universe of online conversations and information.

In just a few weeks Mastodon grew from less than 400,000 users to well over 4 million. At its current rate of growth there might be millions more active users by the end of the year.

But this growth could stall if people have frustrating or negative experiences because there’s no safe, reliable home for them on the network.  To harness the Mastodon moment, we need to do social media differently. We need to make an online home for Canadian Mastodon users that’s reliable, democratic and inclusive.

We can do social better

Most Mastodon instances are run by individuals as passion projects. But running a Mastodon server costs real money and real time. As Mastodon continues to grow, we expect big companies to set up their own servers with corporatized, ad-driven social media—just like it’s been in the past.

In order to do things differently, servers need to be managed professionally, and supported financially, by their members. There will always be people who will run their own servers, and this is a core part of what makes Mastodon unique, but to absorb the tide of people coming from Twitter, we can’t rely entirely on people who are donating their time and money to the cause.

We need professionally and ethically managed servers where members support the instance with their own money and time. We can’t go back to free social media services where people and their data are the product.

It’s time for Canada to take the lead again

We’ve never seen greater momentum for an Open Source, decentralized network—one that isn’t owned by any one person or company. We see an opportunity to do social media better. We’ve seen what went wrong with other networks. That’s why we want to create a Canadian Mastodon co-op, owned and run by its members.

Mastodon has strong roots in Canada. The protocol that connects the servers on the Mastodon network, as well as the larger “Fediverse”, was first developed by (led by CoSocial’s Evan Prodromou). As the birthplace of the Fediverse, Canada has a wealth of expertise on Mastodon’s core technologies, and the credibility to influence the evolution of the Mastodon community and culture.

Our population and geography are big enough to support a large community of users, but small enough to imagine social networking done right.

Join the community

We can only foster a democratic and accountable Fediverse if we as the co-op also operate in a way that reflects values of inclusivity, diversity, respect and kindness. As a result, we are a community service cooperative, in other words, a non-profit, with a small but mighty core team of members running our working groups and board.

Learn more about next steps to join!