Since the recent attempts to censor KiwiFarms off the internet there have been many threads worrying about the status of other controversial sites to operate, including Ovarit. Will an internet mob be able to shut down any website they don't like? People are understandably concerned.
However, as I've mentioned before, I do not currently rank attempts to censor us as one of our most significant obstacles.
Attempts have been made to censor us and we're still here. The existence of other, more controversial sites does not protect us. It's strange to watch the narrative that service providers that we do not use terminating service to sites which are quite different from ours is an immediate threat to us. We're fighting our own battles over here on our own terms. We have been for over two years.
We have our own challenges.
Here are ways to help:
Help us cover our expenses
Operating this site costs a surprising amount of money. Our hosting is expensive, and for reasons, we don't want to try moving if we don't have to. Additionally, we operated for nearly two years without fundraising. We've been treading water with our reoccurring expenses and have just enough money to operate if we're cut off from funding for three months. We are constantly trying to get costs down, but there's simply a limit on how fast we can manage that and how much we can do that. We have not raised any money towards paying previous bills. (If anyone is ever wondering if they should foot the bill of a project they're also working on 'for the cause,' don't do it.)
If Ovarit has been valuable to you in the past or the present, please consider donating to contribute to paying for our expenses.
Running this site is simply not free. We're basically running a tech start up with volunteer labor and no investment capital. People have had expectations on us as if we're a company that has those kinds of resources, capital and paid employees, but we're not. Tech startups can appeal to investors, but we're relying on our users to fund this project. On the bright side, that means we don't have to appeal to investors and put their desires for profits above our users' interests. That's not the norm on the internet anymore.
Contribute to our software
Ovarit runs on open source software and we always need more help adding features and fixing bugs. Please, please, please help if you can. See here for more info.
Read the rules, follow the rules, and report content that breaks the rules
This goes for Sitewide Rules which apply to the entire site and circle rules which apply to individual circles.
We know the rules don't please everyone. That doesn't matter, and it is not optional that they are followed nonetheless. The rules encompass our boundaries for what we're willing to have on the site, what we're able to have on the site, as well as making sure we're in line with our service providers' expectations.
The rules describe the non-negotiable expectations that you agreed to respect by participating in communities on this site. That is the agreement you made when making an account and when you continue to use it. When you violate the rules, you're violating the agreement you made with the women bringing you the site and the communities that you're using.
We rely on users reporting content that breaks the rules. If we cannot create and maintain a culture where users regularly report content that breaks the rules then the site will shut down. We appreciate the users who help us by reporting rule-breaking content very much.
To go on a further tangent about moderation:
In the current world of massive, barely-moderated social media platforms that are typically designed around individuals and their personally curated networks, Ovarit is "highly moderated." Personally, I just identify us with the way the internet used to be, before these megacorps changed the scene. The internet used to be full of niche specialty sites run by passionate people, which typically had cultures aimed at promoting community and sustaining the value people had found and created in their communities, in various ways that they thought were best.
For people who are used to social media corps and maybe never even experienced the sorts of niche communities that used to characterize the internet, Ovarit can be shockingly different. Especially since we are a link aggregator platform that gives posters an instant and free soapbox to reach a circle's entire viewership (and thus, equal power to either improve or degrade the circle for all of its participants), we have "high" expectations for posting.
In a world that wants to talk about freedom of speech on the internet, we're actually more of a freedom-of-association joint. The essential point is, we cannot be everything to everyone and we tried to be clear about that from the start. We're doing our own thing here, and there should be space on the internet for people to do different things.