Babka Is One Year Old!
On November 14th, 2022, Babka Social officially launched.
While I think most people know the origin story of Babka, it bears repeating. I was already a Fediverse user, but any time I discussed being Jewish, I would invariably be harassed online. While the Fediverse was overall better than Twitter, I knew my experience was not unique, and I decided that we needed an online space that could serve Jewish and Jewish adjavcent folks with not only high quality moderation, but a sense of shared values and community. I wanted a place where, as one of our community members so elegantly put it, we can be “unappologetically Jewish.”
Since then, we’ve done so much together. Our community has grown to several hundred members. We’ve build projects together, like the 23khz project, to describe antisemitic dog whistles. Babka Social has had major involvement in Mastdon development, as well as anti-spam and anti-hate tools. Most importantly, we’ve build an online space focused on care, safety and community. In the feedback I get from members, the word “community” and “positivity” come up most often, even from non-Jewish folks. Being able to provide this space for people is really key to me.
It would not be honest if I did not also say how incredibly difficult running Babka Social has been. The instance, I, and the amazing volunteers have suffered reputational attacks. I’ve been called every name under the sun from both the right and the left. I’ve been accused of having a secret agenda, of having secret funding, and even for working as a spy for a foreign government.
Like in the physical world, antisemitism on the Fediverse has only gotten worse since the October 7th attacks, with vile antisemitism flowing through the Fediverse. Babka’s amazing moderation team has worked tirelessly to prevent this hated from reaching its user base and when possible, to assist other admins in understanding the issues of antisemitism and addressing it at the source.
The goal of a Jewish online space is not complete and even the most vile and hateful harassment is useful to us in thinkng about the next phase of the Babka project. If you want to get involved in Babka, we’d love and need volunteers of every stripe, from communication, to technical work, and moderation. We need it all. And if you’d like to support our work, please join our Patreon at https://patreon.com/BabkaNet
Written by Serge
Founder of Babka