I absolutely loved the social network we tried to grow here, and I wanted it to stay, but we took it down and here’s why.
Without an advertising budget, our little grassroots initiative (which began with a group of about 40 middle-aged PhD students and recent PhD grads) could not scale.
To keep everything free, yet private, required upgrading servers, which became cost-prohibitive.
The minimal sophistication of the forums was disappointing. We wanted a fancier social network, dammit.
Balancing freedom with privacy is complex. We wanted a space for free speech, and yet one that was a vetted community, restricted to fellow educators. Manually approving accounts deterred new members before they could understand why we were gate-keeping.