Thoughts On Moderating My New Discord Channel

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So when I sent out my last newsletter, about 80% of it was blocked as spam. That failure rate was due to various arcane mail configuration issues, but it did mean that most people didn’t even see that I’d sent out an email last March.

On my birthday, I said, “I am going to fix those email issues and send out my new newsletter.” So I spent about two hours mucking with SMTP to get everything running smoothly, then casually dropped a Discord invite into my latest newsletter because hey, nobody will see this newsletter anyway, I’d been kinda telling myself I’d open up a Discord channel, might as well have a light opening.

Then I went off for my birthday massage. And returned to about fifty people in my Discord channel, merrily saying hello to each other and striking up conversations.

Cue me frantically Googling, “How to Discord admin HALP.”

(And if you’re all like, “Hey, I wanted to be in Ferrett’s Discord channel, well, my newsletter is where I do beta work like “Experimenting with Discord” and “Asking for beta readers for my new work,” so either a) Check your spam mail for a newsletter sent from on July 3rd, or b) sign up for future newsletters.)

Anyway, watching a fledgling Discord rise up is interesting, simply because there’s a flurry of debate on all the things that make a good community. The first channel I added (because I only had “General” and “Introductions”) was “mod-thoughts,” simply because right now there were fifty cheerful people but what happened when buttheads came in? Did we have firm rules on when it was okay to DM someone? Would it be entirely up to me to moderate, or did I need friends to help out?

And then there was NSFW stuff. Was swearing NSFW? How about explicit discussions of polyamory? What about selfies, and what kind of selfies?

Then there were the silos, because conversations tended to wander. We started a tech channel, but that rapidly led to lots of discussions on videogames, so I made a gaming channel. And then the question of whether there was enough discussions worthy to split off “gaming” into “videogames” and “non-videogames”….

And then there were all the fancy things I wanted that I’d seen from other Discords, but had no idea how to install myself – things like pronoun bots that added what pronoun you wanted, and gateways that forced you to post in the #introductions channel, and NSFW verification.

Right now, it’s interesting, because obviously this is all new and there are spats of like 50+ reply conversations I see, and this will probably die down into something more convivial. But it’s an interesting mix, and one of the things that I love about social media is getting to watch people I like meet up in some common space and decide they like each other, and then becoming fast e-friends based on my mutual acquaintance. It’s not ego; I just feel like I’ve done a community service, bringing awesome people together.

But it turns out, even a tiny Discord is a lot of work, and there’s not a lot of good resources that I’ve found on how to add all the bells and whistles. I feel like I should be organizing. But heck, I just got off my birthday weekend, so I’m gonna do some writing, and then attend to the ol’ Discord.

Well, not so ol’. Three days at best. But it’s alive, so it counts.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous Alex
    Jul 6, 2020

    First off, happy birthday!

    No sign of the newsletter, in spam folder or otherwise. Possibly a gmail quirk? Not that I even know what a discord is, but I’ve appreciated the couple of newsletters I’ve gotten previously and would be sad to miss out.


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