“discord takes once thriving active communities and fractures them into a thousand little private chats where people start drama and talk mad shit about other people from the community”
By: Shy - [04/29/2022]
“discord takes once thriving active communities and fractures them into a thousand little private chats where people start drama and talk mad shit about other people from the community”
The forced adoption of discord and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. discord is directly responsible for the fracturing of thousands of communities, the loss/privatization of knowledge relating to various technical topics, the debasement of mass culture, a massive explosion of real child abuse on-line, and the promotion of fake/anti-social behavior. Most of this article will focus on the social and cultural issues that have arisen in the past few years that I believe discord has played a major role in producing. A lot of this article will be written from my personal perspective and opinion, so first I will start off with a bit of a history lesson.
[Chapter 1: History]
I was the first person in my group of friends and likely my entire school district to use Skype, probably in late 2006. Back then Skype was really convenient. It had standard minimalist text chat but was focused on voice. At that time Skype even had custom themes! In a way Skype was a lot like discord because it combined text and voice communication into one very accessible system. Before Skype became mainstream, most people I knew used AIM which was mostly text chat. AIM actually did have a voice chat feature, but it was seldom used. For voice chat in the AIM era we would just call each other on the phone. Even though Skype was the best one-on-one voice system, there were plenty of decent alternatives. At no point were there ever Skype extremists, except for a short period of time around 2010-11 when the program “oovoo” suddenly became popular and was then immediately forgotten. From 2006-2015 there was never a “culture” formed around what VOIP software someone used. IRC had some of this extremist culture and continues to today, but nothing on the level of the discord fanaticism that we see today.
I was somewhat involved with, but mostly a listener of the original on-line Skype-based prank calling group (which predates ownage pranks) “The 4chan Vent” aka “Partyvan Pranks”. These guys were some of the first people to utilize Skype's feature of being able to call real phone numbers, and they would broadcast prank calls to a live audience. The audience however, was not using Skype. We used Ventrilo! The only people using Skype were the ones doing calls and broadcasting to the Vent, otherwise all chat and communication took place in Vent. My Skype still is (if I could actually access it) FILLED with numbers of people we would regularly call or other members of the Vent. Many good times were had. We played countless hours of CS: Source with live prank calls or hardstyle music.
You see, Skype and Vent filled two totally different roles. Skype was more focused on person to person private communication, usually with people you actually knew or had communication with outside of Skype. It was always one on one or just a few people together talking, although anyone who actually used Skype will remember the hectic never ending group calls with a thousand people in the chat. Vent, TS3, Mumble, and the likes all filled a different purpose. They were less of a messaging system like Skype but more of a place where you would go to talk to people in real time, like an on-line bar or something. These programs typically did not have a way to send an off-line user a message like on Skype, or at least it was very uncommon.
There was also one major feature these programs had that Skype didn’t: push-to-talk. There is nothing in the world more annoying than hearing your friend furiously rage typing away on his overpriced cherry blue switches (the most low iq and worst of all mechanical switches, besides the derivatives). Back then, Skype was mostly open mic/voice activated unless you muted yourself. Yeah, there were ways you could do ptt with skype, but few people did. Since video games are push-to-talk by default, it is natural that people in public group voice chats focused on games probably want PTT as well. I actually prefer voice activation myself, but if I'm talking to random people that I don’t know I would much rather have PTT.
I went through pretty much every VOIP program with multiple groups of friends, but the entire time, no matter what VOIP system we used we always had each other added on other programs like Skype and Steam. For a long period of time I went from using Skype, to Steam voice, to Vent, to TS3, to Mumble, to Raidcall, and so on etc. There was never pain or dismay over “having to install a new program”, everyone was smart enough to install and configure the settings of new software. We used whatever we had available, or whatever the group we wanted to be in were using. For example, back when I played “EVE Online” my corp had a TS3 server we would all hop in when we were doing our bullshit. At the same time the friends I played LoL with were using Raidcall. I knew my league friends personally so we also had each other added on steam and skype, but the people on EVE I had no interaction with outside of that group. This will become important later when I talk about discord.
Having multiple choices meant software had to stay competitive and not suddenly sabotage itself for “no reason” aka intelligence operations or shady corporate deals. That is of course in theory, because eventually microsoft bought Skype and immediately began sabotaging it, as it does with everything it touches. The slow death of Skype began in 2011. microsoft changed Skype servers over and started killing support for older versions of the client. For years people struggled to find ways to NOT update Skype, since every microsoft update made Skype worse and worse. Eventually microsoft caught on and began artificially locking out old versions for no real technical reason, the software still worked, but you couldn’t use it anymore. You can see this kind of thing in action in a video I made.Today I am not even able to access my ms-skype account even though I know my password, due to microsoft’s horrid automated support system locking me out.
Probably around 2014-15 I tried to phase out ms-skype, in favor of a new program called Tox. Tox was obscure, unusable, and buggy; but I still got cute girls I knew irl and a lot of my friends to use it. Tox wasn’t actually as bad as I’m making it out to be, but multi person calls, video, and a few other features were essentially non-existent or totally busted. It was great for one-on-one though. Tox had major potential, but as all open source software is, it lacked in human usability. Tox was also under constant attack because it was created by independent people with security in mind. Being security minded in those days was highly stigmatized for some reason! People using privacy focused solutions back then are not likely to fall for the modern fake-privacy movement going on today.
Before I go further, I should touch on text chat programs since tox was leaning more towards the modern style of text chat systems. Just like voice chat programs there were two kinds of text chat programs, and like the two kinds of voice chat programs both could be used for what the other did but people usually kept them separate. Think of it like this, AIM was to Skype as IRC was to Vent. Some text chat programs were more focused on talking to people you actually knew (instant messaging) and some, mainly IRC, were focused on talking in groups of people you usually didn’t know. Public chat rooms go all the way back to the very early days of computer systems before the true internet was formed, and even phone party lines before that. I’ve found youtube comments I made in 2007 asking “what’s your aim or skype username”. I have used multiple text focused chat programs, AIM, Steam, Jabber, ICQ, IRC, Xfire, etc. Even website or game based chat systems like Runescape clans, Gaia, crtypto.cat, Bricklink, btc-e, and so on.
The history of text chat is much more vague than voice chat. Text chat focused programs were originally simple and basic. However the text chat ecosystem began moving in a whole different direction, departing from the basics of AIM, XMPP and the likes to the later versions of ms-skype, and finally the “modern” systems we have today. Custom emoticons were phased out in favor of the soulless emoji system we are still stuck with today. Inline media was becoming a standard feature across all text chat, including IRC. Eventually every chat program became a clone of one unified model with only a few standout features between each program. Today there are plenty of choices for text chat, but every single one of them works and looks more or less the exact same way. I refer to this model as “mixed media chat” or MMC. MMC is any chat software that supports the sharing of images, audio, video, or even generic files through the software, usually accompanied by media thumbnails/previews. I believe the big reason MMC is so popular is the simple ease of sending files. Sending a pic to your friends via drag and drop without having to rely on an external image hosting service is pretty much the default minimum expected behavior of all chat clients now, making them all MMC to a degree. I do not have a name for the way these programs “look” besides nue-modern, dark theme, round icons, contacts on the left, chat on the right, touchscreen focused, and always combined into a single window. Pre MMC focused chat programs typically featured light themes and separate windows for each chat.
Today I mostly use Telegram, although I’d like to phase it out since recently it is trying to become one of these “modern platforms”. I specifically use telegram to talk to friends, it has basically replaced all other text chat for me besides steam, and it is occasionally useful for voice calls. But like I said, they keep adding bloat such as broadcasting, “channels”, animated stickers, streaming etc. things like that. Big Telegram channels, specifically ones where you can’t post in, are probably worse than their discord equivalents. Don't get me started on the popular political, anime, and “meme” channels with stupid names I constantly see people forwarding non-original content from. Every chat or channel I am in on telegram is with friends of mine or ran by friends of mine. The only exception being audio file sharing channels for a podcast. Telegram will never be a pure replacement for classic Skype, because it is a text-focused system. Telegram also shares many of the technical and privacy related issues that discord has. Telegram at the very least has an open source client and the company started off without direct venture capital investment, although that has changed.
Lately I often just give people my personal cell # even though SMS is the least secure communication channel and all texts and calls you make over a phone are being read by some depressed nerd or an AI in Utah/Virginia. I am far more concerned about data collection from corporations such as discord than I am the US or most other governments (not that the phone companies aren't also reading your SMS). Like discord, just assume anything sent over SMS is public info. I actually use iMessage, so add apple to the list of companies that are collecting data on me. If I am talking about phones I gotta mention snapchat. I absolutely hate snapchat. The whole UI is designed to piss you off and the way it works stops you from having an actual conversation. snapchat is aimed at kids, and they love to push the worst sexual/political agendas right into the users face. Besides being a brainwashing platform, snapchat is basically an avenue for depressed girls to harvest validation from simps and not for actually chatting. Snapchat has been likely far worse than discord for culture as a whole. People who have a “bitmoji” need to be sent to a re-education facility. But I’m getting away from the topic.
[Chapter 2: Gaming]
Going back to 2011 when I started playing League of Legends. This was still in the early ms-skype days so it wasn’t that bad yet. All my friends who played used ms-skype, or we had a friend group that used Raidcall, which was just another TS3/Vent/Mumble clone. League of Legends is VERY important in gaming and internet culture history. Some of the meaningless newspeak terms people use today like “toxic” are directly from the LoL culture. LoL trained people that they had to fall in line with a specific “meta” play style, it actually eventually built the “meta” directly into the game lobby. Don’t you dare come up with cool new ways to play the game! You must fall in line and do what everyone else does.
League also marked the beginning of the modern egirl simping phenomenon. Yes, simping for girls on-line existed long before like in WoW or other MMOs. But the LoL culture made simping for an egirl an acceptable and mainstream thing to do. Almost as if the people doing it were trying to be an ironic caricature of themselves. An entire culture was built around this and still exists today. Another thing you can blame LoL for is the snitch culture of players reporting you for talking shit or a lot of times for no reason at all. LoL was the beginning of the corporate controlled speech we have in video games today. LoL is why most games don’t have cross-team voice anymore, talking shit makes these modern fake-gamers upset! But there is a far more important reason as to why I’m bringing up LoL.
Nearing the end of my league playing days, there was this trend with the games. Essentially before the game began someone would post a link to their on-line, web browser based (I think) voice chat service. I cannot remember which one it was because there were tons around at the time, it could have been curse voice, lolchat.me, or maybe one of the other various weird league focused voice services. I always thought this was stupid and never joined any of their chats. If I wasn’t already talking to friends while I was playing, I was listening to music. More importantly, I knew I didn’t want to talk to these random raging nerds who are super sweaty silver 4 players who think they are going to go live in the TSM gaming house and play league for the rest of their life as a “pro e-sports player”. This is another thing you can blame league for, making “e-sports” mainstream, and putting the “competitive” game style into the mainstream casual gamer mind. Game streaming also plays a large part in this. League also popularized the forced “matchmaking” system in games and “ranked” modes. Both have become vital to the modern fake-gamer, with many of them refusing to play games that lack these elements, unless the game in question is extremely popular. Many of these fake-gamers do not play games for enjoyment, they do it because of peer pressure.
Anyway, when you didn’t join their stupid voice chat they would without fail, get mad at you or act passive aggressive towards you. Usually they would flip out on you in game chat for doing one thing wrong ONCE and of course they would blame the entire match on you, these kinds of people still exist today! “Oh you bought 2nd round in CS:GO???? Now I’M not able to shoot straight and the entire game is lost because of YOU buying!!!!” This was the first time I noticed people having an emotional reaction to someone not wanting to use their software. Before I finish talking about league, I must mention Fates Forever. This was a game created by the discord developers before discord existed and was essentially a bootleg version of league for mobile devices. The majority of people involved in the creation of discord were and are league players. Many people high up in riot games are involved in some way as well. As a classic season 1-6? ex league player who knows many people that still play it, I can assure you the modern stereotypes about most players are extremely accurate.
When discord first came around in mid 2015, I was in college and pretty big into CS:GO. I would mostly play with either my irl friends or this britbong guy I had known for a while. I was unbelievably good at the time, easily holding my own on high ping european servers against global elite rank players. For voice chat we used either tox (in the case of my close friend group), skype, steam voice groups, or TeamSpeak3 (with my Britbong friend). Text chat was done almost entirely via steam or skype, even when using other voice services. Me and my bong buddy hopped TS3 servers a lot. He had a new server every few weeks, mostly because he used some temp free server service.
One day my bong friend messaged me asking to play cs, but this time he sent a link to discord. I clicked it but it wanted me to set up an account first so I was like “yeah I can’t be bothered right now bro just get on your TS3 server”. Immediately I noticed a change in tone from, wanting to game with the boys, to: mad because I wasn’t using discord. I suspect my bong friend was trying to impress someone he just met who had talked up discord to him or something. We played that game and ended up partially using the in game voice chat but the entire time the tone was negative against me. When people were actually speaking in game it was mostly me getting blamed for stuff with the condition that if I were in discord they wouldn't have died or something. We probably lost the game. Call it a gut feeling, but I knew something was up with discord. This was also YEARS before the modern stigma against discord. My bong friend was an actual computer hacker (and not some white hat loser either) and acted as if he was way more paranoid about security than most people, but when it came to discord he didn’t care, STRANGE!
The Bong came to me a few more times trying to get me in discord, eventually just kicking me out of the game lobby because I wouldn’t use it, but after that first experience I was hell bent on never using discord with him or his new tryhard discord friends. He shortly after vanished completely from my life. Funny because I had just lent him like 0.19 bitcoin which was probably less than 40$ back then but today would be worth quite a lot more. It seems like any time I loan bitcoin to anyone they just vanish forever, I have a few other people who owe me bitcoin, Anthony owes me 1.913 btc, Alex .3, Jmar .05, and Zen .09. This was all btc I mined myself with my baller HD6950 (dual bios with unlocked shaders ofc) back in like 2012. I have never bought or sold bitcoin for usd and I own no crypto currency personally.
Today when you tell someone you don’t use discord you are usually met with understanding or confusion, a lot of people have been brainwashed into believing that discord is the only communication system that exists on a computer. Back in the early days if you didn't use discord you were the worst nightmare to those people who were trying to push it on you. You see it wasn’t just my britbong buddy who had a visceral emotional reaction to me not wanting to use the software, but it was actually every single user of discord. Almost as if they all had some kind of cognitive dissonance where they knew in their mind discord was shitty but needed validation by you also using it. I remember the discord users would always ask the same stupid question, “well what do you use, skype!??” As if they didn’t also have skype installed back then.
discord’s own website used to state: “We think it is time to ditch Skype and Teamspeak. ...PC gamers use these apps to communicate while playing on-line games yet they haven't been updated in years and no longer meet our needs. As gamers ourselves, we got fed up with these tools and decided to fix the problem ourselves.” No mention of Mumble, Vent, or the myriad of other voice chat solutions that were very popular. The use of the phrase “apps” which is modern nuespeak gibberish and should be substituted for the word “programs” in this context. “yet they haven't been updated in years” is an even stranger statement because even today both skype and teamspeak are still getting regular updates, to the detriment of their users. “our needs” what exactly are those needs discord? But the one phrase that really makes me sick is “As gamers ourselves”. Yes they mean “gamers” but only in the modern nuespeak re-definition of the term. These fake-gamers are people whose entire personality revolves around the made up corporate “culture” of modern “gaming”.
[Chapter 3: Hype]
It seems discord gained initial popularity by paying big youtubers or streamers to make discord groups for their communities. As most know, just paying popular people to promote a product isn’t a perfect practice of persuasion. As such, discord also employed what are essentially unpaid shills to possibly infiltrate communities and create fake grassroots usage of discord. The program was called “discord hypesquad” which is split into on-line and real life marketing strategies. The web page for the program is still up on the official discord website, complete with an animated soulless corporate art style dead eye character to go along with it! Originally discord would send select users an email asking them to join the on-line part of the “hypesquad”.
The hypesquad program shifted some time around 2018, closing off applications for their real life program and completely changing the on-line program into 3 secret clubs or “houses” as they call them. Today these “houses” can be accessed by anyone and you get a special little icon on your profile if you join! All it takes is answering a few personal questions disguised as wacky scenarios. This kind of carrot-stick system is a form of crystallizing opinion for users. People that are part of a “hypesquad” will naturally promote discord even if it is not a conscious effort by the person. The mere act of suggestion by being in these groups is enough to form an emotional bond with the software.
Information about the inner workings of the “hypesquad” program is tightly controlled. The website used to state that members would need to “receive training online or IRL”. Members who are part of the still active, yet closed to new applicants, real life program are all in secret discord groups. I believe members of these groups sign an NDA or simply act as if they signed one. What is known about this group is that it publicly has two tiers; attendees and organizers. The attendee level will receive a T-shirt and become a walking discord advertisement at conventions and other events. These members would sometimes also be given the opportunity to help out at discord-run events.
The organizer level is a little more interesting, these are people who are hosting their own events, big or small, and are given a bunch of discord merch to hand out at those events. Or at least that is how they claim it works. The reality is the entire “hypesquad” program is simply a form of.. you guessed it GROOMING! Whether on-line or off-line the program is designed to groom people into dedicating significant time and emotion into promoting/grooming others into promoting discord. Clearly people who work for discord are familiar with the work of Mr. Bernays.
The complexities and psychology of how this works, how it spreads, how and why people do it for free could be an entire article itself. I suspect there is or was more going on with this “hypesquad” thing than what info is publicly known. I believe there may have been an element of community, forum, and IRC infiltration in the early days of this program. It would be extremely convenient if large on-line groups suddenly had various members beg for a discord “server” while also having people higher up in the groups advocating for it as well. It only takes one or two people with influence to seed an idea that will grow inside of a community. All of this assumes it is being done for free by volunteers.
The practice of paying shills or AI bot farms to promote something on-line is extremely common and is slowly becoming more well known. While discord would never admit directly to using paid shills or bots, it is extremely likely that it indeed is or was the case. There are also plenty of marketing firms that employ these methods that discord could hide behind and claim innocence. The first few years of discord and the vicious emotional backlash to someone not wanting to use it is simply not organic. Whether done by paid, unpaid, or unconscious shilling something was certainly going on and likely still is. It is foolish to think otherwise, as not employing these extremely effective and inexpensive strategies would be limiting the potential user base of discord, and I don’t think discord’s investors would be too happy about that.
I was actually planning a big video on discord back in the day when I had noticed this unique behavior of discord users. The video was going to be based around the idea of a “social virus”. I never did make the video because I figured discord was just the new flavor of the month thing that these e-sports freaks were all using. discord didn’t actually get super popular till sometime after 2017. Sadly to everyone’s dismay, discord has stuck around. The original idea of the social virus is of an actual computer virus (malware, etc) that is spread via peer pressure. Today that term can be expanded to real life behavior (mask wearing, etc). While discord might not be a virus that destroys your computer, it certainly is a form of spyware that is harvesting data from your computer.
[Chapter 4: Data]
discord is without a doubt harmful software. The discord client is based on the bloated electron framework, which has numerous reasons for avoiding. People claim discord is more resource efficient than other solutions, but that simply isn’t true. In fact it is possible the discord client can significantly tank the performance of certain games. It has been shown discord’s client scans what programs you are running, although the developers have claimed this data isn’t sent to the servers (in 2016). However the same developers also have said discord does collect programs you launch if you have the overlay enabled. The functionality exists within the program, so it is very possible that discord is in fact logging your running programs as well as other data such as; names of windows (meaning what pages you are looking at on the browser), geo location data, and every click you make on the program. I have read claims that discord also collects info about browser cookies, history, accounts, and things like that.
discord also obviously collects all voice, text, image, or video data sent through the program. It has been shown that the discord server software actively inspects and is capable of modifying a user's data. It is also known that discord can track users through deleted and alternate accounts. You may think you are being slick with your 10 alts, but discord just sees you as the same nerd no matter what account you use. Who knows what other kinds of data discord collects, or what kind of access it has into your computer or phone. Jason Citron, ceo and creator of discord has been involved in numerous ventures that have had privacy issues, specifically concerning data collection without the user’s consent. The first of which was all the way back in 2008 with the iPhone game called “Aurora Feint”.
The amount of data collected by Aurora Feint and OpenFeint was clearly significant, so much that OF got the attention and money of a few ad network/venture capital companies. Gree Inc. a Japanese company who had recently partnered with Tencent, decided to purchase OpenFeint in 2011. A few months later a class action lawsuit was filed against the company over computer fraud, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, and eight other statutory violations. OF collected info such as GPS location, browser history, and social media profiles. All of which was done without authorization or knowledge of the user. The lawsuit was dismissed due to lack of article 3 standing, meaning the plaintiffs had no personal stake in the outcome. OF claimed that no “data breach” was identified which is legal speak for, “we did collect your data but we never had any of it stolen from us”.
Soon after OpenFeint was sold, Jason Citron left and went on to start a new company “Phoenix Guild”. This later became “Hammer and Chisel”, where he would create the League of Legends ripoff game “Fates Forever” as mentioned earlier in the article. This game also included social network aspects kind of like Aurora Feint. After the game died Jason would once again take the social aspect from the game and use it to create something new, discord. It is clear Jason Citron and his associates are deep in the data collection game, and have connections with some of the largest ad and marketing corporations in the world. There is very little information about the connections Jason's family may have, besides that his father owned(?) two ice cream stores, and his grandfather ran a consulting company. So it is very possible he doesn’t come from a connected family, or at least these connections are well hidden. I haven't looked too much into the families of other discord founders as the information is hard to come by.
discord is free, meaning YOU are the product! The ONLY user based revenue streams discord offers are “nitro” and “boosts” both of which offer very little in the way of new features beyond “animated icons”, “vanity urls” and “custom emoticons”. Users of big groups will “boost” the group which is a way users think they are helping out the group by “unlocking” more “features”. The max amount of money a group can “boost” is about $80 USD. Ask anyone who runs an on-line service and they will gladly tell you that there is no possible way discord makes any profit via these methods considering the operating overhead. The cost of running discord, at the technical level alone massively outweighs the income from “nitro” and “boosts”. Having offices in San Francisco, paying employees, taxes, etc isn’t cheap either. discord is only able to operate due to massive funding from various venture capital firms.
[Chapter 5: Money]
Going back to the first archived company page in 2015 discord shows it had already raised millions from venture capital firms before the service even launched. One of those big investors is Tencent, a company that is for some strange reason constantly under fire just because people think the company is “Chinese”. What most people neglect to mention is that Tencent is majority owned by the Dutch and South African corporation Naspers via their other company Prosus. Other investors in discord are the SF based IDG Ventures who was owned by IDG Capital in 2017 but now may be owned by “The Blackstone group” another mega investment company. Accel, a Palo Alto based VC with investments in Facebook, Slack, DJI, Spotify, Dropbox, and Venmo just to name a few. SF based Benchmark VC with investments in Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, Ebay, Yelp, Zillow, AOL, DOCKER, MYSQL, and many more. Time Warner which became WarnerMedia, who owned about a third of all global media also had investments in discord. With WarnerMedia’s recent split I suspect AT&T may be the current owners of the discord investments as opposed to Warner Bros Discovery. Greylock partners is another big one, with investments in roblox, airbnb, coinbase, and many other extremely prominent tech companies.
The final Investor in discord I will showcase is Peter Relan’s SF based “YouWeb Incubator”. Peter Relan was Jason Citron’s Operating partner as far back as 2007 during the Aurora/OpenFeint era. Peter also owned half of the OpenFeint company. Not much is known about YWI’s investments outside of discord but their website claims they are focused on services, education, climate change, and “green tech” companies, you know the typical SF startup grift. Other investors in discord are; General Catalyst, Sony, Dragoneer, Baillie Gifford (who owns a large part of moderna inc as well), FirstMark, Spark Capital, and many more. Many of the members of these groups are on the board of discord in some capacity. All of these groups are the ones keeping discord on-line.
Venture capital works by doing high risk investments into new companies, usually via high interest rate debt (meaning the company is expected to pay this money back) or by the investor gaining ownership in part of the company/equity. Equity is the money that the investors would receive if the company was shut down, all debts were paid off, and all of the assets were sold, so the total net value of the company. The returns are usually made when a company goes public, or it is sold off to another company. VC investments are usually run on a 10 year cycle, and discord is getting very close to being 10 years old. I suspect you will see discord sold off, or go public in the next few years. It is pretty clear internet based service companies are massively overvalued right now, but that probably isn’t going to end anytime soon. discord is valued at above 12 billion, and I’ve seen numbers estimating Telegram to be above 60 billion. The data that these companies collect makes up a large portion of their value. When discord gets sold, all of this data becomes the property of the new owners, and that is why companies like discord and Telegram have value.
The VC investors may also have partial access to the data discord collects, depending on the deals signed when the investments were made. The investors do own large parts of the company after all. These companies could utilize discord’s data in various ways. Some people claim discord is a project to monitor entire cultures and groups of people to see what kinds of things they really believe and do. This information is allegedly vital to big advertising and venture capital companies. Without this essentially “inside info” into what mass groups of people are doing and thinking, the companies might not be able to plan their future investments as efficiently. discord could also be used to sway public opinion on various topics, promote certain products, ideas, or movements. It is not just discord either, many modern services are likely part of these control systems.
[Chapter 6: Community]
Like all things, discord doesn’t have just one main goal. discord has a multifaceted approach to destruction. More specifically the destruction of on-line cultures and identity. There are many ways discord is doing this. I’ll give one example from my personal experience; when I first began working with Star by Star Gaming, they exclusively used TeamSpeak3 for all voice chat, the TS3 server was filled with tons of channels and constantly had people in it. You could hop in pretty much any channel and start bullshitting with someone. SBS still uses their TS3, and it is still open to the public, but there is not really anyone on-line anymore except a few people who essentially use it as their personal VOIP solution (me).
You may think, oh well everyone moved to discord right? Well you are only half right. You see sbs eventually made an official discord group, which has grown and now has tons of people in it! But looking at the voice chat channels? Empty. There are people in the group! And sure SOME of them chat in the sbs text channels. But it is mostly an empty wasteland that is used exclusively for server announcements or stupid discord-tier meme posting. Where did all the people go? Well this is the biggest problem with discord in my opinion. discord’s functionality directly discourages using it as a real time group voice chat service like TS3 or Mumble. Instead, because discord is a more personal “platform” where users can be messaged off-line/privately and can create their own groups with zero effort, it encourages “break away” groups, hives, or “in-groups”.
Basically all of the users of the sbs discord, which before would have been talking in the TS3 when they were on-line, are now all in their own private discord calls or groups. discord is made to create discord, they have to tell you up front what is going on! discord takes once thriving, active communities like SBS, and fractures them into a thousand little private chats where people start drama and talk mad shit about other people from the community. You can no longer just get on TS3 and be talking to other random people who are playing the same game you are. You now need to have your own little friend groups and your own private discord chats. This creates endless issues. Don't believe me? Go to the sbs forums and search for the phrase “in a call” every single result is either a player report, a staff report, or just someone complaining about something. Jesus said “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation;” and that is completely true even down to the smallest communities.
Joining any discord group takes zero effort or investment, pretty much anyone can join any group with no strings attached. Someone can join a group for a community and then simply never ever interact with anyone or even read what is going on inside of that group. There is no obligation for a discord group member to ever contribute to the group in any way. This also leads to people being part of far more groups than they should be in at once. People will join discord groups for their favorite games or whatever and then just never interact with anyone, or play games with people in that group. On IRC if you join a channel you typically say hello or something, same with joining a public group voice chat service. discord pretends that it is voice focused, many will claim discord is mostly for text communication, but the majority use is neither. The main use case of discord is just being in a discord group, not talking to anyone while also using it as a skype-like system for personal MMC and voice chat.
On the bright side, discord has certainly not fully devoured all on-line communication. Many gaming communities still rely on other systems, especially larger or more professional ones who want actual control over the platforms. For example SuperiorServers another large GMod community, has an extremely active TS3 server. This is due to how some of their games are structured, and TS3 works better for them in that instance. Many ArmA focused gaming communities also use TS3, mainly due to integration with in game radio mods. Many non English speaking communities prefer self hosted voice systems such as TS3 and Mumble over discord. I also have doubts as to the real usage level of discord. While doing research for this article many search terms would bring back SEO’d websites selling discord group members sometimes higher than ten thousand at a time. How much of discord’s user-base are mules/bots/alts? Fake accounts also let people who control them sway opinion within groups, or make it seem like opposition/support for something is much larger than it really is.
[Chapter 7: Friends]
Creating real long lasting friendships with people on-line is much harder now because of discord. discord is structured in a way where you may meet someone, and then never talk to them again. Many times this is because people add each other after meeting once in a video game. Sometimes this is because both of you are in various other groups and are not on speaking terms outside that group you are in. Having to communicate with multiple different groups of people can take away time that would be used to bond and make friendships with others. discord makes “forgetting” about people or “ghosting” them a trivial thing to do. This works the opposite way too, people you normally wouldn’t want to get to know now are way too close! That random you added after meeting in a game might end up being a faggot, but now he has you on discord and can hit you up any time! People also like to act in a fake way, or in a way that is different from their real self when they are on these kinds of platforms. This expands to acting differently between different groups of people even on the same platform.
Meeting people once on-line and never meeting them again has always been pretty normal, think about randoms in game or in public chat rooms. Because of how discord works it makes those random people a bit closer to you. Just close enough that it trains you into thinking that people who may actually want to get closer and be friends, are the same as that random guy you met in game and added on discord so you could play with voice chat. Back when I played LoL my bro met two guys in game who were willing to talk on skype, which was a very rare occurrence. Later when I got on to play I met them too. We gamed quite a lot every day and I got to know them personally. I am still friends with the two today although we don't game that much (one of them a lot less than the other), I still know them and talk to them from time to time.
I am not saying this can’t happen on discord but if discord existed back then, who is to say that the next day our two new friends wouldn’t have just found other randoms to play with? That is how it is now with discord, you may meet someone and then the next day find someone else and no one cares. People assume everyone else also has discord, and that discord is equivalent to in-game voice chat. Thus making people treat interactions on discord much less personally and more as if they are one time contacts. Don’t get me started on games that actually do use discord for their voice chat! When I played EVE I used TS3 for that group. No one really knew each other outside of that instance and people came and went all the time, including myself. It was all business and no one expected to become friends with each other, especially considering our corp was very public. If someone did become friends through playing EVE in that group, they would have added that person on a more private communication system such as Skype or Steam.
discord also makes it harder to get away from people that you don’t want to communicate with. I once had someone who was basically a stalker. We were friends for a while but even though he lived far away, he would continuously insert himself into my personal life and friend groups. He would call my house and send me stuff in the mail. This guy would try and “coach” me on what to say to girls, then simultaneously be talking to them behind my back (I was like 16 or something). I was getting sick of his shit, and eventually after finding out he was messaging my actual GF at the time, who I didn’t even tell him about, I was done. I blocked him on pretty much every single thing I could. I had to abandon one group of really close internet friends, because he had infiltrated their spaces too. Even one of my closest IRL friends I had to become more distant with, because I knew he would probably still be talking with this guy.
He would occasionally pop up from time to time for a while, but eventually he must have moved on. At no point was I ever vindictive against him, considering I had his full dox and prob had enough evidence to fuck him over big time, I just didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. I believe he did come to my state once, and met up with some of my irl friends, YEARS after I had blocked him. His main reason for coming though was to meet up with one of these girls he had once “coached” me into talking to. A girl I wasn’t even interested in but clearly he was. She just so happened to also be like, way underage probably 16 or something considering she was a lil younger than me when I talked to her. He was older than me. As you can guess this guy is probably an avid discord user these days.
As a thought experiment, pretend this all happened in the modern era, and I was the typical 16 year old gamer who uses discord for everything. What happens in this situation? I block him on discord and everything else I can think of. Sure he can come back with new accounts just like before, but now, he probably was already in almost every single group I was in and likely knows way more of my friends. Now my other friends who might still talk to him will have easy access to me. He might be talking/getting info about me in groups I am in without me even knowing it because I blocked him. What if he uses alts, and follows me to new groups, or befriends people he sees me befriending? Because discord is so consolidated, combining private/public text and voice systems, it makes getting away from people much harder. The only real option would be deleting my account. Sure blocking works when you are dealing with general annoyances, but highly advanced stalkers and predators are usually never slowed by a simple block. I can only imagine how young discord users who have similar situations feel today.
[Chapter 8: Foes]
Meeting random strangers via public groups or platonic gaming is extremely easy with discord. This has led to another problem within discord and various on-line communities, and that of course is the pedophile problem. discord is famous for pedophiles and grooming minors. discord has become so used by this specific pedo target demo. That demo being very trusting unsupervised underage e-girls and boys who want to play video games. Kids who have a bad family life, few real friends etc. discord is a hotbed for 30-40 year old balding sub 5’7” men who want to call a vulnerable 14 year old girl “beautiful” and “kitten”. These kinds of guys will encourage underage drinking and drug use because they think it will give them a chance to get nudes. The kinds of guys who will tell minors about sexual things because they were asked “what are you doing” to which their response will always be “I’m just being honest!!”.
Because discord is so interconnected with almost every on-line game, community, or even just used personally for voice chat, it means most users only have a single account. This makes it super easy to track the person across the entire internet. Child predators may also begin tracking down all info they can about a person. Did you post your discord once on your facebook? Well hope you have your privacy settings set correctly because now the guy has your real name and location! That is just one example, but you can see how it gets worse from there. Because making new discord accounts and joining communities is so simplified, one pedo could be multi grooming a single user via seemingly different accounts. This may be against the TOS, but unless discord is actively monitoring random conversations it likely never gets reported. discord also claims to not keep copies of deleted messages, unless it was reported.
Not that other chat software doesn’t have similar issues, but it was never as prevalent as it has been recently with discord. discord provides a “safe space” for pedophiles (among other freaks) to operate in. I would guess the same people engaged in the discord grooming of today are the same League of Legends simps I talked about earlier, except all grown up and still trying to chase that 14 year-old healer girl boob pic high they once had. Surely pedos in skype groups would also find targets and try to groom them but finding skype groups with strangers to begin with wasn’t something an average young user could easily do. A user had to actively search out group calls, find someone who was part of one, and then join them. On discord however, everything is done via groups, and when you join one you are now visible to any user in that group. A kid could join a group advertised in their favorite game and then be exploited way down the line by members of that group. The fact that discord combines easily accessible public chat and the ability to private chat totally outside of the group is one reason that the problem is so big on discord specifically. People running the groups might not ever even see this going on.
Large gaming communities are also massive victims of the discord pedo problem. Due to legal reasons it can sometimes be hard to ban a player who is rumored to be a child groomer. Companies cannot punish someone for off platform behavior. For example if a typical player were to commit murder, that player would not and could not be banned from a gaming community, unless the situation was directly involved with said community. This is actually a good thing because corporations shouldn't be the enforcers of laws. But it can really hurt communities because sometimes they might not be able to outright ban someone who is acting inappropriately to another member on discord or any other platform not directly owned by the community. A well written TOS can help, but even that doesn’t always legally hold up.
As a quick aside, imagine the hell of running a large public discord group where it is pretty much impossible to permaban a user who can easily come back on a new account. Honest users who are falsely banned, many times have no way of accessing ban logs or contacting people who run the discord group without creating an alt and breaking ban evasion rules. discord doesn’t even notify a user who has been kicked or banned from a group. Unless the group uses a discord “bot” which also raises security concerns, there is no way for members of a group to see who is banning who. This leads to unaccountable moderators who may abuse their powers and ban for vindictive and personal reasons. What happens when your large community is infiltrated by a rogue mod who bans everyone? Every member would need to manually rejoin the group. What happens when a pedo mod starts extorting users, less they get banned?
The discord pedo problem is more apparent than ever. The simple mention of “grooming” even when using the word in a completely different context will have people spouting discord memes left and right. Almost as if the “meme” is an attempt to hide the fact that the problem exists by simply brushing it off as a funny joke! Much like the forced “Epstein didn’t kill himself” meme, another distraction. discord moderation has been known in the past to not do much about grooming. Pedos are regularly reported and many times they aren't banned unless actual CP is being shared. Some claim the people in charge of site wide moderation are a little more than friendly to these self titled “minor attracted persons”, they are employed in San Francisco after all!
[Chapter 9: Moderation]
Employees of discord have claimed each report sent is manually reviewed and no automation is used. However there are multiple instances of people being banned for seemingly no reason, as if their account set off a false positive in some sort of automated moderation system. discord’s own transparency reports do in fact mention automated systems. discord simply does not employ enough people to manually get context of every single reported message. What discord moderation is extremely well known for is, being very active at banning drawings of fictional “underage” characters. It is also a pretty well known fact that discord is home to various groups who share actual real life child abuse, bestiality, and various other extremely disturbing and illegal content.
Content of this nature is probably shared exclusively within multi-layered in-groups to ensure it never gets reported. When something like this does get reported, I do not believe discord employs people who would be mentally capable of viewing such content. I would hope at a higher up level, reported media is sorted by someone who is trained to handle that sort of thing and not the typical discord moderator. But who knows if discord actually does that. What is known is that discord uses the microsoft “PhotoDNA” program (included in the windows default image viewer), which takes image hashes, sends them to MS and compares them with a list of known CP hashes. discord is likely to start, or has already started using neural networks to determine if an image is CP or not.
In 2019 discord defined “exploitative content” as one single ban category meaning a real CP ban, revenge porn, and “underage” drawings were all grouped into one single category. That category was the 2nd most common reason for being banned on discord, but had over ten times more bans than the next highest ban category, with over ten thousand in a quarter. Recently discord has changed up the categories and split “child safety” from “exploitative content”. Child safety is now the number one most common ban, with over 1 million accounts banned in the 2nd half of 2021 alone. They still group SCRM into the child safety category. discord defines SCRM as “sexual content regarding minors that is not reportable to NCMEC”. I assume SCRM is mostly just “underage” drawings. If it is not reportable to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, then it probably doesn’t actually involve real child abuse, so drawn artwork.
Judging by the “server” ban data, we can again show that the moderation team is significantly more active at banning these SCRM groups than they are with banning actual real CP groups. discord banned more SCRM groups without them ever being reported, than all proactive and reactive real CP groups in the 2nd half of 2021. Not to mention the staggering 7 thousand + groups that were banned after being reported for SCRM. While discord claims to have a zero tolerance policy for grooming, only 220 total cases of grooming were reported to the NCMEC in the 2nd half of 2021. discord is careful not to make known the exact number of grooming bans that were not reportable to the NCMEC, but I think that besides drawings, these may also be grouped into the huge SCRM category, as discord likes to categorize a lot of grooming as “minors dating minors”.
If that is the case and the majority of grooming cases are being grouped with SCRM, that means they are not being escalated to law enforcement. Grooming may begin on discord, but it can move off of it very quickly meaning before grooming escalates to something banable it may stop on discord all together. If you trust the data from discord, then the claims that the moderation team are not doing anything about the pedo problem are not true. It is of my opinion that the mods are not the ones viewing actual CP reports, which I think are mostly handled by automated systems. As I said previously there are not enough people at discord to manually review each report, as such many real pedos probably get away with grooming. What’s more disturbing is that in 2019 an estimated 40K accounts were banned, and that has increased to an estimated 1.5MILLION, these numbers are not perfect as discord likes to change the way things are grouped, or reported but there has been an explosion of bans recently. Are moderators just now finally starting to crack down, or are more pedos using discord than ever before? Either way it is clear discord has been used by quite a lot of actual pedos for a long time.
People now claim discord is outright hiring pedos as site wide moderators, which I haven't been able to fully confirm. Considering the he-said she-said nature of modern social media and the “memes” surrounding discord users, getting labeled as a pedo is as easy as admitting to using the software. Much like how the word “grooming” is now being used, the word “pedo” has been applied en masse to so many things it has basically lost its meaning. Calling your 18 year old friend a pedo because he is dating a 17 year old is kinda funny, but it still contributes to the dilution of the word and helps actual real pedos hide behind the jokes.
On the topic of moderation, discord is also known to go after groups who have certain political opinions. Usually, only when it is convenient for them to do so. discord also admits to working closely with certain extortion/smear organizations that are famous for defending child rape-murderers. (you know the ones.) In the 2nd half of 2021 discord received less than 3 thousand legal requests and about 2 thousand DMCA requests, both of which are an extremely low number for such a “popular” platform with lots of illegal content. discord is part of the “fight against medical misinformation” which is a meaningless blanket term used to censor info that may hurt profits of major companies. Recently discord purchased “Sentropy”, a no name company which allegedly offered “AI driven tools” designed to “help stop hate online”. This company has links to DARPA, but more importantly it had heavy funding from the usual suspects who want to monitor and control the way people speak and think on-line. Sentropy’s own website (which is just a medium.com blog LOL) has multiple articles basically insisting on preemptively censoring and controlling speech and ideas before they can grow into “hate”. This is what discord moderation, which they often refer to as “trust and safety”, actually believes.
[Chapter 10: Forums]
The discord mods are also extremely against game cheating or hacking communities, which is a real shame because a lot of these communities have esoteric knowledge on the inner workings of games that can be vital to modders, preservationists, or just people wanting to mess around with the games they own. This overflows into high level modding communities as well. I strongly recommend anyone involved in these kinds of groups to just use a publicly searchable and easily archived forum that does not hide important info or files behind logins. I would also suggest anyone running a forum that does hide things behind logins to consider adding functionality that allows you to remove this log in requirement site wide, so this info can be archived in case you ever decide to shut down the forum.
Many forums or forum-like websites where people would go to discuss issues or things related to a very specific topic are being replaced with a single discord group. This was already a problem when communities would use IRC instead of a publicly searchable forum. Anyone not in the discord group can’t access the info, and once the group is gone all that info is gone forever. New users are not likely to ever read all of the previous chat messages to find questions that have already been discussed, so more time is spent rehashing topics. Normal forums have an easy search feature for this. Normal forums are also usually indexed by search engines, meaning finding older, historical, and helpful information on these forums is made easy. Forums also keep a record of a topic and who may have brought up points, discovered, or created something first.
Knowledgeable people are not always going to be on-line on discord to real time answer user’s questions either, and by the time they return the discussion may have shifted elsewhere. It is silly to think every discord user needs to be constantly connected, even when they are away from their computer. discord also has no way for a normal user to log or archive messages without using a 3rd party “discord bot” or program. All of these reasons have led to the loss of mass amounts of extremely specific and technical info about various topics. This is a big problem with video game and technical communities as any unique or lesser known information is essentially locked inside of these groups. Sometimes this kind of behavior is actually intentional within the group. Members of the group will begin to feel some kind of power being the arbiter of their niche information.
Remember when the source code of tf2 and csgo was “leaked” not long ago? And the rumor of an alleged remote code exploit was being spread? Well that source code had actually been around for years but was only shared between members of special discord groups, till one guy made it public due to some discord drama. The RCE rumor of course, was also likely started by the same group attempting to get people talking about something else and not their special little group which was becoming known. I know people who are/were in these kinds of groups and from what I have been told, many times this technical info is not given to people unless you basically dox yourself. If you betray the group in any way or you just get on someone’s bad side you are met with blackmail, swatting, and general harassment. The groups are typically filled with secret kings/special boys who have not much else going for them, besides being a really “important” figure in a small on-line group.
For some reason many discord users will all act and speak in a very similar way. They seem to be almost trying to emulate what they think a discord user would do or say, as if they were a character in someone’s popular discord youtube video or something. This ties back strongly into the topic of not being able to make real friends on discord. Having genuine communication with the majority of discord users is very difficult because their brains are all wired to be like this. This includes but is not limited to; the constant use of catch phrases, ways of thinking, speaking, and their strong opinions on CURRENT_TOPIC. The keyword here is “majority” because you absolutely can have genuine interactions on discord, in fact most of my interactions on discord are genuine, as I only ever communicate to a few people via discord.
[Chapter 11: Usage]
It may shock you but yes I actually do have a discord account that I log into less than once a month on average. I am personally only in two discord groups, one of those being a group of other source engine focused artists like myself. This is less of a secret club sharing forbidden knowledge and more of a place where people share cool stuff they are currently working on, occasionally ask questions, or shitpost(mostly this). I love the people in this group, as seldom as I interact with them. The majority of info in this group isn’t anything special, but I personally do think a lot of it should still be publicly archived for the sake of preserving the small percent of info that is actually unique and hard to find. Because many artists also use this to show their WIP off, those rare development images of a project might just be lost forever if the group ever goes away. This is just another reason to use publicly accessible message boards, not that those can’t vanish without a good archive either. When facepunch went away I was super pissed because IMO it should have just been set to a read only, but still accessible forum. The archives weren’t fully complete and many of my old facepunch bookmarks are still broken, even though the site is now back (with the ugly new theme).
The other discord group I am in is the Star by Star Gaming group. I mostly use this group to promote my youtube videos that are related to the SBS community. The group is mostly just community announcements and stupid discord chit chat. If the group were deleted I don’t think any important information would actually be lost, as anything truly important is located on the official SBS website. Player discussion also wouldn’t be lost as SBS has their own active public forum. Another reason I have a discord account is to occasionally talk to my real life friend who exclusively uses it for voice chat.
I also have to have a discord account to talk to various people that I am contracted to do work for, because many times they or their communities prefer to use discord for voice. My account is probably easy to find but no, I do not accept communication via discord unless I have prior contact with someone outside of discord beforehand. I never even look at discord unless I am asked to, or if I need to contact someone who is easier to get a hold of on discord than elsewhere. This makes some people upset, because they may want to just ask me quick simple questions and for that I suggest using Email, YouTube comments, or the Shy Studios Public BBS which I’ve created to allow anonymous discussion of really any topic, but mostly focused on stuff I am involved in. All business inquiries must come to me through email first, unless we are already on good speaking terms and have worked together before. If anyone ever contacts you claiming to be me or part of ShyStudios via discord, it is more than likely some kind of scammer unless we have had recent communication outside of discord and exchanged accounts.
If you use discord the way I do (basically not at all) then the majority of security and privacy concerns are just thrown out the window. Because I will absolutely never install the official discord client on any device I own, discord can only collect the data it has access to through the web browser. And of course I use a separate browser for discord than I do for my actual web browsing. My communications made via discord are of basically no value and I make sure to never share personal information or important files through discord. The same goes for other platforms like telegram although sometimes to a lesser extent. (IE: I will send you pics of my cats on telegram but not discord.) If at any point discord decides to make me “verify” my account through a phone number, I will simply make a new account. This works because once again, I only talk to people on discord who I have contact with outside of discord. I have absolutely no emotional connection to my discord account, meaning throwing away the account can be done without any hassle.
[Chapter 12: Dystopia]
It is very likely that discord is being used as a mass training ground for AI. The big lucrative businesses of the future will be focused around totally fake people, all computer generated in every possible way. Even today many users on websites are simply advanced bots that have agendas. discord’s wide adoption by various groups, cultures, ages, and the likes make it a perfect data set to train neural networks, AIs, and do human-AI interaction research. What better place is there for AI research than somewhere where you know real people will take your bots seriously, a place where it is common to stick around in a community for a while, or a place where new people come and go all the time. discord and many other “platforms” will be essential to the future faking of humanity.
I believe a big reason discord has been so harmful to internet and irl culture is because of the focus on nue/fake gamers and the consolidation of multiple different programs into a single system. discord replaces instant messaging, group chat rooms, person to person/small group private voice chat, public voice chat rooms, public textboards, bulletin board systems, imageboards, and sadly even public discussion forums. This is very similar to the systemd situation on linux. Systemd by itself as an init system isn’t actually bad, after all it is just a copy of the OSX init system. The problem with systemd is that it has consumed so many different components that even basic software now relies on systemd components. Systemd and its associated software like polkit have serious security concerns as well. People would rather go with the flow and just adopt systemd since everyone else is doing it. Systemd is exactly like discord! Systemd wasn’t organically adopted either, distros were allegedly paid by red hat to switch. Once again, this is a whole article I could write.
The last problem I’ll talk about is the deliberate dumbing down of users thanks to software like discord. discord is leading the way into the new era of computing hell where everything will talk to you like a baby. Most software and websites already do. No one will know what is actually going on under the hood. Everything will be black box’d and “service” based. No one will own a server but they will just call things “server” like discord does. New software will be built on top of a thousand layers of abstraction. It might even be open source too, but no one will ever have a clue how anything works, like a modern web browser. People will become more and more technically inept. Unskilled programmers are already moving to languages like “rust” which encourages bad programming, is basically unreadable, and causes more issues than it solves. Hardware will become more powerful, but performance will be worse because no one can write actual software anymore.
There are certainly other issues with discord such as; horrid UI choices, the appropriation of parts of our real net culture, it being basically unusable for structured teams, the stomach churning reddit-like logo, the general mockingbird style humor/responses the users share, scammers, the promotion of the rust programming language, the discord cabals who try and force new “memes” into popular use, horrid audio quality, limited audio settings unless you use the desktop client, the coming NFT/crypto integration, the culture that has formed around discord use, the new discord clones such as “guilded” that are no better if not worse than discord, and the TOS which grants discord a license to use any of your original content in any way they please; including modifying it. I am sure there are plenty of things I have missed that may seem obvious to you, but you have to remember I don’t really use discord.
[Chapter 13: Discord]
I do not personally believe that Jason Citron or his colleagues originally had the intention to create some kind of “evil” service that is designed to wipe out mass on-line history and culture, it just so happens that is what it has become. Most discord users either like or aggressively love the service, and the fact is the majority of these users wouldn’t fit in anywhere else on-line anyway. discord actually acts almost like a containment zone to an extent, although the culture does spill over quite often. The reddit brain nue-gamers can spend their whole life in discord’s walled garden and they will be happy there. In defense of discord, the service is functional and clearly there is a lot of work put into the back end by many skilled individuals, even if at the end of the day a lot of that work is for data collection. Discord does have a very nice light theme and even has TTS kind of like mumble. There are even alternatives to the discord client that pose far less concerns, such as dosdude1’s “discord Lite” which is a client that can run on the greatest operating system ever made, OSX 10.4! This is what I would use if I needed a non web client.
There are plenty of reasons to avoid discord use altogether, but if you are like me and can still be friends with people who are not 100% clones of yourself, you may at some point need to talk to those friends on discord. Occasional use of discord for basic chit chat via the website is no more of a privacy or security risk than the majority of other messaging software currently in use. Sadly most other software is also just as centralized, controlled, or consolidated as discord. Other popular communication “platforms” in the future may end up being far worse than discord, and as stated previously in the article some already are (snapchat). There are plenty of current alternatives to discord but many have various issues of their own. I have a full article about those HERE. If you would like to learn more please check out some of the pages I have linked below, I may even add more links in the future. Also be sure to check out my humorous account of logging into discord at the very bottom of this page.
If any of these links are dead, lmk and I will replace them with archives!
My article about discord alternatives
RMS's page about discord
spyware.neocities article about discord
[Archive] Drew DeVault's "Please don't use Discord for FOSS projects"
Article about whatsapp that strongly applies to discord
Reverse Engineering discord
Koshka's Kingdom - "Make the Web Great Again"
List of what the FSF uses for chat.
[Archive] Shadow Wiki Basic comparison of IM systems, though lacking detailed info
Great write up about why Matrix is also horrid.
Privacy issues with Matrix.
[Addendum: Logging On]
I will now load discord and begin typing out my stream of consciousness. Please read the following in a somber tone, possibly with sad music: The first thing I see is a big “what’s new” popup that I don’t care about. The disgusting discord logo, which might as well just be an upside down reddit logo made to look a bit like an xbox controller, stares at me with its dead eyes. I notice they have changed their wordmark to use a weird font. I close the popup only to get another about their TOS changes, then again a thing at the bottom left telling me about how I can now switch between up to 4 alt accounts. Every button says “Got it”, but what is “it”? The list of “servers” also shows icons of users who have sent me a direct message, but although I am looking at the area where I would read said messages, there is no indication on the actual chat between these people. Every time I click on something another fucking pop up appears. My last message was from elios, a few weeks ago on April 2nd, before that a message from a girl saying “call me” right after I had just logged off on 2/26/2022. The sbs announcement channel’s last post has “reaction emojis” that spell out “cum” underneath it. The general chat has two gifs of men kissing.
Moving on to the other group I am in, it seems people are talking about how cool Portal Desolation’s lighting system is. One of the programmers is there. Someone found out you can animate a cubemap texture. I save a funny gmod picture from the chat. Remembering why I logged into discord in the first place, I go back to the sbs group and try to find the notification settings menu. I press a button on the top right which opens the “threads” list. What the fuck is this? The first “thread” is titled “large black cock” with an image of a black feathered chicken. There is a notifications button next to this one but it isn’t helpful, and the settings changed when I closed that “thread”. I finally find the settings menu but what I want isn’t here. I disable many of the unneeded email notifications, but I still don’t know where to turn off being included by “@everyone”. I enable TTS and consider changing my language to Chinese. I switch to light mode, lower my font size, and disable spoiler content. I google search how to disable “@everyone” notifications, only to find a massive article about what it is and how to turn it off for server owners, not for clients. A discord support page finally shows me how to do it, but I get confused and think the option menu they are talking about is the top right notification settings menu because they look Identical. The “server” notification settings menu is apparently different. I will no longer get emails every time someone does “@everyone”. I change my profile description so it sounds less aggressive then log off likely for another 2 months.
[Examples of discord's discord]
Though I have seen tons of examples of discord caused by discord over the years I mostly never recorded them, here I will actively add new examples I see passively over time.
The Girlfriend That LEAKED This 2b2t Base - A situation where a player’s GF would talk in discord with him and his friends and because he was gaming too much she was able to use discord to find people who were enemies of these players who she leaked info to, despite not playing the game herself. This would be next to impossible for a normal person before the days of discord. Finding enemy player groups would require at least participation in-game, even then how would you go about contacting them? Discord allows this extremely low and anti social behavior to happen much more efficiently than before.