What was old is now new again: social messaging platform Discord is adding a feature very similar to classic internet forums; the aptly named forum channels.
Discord works like a free chat room; people join a channel to talk about whatever they want with some moderation involved to keep things on topic. But the tricky thing about this style of chat is that it can be very difficult to get into a conservation because you have no idea where to start. The feed passes you by in a disorganized mess.
Now with forum channels (opens in new tab), Discord is trying to quell this confusion by providing expert channels on a specific topic. The resource appears as a list of large boxed posts that have a bold title for their topic. Click on one and you will be taken to that chat room where comments are posted in chronological order. Anyone can create these rooms, but only server admins can create their own forum channels.
It’s basically like old school forums. And it’s a little ironic that Discord is adding forums when it effectively replaced this form of online communication.
Discord claims the feature is being rolled out to the desktop and mobile app, so if you’re interested in building one for your server, install the update when it arrives. It will roll in waves over time. The company has a set of instructions on how to create forum channels (opens in new tab) on your website. The essence is you first create a new channel, select the Forum option, create some guidelines, set permissions for users and that’s it.
The feature also comes with a search bar if you can’t find what you’re looking for and supports AutoMod. One of the problems with old school forums is moderation. Forums can get out of hand as people get off topic and create posts with hundreds of pages with all kinds of content. AutoMod is a moderation tool that automatically cleans up Discord channels. As an example, you can configure the tool to focus on derogatory words or off-topic discussions and block people who break the rules.
Discord API documentation has also been updated (opens in new tab) to include information about Forum Channels for anyone who wants to create bots for their channel.
When it launched, Discord was seen as an alternative to online forums where you and your friends can have a private chat room. It has been widely adopted by gaming communities as a way for fans to come together around their favorite titles. But as time passed, Discord grew to massive proportions, so features were constantly added to help manage the platform.
In addition to the aforementioned AutoMod, Discord has recently seen the introducing text chats into voice channels (opens in new tab) allowing users to paste links, add reaction GIFs or enter a message. The purpose of this update, according to Discord, was to move discussions away from the main channel, helping to keep it clutter-free. Additionally, the platform has recently expanded its Nitro offerings to include a basic plan that increases file upload sizes among other tools.
If you’re an inexperienced Discord moderator, has a number of guides to help you learn the tools of the trade, including how to manage emojis.