Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

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Enjay
 
 
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Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Enjay »

I'll lay out my problem from the get-go: I have absolutely no idea how anyone can find Discord useful as a tool for long-term or ongoing discussion of anything. I am a member of a number of Discord groups (and have been for a few years now). Several of these groups use Discord as a sort of forum-like substitute and, honestly, they are all a complete fekkin' nightmare to use as far as I am concerned. No matter how the groups are divided up into subject-specific chat areas, they still always seem to end up an absolute mess of people talking through each other. Reading a conversation in real time is bad enough but going in to find something historic is nigh-on impossible with the conversation that you want to look at requiring you to scroll back through potentially hundreds of messages and wade through the liberal pepperings of "lols", "hehs" and elements of other conversations that intersperse the actual conversation that I am interested in.

And the software layout (browesr-based, desktop and phone app) to my mind is utterly crap too. I can never find what I want to do first time. It makes Blender look like the most user-friendly interface on the planet. Someone in another community told me, on a forum, to "just" send them a message on Discord. It took half an hour to find them and then to figure out how to do it. And then the message didn't even get through because of their preferences!

Even on a very small group (6 friends) where all we use it for is to play music during Zoom role playing sessions, someone always struggles to log in with sound. They then get confused and have to be talked through how to get sound working - every single time.

So, my experience tells me, Discord is an absolute nightmare, not fit for the purposes that people use it for (which may not, of course, be the purposes it was intended for). To me it is a confusing mess of hundreds or people all speaking at once and no clear organisation or user friendliness whatsoever in how it does what it does or in the basic layout of the interface. I have no idea why people haven't just fired it up, gone "this is shit" and binned it immediately.

And yet thousands, no, millions of people swear by it and use it as their go-to way of communicating online. So what am I missing? What is the secret to success? How on Earth do you actually use is successfully? The only way I can see it ever being possible is if you are on it 24/7, constantly monitoring conversations and messages and in a position to both do that and respond at the time.

I'm genuinely asking for help because I recognise that I'm going to be stuck using Discord for the foreseeable future (at least until the next great online communication tool becomes popular) and I simply cannot fathom how to get anything productive out of it.
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Nash
 
 
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Nash »

Enjay, I share your thoughts. I have resorted to just not read messages if I have gone away from looking at Discord for more than a few hours (I just read the latest messages). At my age (36) this is how I manage my social media usage time. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp groups, whatever. I simply don't have enough free time to read entire conversations anymore.

If something is important enough for me to dig through, I might use the search feature in Discord, I will probably have to follow the messy conversation a bit (people talking through each other) before getting to the information I want, but that's about it. I make no attempt to "fully catch up" on conversations anymore. It's just too much for me to handle.

Every once in a while, I do a Mary Kondo and leave servers I haven't interacted with and find no value in.

Sorry if this isn't too helpful. I realize this is a bad approach to it. But oh well... =P
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Kinsie »

It's basically just IRC with GIFs.
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Enjay
 
 
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Enjay »

At least it's not just me. :lol:

I always thought that it was just meant to be a modern IRC-like program. At least IRC was what it was, and nothing more. Either Discord itself is trying (and failing IMO) to be much more, or people are trying to use it for much more when all it is really useful for is pretty much what IRC was useful for.

It is also my impression that sometimes people move to a new software or platform just because it's the thing to do. I have been a member of several online forum-based communities that closed their forums and moved to Facebook - because Facebook was "so much easier and I use it all the time anyway" only for the community to fracture, fall apart and disappear because Facebook wasn't actually the best way to do what the community had been doing up to that point. I see many people on forums saying similar things about Discord: "I never check the forum, so just hit me up on Discord." Sure, I'll dive into the mess of concurrent conversations to make a post that will inevitably get lost amongst all the other ones.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by nova++ »

From a less-old person - I don't like how much is tossed into it. I don't understand how anyone can be in a server with hundreds or thousands of active members from the sheer sensory overload - plus it's godawful for anyone ever wanting to search for potentially useful information from outside the platform...

I am only in 2 servers, both very quiet. The "mute and hide channel" function is a godsend. Mostly I just use direct messages there. And in neither case am I doing any sort of serious troubleshooting or something, only casual conversation and sharing.

I don't find the interface too egregious though, it can depend a lot on how a particular server decides to lay things out. Also I rarely touch the voice/video chat features because they are Le Stink (especially on linux)

In general the move to less-concrete platforms like twitter (don't get me started on twitter) and discord bothers me for the information loss I mentioned above... it's just going to take one buyout or major server disruption or backup SNAFU (see myspace losing their entire archive) to lose everything. Maybe I'm past the critical point of being around long enough I can remember platforms that no longer exist.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Scripten »

Discord is absolutely fantastic as a chat program. It has a lot of useful features, and it all works relatively as one would expect. However (and this is a huge caveat), it really does feel like they're trying to take over the role of forums in community building, and that, as others here have said, stinks. Quick, chatroom discussion is great and it allows people to get feedback for things fast, but it really does feel like things get lost, even when you're using pinned messages, thread, and so on.

Let me join the chorus of people starting to shout at clouds here - Discord is a great solution for what it's meant to do, but the replacement of long-form more permanent communication is a net loss for online communities. Oh and also putting those all communities into the hands of one corporation is wildly risky, per the Facebook example you gave, Enjay.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by dpJudas »

Enjay wrote:I always thought that it was just meant to be a modern IRC-like program. At least IRC was what it was, and nothing more. Either Discord itself is trying (and failing IMO) to be much more, or people are trying to use it for much more when all it is really useful for is pretty much what IRC was useful for.
It really is just meant to be a modern IRC (live text chat) with voice/audio/streaming/gif/image capabilities added. At least that's what the UI has been optimized to do.

Of course with so many things, there are always people trying to use it for things it wasn't meant for. And unlike IRC there are certain things it doesn't do well - large communities in particular. Unlike IRC, the user list and channel list is globally forced upon you on a server and therefore impossible to navigate in any meaningful way for anything larger than say 50 people with a few channels. But what Discord is certainly not is a forum replacement. So if that was what you were seeking then I can't really blame you for being disappointed. :)
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Graf Zahl »

When used for its intended purpose it is a decent solution - certainly better than most alternatives I know.

It is really just too bad that some people cannot be bothered to use the forum anymore and instead post their messages into a vacuum where they quickly disappear.
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Enjay
 
 
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Enjay »

dpJudas wrote:But what Discord is certainly not is a forum replacement. So if that was what you were seeking then I can't really blame you for being disappointed. :)
It's not so much that I am seeking to do that; it's more that other people seem to be seeking to do that and thereby forcing me to try and use it as such to communicate with them. So I thought I might just be missing some "trick" as to how to do that seeing as how some people seem to be using it that way.

If it was just being used as a live/real-time chat, then that would be fine. It does seem to do that pretty well (though I've never really been a fan of them either, and find them awkward). But people seem to be trying to use it for so much more. Mind you, as has been said, when a channel has thousands of users it really becomes a mess: like trying to have a quiet conversation at a noisy party with a thousand people in the same room (not during COVID, obviously ;) ).

I'm also seeing a lot of people (including a few on here) saying "but I mentioned it on Discord" and assuming that a) everyone is on there, b) that someone read it and c) the message is still findable and readable. When, in reality, it was just a fleeting comment that whizzed by along with all the other chat and is now effectively gone and forgotten. All they have done post their message into the vacuum, as Graf said.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Rachael »

Graf Zahl wrote: It is really just too bad that some people cannot be bothered to use the forum anymore and instead post their messages into a vacuum where they quickly disappear.
As a very strong proponent of Discord usage for day-to-day communication (mostly for the social aspect of it, more than anything) I couldn't agree with this more.

Discord is not a replacement for serious dev discussion, especially since there's some devs who actively refuse to use it (since it is not 100% free software, it has restrictions).

Anything that requires permanence - like bugs, suggestions, or other things that typically cannot be addressed "right now" are extremely ill-suited for Discord discussion.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by dpJudas »

Enjay wrote:I'm also seeing a lot of people (including a few on here) saying "but I mentioned it on Discord" and assuming that a) everyone is on there, b) that someone read it and c) the message is still findable and readable.
Rest assured that anyone saying that is just clueless about how the real world works. It isn't you missing something. See it as the same kind of thing as Twitter or Facebook users actually thinking the rest of the world is following what they say there. :)

It is probably triggered by them knowing some very small projects with low traffic chats where the owner of the project does read the chat on a daily basis and where there isn't enough discussion going on for them to not miss what people say. Only solution really is to tell them that this isn't how larger projects work. :)
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by KynikossDragonn »

I absolutely despise Discord!

I had to give up using Discord entirely, not only because of it being browser based (and thus lying through their teeth about it being "low on resources") and the service itself being unreliable at a core; but because the people who run Discord love blanket deactivating large swaths of accounts without warning and I had to email multiple times demanding to know why my account was deactivated, only to find out it was because I wasn't using "the official client". Even though I've been pointed out nothing in the ToS forbids third party use of the API.

The fact my account was deactivated out of the blue, during a service outage, being given the message "check your email" only to find no actual email detailing why my account was suspended, was more than enough for me to never want to return to that service ever again. And I refuse to be goaded into it.

I'm glad the few forums I regular on (this included) still stick around to this day. IRC still exists too and I'm a regular on #modarchive at EsperNet. If I need VoIP I'll just use Mumble, or TeamSpeak 3 if someone requires me to join a TS3 server instead. Atleast with Mumble I'm hosting the server locally, and it's actually a server and not some stupid database entry on a bloated webserver struggling to run on Google Cloud Platform.

I wouldn't have been pursuing third party clients to Discord if their own client wasn't just Chromium renamed and hardcoded to only open "discordapp". I have a huge hunch the reason why they're trying to ban people for third party clients and "modifications" is because they don't want their precious "analytics" getting foiled because apparently that pointless crap is worth a lot of money to somebody. There should not have been any way of them knowing I was even using a third party client unless they were deliberately violating my privacy and looking at my DM's. The author of the third party client I was using even told someone on Twitter who similarly had their account disabled mysteriously without warning, that there isn't anywhere in the ToS forbidding third party clients, really makes me thoroughly disappointed.

The huge bandwagon effect Discord caused is also highly frustrating to me, but there's no point in ranting about that.

I will say though, it's a huge pressure lifted off of my shoulders to not have to use that crap again. I avoid a lot of very problematic types of people by not using it. If people actually take the term "friendship" seriously, then I expect them to actually know how to reach out to me better that doesn't involve Discord whatsoever...
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Gez »

I have never used Discord and I stubbornly refuse to install it. The fact that it's a Facebook version of IRC is enough to deter me.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by RKD »

I use Discord occassionaly but I see it more as a Whatsapp/TeamSpeak replacement than anything else and, imo, it does a really good job at replacing that specific type of apps (live chat/instant messaging). The problem I do see is that there is a threshold after which there's just too many active people talking at once to hold a meaningful conversation, so big servers with a lot of traffic are honestly a pain to read.

Having said that, though, I also think that most server admins do not use it properly. If I wanted to have a list of important stuff (like on hold suggestions/bug reports in a forum), I'd probably use a separate channel that others may or may not be able to see but only me have permissions to write there. That way I'd make sure that no one makes that stuff gets lost in chat, for example.
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Re: Discord - how on Earth do you do it?

Post by Graf Zahl »

A forum would still be better suited for this.

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