Discord and Communication.

May 30, 2023 ren 5 minutes

      I’m going to preface this by saying this happens to every company. Discord isn’t an exception, it just so happens to be the next in line, much to my dismay.

      To speak personally, I’ve never exactly seen this happen, in my own experience. I’m not a “big tech” person, you don’t see me very often on places like Twitter, much less anywhere like Facebook.

      I see their bad decisions from afar, pointing and laughing as another arrow in their knees that’ll eventually cauterize and everyone will forget.

      In a way, Discord is the first and only “big tech” (I put this in quotations for a reason) that I’ve spent quite a lot of my life on. I’ve watched it grow from the earliest days in 2016 when channel categories were only seen in mockups, up until now with their fragmented disaster of an app. That’s seven years!

      Some things changed, some things stayed the same, though. I remember even back then their mobile app was a complete disaster, and it still is. There are plenty of things you still can’t do on mobile that you can do on desktop.

      I digress though, that’s not the main point. My main gripe, and the area that they’ve seriously eroded in, is their communications.

      I remember years ago, Discord would make these funky YouTube videos for each one of their updates. Remember “don’t be a broom”?

      now that’s classic.

      Discord had a sort of “pizzazz” back then, something you just don’t see anymore. You’re lucky just to see some funky art on a changelog nowadays, if it even works![1]

      Now it’s just… boring. It looks like every other minimal app on the market, now with a light mode that singlehandedly turned everyone against light mode in the first place. Curse you lot at Discord for making me dependent on dark mode…

      this is you now, Discord.

      But that’s not even the worst of it. See, I’ve been a partner since 2017. Somewhat late on, but that’s because the server I run, being the OneShot Discord, was partnered early 2017. I’ve still seen a lot. In fact, I still have the email from when I was accepted as a partner, and I freaked out!

      partnership email
      look at that personality!

      When I was accepted, it felt like I was seeing a new world. In their partner exclusive Discord server, I’d often see tidings and occasional peeks of new features coming down the pipe, soon to be available for Discord users everywhere to see. Gods below, they even communicated with us!

      communication example
      even giving us time to prepare our communities for it. how sweet!

      We were given access to sniff out features coming to our communities, and we were even able to give feedback on them. I still remember ages ago, where the Discord staff held an AMA (I think it was an AMA?) in the partner server, and I was able to express some of my concerns with the direction their platform has heading in. Specifically, this was around the time that forums were being introduced, and I had an issue with how disabling the “Create Posts” permission led to a nice nag telling you to keep it turned on. I told them that this was annoying and unhelpful, as some communities have to use features in their own ways to make it work for them. It comes off as patronizing to me.

      Sadly, they never listened to that, though they did in the moment. It still burns me a little.

      annoying nag
      I really don’t need to hear this.

      It seems that whole “plug your ears and wait out the firestorm” mentality of theirs stuck through as well. In the past, it wasn’t that noticeable. Discord would make some change that would ignite some part of the userbase on fire, and then it would be taken to Reddit for “discussion”. I was there too, in the partner server, beloathing Reddit for their echo chamber minority.

      It’s easy to get caught up in work for a hornet’s nest when you live in one, after all.

      Yet now, Discord makes a change to their username system, and a much, much more significant portion of the userbase is up in arms, complaining on Reddit. And Reddit wasn’t even alone on this! In the partner server, questions there remained unanswered too! This was the best we got, a post that gives us a non-answer, and at worst, a meme now spread across the partner server. It almost feels like a silent war of two sides.

      just embellish!
      “embellishment” is such a perfect solution for BRANDS, isn’t it? just embellish! oh, wait…

      guess it wasn’t a solution, team…

      And this was in the same server where years ago, we’d be given screenshots, no, GIFs of features soon to come! Videos posted like the one before drumming up hype for spellcheck of all things! Yet, now, there is no video. There are no questions answered. Only a dry letter from a co-founder probably shadow-written by shareholders, and a help desk article written by a name that might as well just be “The Staff”. As an aside, Librarian? Really? You’re not who you once were, stop acting like it.

      I suppose to sum this all up, I watched the slow, eventual corporatization of Discord happen. From the moment they added the Nitro Gift button to their message bar, requiring the use of…


      oh no!

      …to fix. Nobody was happy about that now, nobody’s happy about this then. Yet the wound will cauterize, and everyone’s going to just move on and forget, since it isn’t truly the end of the world. It never is, and that’s fine.

      It just makes me sick that we’re stuck with Discord.

      • [1] As a side note, during the early parts of the username fiasco, Discord’s changelogs in their “What’s New” page didn’t even work until the update came out. That’s depressing.

      This post is part 3 of my Discord rant series. Part 1 is here.