Discord is home to a diverse set of communities that cater to a wide range of interests, and moderation serves as the backbone of any community. With this in mind, Discord has developed an ecosystem of programs and resources to facilitate the advancement of moderation and moderation practices on the platform.
The Discord Moderator Ecosystem was created by Discord with contributions from both moderators within Discord as well as users outside of the company. Created to bring together moderators with interests in user safety and community management, it has branched off into several programs and subprograms that each serve various purposes. This article will introduce readers to the ecosystem and explain what the branches are about.
The Moderator Ecosystem consists of two main programs that are known as the Discord Moderator Discord (DMD) and the Moderator Mentorship Community (MMC).
These programs focus on different things and target different audiences which we will cover later in the article. But overall, they share a very similar goal: they each provide a place for their members to engage in, talk about, or discuss everything about moderation, community management, and administration in an online environment. In both communities there are a variety of opportunities to be explored.
Our first stop is the Discord Moderator Discord or the DMD--the first and main community of the entire ecosystem. Moderators who have passed the Discord Moderator Academy Exam and are over the age of 18 can join this server.
Serving as a forum for experienced moderators to discuss moderation philosophy, theory, and practicality, people from across the ecosystem, such as Moderator Mentorship Community Mentors can be found here. Both moderators and Discord’s own Trust & Safety, Engineering, Product, and other teams frequently participate in discussions here pertaining to new and existing platform features and understanding moderation needs. You will have opportunities to interact with teams that are eager to receive direct feedback on projects and upcoming features, especially on how those features will affect your jobs as moderators.
This is also the hub for all things related to the Discord Moderator Academy (DMA). You can brainstorm ideas for future articles, proofread ones that are already written before they enter the editing pipeline, share feedback about published pieces, and contribute your moderation knowhow to our ever growing resource.
The Moderator Mentorship Community was born out of the DMD when we recognized a need to help guide younger moderators looking to learn more about what moderation entails. The challenges that younger moderators face may be different from that of more experienced or older moderators, and so this community was formed to address and provide resources for our younger moderators. This server is a safe space for moderators between the ages of 13 and 17 to be mentored by more experienced moderators all there is to know about the realities of running online communities. The mentors are selected from applicants from within the DMD seeking to help others learn. The MMC’s primary goal is to focus on the professional growth and polishing of younger moderators’ skills in a controlled and curated environment with an emphasis on education and growth.
Within our three main Discord programs, you may also find resources and subprograms. These include Discord Moderator Academy and Moderator Mentors which exist to support the overarching goals of the ecosystem.
We’ve previously mentioned the DMA already--in fact, your reading of this very article is part of the beginning stages of your journey into the ecosystem. The Discord Moderator Academy is the first place to look when starting out on your moderation level-up journey. This is a living, growing public resource full of moderation and community-building wisdom made by moderators for moderators to share their knowledge and experience with the rest of the community. The content in the DMA makes for a solid foundation of moderation knowledge ranging from technical setup, community building, rules and regulations, and interpersonal relationship management.
If you’re interested in joining the Discord Moderator Ecosystem, you must first pass the Discord Moderator Academy Exam that is based off of the articles and content shared in the DMA. Its purpose is to test your knowledge of moderation in general and specifics tied to the articles within. Passing this may allow you to join either the Discord Moderator Discord or the Moderator Mentorship Community, depending upon your age.
The Moderator Mentors serve as a critical element of the MMC. These mentors are the foundation of the community and help pave the way for future generations of moderators to build a safer online world. To become a moderator mentor for the MMC, you will have to be at least 18 years old and be an active and positive contributing member of the DMD with the time and interest to help nurture younger moderators.
In the summer of 2021, Discord introduced a new profile badge called the Discord Certified Moderator badge.
As we all know, moderators play an essential role within servers on the platform, ensuring the safety of all the communities they protect. They are often the unsung heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty. Responsible for not only keeping their users safe but also for engaging their audiences and talking about the topics within servers to keep the gears turning, Discord introduced the badge to recognize the expertise and efforts that some of its best moderators have made in their efforts to help keep Discord a great place to be safe and to belong. Users with this badge are considered positive and impactful moderators within the aforementioned ecosystem, and thus Discord has certified them as volunteer moderators.
*Unless you are using the channel description for verification instructions rather than an automatic greeter message.
If you want to use the remove unverified role method, you will need a bot that can automatically assign a role to a user when they join.
Once you decide whether you want to add or remove a role, you need to decide how you want that action to take place. Generally, this is done by typing a bot command in a channel, typing a bot command in a DM, or clicking on a reaction. The differences between these methods are shown below.
In order to use the command in channel method, you will need to instruct your users to remove the Unverified role or to add the Verified role to themselves.
The Discord Moderator Ecosystem consists of different programs that work together to create a carefully cultivated environment where passionate users can learn from one another and bond over a shared respect for online moderation and all it encompasses. This ecosystem is just one part of Discord’s support of educational efforts for online safety and moderation.
Begin your journey to joining the ecosystem by reading through the Discord Moderator Academy and taking the exam to have a chance to enter these programs yourself!
Markdown is also supported in an embed. Here is an image to showcase an example of these properties:
Example image to showcase the elements of an embed
An important thing to note is that embeds also have their limitations, which are set by the API. Here are some of the most important ones you need to know:
An important thing to note is that embeds also have their limitations, which are set by the API. Here are some of the most important ones you need to know:
If you feel like experimenting even further you should take a look at the full list of limitations provided by Discord here.
It’s very important to keep in mind that when you are writing an embed, it should be in JSON format. Some bots even provide an embed visualizer within their dashboards. You can also use this embed visualizer tool which provides visualization for bot and webhook embeds.
Even though this comparison is important for better understanding of both bots and webhooks, it does not mean you should limit yourself to only picking one or the other. Sometimes, bots and webhooks work their best when working together. It’s not uncommon for bots to use webhooks for logging purposes or to distinguish notable messages with a custom avatar and name for that message. Both tools are essential for a server to function properly and make for a powerful combination.
*Unconfigurable filters, these will catch all instances of the trigger, regardless of whether they’re spammed or a single instance
**Gaius also offers an additional NSFW filter as well as standard image spam filtering
***YAGPDB offers link verification via google, anything flagged as unsafe can be removed
****Giselle combines Fast Messages and Repeated Text into one filter
Anti-Spam is integral to running a large private server, or a public server. Spam, by definition, is irrelevant or unsolicited messages. This covers a wide base of things on Discord, there are multiple types of spam a user can engage in. The common forms are listed in the table above. The most common forms of spam are also very typical of raids, those being Fast Messages and Repeated Text. The nature of spam can vary greatly but the vast majority of instances involve a user or users sending lots of messages with the same contents with the intent of disrupting your server.
There are subsets of this spam that many anti-spam filters will be able to catch. If any of the following: Mentions, Links, Invites, Emoji, and Newline Text are spammed repeatedly in one message or spammed repeatedly across several messages, they will provoke most Repeated Text and Fast Messages filters appropriately. Subset filters are still a good thing for your anti-spam filter to contain as you may wish to punish more or less harshly depending on the spam. Namely, Emoji and Links may warrant separate punishments. Spamming 10 links in a single message is inherently worse than having 10 emoji in a message.
Anti-spam will only act on these things contextually, usually in an X in Y fashion where if a user sends, for example, 10 links in 5 seconds, they will be punished to some degree. This could be 10 links in one message, or 1 link in 10 messages. In this respect, some anti-spam filters can act simultaneously as Fast Messages and Repeated Text filters.
Sometimes, spam may happen too quickly for a bot to catch up. There are rate limits in place to stop bots from harming servers that can prevent deletion of individual messages if those messages are being sent too quickly. This can often happen in raids. As such, Fast Messages filters should prevent offenders from sending messages; this can be done via a mute, kick or ban. If you want to protect your server from raids, please read on to the Anti-Raid section of this article.
Text filters allow you to control the types of words and/or links that people are allowed to put in your server. Different bots will provide various ways to filter these things, keeping your chat nice and clean.
*Defaults to banning ALL links
**YAGPDB offers link verification via google, anything flagged as unsafe can be removed
***Setting a catch-all filter with carl will prevent link-specific spam detection
A text filter is integral to a well moderated server. It’s strongly, strongly recommended you use a bot that can filter text based on a blacklist. A Banned words filter can catch links and invites provided http:// and https:// are added to the word blacklist (for all links) or specific full site URLs to block individual websites. In addition, discord.gg can be added to a blacklist to block ALL Discord invites.
A Banned Words filter is integral to running a public server, especially if it’s a Partnered, Community or Verified server, as this level of auto moderation is highly recommended for the server to adhere to the additional guidelines attached to it. Before configuring a filter, it’s a good idea to work out what is and isn’t ok to say in your server, regardless of context. For example, racial slurs are generally unacceptable in almost all servers, regardless of context. Banned word filters often won’t account for context, with an explicit blacklist. For this reason, it’s also important a robust filter also contains whitelisting options. For example, if you add the slur ‘nig’ to your filter and someone mentions the country ‘Nigeria’ they could get in trouble for using an otherwise acceptable word.
Filter immunity may also be important to your server, as there may be individuals who need to discuss the use of banned words, namely members of a moderation team. There may also be channels that allow the usage of otherwise banned words. For example, a serious channel dedicated to discussion of real world issues may require discussions about slurs or other demeaning language, in this exception channel based Immunity is integral to allowing those conversations.
Link filtering is important to servers where sharing links in ‘general’ chats isn’t allowed, or where there are specific channels for sharing such things. This can allow a server to remove links with an appropriate reprimand without treating a transgression with the same severity as they would a user sending a racial slur.
Whitelisting/Blacklisting and templates for links are also a good idea to have. While many servers will use catch-all filters to make sure links stay in specific channels, some links will always be malicious. As such, being able to filter specific links is a good feature, with preset filters (Like the google filter provided by YAGPDB) coming in very handy for protecting your user base without intricate setup however, it is recommended you do configure a custom filter to ensure specific slurs, words etc. that break the rules of your server, aren’t being said.
Invite filtering is equally important in large or public servers where users will attempt to raid, scam or otherwise assault your server with links with the intention of manipulating your user base to join or where unsolicited self-promotion is potentially fruitful. Filtering allows these invites to be recognized, and dealt with more harshly. Some bots may also allow by-server white/blacklisting allowing you to control which servers are ok to share invites to, and which aren’t. A good example of invite filtering usage would be something like a partners channel, where invites to other, closely linked, servers are shared. These servers should be added to an invite whitelist to prevent their deletion.
Raids, as defined earlier in this article, are mass-joins of users (often selfbots) with the intent of damaging your server. There are a few methods available to you in order for you to protect your community from this behavior. One method involves gating your server with verification appropriately, as discussed in DMA 301.You can also supplement or supplant the need for verification by using a bot that can detect and/or prevent damage from raids.
*Unconfigurable, triggers raid prevention based on user joins & damage prevention based on humanly impossible user activity. Will not automatically trigger on the free version of the bot.
Raid detection means a bot can detect the large number of users joining that’s typical of a raid, usually in an X in Y format. This feature is usually chained with Raid Prevention or Damage Prevention to prevent the detected raid from being effective, wherein raiding users will typically spam channels with unsavoury messages.
Raid-user detection is a system designed to detect users who are likely to be participating in a raid independently of the quantity of frequency of new user joins. These systems typically look for users that were created recently or have no profile picture, among other triggers depending on how elaborate the system is.
Raid prevention stops a raid from happening, either by Raid detection or Raid-user detection. These countermeasures stop participants of a raid specifically from harming your server by preventing raiding users from accessing your server in the first place, such as through kicks, bans, or mutes of the users that triggered the detection.
Damage prevention stops raiding users from causing any disruption via spam to your server by closing off certain aspects of it either from all new users, or from everyone. These functions usually prevent messages from being sent or read in public channels that new users will have access to. This differs from Raid Prevention as it doesn’t specifically target or remove new users on the server.
Raid anti-spam is an anti spam system robust enough to prevent raiding users’ messages from disrupting channels via the typical spam found in a raid. For an anti-spam system to fit this dynamic, it should be able to prevent Fast Messages and Repeated Text. This is a subset of Damage Prevention.
Raid cleanup commands are typically mass-message removal commands to clean up channels affected by spam as part of a raid, often aliased to ‘Purge’ or ‘Prune’.It should be noted that Discord features built-in raid and user bot detection, which is rather effective at preventing raids as or before they happen. If you are logging member joins and leaves, you can infer that Discord has taken action against shady accounts if the time difference between the join and the leave times is extremely small (such as between 0-5 seconds). However, you shouldn’t rely solely on these systems if you run a large or public server.
Messages aren’t the only way potential evildoers can present unsavoury content to your server. They can also manipulate their Discord username or Nickname to cause trouble. There are a few different ways a username can be abusive and different bots offer different filters to prevent this.
*Gaius can apply same blacklist/whitelist to names as messages or only filter based on items in the blacklist tagged %name
**YAGPDB can use configured word-list filters OR a regex filter
Username filtering is less important than other forms of auto moderation, when choosing which bot(s) to use for your auto moderation needs, this should typically be considered last, since users with unsavory usernames can just be nicknamed in order to hide their actual username.
One additional component not included in the table is the effects of implementing a verification gate. The ramifications of a verification gate are difficult to quantify and not easily summarized. Verification gates make it harder for people to join in the conversation of your server, but in exchange help protect your community from trolls, spam bots, those unable to read your server’s language, or other low intent users. This can make administration and moderation of your server much easier. You’ll also see that the percent of people that visit more than 3 channels increases as they explore the server and follow verification instructions, and that percent talked may increase if people need to type a verification command.
However, in exchange you can expect to see server leaves increase. In addition, total engagement on your other channels may grow at a slower pace. User retention will decrease as well. Furthermore, this will complicate the interpretation of your welcome screen metrics, as the welcome screen will need to be used to help people primarily follow the verification process as opposed to visiting many channels in your server. There is also no guarantee that people who send a message after clicking to read the verification instructions successfully verified. In order to measure the efficacy of your verification system, you may need to use a custom solution to measure the proportion of people that pass or fail verification.
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