Information and announcement channels are the cornerstones of making your server easy to navigate. Once you understand how to use permissions on Discord, this article will help you understand how to set up these channels, the content to include in them, and how to best present that content so that your community members can easily understand it.
First, it’s important to know what information channels and announcement channels are. Generally speaking an information channel contains reference material provided by the server staff team about the server or its purpose. This information is usually updated infrequently throughout the servers’ life.
On the other hand, an announcement channel is generally a channel that the server staff team uses to provide updates about the server or its topic. As opposed to information channels that are rarely updated, announcement channels regularly have new messages in them. Announcement channels also have a dedicated channel type that allows other users to follow the channel and receive its messages in their own servers. You can learn more about the announcement channel type and publishing messages here.
Both kinds of channels involve restricting Send Messages permissions to trusted members only, usually the server staff team, as well as providing important information about the server or its topic. Therefore, to get the most out of your information and announcement channels, you should put them at the top of your channel list or categories and carefully consider the kinds of content to share in them.
Announcement channels can usually be divided into two types: announcements about your server or announcements about your topic. Whenever you make an announcement that will be relevant to those outside of your server, you can also choose to publish it and send the announcement out to those following your server. This can be a great way to inform those across Discord who may be interested in your servers’ intended purpose, but may not be interested in the latest news about your server itself.
For example, if you are a server dedicated to a specific game, you might have a #game-news announcements channel where you can post patch notes or updates to the game. To take things further, you could even use a Discord bot to let people assign and unassign a News Notification Role that can be mentioned whenever you have news to share with your server. This ensures that you only ping people who have opted into it, which is better than mentioning @everyone.
Another announcement channel you could make is a #server-announcements channel. Here, you can announce things like changes to your server, giveaways, events, and more!
In either case, announcements should be brief and contained to a single message when possible. This will also make them easier to publish, as only ten messages can be published per hour. Opening with the most important information or context as to the importance of the announcement will also encourage people to read the entire message. After explaining the announcement in detail, you can close with a brief farewell, and if applicable, invite people to discuss the announcement in relevant channels.
Example #server-announcements Message
Hello everyone, we have just opened the #original-art channel! This channel can be used to post artwork that you’ve created yourself. You can also read through the channel pins and topic for more information. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to bring them up in the #server-feedback channel. We hope you enjoy the new channel!
Example #game-news Announcements Message
@Game Updates Check out the patch notes below for the update coming next week! If you want to talk about them in detail, we encourage you to head to #game-chat to discuss the content with others. Hope you’re looking forward to it!
Content in an information channel should be useful for understanding the server or its topic. Although it is important to remain as brief as possible to ensure users read the whole channel, it’s inevitable that you may need to send the information across multiple messages and even scroll for users to see all of the content provided. Including a disclaimer at the bottom encouraging users to scroll up to the top of the channel can help users understand there is more to the channel than what is immediately visible. Pinning the top-most message of the channel can also help users quickly jump to the top and start reading.
One common type of information channel is a #rules channel where members can find a list of behavioral guidelines to follow on the server. This channel may also include a post asking people to react to a message in order to acknowledge that they have read the rules and gain access to the rest of the server. This sort of verification gate can help ensure users read your most important information channels thoroughly. With Community enabled, you can also designate the channel with your server rules as the “Rules Or Guidelines Channel,” which will give it a special icon to help it stand out. You can learn more about how to come up with rules for your community through this article.
However, it is important to remember that sometimes you may need to convey complicated information that requires several messages. To ensure that the information can still be easily understood, consider the role that formatting your messages plays in reading comprehension to avoid overwhelming text walls.
*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.
When it comes to formatting, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how markdown works on Discord. This will let you appropriately bold, underline, italicize, and otherwise add basic formatting to your messages.
In addition to basic formatting, it may be necessary to break up your content into paragraphs or multiple messages to ensure people aren’t overwhelmed with a wall of text in your information channels. You can also use formatting to provide section headers, further breaking up the content into easily understandable chunks. Here’s an example showing a “community links” informational section for a game.
To better explain what you’re seeing in this image, we’ll explore exactly how we utilized special formatting to make this visually appealing.
Although the first part of this example uses four levels of headers, you’ll see that the second section only uses two levels. Depending on the information you’re trying to convey, you might not need that many different sections in your information channels. This is also true for messages for announcements, as they tend to be shorter than information provided in an informational channel. However, using paragraphs and some section headers well can still help make long messages easier to read and understand.
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.
Although information and announcement channels both provide important information to users in your server, the longevity and detail of the information in each is somewhat different. Remember that being succinct in conveying this information and providing it in an easy to understand format will help your community members better comprehend both your servers’ purpose and the community itself. Keeping this information in mind as you build your server will surely make the passing of new and important information to your community a more comfortable and efficient experience overall.
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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