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 functions as a free range chat room; people enter 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 chatting is it can be pretty tough to hop into a conservation because you have no idea where to start. The feed wizzes by you in a disorganized mess.
Now with Forum Channels (opens in new tab), Discord is trying to reign in that clutter by providing specialized channels about a specific topic. The feature appears as a list of large, box posts that have a bolded title for its topic. Click on one and you will be taken to that chat room where the comments are posted in a chronological order. Anybody can create these rooms, but only server administrators can create the Forum Channels themselves.
It’s basically like old-school forums. And it’s a little ironic that Discord is adding forums when it effectively replaced that way of online communication.
Discord states the feature is currently rolling out to both the desktop and mobile app, so if you’re interested in creating one for your server, be sure to install the update when it arrives. It’ll roll out in waves over time. The company has a set of instructions on how to create Forum Channels (opens in new tab) on its website. The gist of it is you first create a new channel, select the Forum option, create some guidelines, set permissions for users, and you’re good to go.
The feature also comes with a search bar if you can’t find what you’re searching for and it supports AutoMod. One of the problems with old-school forums is moderation. Forums can get out of hand as people go off topic and create posts hundreds of pages long with all sorts of content on there. AutoMod is a moderation tool that automatically cleans up Discord channels. As an example, you can configure the tool to zero in on derogatory words or off-topic discussions and block people who violate the rules.
Discord’s API Documentation has also been updated (opens in new tab) to include information on Forums Channels for anybody who wants to create bots for their channel.
When it first launched, Discord was seen as an alternative to online forums where you and your friends can have a private chat room. It’s been widely adopted by gaming communities as a way for fans to congregate around their favorite titles. But as time went on, Discord grew into gargantuan proportions so features have steadily been added to help manage the platform.
Besides the aforementioned AutoMod, Discord has recently seen the introduction of text chats in voice channels (opens in new tab) allowing users to paste links, add reaction GIFs, or enter a message. The aim of this update, according to Discord, was to move discussions away from the main channel by helping keep it clear of clutter. Plus, the platform recently expanded its Nitro offerings to include a basic plan that increases file upload size among other tools.
If you’re a fledgling Discord moderator, TechRadar has a series of guides to help you learn the tools of the trade including how to manage emojis.