Forums  /  Speedrunning  /  Discord Alternatives and Moving Communities
  diggitydiggity

Hey guys,

I believe we're starting to see a trend in Discord and their staff, which is one of neglecting their user base, bot developers, and most feedback, that will not last long. Discord has largely stayed the same since I joined it 5 years ago, barring some minor features (and nitro features). Things that I have been begging for for years only being introduced by this year and the next, for example.

I cannot do it justice myself, but if you want a good read about this, check out this gist: https://gist.github.com/Rapptz/4a2f62751b9600a31a0d3c78100287f1?a on why discord.py (python library for discord bot APIs) will no longer be maintained.

My question to everyone is; what are your thoughts on moving communities, specifically ones surrounding Speedrunning, to alternatives? Is this something you're considering? How would you go about doing so?
While I've maintained many large servers, some related to speedrunning, some not, the idea of trying to move one of those communities is a nightmare, but I feel that the lifetime of Discord is waning.

One of the alternatives I'm considering is Guilded; https://www.guilded.gg/blog/guilded-top-10-features-standalone . It seems to be the best one available right now. I haven't spent enough time in the environment yet to properly weigh the options, though.

Here are some of my concerns:
- Reluctance of users to create another account for another platform
- Potential fragmentation of communities / need to re-build a platform / home, especially for the many smaller communities out there
- The structure might not make sense for a lot of games/communities atm
- The place just isn't very popular

I've also heard of Element (matrix), which I've made an account on, but I'm not holding onto the hope that that site is worth the watch.

Thoughts?

 
  QuivicoQuivico
(edited: )

I think for the common user Discord will remain the popular option for the time being, which is the most important factor. Forcing new community members to jump through too many hoops is discouraging, and though not everyone starts with a Discord account, Discord is becoming a major platform with reams of content. For many (myself included) technical neglect as Discord has shown is discouraging (if they're even aware of it), but not an active threat. Moving now would be premature and fail due to the issues of reluctance you mentioned, though it isn't bad to plan for the worst.

I don't see updated bots being essential to many (or any) communities, but feel free to correct me.

A good starting place would be this site's forums, as anyone speedrunning will already have an account.

IvoryIvory, PearPear and 3 others like this. 
  O.D.W.O.D.W.

I wasn't even really aware of this situation- all in all it sucks, even if bots aren't something I cared about. This is the kind of bureaucratic rubbish I hate seeing, but have come to expect from tech companies at this point.

If you don't need voice chat, embedding, or, well, a lot of stuff, one could call to the past and make an IRC server. Those were kinda left behind for a reason, though. The thing about the SR.C forums is that they're a slower form of communication that lack live updating and the kind of response time it brings. Resolving problems, questions, glitch-hunting, routing, etc. in my experience can be done a whole lot more effectively this way.

My personal grievances aren't large enough with Discord to spearhead a full migration over, but Guilded does look neat and is a suitable replacement, I cannot lie. They seem to have been recently acquired by Roblox, which I guess isn't the worst corporation to be owned by, but I'm jaded to the idea that this won't start to have an effect on the platform.

Regardless, if the communities I'm in moved there, then I'd follow without complaint. I'd be willing to say that a large majority of speedrunners are more committed to their communities more than they are to Discord.

IvoryIvory, diggitydiggity and 3 others like this. 
  diggitydiggity

"I don't see updated bots being essential to many (or any) communities, but feel free to correct me."

Yeah, while not directly an issue for many communities, it's more there to highlight a pattern of neglect Discord has shown towards its userbase.

"They seem to have been recently acquired by Roblox, which I guess isn't the worst corporation to be owned by, but I'm jaded to the idea that this won't start to have an effect on the platform."

Worth noting they (Guilded) had made a statement claiming that they will remain independent as normal in their development, and that the Roblox acquisition would have no effect on the company. As you said, whether that's actually the case is yet to be seen, but I'm not hopeful.

"Regardless, if the communities I'm in moved there, then I'd follow without complaint. I'd be willing to say that a large majority of speedrunners are more committed to their communities more than they are to Discord."

I don't see this being the case for the wider community, honestly. As you guys said the benefit of moving would not be worth the effort / hit on the community. My biggest concern is, if this pattern continues, and Discord falls down in terms of usability / feasibility, where is the tipping point? Will communities ever be able to move swiftly, or will they be too deeply rooted to move effectively? I think it's the same reason that many people still use Messenger... not enough reason to move, somehow. Some people don't care about better and are just comfy where they are, but for server administrators / moderators (which are the people most acutely aware of the differences / problems with Discord and have to deal with them), it just takes more effort to keep up and deal with Discord's drawback. I'm not sure there's much winning here.

My perspective is limited since I've only ever been apart of speedrunning communities since Discord was well established (late 2017), so I've never migrated with one before. Hopefully that won't be a necessity, though. Thanks for your comments guys

IvoryIvory, PearPear and 3 others like this. 
  11
(edited: )

I highly recommend moving to Matrix, it is better than Discord in almost every way.

People will whine about "omg I prefer using discord" but the truth is that making a matrix account will take you at most 1 minute and the experience is just so much better. I've seen communities go from IRC to Skype to Discord, its not like changing platforms is super hard or impossible.

It's better to move now then move later when the community is both larger and discord has gone to shit.

MrMonshMrMonsh likes this. 
  survivalMichisurvivalMichi

I dont like discord. but the barebone features of discord are more than enough to run a community on it.
also many speedrun communities have links to the general gaming community of their respective franchise.
And those are on discord again. Its not like you would just leave because of speedrunning.
Discord is probably here to stay and mostly because it is a slack which was able to get broad use.

 
  MrMonshMrMonsh

Originally posted by 1I've seen communities go from IRC to Skype to Discord, its not like changing platforms is super hard or impossible.

I absolutely agree with this. There was a time where it seemed like Skype would forever be the way to communicate via voice chat and look where that went. Platforms only stay relevant as the users find them useful (or at least better than the competition). If Discord starts doing anti-consumer moves and the app experience goes down the gutter, sooner or later it'll fall out of grace for the casual public, and eventually communities will end up following suit.

For the time being though, I believe most communities will find it "adequate enough" to their needs, so I don't see this happening in the near future.

CurruffCurruff, survivalMichisurvivalMichi and 4 others like this. 
  Oreo321Oreo321

I don't really understand the issues with Discord, to be honest. The first post only reference the Discord bots and their stopped maintenance.

If a community or server doesn't rely on any Discord bots, are there any more reasons to move to a new platform?
Does it depend on the size of the community/server?

As I see it, if you just need a platform with basic features for the game discussion - chat, uploading resources, several channels to discuss different aspect of the game, polls, etc - Discord fulfill all of those.

jackzfimljackzfiml, survivalMichisurvivalMichi and 3 others like this. 
  diggitydiggity

I wish I was able to give you a list of concrete examples, but personally as an admin since about 2017 I have experienced countless frustration with Discord since. Yes, they do so many things right, but it can be done much better and I think the options are worth exploring

I want to make this clear to everyone since it doesn't seem to be coming across well - the gist I mentioned, about the developer of discord.py stopping maintenance, was not shared because some bots will break / have to migrate to other libraries / etc. I highly recommend reading it - the point explicitly was to outline a continued pattern by Discord, their employees, and their treatment of some of arguably their most critical users (the library maintainers work for free and provide a large amount of customisability to be more easily accessible to a lot of people, which in turn is arguably one of the main reasons why Discord is so preferable (the bots)) over a long period of time. That pattern of behavior is why I'm seriously considering alternatives. Also, it seems some features that I've wanted for a while exist on Guilded (i.e. all the different channel types (docs, forums, etc))

O.D.W.O.D.W. and Merl_Merl_ like this. 
  O.D.W.O.D.W.

Yeah, the focus of the matter here is less on bots and more on their apparent declining interest in working with the community.

Though, I have to say what @vanillakittyxoxvanillakittyxox notes is a bit of a problem. Being able to get DMs from basically anyone is an issue.

I might take a look into Matrix sometime, see if it's any good.

 
  AnInternetTrollAnInternetTroll

I'm a giant fan of Element/Matrix and I really want to switch but due to lazy fat discord mods it's been hard to say the least. To address concerns

> - Reluctance of users to create another account for another platform
A cool thing with matrix is that it's decentralized. So you can use one account from one server on any server. This does work only for the matrix protocol though, so no easy transfer I guess, but matrix.org supports logging in with github and google and some other stuff I think, so it's really easy.
> - Potential fragmentation of communities / need to re-build a platform / home, especially for the many smaller communities out there
There are many matrix-discord bridges out there. Personally I use https://t2bot.io/discord/ and it's really good. On matrix it's like the user from discord is in the matrix channel. So transferring communities can be done gradually.
> - The structure might not make sense for a lot of games/communities atm
Not sure what you mean by structure, but matrix now supports spaces, which are in a way like servers. You have groups of rooms and you can give permissions to users in each room. So you can have different admins for different subjects.
> - The place just isn't very popular
I come from minecraft bedrock so I can't speak for everyone, but in my case if users are willing to switch platforms for the better then they are more dedicated to the community. So instead of 1000 brainless wallnuts you have 500 really good players. Of course this doesn't apply to all games, and the minecraft matrix space isn't popular at all (but I'll blame it on the mods). And some games don't have the 1000 players in the first place. But I don't think anyone will look at a game and see they don't use discord and just give up on running it.

11 likes this. 
  SioNSioN

Quote

matrix.org supports logging in with github and google and some other stuff I think, so it's really easy.

i dont trust apps enough to login with my google or github logins and making new accounts is always a hassle and if the community that made me join matrix wasnt really for me id just have wasted time making an account. of course it doesnt take that long to make an account but its still an annoyance. there are only like two communities that i would follow to some other platform but discord is more than fine for us

 
  AnInternetTrollAnInternetTroll

Apps use something called OAuth to login with google or github. This allows an application to only get certain data from github/google, such as user info and email. These stuff are already public on their respective platforms and it's not like they're taking your credentials. It's safer than you might think it is.

Merl_Merl_ and 11 like this. 
  diggitydiggity

@AnInternetTrollAnInternetTroll

Admittedly I haven't taken that close a look at all at matrix - most of my comments were aimed at Guilded.

My 'account' message is more general, the limiting feature is not actually making an account / logging in, it's moving to a new platform entirely and getting used to it (setting up notifications, settings, etc)

That bridge bot looks pretty cool on the surface, I would need to look into it more. Although, I assume for it to be effective in the use case you described you'd need to bridge multiple channels (potentially the entire server, if possible)

I don't know how matrix works, but from what you said it sounds similar to Guilded where there are sub-groups in a server? In Guilded at least (what my comments were directed towards), each subgroup is intended to be a different game (or something like this). I could potentially see large servers converting categories / groups of categories into these different groups, to give it more room to breathe, or potentially using them for different languages, but my fear is that it seems to be designed for very large servers - otherwise these extra groups/channels could feel very empty. One community I frequent is about 20 total members, with only a few active - the place would feel very empty. I think, you could just ignore the groups feature altogether, but I'm not sure the efficiency of that (but for popular Series it could work?)

I think a 50% conversion rate is honestly a bit wishful thinking, unless you literally shut down the discord server and forced people to move. Since you come from a minecraft space, as you said not every community has such an active userbase. So I'm worried that losing so many people in a move for some communities could irreversibly kill the community if some members aren't bothered to make the move.

I can only imagine though that at some point a large community will attempt to make the switch to another platform. I wonder which will be the first (if any).

Do you have an invite link for your matrix space @AnInternetTrollAnInternetTroll ? I'd like to see how you have it setup!

O.D.W.O.D.W. and Merl_Merl_ like this. 
  Bob-chickenBob-chicken

I use discord with some regularity, and have not really ran into any problems with it. I dont know about others though.