What is Discord?
Discord is a free instant messaging and VoIP application and digital distribution platform designed for creating communities ranging from gamers to education and businesses. Discord specializes in text, image, video and audio communication between users in a chat channel. Discord runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and in web browsers. Discord is very popular amongst teens, older children, and the gaming community.
Due to the COVID-19 Crisis, many CPL programs, like PNG, are virtual. There is need for a virtual space for PNGers to interact and share their projects. The Project Director has determined Discord to be the best platform to fill this need. Reasons for this determination include:
- Browser-based UI available (good for devices that can’t download the application)
- Pre-extant popularity with PNG demographic
- Allows synchronus and non-synchronous communication
- Allows file sharing
- Provides an opportunity to educate PNGers on internet safety
- Server customization (chat and voice channels to organize communication, privacy and security settings, automated content moderation)
Why not Zoom?
The functionality and purposes of Zoom and Discord are different. Zoom is for live meetings/webinars only. In addition to real-time voice chat, Discord allows asynchronous communication, like an internet forum or message board except with channels instead of threads.
How does Discord work?
Discord uses the metaphors of servers and channels to describe the platform’s structure. A user can create a server on Discord, managing its public visibility and access, and create one or more channels within the server. Within a server, depending on access controls, users can create channels within a category framework. Users can create text-based and voice-chat channels. Channel visibility and access is also customizable. One such customization is the ability to mark channels “NSFW” (Not safe for work), which forces first-time channel viewers to confirm that they are over 18 and willing to see such content. (There are no NSFW channels on any CPL Discord servers.)
What privacy and safety measures are available on Discord?
No uninvited persons will be on the CPL PNG Discord server. The Project Director and Project Mentor will monitor the content of the CPL PNG Discord server daily, both manually and through the usage of server bots. The Carbondale Public Library does not control the content of the internet.
Discord allows anyone to create an account or create a server. An account creator can manage the access settings of their account. For example, account settings can be configured such that no unsolicited DMs (direct/private messages) can be received; this is the privacy parameter that PNG participants are instructed to utilize. Further, even without this account setting, account names are partially randomly generated and are not accessible unless someone displays their information in a public Discord server. Unknown parties can message a user ONLY IF that user has their privacy settings allow such messages.
A server creator/administrator can manage the access settings of their server, in effect allowing the creation of private servers and/or channels and super safe servers. Only invited accounts can join the CPL PNG server; the only accounts invited to the server will be PNG participants and mentors. The only server administrators will be the Project Director and Project Mentor.
Discord also allows the creation and management of bots. PNG staff utilize automated AIs that scan for and exclude content based on parameters created by the server administrator (for example, language); example bots include Censor Bot and Profanity Blocker.