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Why I believe Discord is a passing trend



Sites feel pressured into Discord because it is popular, leaving bad experiences to build resentment


I once heard a person say that they dislike stats so much that they will never join a site that has them; they went on to say that stats affected nothing in roleplay, were a waste of time, and were meaningless math. In a different time, stats were none of these things, but efforts to cater to -lovers and -haters combined created a common system where numbers exist, are work,  but have no value and affect nothing. No doubt, this person had a bad experience because they tried something even the site's admin's likely didn't understand.


This is the exact same trend as Discord. The first thing every site admin hears about discord is "Do you have a Discord?", and then they feel pressured to get one because everyone has one, usually not realizing that Discord has its pros and cons.


I firmly believe this fad will continue the way of stats and people will eventually begin to dislike it because they don't understand. Unless Discord can fix the cons...



Guests don't see activity


Discord is a separate app that has to be launched and there really isn't any integration for a real-time chat on a webpage. There is a brand new widget for websites where you can see who's online, but that doesn't say much as they may be bots or people AFK. So, whenever people do things on Discord, a guest doesn't see that. All they see is what's on the website. In fact, in order to see, they have to launch a whole new app, figure out what the discord join URL is, choose a handle, and log on. It's not very guest visible, leaving a guest with more "Is this site active?" than before.




Guest questions don't get responded to as quickly


I don't know any staff who monitor both the Discord and whatever cbox/chatango/etc there is at the same time, especially while idle. Discord has a way of sucking up your attention, meaning that responses to guests take longer than usual. This also plays into how welcome a guest feels at the site, and their interest usually hinges on whatever the question was.



Most roleplayers have very little in common


Perhaps the most important point about Discord is that it creates a community for like-minded people. While in Discord, chat turns to personal lives, media, music, and video games pretty often. Roleplays have encouraged players to be a community for a very long time, but the truth is that most roleplayers just don't have that much in common, which can mean that even the most valued roleplay members are suddenly the least valued in Discord, falling through the cracks.



Activity tapers off on the forum because it encourages players to plot but not play


This is the one most important reason that Discord can be bad for a roleplay. It sucks up your attention and people go off to chat about other things. This is nothing new about chat, but now that the roleplay is no longer even on your screen and that you're surrounded by your buddies from other places inside the app, the temptation to wander is much stronger. Personally I feel that plotting has gone up due to players being more accessible, but actually playing the game is much less for forum-based roleplays.



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I'm torn about Discord. 


It's handy, and I like the combination of RP channel chat and IMs. Although the quiet cbox makes the site look much less active than it is. 


I'm not sure how long Discord will stay a regular feature. 

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People will find something in common, besides RP. And even RP, with Discord, more communication is encouraged, and from plotting more, one gets more interesting stories to write. I like Discord. I think it promotes communication better than the c-box.

Edited by Elena
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Eh, you can see what's actually happening on the Discord server and even join straight from the site (not just how many people) with the Titan integration, so there's that. Also, some people will indeed always want the new 'shiny' thing and require it, but it doesn't mean site owners have to cater to it. I personally love discord because I hang out there all day anyway, but for those who don't, they'll probably carry on using Cbox or whatever they have (or not use a chat system at all). 


While I get that it might be a trend, I think like any trend, there will be those who use it because it's expected, and those (like me) who actually find it practical.

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The Titan embed is the best means of integrating it on site, from what I've seen, so guests can sign up and ask questions. Unlike a cBox, you can actually get notifications from Discord on your phone, which means somebody who is out but checking notifications can dip in and help out any members or guests with ease.


Unless your site outright bans talking about non-site things in the cBox, I don't see how Discord is any more of a culprit with this. Discord at least gives the advantages of separating different kinds of conversation - having plotting channels won't eliminate plotting from the general chatting channel, but it means the message gets to the right person and will be less buried like in a cBox. Burying it another issue with the cBox, where you can be answering a question from somebody but others are talking and burying it, so an ask-staff channel keeps this from happening. 


You can always bring conversations back from non-site things by posting questions related to the genres or some events on-site, and from my experience most RP Discords rarely stray too far. In the past, I've found cBoxes cliquey and it's difficult to form bonds with others because there's only so much you can talk before a conversation gets buried. Discord allows me to connect with more people, because I know that I can talk about this here, or that there, and the search feature means I can jump to an older conversation if there's a lot of chat. 


As for plotting but not playing, that issue comes with any social feature, including the cBox. In one RP Discord I'm in, I joined maybe a week or two ago, and while the cBox isn't active, the Discord very much is. We've discussed all sorts of plotting things and people have welcomed me in much more than I expected. In another, I run a Discord for a bunch of characters on-site and people can post their open threads there, or answer questions for character development which help you get more muse and learn about characters yours would know, which has resulted in several people writing with others they hadn't before. 


I don't see Discord as a passing trend. I see it as the successor of both cBox and Skype, until the next successor comes along in a few years. But given how long cBox has been around, I don't see that happening for a while, because the channel features make it the perfect chatting device for roleplays. 

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While Webs summed up most of my feelings very nicely, I wanted to add one more thing to the conversation. I don't really understand where you got the idea that role players have little in common, because - while, granted, TNI is a much larger site than most - I find I have a lot in common with a number of members. I met my four very best friends through role play. Three of these were online, though one of those three I have now met up with IRL and we visit each other regularly. One of them I met because she had seen me passing notebooks back and forth during school, and wanted to know what me and my friend at the time were doing. This last one has been my friend since 8th grade - that is eight years of friendship, all because she wanted to try out writing with me.


Of course, role players aren't all exactly the same, there are differences: the age range is major, people from all walks of life can join in, from all over the world, from different cultures and ideas, any gender, race, profession. Role players can have any other hobbies from video games to sports to woodcarving (yes, woodcarving). But at their core, every role player is a writer, every role player is human, and every role player desires to create something, whether that's worldbuilding or just fleshing out a character. Every good role player excells at understanding people who aren't like them - after all, if you couldn't do that, all your characters would be the same as you, or poorly written. So why would it be a bad idea for a bunch of different people who excell at understanding people who are different, with at least one common interest, to create a community together?


Every single role play website I have been a member of for more than a week since I left Neopets more than eight years ago has been a community, and I've found friends there, even if those friendships didn't always last.

Edited by Raven
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since discord's inception, I honestly like it way more than cbox as it feels more organizable. i have yet to integrate titan into my forums but it's a life changer. 

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I have mixed feelings about discord. It creates the potential for a thriving or toxic community. Balanced at the edge of a blade, I guess. The ability to instantly chat with people is great for getting to know one another and make friends and for Admin to quickly handle issues (as easily as it allows for issues to appear). Instant chatting also tends to create friend groups and cliques which I don't condone in a roleplay setting. I hate that you can log into a discord and sometimes feel like you're part of a mean-kids-club.


One of the things that I've always loved about online roleplay is that you don't have to be friends with the people you write with. You don't have to share a timezone or interests, just the love of the story you're building. I want to write characters being around one another. I want them to fight. To hate one another. To fall in love and break up. NORMAL ALL DAY EVERYDAY THINGS BUT WITH MONSTERS AND SPACE OKAY? Discord steals from this.


I also hate how personal the chats get. I know we're a community and a safe space for people, but a game is not the place to bring your life's troubles. It is insanely difficult to moderate really sad posts. Do we just ignore them? Delete them? Talk until the sad shit has passed? Share memes until the cows come home? This is a place where we're talking about a game and one that is very serious for many members. You wouldn't interrupt a work meeting or presentation just to talk about your personal life? (okay maybe some would, but it happens so much more thanks to instant chat I just can't even).


There's also a major bleed between character and player thanks to discord. I've gotten into huge issues with people bullying or shunning someone because they have an issue with their problematic character. Something that is easily mitigated when people just use what they know from the forum and write about it. It makes sense for characters to shun a misogynist, it doesn't make sense for players to shun the writer of the misogynist.


With Discord people expect to know what is happening in the thread before it actually happens. I don't like plotting without writing. The writing is what I'm here to do, not chat to warn you about everything my characters are going to do and experience (because it might change when I actually see the other posts!).


Overall, my mixed feelings are more negative than they are positive, and if Discord is a passing trend, then my hopes are raised. In the meantime, to combat Discord as an Admin I use it as a supplement to the Forum itself. I exist in our Discord only to set people right when players try to steer one another wrong. I sit in on the chats to aid with hype and moderate what everyone is saying to one another so they're not being as mean as I know they can be. I post in Discord what I post in the Cbox. All Admin Posts & Issues get dealt with directly on the forum, and joining our discord it is absolutely NOT a requirement. Some of my members never join the chats and I'm quite happy with that.


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