The moderators are the people that your community members look to, not just for enforcement of server rules and maintaining the peace, but also as role models for what behavior is appropriate for the server. If your users see moderators ignoring or bending certain rules, they will learn that that is ok for them to do so also, and they will call you out if you attempt to hypocritically enforce rules against them. As such, moderators should hold themselves to a higher standard than other users, especially in regards to civility and more subjective rules such as what is considered NSFW content. This also applies also for private interactions among the mod team.
For example, if a moderator is talking in chat and shares a suggestive picture, users will understand that other pictures that are equally as suggestive are ok to post. Not only will this encourage borderline rule-breaking behavior, it makes it more difficult for moderators to peacefully moderate NSFW content because users will say “Well, you posted this picture and the picture I posted is basically the same.” The same holds true in the way moderators respond to questions. If someone asks for help on something and moderators respond to them rudely or condescendingly others will treat new users the same way and create a hostile environment.
That’s not to say that moderators can’t have fun, of course. Moderators can and should participate in chat regularly and engage with members as normal users. If a moderator entering chat is disruptive in and of itself, it usually means that moderators are not active enough in the server.
Ultimately, moderators should strive to be seen fondly by server members, yet respected in their positions of authority. Moderators that fail to enforce rules will be seen as unprofessional or “pushovers” by the server members, while moderators that enforce rules too strictly and/or do not participate in chat will be seen as aloof, aggressive, or out of touch.
One of the things you may often hear is that the “spirit of the rules” is more important than the “letter.” In other words, it is more important that people follow the intent of the rules, rather than adhering to a literal or technical definition. As a result, moderators should focus on managing the problems of chat, including addressing unhealthy behavior that may not directly break a rule. It is appropriate to moderate people that are deliberately toeing the line to see what they can get away with (i.e., trolling), but what many moderator teams also forget is that the rules are not infallible, and moderators should use their judgment to enforce rules only when it makes sense, and not blindly following the letter of the law.
There may be instances where the wording or specifics of the rules end up disallowing behavior that, in practice, does not go against the main principle of moderation. In these cases, moderators should refrain from warning the user without consulting the rest of their mod team and also seriously consider modifying the rules to more accurately reflect the expectations of the mod team in regards to server conduct.
For example: let’s say you have a rule that prevents users from cropping images to focus on sexual body parts in order to prevent NSFW conversations from occurring in chat. However, someone ends up cropping an image of an in game character to focus on her skirt from behind, discussing the outfit. In this case, it may not be appropriate to warn the user since they are using this image to start an appropriate conversation, even if it technically breaks the rule about cropping pictures. So, the mod team should discuss ways that the rule can be rewritten to cover scenarios like these, rather than resign themselves to warning the user “because the rules say so.”
Remember: the rules exist to serve the community, not the other way around. Moderators should conduct themselves in accordance with the rules, and potentially even better, but they ultimately have the power to change them for the better of the server if need be. Treat your rules as a living document and remember that they are there to improve your community, not stunt it.
While certain rules readily offer an “instant ban” option (such as doxxing) in some cases, a user’s conduct may reveal that they are only in chat to troll or otherwise cause trouble in a way that does not break one of the instant ban rules.
Just as the rules exist to serve the community, so too does the progressive discipline system. The purpose of the progressive discipline system is to allow your members to understand their bad behavior and rectify it in the future without unduly punishing them for occasional small mistakes. Conversely, this means that users that are clearly acting in bad faith on the server may not be afforded the same leniency and should be muted or banned depending on the circumstances especially if the user in question does not have any previously normal chat history. While users that instantly break rules without message history could all be potentially banned, some behavior you may want to consider in particular includes:
It’s important that disruptive users be addressed quickly before they sour the mood of the other server members (which could lead to additional infractions from users that were incited by the original bad behavior in the first place). Just as moderators should not use the rules to punish users that don’t practically deserve it, moderators should also be sure not to allow disruptive users to remain on the principle of following policy.
*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.
While the principles above are the most generally important moderation principles, there may be other things you want to include in your moderator guidelines channel as well such as
Always keep in mind any peculiarities of your server and questions your moderators might have so that you can proactively address them before they become issues.
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.
A moderation guidelines channel is an important channel for helping your moderators get acquainted with both the procedural aspects of moderation and the more subjective aspects. Moderators should be aware that they are leading by example and hold themselves to a higher standard so that other users will be encouraged to follow their example. This will help them perform their duties smoothly as well as allow them to readily de-escalate conflicts before they become an issue, encouraging a positive server culture. Finally, by encouraging your moderators to evaluate situations critically, you have mods that can understand both when users should be swiftly punished as well as when rules may need to be adjusted or clarified to allow greater flexibility.
If you’re interested in seeing example moderation guidelines, you can check out the link here. Hopefully these help you in developing your own moderation guidelines. Happy moderating!
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.
Take the Discord Moderator Exam!Take the Exam