You are a moderator of a community on Reddit, and are thinking about starting a Discord server along with it. This article will help you determine whether your community will benefit from a Discord server or not. If you find the answer to be yes, then you’ll also find a few tips that’ll guide you through launching and maintaining a healthy community on Discord that’ll serve as a meaningful extension of your existing subreddit.
Discord communities are distinct from subreddits and attract different audiences. While there are often overlaps between those audiences, it will not always be the case, and it’s important to determine whether your community will benefit from having a Discord before you attempt to start one.
Successful Discord communities revolve around human connections and conversations and not just content. For a Reddit community to translate well into a Discord community, it should be centered around a topic its members are passionate about and are highly engaged with.
To start, ask yourself the following questions:
If you believe the answers to those questions would be negative about your community, it might be helpful to take a step back and reconsider whether a Discord server would benefit it.
Typically, it’s best to keep the Reddit and Discord moderation teams separate. Your Discord is a separate ecosystem with its own needs - and it’s important to find users from within it that will help you develop and maintain it, and make it flourish.
When starting off, adding your existing subreddit moderator team usually works. However, it’s important to note that those mods might not always be as dedicated to this new platform as they are to the one that they came from. Looking into the future for your Discord server, things might change and the subreddit mods that helped it in the early days might end up having to take a backseat in favor of users who are brought in from within the server.
The owner of the server should be a dedicated mod from the subreddit who knows both the community and the inner-workings of Discord. Decisions made by the owner will be critical to the development of your server, so take a moment to review all of the potential candidates within your team to choose the best one for the task.
Make sure to bring in at least one user or subreddit mod who is also as knowledgeable with the Discord ecosystem and familiar with your existing community to help with the setup and administration of the server early on.
You now have a bunch of mods! Mods on your subreddit, mods dedicated to your Discord server, and mods that are both. But what do you do with all these mods, how do you tell them apart, what perms should they have? Communication between your different teams is key to the success of both of your communities.
Outside of the owner, you should ideally have at least two other moderators that are present on both teams. These shared mods will be able to efficiently relay information between the teams, coordinate collaborations between the Reddit and Discord communities, be able to take action in emergency situations, and mediate conflicts if they occur.
Here are a few best practices:
It’s important to be upfront to your community about the fact that your subreddit and Discord server are run and moderated by completely separate mod teams after the server starts taking shape. Set up escalation paths for both of your teams to direct issues related to your subreddit to Reddit modmail, and vice-versa, direct users experiencing issues within the server to its team.
All staff positions (except the owner and lead admins) should be independent of the user’s status on different moderation teams, and you should remind your staff team that it is not a given to be modded elsewhere if you become a mod on either platform. Mods that participate in multiple teams must still uphold your activity requirements, and meet all of your expectations similarly to the rest of your team.
While your communities are linked together, they’re separate entities with different groups of regular visitors and contributors. When considering cross platform promotions, assess their relevance to each of your audiences, and determine whether they will find it helpful. A few best practices around this topic are:
Creating a Discord server can be a great way to broaden your subreddit-based community's horizons, giving your users a whole new way to interact with each other. However, it's important to remember that maintaining a Discord community can be a whole lot of work that some of your existing team members might not be interested in taking. Finding the right person to lead your Discord and ensuring your community's new outpost is in good hands early on will ensure a lasting and smooth relationship between your subreddit and Discord, to everyone’s benefit.