A community thrives in a healthy, comfortable and safe environment - and that's where moderation comes into play. Being a moderator means more than just being hoisted at the top of the server and having a fancy color. It is your responsibility to prevent and resolve conflicts between users, ensure the server is safe and free from potential harm, and set an example for the rest of the community to the best of your abilities.
While bigger servers may be less lenient when it comes to second chances, banning people over minor infractions may not always be the best approach. Your responsibility is not just to execute punishments, but also to weigh out the severity of the infraction. Moderating larger or more active communities can be overwhelming at first, so don’t be afraid to ask fellow moderators for help, and take their advice on improving your methods of moderation. While moderating, always be friendly and ready to help users in public. Find a balance between enforcing the rules, while also fostering a healthy relationship with users. “Aggressive” moderators tend to intimidate or scare off new users, which will harm your community.
As a moderator you will be the first point of contact for newer users, meaning people will seek out your attention or ping you for multiple reasons. It might even happen that they develop a parasocial relationship, which you can read more about here. Just because you go into moderation knowing that it is a commitment doesn’t mean that it can’t be overwhelming at times. It is important to know that any contribution you make to your server and its members is appreciated, and that there are tools to help keep your workload under control. You have a whole team behind you to rely on and communicate with, so don’t feel like you have to handle everything yourself.
It is important to be aware of the fact that your public behavior in both servers you moderate and other servers you’re a member of will affect how users perceive you as a moderator.
Having multiple permissions, a special role color meant to differentiate you, and power over users doesn’t mean you are freed from the servers’ rules or can act above them. Instead, you should encourage users to abide by the rules at all times while still being able to enjoy their stay on the server. Showing that you're dedicated to helping the server grow and by being an fair and trustworthy figure for the community goes a lot towards overall server morale. A key part of achieving this is to ensure you don’t do anything that would get normal users in trouble, i.e. flooding emojis or repeatedly writing in capital letters only. Being extra mindful of the images you post and the things you say to ensure you never approach a “gray area” of breaking the rules will better help users understand how to behave in the server and contribute to the image of the moderation team being judicious and accountable.
Moderators are seen as role models for the server. That means that you should act maturely and set a good example for the community. That includes, but is not limited to, obscene behavior in both your messages and Discord profile: your picture, username, status, and linked socials are globally visible. Running a Discord server will result in members from different nationalities and backgrounds engaging in the community. Furthermore, in case of a dispute happening on the server, focus on the logic of the argument rather than the individuals involved. Fair and equal treatment for everyone should be the standard for moderation actions.
Nobody is perfect and nobody expects you to be perfect. However, when you find yourself in such an influential position, you need to have an open mind and learn how to accept constructive criticism. Making mistakes is understandable as long as you take responsibility for your actions and learn from them.
While nobody can control what you do in private, you should always be mindful of your behavior in public servers. As a representative of your server, any inappropriate behavior in other communities will rebound if someone recognizes you and reports your irresponsible actions to your server staff. Remember that everything you share can reflect on your position and reputation.
All of the above doesn’t imply that you should never freely talk to users - other servers allow you to let go of your moderator-persona and act casual without feeling responsible for the chat. As long as you follow the Discord Community Guidelines and the rules of the other communities you participate in while you are there, you won’t have any issues.
User engagement and activity is one of the essential aspects of running a Discord server successfully. In terms of smoothly conversing with a user, it is recommended to take the following points into account:
You should never assume that everyone knows how Discord works, or how your server operates. If there is the case that you come across a user who has multiple, seemingly “ridiculous” questions, don’t immediately assume they are a troll. There are many ways to get confused by things that may seem natural to superusers of the platform. Take your time to explain certain parts or functions of both Discord and the server you're moderating while keeping a friendly and inviting tone.
Users that are new to a community they aren’t experienced with may not know terms that are everyday words for active members. Abbreviations like LFG (looking for groups) in gaming communities, GFX (graphic effects) in art servers, and much more. When communicating with an inexperienced or intimidated user, ensure that you don’t sound rude because they are unfamiliar with the lingo. Try to guide them around the server without using confusing abbreviations and be patient as it may be their first time in those types of servers.
Online communication cannot accurately convey our usual ways of expression: facial cues, emotions, physical gestures, and your vocal tone. This makes it easy for others to misinterpret your messages, and for you to misunderstand theirs. When reading and analyzing a message without those real-life factors, it often happens that our own emotions fill in those blanks and that misunderstanding encourages us to act in the heat of the moment. Before acting on negative emotions, give the other user the benefit of the doubt and calmly ask them for clarification on parts of their messages that upset you without being accusatory.
When sending messages, there are many ways to convey what you really want to express including emojis or other special symbols such as tonal indicators. Always make sure to read through your messages as a moderator and think “how could that be misunderstood in a way that it upsets someone?”, and adjust based upon that thought process.
Furthermore, you may encounter users whose first language isn’t your servers’ primary language. Even though you may have a rule in your server that asks users to speak in the designated language only, it’s usually not productive to immediately discipline someone for violating that rule, especially if it’s their first post in the server. Instead, consider starting with a verbal warning anda reminder to stick to the server’s language rules. Also consider that while misspelling words may be a common way to avoid a bot’s filter, try to use your best judgement to identify which mistakes are malicious in nature and which are just accidents and be more lenient when it comes to taking action as a moderator in those circumstances.
It may happen that a friend of yours joins the server or you become close friends with fellow members or moderators on the server.Never post personal information about another server user without their explicit permission, even if it is meant in a joking way. Such information includes calling or identifying users by their real name, revealing their age, or where they reside. Let everyone explore or open up to the server and its community at their own pace. Only after that, with their consent, should you mention them by their name in public.
*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.
Teamwork makes the dream work and it is important to maintain a healthy, communicative, and respectful relationship with your moderation team to ensure easy moderation of your community.
When dealing with moderation issues, seeking help from fellow staff members always seems like optimal assistance. Getting another person’s opinion on a topic may help you to see things from a different angle, or reinforce your judgement. Taking everyone’s perspective into account can help you master even the most difficult problems and it takes weight off your shoulders to let other people know about your concern. You are part of a team, and do not have to act alone.
Another consideration when it comes to public appearance is respect for your fellow moderators. A successful staff team flourishes when all of its members work together. It is not expected of you to become the best of friends with every single staff member, but one thing you should never do is talk badly about fellow staff in public or do things you know will cause a bad reaction from their part. If you have any issue regarding them, you should address it in private or get your team’s upper management involved if there are more severe issues going on.
The same can be said for general problems within the moderation team. Internal problems should stay internal. Keeping privacy about staff related matters does not equal to being absolutely exclusive. A certain level of transparency in moderation is always recommended (read more about that here), and if a user has an inquiry about a punishment they received or wants to talk about something that happened in the server, they should never be shut down. The same goes for staff members: if they have questions about a moderation act, you should keep them up to date so they are informed in case new- but similar- issues arise.
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.
Taking up the moderation mantle can be a very fulfilling duty. Being in such a position means you can help people in ways others cannot, and even the smallest “thank you” or a nice gesture of appreciation can brighten up your day.
When performing your duties as a moderator, remember to give everyone a fair and equal treatment. Approach users in a friendly way and never make them feel less validated for asking questions, even if they have been frequently asked. As a representative of your server, you have to interact with others in a respectful manner, especially with users that are either new to Discord or aren't fluent speakers of your servers’ chosen language. When moderating, keep an open mind about everything and take context into account. Every situation is different. Be ready and willing to implement constructive feedback into how you approach moderation and own up to your mistakes when they happen. Sometimes things will go wrong or the road ahead may twist, but it’s crucial to remember that making mistakes is okay, as long as you take appropriate responsibility and grow from them.
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.
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