Whether your server with your closest friends has evolved into something much bigger, or you’re aiming to start a great community from the get-go, welcome server owner!
This blog is an overview of what the Community Team at Discord considers the best practices and guidelines for any community looking to grow its strongest on Discord. We’ll cover how to get your server ready to launch, ways to keep everyone excited for what’s next, a more in-depth look on how you can host AMAs on Discord, and how to moderate your community effectively.
Opening the Gates: What “Community Servers” Offer
No matter where your story begins, there’s one thing you’ll need to do that’s crucial to starting a new community: marking your server as one! You can do this by heading into Server Settings > Community and going through the setup process.
Once you designate your server as a Community server, you’ll unlock a ton of new features for your server designed to help as you scale up. This includes the following features:
- Welcome Screen: Set up a personalized welcome screen for new visitors of your server so they know what your community is about and where to begin. This way, they can immediately jump into the right channels without feeling lost.
- Announcement Channels: Announcement Channels allow you to broadcast messages beyond your server. Users can “Follow” your announcement channels and receive published updates directly to their own servers.
- Stage Channels: Share audio conversations involving a small group of participants with up to 1000 community members listening in. Members can ask to be brought up to the stage and join in the conversation for all to see.
- Membership / Rules Screening: Rules screening allows you to set up rules that new members must explicitly agree to before they can talk, react, or DM other members.
- Server Insights: Server Insights provides information about your server that can let you know how your community is doing. Is it healthy? Are people talking? Do your newest members stick around, or do they leave soon after joining??
- Server Discovery: You can display your community directly on Discord’s Server Discovery — no more having to advertise somewhere else to attract new users! The requirements to join Server Discover are shown inside Server Settings and may change occasionally.
As you go through the setup process, you’ll be required to enable some extra safety features. This includes requiring every member to have a verified email before they can post a message, and enabling an explicit media filter to make sure image attachments are suitable for a server that anyone will be able to join.
You’ll also be offered a few optional toggles, such as setting your server’s Default Notifications to Mentions Only. Newly-created Discord servers start with notifications set to all messages, which means every time someone posts any message, they’ll be notified about it.
As your community starts getting bigger and bigger, it can get tiresome to get notified of every message. We recommend turning this on to get ahead of the curve, as disabling these notifications within your server settings won’t retroactively disable it for existing server members.
Now that you have it all set up and ready to welcome new members, the real work begins: maintaining a community that people want to be a part of.
Give ’em a Reason to Stay
As your server grows further, it’s important to keep everyone excited to be a part of your community. People from all over the world join communities on Discord because they want to be a part of something more, and you and your moderation team are what make it possible.
It’s good practice to regularly take a step back and ask the following questions: What are ways that you can bring excitement to your community and give them a reason to stick around? What makes your community unique compared to the others, and how can you capitalize on that spark?
The types of activities that can fit your community can vary depending on what your server’s about. If you’re an artist or creator, consider having collaborative art or feedback sessions where community members can share their own creations they’re proud of. Events like this help your community build more intimate connections with each other — nobody likes to be another face in the crowd.
What if you’re not as artistically inclined? The idea of collaboration isn’t limited to art — these ideas can easily transfer to video game or book reviews, coding, beauty tips, and a ton more. If everyone’s gathered to your server for a certain reason, they’ve likely got plenty they want to share with like-minded individuals.
When you’re thinking of things to do with your community, remember that you don’t have to stick with events solely within your server’s theme. You might join a hiking server to talk about hiking, but that doesn’t mean hiking is the only thing you do. (Unless hiking 24/7 is really all you do, in which case, that’s impressive.)
As time goes on, you’ll eventually start to recognize that group of regulars who frequent your server and liven up the day, but server owners or moderators should interact on a regular cadence as well! It’s important to not only show the community that you have invested in them but show that you’re along with them on this journey.
Your community is here because of you. That doesn’t mean you have to always post 24/7, but by posting frequently, running an event, or even looping in the community on updates regarding the server itself or subject your server is about, you’ll help make everyone feel like they’re part of a great community.
Maintaining a Safe Space for Everyone
As your community starts to grow, making sure the server remains a welcoming environment is crucial. To help keep things safe, it’s best to have a team of moderators to help assist in keeping the server running smoothly. But who do you choose to help?
When you’re looking to add new mods to your team, we recommend recruiting from the most active community members, rather than outsourcing “experienced moderators” from outside your server, or your closest friends. Having familiar faces within your mods team helps everyone know that not only is your community closely connected, but those same people are here to help if needed.
Additionally, every community should have a pre-written set of rules to abide by. Where the rules live was specified when you enabled “Community,” since it’s a requirement to turn it on!
Think about the type of community you want to run, and craft the set of rules accordingly. By having your rules posted in a public channel, you’ll help alleviate any possible confusion or misunderstanding and give your team a good set of tools to moderate efficiently and transparently.
In-Server Interviewing 101
Taking the time to connect with your community is crucial for success. Holding events such as game nights, small karaoke sessions in a voice channel, or competitions helps foster a community that wants to collaborate and interact with each other.
One of the more complex events that happen within servers is an AMA, or “Ask Me Anything.” These are live interviews that take place within a voice or text channel. If you’re looking to hold an interview within your Discord server and aren’t sure how to tackle it, here are a few of the best methods we’ve seen:
For live audio AMAs, we recently released an entirely new type of channel to help: Stage channels. Stage channels allow you to share a focused conversation with select individuals to an audience of listeners, and it just happens to be perfect for interviews or AMAs.
Community members who want to hop in the conversation can even ask to be allowed on the stage, and your team of moderators can help them up. However, you’ll also want to make sure the questions asked are okay to talk about.
To help gather questions for your AMAs, consider setting up a form that allows members to submit questions beforehand. Once everyone’s questions are gathered, you can pick the best questions to be asked during the session. This is the easiest and has you be the most prepared in terms of moderation, but the community might not feel like they’ve contributed as much as they’d like if they can’t see the questions ahead of time.
If you aren’t into using forms, you can instead have members post their questions in a special text channel on the day of the event with Slow Mode enabled. Enabling Slow Mode will require members to wait a certain amount of time before posting again, anywhere from five seconds to a whopping six hours. As users post their questions publicly, you can choose which ones to answer during the interview.
It Only Gets Better From Here
As we mentioned in our last post, people come from all sorts of different corners of the world, but no matter the distance, they can get together on Discord and talk about anything, with anyone. Your community is one of the many homes where people connect and make long-lasting friendships — the work you and your moderators do can potentially impact their lives in ways you could never imagine.
Should you be unsure on how to grow your moderation skills to help your community going strong, we recommend checking out the Discord Moderator Academy, an ever-growing resource of knowledge to help elevate your moderation game, both within your community and others you may be helping out with.
Those who are aiming to one day have their community join the ranks of the Discord Partner Program can check out our final blog in this series, Fostering a Thriving, Partner-Worthy Community on Discord. If this was a bit too advanced for you, we also have a post for beginners titled Starting Your First Discord Server if you’ve never started one before.