Update for 12/22/2020: The Discord Moderator Academy has launched! We’ve reflected this in the “Improving Your Moderation” section. We plan to update this blog with even more advice and pointers as new app features and programs are introduced. Any changes will be mentioned right here at the top.

Are you looking to join the Discord Partner Program? Have you yearned to reach the ranks of Partnership and reward your community for being so gosh-darned wonderful to each other?

Becoming a Discord Partner is a huge milestone for many communities throughout the world. But don’t go running into the settings page of your brand new server expecting to apply on day one! The Partner Program has some requirements your community will need to satisfy before you can apply.

In this post, we’ll shed some light on what makes a good Partnered community by sharing expert tips, explaining what our metrics mean, and demonstrating what we look for when reviewing new applications. We hope the advice shared here will help your community soar to new heights!

Before we dive deeper, take a good look at the Discord Partnership Requirements. We’re going to be referring back to them, so you’ll need to understand those before continuing to read. Once you’ve done a read-through, we can cover one of the first requirements for a Partnered server: 50 active “communicators.”

Improving Communicators: Getting People to Talk

So what exactly is a “communicator?” After all, Discord is a chat platform… you use it to communicate, right?

That’s pretty much the idea! In the Partner Program, a “communicator” refers to anyone who posts a message in a text channel or talks in a voice channel. The person who drops a simple “hey” in your general chat is a communicator. So is the person belting it out during karaoke night. Having enough active communicators is the first sign your server’s going places.

That means your goal is to encourage server members to post and talk more! Get users to talk to each other, not just comment on what’s going on or what they’re seeing. Don’t just expand your server to include that one #dog-pics channel everyone’s been longing for: inspire them to discuss, share, and interact in there. Your channels should give communicators the chance to start and maintain ongoing conversations, no matter what the subject matter.

Want more ways to reach your communicators? Let them tell you what they want to talk about! Give your communities more opportunities to express what they want to see from your server. If there’s interest in a topic, give people a chance to explore it.

Note that giving users the chance to discuss more things doesn’t necessarily mean turning your community into one big “general chat.” When our team checks out your server, what we love to see are active and thriving conversations about subjects you’re all passionate about: ie, the subjects your community was founded on. Is your server about this one anime you can’t stop watching? Backpacking weekends? A home for your gaming channel’s followers? Whatever brought your community together, don’t be afraid to keep the focus on it: that’s what will keep everyone coming back!

Improving Participators: Even Lurkers are a Part of Your Community!

The second part of the Partnership Requirements asks for at least 100 “participators” per week. “Participating” is any active or passive engagement with your server; viewing, reading discussions, posting messages, and reacting to posts are all participating. As long as they’re opening up and checking out your server, they count.

Side note: “Communicators” count as “Participators” since they’re, well… participating! Those 50 will be included in your needed 100 participators.

Not everyone is comfortable diving into every conversation, just like not everyone is comfortable being the life of the party. It’s important to offer everyone ways to participate, regardless of how shy or outgoing they are.

Even when they’re not up to posting much, lurkers often like to feel like they’re part of the community. Some servers offer “#introduce-yourself” channels, which are a great way to let shy users who don’t want to interrupt conversations in the #general-chat. Tell everyone who’s behind that adorable Shiba Inu icon. (Did you know they drew it themselves?)

Haru offers a space for his moderation team to introduce who they are to the community.

Additionally, it’s great to let your community have a choice of what server news or events they get notified for. That will encourage them to check out the server when relevant news is announced instead of just tuning out notifications without looking. You can help users get the pings they want by assigning them to special roles that members can opt into or out of.

The D2Sanctuary community uses self-assignable roles to help community members find teammates to play with on their platform.

Unsure how to get a self-assignable role established? We’ll mention a few useful bots in the Moderation section.

Improving Retention: Keeping Your Newest Friends Around

For servers that are actively growing, the Discord Partner Program has a new member retention requirement. As stated in the Partnership Requirements article, servers that are actively growing must reach “at least a 20% Week 1 Retention over an 8 week period.”

To put that another way: out of the last 5 people that joined your server, at least one of them has to stick around after the first week. If your rate is lower than 20%, you may need to take a step back and figure out why.

The Discord Testers server is doing well but could use some help in the Retention category.

Gathering feedback from newer members who *are* sticking around is a great way to understand what’s working. If you know of a few members who haven’t posted or participated in a while but check the server, try reaching out to them to understand why they aren’t checking in with the community as often. They may have some insights you haven’t considered.

For a more in-depth investigation, you may even try “joining” your own server! Make a fresh account (or ask a friend to join) and observe your onboarding experience firsthand. Was it easy to know where to go to chat? Are the rules visible and clearly explained? Did anyone reply when the newest member said “hey!” as they joined, or did the server stay pretty quiet? All of these can help you figure out how to make your server a more welcoming place.

Fostering Meaningful Conversations

So far, so good. You’ve got plenty of users, consistent participators and communicators, and new members are sticking around and making friends. Now that your community has grown to be pretty active, let’s take a closer look at what kind of content we’re looking for in your server.

Reaching the requirements to apply for Partnership is just the first step in the application process. When our team reviews your application, we’ll be using the invite supplied to hop into your server directly and see what it’s all about. That means we’ll take away the same first impression as any other user, so think about what we’ll find when we join. How will your server come off: like a free-for-all, or like a community?

One way to create a healthy, cooperative community is to involve users regularly in events. Maybe run a contest to determine something that affects everyone, like your next server banner. Or, host an event that gets people hopping into voice channels and getting to know one other. Help people feel like they’re part of something and they’ll make it a better place to be a part of.

You may also want to look for other, similar servers who might be interested in collaborating with yours! When two communities “trade” users, neither loses; you both make new friends, and if you’ve put in the work, a lot of them will stick around. And don’t worry: becoming a Partnered server isn’t a competition. If there’s more than one application revolving around the same subject, and both are reaching Partnership requirements and creating a great place to talk, they can both be Partnered — no problem.

Improving Your Moderation: Keeping It Clean!

If you’re looking towards Partnership, your community needs to abide by the Discord Partner Code of Conduct. In other words, it’s not enough to have an active server — you’ve got to keep it from going off the deep end!

It may look like a lot’s going on in the Partner Code of Conduct, but as a rule, it can be boiled down to the Golden Rule: “treat others how you want to be treated.” If something does end up happening in your Partnered community that involves a CoC violation, we’ll work with you to make sure your mod team is aware of the development so that things run smoothly in the future.

Interested in getting set up with some more advanced moderation tools? The community-favorite bots Dyno, Mee6, Zira, or GiselleBot are great starts for moderation help (and can make you those self-assignable roles we mentioned earlier). But for real pro-quality moderation that’s tailored to your community’s needs, you can’t beat a home-made bot: check in with the Discord Developers server if you need some guidance crafting your own.

If you’re really looking to step up your moderation game, you’ll want to dig into the Discord Moderator Academy. It’s an in-depth curriculum for prospective server mods that touches on moderation decisions, learning to resolve conflicts, and safeguarding your community. Check it out at discord.com/moderation.

Above All, Bring Happiness to Your Community

These tips and guidelines will hopefully get you started on your way towards Partnership, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to make your community all it can be. You know your server, you know your moderation, and you know your users: do what you can to make them shine!

Help us see the best version of your community! Work to create an environment where people are excited to see what’s going on, whether they check in every few minutes or every couple of days. And have fun… because if you’re not having fun, chances are they aren’t either!

We hope this post will be the beginning of many, many happy Partnerships. Once you think your community is ready, apply directly within your Discord server and we’ll take a look. The discord.com/partners page will show you exactly how the application process works.

Are you an existing Partner with ideas or feedback that could be helpful for this post to inspire future Partners? We’d love to hear your input! If you’ve got some tips you think would be a great fit for this post, shoot us a message at dis.gd/cprog.