We’ve received a lot of feedback about our recent Terms of Service update. As always, community feedback is incredibly important to us, so thank you for voicing your opinions. We do appreciate it.
First, we want to provide some context around these changes. Then, we’ll share how we’ve changed some things based on your feedback.
On October 16th, 2018, we added an arbitration and class action waiver clause. To summarize, this clause states that when there’s a disagreement between Discord and you, we’ll use an alternative dispute resolution process known as arbitration.
Why did we change it?
The current legal landscape in the United States is such that class action lawsuits can be abused. This clause was added because we are now operating a game store and subscription service for profit. Like many other companies, we are now a target for entities who wish to abuse the class action lawsuit.
If you’d like to learn more about the legal landscape, arbitration, and the potential abuse of class action lawsuits, we’ve included a handful of links in the Resources section at the bottom of this post.
What does that mean for you?
We think that people can disagree on whether or not arbitration is good in general or whether or not the class action system is one that is beneficial; we don’t think it’s completely black and white. In fact, we’re very interested in how Europe is approaching implementing class action lawsuits, as their approach may mitigate the issues that the United States faces with them.
Because we don’t think it’s black and white, one of the things that we’ve implemented (which some of our competitors do not), is to allow you to opt out of this clause completely. We encourage you to opt out if you wish. You won’t be penalized in any way if you do so. At no point will we ever gate any features or take any action on users because they’ve opted out of arbitration.
The following changes will be live sometime before October 20th, 2018.
United States Exclusivity
As we stated above in “Why did we change it,” our motivation for this change is because of the legal climate in the United States. To protect our users outside the United States, we’ve decided to modify this clause so that it only affects users in the United States. If you are outside of the United States, this clause does not apply to you. This means users outside the United States do not need to opt out if they were wanting to.
Opt Out Extension
Furthermore, every user was (or will be if they haven’t logged in yet) notified of changes to our Terms of Service on the date they were updated by a blue notification bar at the top of the Discord client. In hindsight, we should have provided notice of these changes much further in advance, so we apologize for that.
That said, much of the feedback we’ve received is that our community was not aware of these changes. To provide more opportunity for those who wish to opt out and for those who may have overlooked the notification bar, we’ve extended our opt out period from the initial 30 days to 90 days.
How do I opt out?
Stated in our Terms of Service under DISPUTE RESOLUTION:
You have the right to opt out and not be bound by the provisions requiring arbitration by sending written notice of your decision to opt out to Discord by email to email@example.com.
Your opt out doesn’t need any specific template or form. It just needs the request to opt out and it must come from the email associated with your Discord account.
We want to reiterate — you will not be penalized in any way for opting out of arbitration. Again, we encourage you to do so if you wish to.
Thanks again for your feedback — it’s important to us as a company that we hear from our community. We really appreciate that you all care so much to voice your opinions. If you have any further questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to answer!
- A quick primer on arbitration from the California courts’ official website.
- Wikipedia on Class Action lawsuits. We recommended reading the sections on Advantages and Criticisms
- An article detailing how one can abuse class action lawsuits by Mike Masnick (a notable proponent of user rights).
- As a counter point, here’s another article by Mike detailing how arbitration is not much better.
- We linked this earlier in the post, but repeating here. An article about how the EU may implement class action lawsuits to avoid abuse.