Top Tips for Writing Your Own Rules

Rules don’t just help encourage positive behavior, they also prevent negativity from spreading as your community grows.

  • Create rules that are easy to digest. Keep your language simple, clear, and direct.
  • Avoid getting too specific. The further into the weeds you get, the more people can try to find ways to act around it while still “following the rules.”
  • Emphasize the spirit of your rules. Sometimes, a user won’t break a written rule but the spirit of your rules. It’s important to use your guidelines to promote the right kind of behavior too.
  • Know when to adapt your rules. If changing your rules will make your community a happier and more supportive place, do it!

Be Flexible and Unafraid to Enforce the Rules

Once you’ve written your rules, it’s important to enforce them consistently.

While it may feel uncomfortable at first, enforcing your rules tells your community, “we’re here, we care about you, and we’re going to keep this community safe.”

Before you grab your ban hammer, try to remember the human side of community moderation. Being able to talk to users, de-escalate arguments, and give second chances before escalating things is key to a healthy community.

Remember, people make mistakes, and a good community can help change people for the better too.

When to Escalate

If you’ve tried working with them directly and had no luck, it’s time to escalate things. You have a few key tools available in this situation: Time Out, kick, or ban.

  • Time Out: This will temporarily prevent a user from interacting in a server—this includes sending or reacting to messages and joining voice channels or video calls.
  • Kick: This will remove a member from your server but leave them with the ability to rejoin at a later date. They won’t be notified of the kick.
  • Ban: This removes a member from your server and stops them from ever joining again.

To action a member on your server...

  • Go to Server Settings and find Members listed under User Management
  • Click on the three dots next to a user.
  • Choose any of the three options: Time Out, kick, or ban.

Or you can right-click on the member you want to ban from your server!

What kind of content should I ban for?

Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule here; unacceptable conduct or content will vary for every server.

However, if there are people constantly posting content that directly breaks your server rules or Discord’s Terms of Service, it may be time to remove them from your community. For more information, check out our Community Guidelines.

Whether through an escalation process or a ban for extreme rule-breaking, content that crosses a line should be moderated and – if necessary – banned. You may also want to report this behavior to our Trust and Safety team so we can take further action.

“What can I do to deal with users who are not technically breaking rules, but are problematic?”

Again, this is where it’s important to be human and engage with the user to try and stop the behavior before you need to ban or kick them.

  • Lead by example. Encourage your team to act in a way that is positive for the community’s health; others will follow.
  • Create ways for users to report toxic or abusive behavior. Make sure your community feels they can come to you for help.
  • Practice de-escalation and temporary bans or kicks. Foster a positive environment that allows for second chances and reform in your community. The Time Out feature is a great tool to help.

Keeping Your Community Safe

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to safety, but an admin should know a few basics to help their moderators.

  • Use the tools available to you from Discord. Enabling Community allows you to take advantage of automated moderation tools like AutoMod.
  • Implement the basics and evaluate if you need support from bots. Head to Securing Your Server to cover the basics and explore bot recommendations from the Discord Moderator Academy.
  • Take the time to educate everybody on the rules and etiquette of the server. Having these shared publicly will help align members as they join. 
  • Make sure your inner circle can submit reports to Trust & Safety. All moderators and admins should be equipped with Developer Mode (Settings > Appearance > Developer Mode) so they can right-click users and messages and collect their IDs.

This Is Your Party

Ultimately, nobody knows your community better than you, so trust your gut. If something feels off and not quite right to you, the chances are that your community is feeling it too.

As long as you’re consistently putting the safety and happiness of your community first, you’re doing it right.

Important Resources

If you or your moderators do need to report a user or any unsafe behavior, here are some helpful links you’ll need to submit a ticket to our Trust & Safety teams.

Top Tip: IDs must be collected before bans are made that delete messages, as IDs cannot be retrieved once deleted.

With thanks to Deku ♡#1313 for all their help in writing this article.