Every community can benefit from having at least one type of reporting tool in place. This will help you keep your community a better and safe place for your members, encourages involvement from members in your moderation process, and allows for better understanding of the challenges your community is facing in terms of moderation.
Having a predefined method for users to contact the moderators will also improve the workflow, ensure better alignment of punishments and a fair process to punish those who violate your community rules.
Different reporting options have varying benefits and challenges. You will need to find the right balance between the privacy of users, usability for members and moderators, as well as deciding whether or not you want conversation to be possible between your moderators and the reporters. The best option for your server will depend entirely upon your needs. Not all communities will benefit from having reporting channels and you might not want your moderators to handle issues in direct messages. Down below you will find a list of the most commonly used reporting options available, with their respective benefits and disadvantages.
Modmail bots can be used for members of your community to report violations to the moderation team as a whole. There are several available options to choose from, all with their own unique viewpoint on support tickets. By using a Modmail bot, you will be able to have conversations with your reporters. Most other reporting tools do not allow you to have private conversations. Furthermore, Modmail bots allow for a lot of customization at the cost of being more time-consuming and difficult to set up. Additional benefits of using such a bot is being able to attach screenshots to a report and maintain privacy for both the mod handling the case and potentially even the user providing feedback, which some of the options do not offer.
Some servers utilize a specific channel dedicated to reporting violations of the rules. These can take different shapes depending on the use case. Different approaches include only allowing members to copy and paste message URLs to rule breaking messages or a more open discussion-based channel that provides a public-facing main source of reports. One thing is certain across all implementations of reporting channels: there should be a way to communicate with people that a report has been handled by either removing a message in the channel or reacting to it publicly. Reporting channels are very easy to set up as they use native Discord features. However, these channels can be limiting in functionality. Conversations are barely possible, depending on the permissions members might not be able to upload screenshots, and reports are not private which can deter some people from sharing concerns due to intimidation and fear of retaliation.
Reporting via Direct Messages
Another option is to handle reports via direct messages. In this case, users simply send a message to any available moderator. This method allows for private reports, back-and-forth conversations with a member of the moderation team, and the ability to share screenshots. Using this method, players will have to rely on the availability of a single moderator, as they will be choosing who to report to. Furthermore, it is very hard to track moderator activity and if this is important to you, opting for this method should be avoided. Not all moderators will give a follow up to users and there is limited accountability.
Some bots allow members to report others for breaking the rules. Reports often follow the format of tagging the person being reported and providing a reason. This information is then directed to the moderation team via a private channel. While the report is private, members still have to use a command (and ping the person they are reporting) in public channels. It also does not allow conversations to take place and uploading screenshots is not possible.
Pinging Moderator Roles
Sometimes you simply want to allow members to ping a moderator role in case of public rule breaking behavior. This will most definitely immediately get the attention of your moderators and is most often the quickest reporting method to use. However, the user being reported will be notified as they can see the ping, and they might be able to remove their messages before a moderator can intervene. A way to help counteract this is to consider utilizing a moderation bot that logs message deletions or edits.
Logging and Flagging Messages
While a lot of popular bots offer auto moderation features that include word, spam, and advertisement filters, these can most often also be used to silently inform moderators. Instead of removing the message automatically and giving a punishment based on predefined rules, an option to create a flagging mechanism without automatic action can be utilized. If there’s a certain word or phrase used on a flag-list, the bot can notify moderators to look into it and decide the best course of action instead of automatically acting the way a blacklist would. This method allows your moderators to go through a channel with flagged messages and issue punishments based on the context of flagged messages and removes certain automatic moderation techniques that can lead to over-moderation.
What method, or combination of methods, works best for you, depends a lot on your server size and needs. For smaller servers up to five thousand members being able to ping moderators in case of reports or having a report channel should be easily workable, depending on how big your team is. For large servers of fifty thousand members or more, you should look into using a Modmail bot. You might want a combination of multiple methods as well, depending on what works for you and the capabilities of your team.
Consider whether or not moderators should be able to communicate with the reporter about their report, not all methods offer this functionality. Ask yourself if the privacy of someone violating the rules is important to you, as not all methods are private reports.
If you are using a levelling or experience system in the server, you might want to offer different reporting tools to members of a server level. For example, you might want to implement a command that can ping moderators, but only make that available to those of a certain level to prevent being pinged for minor moderation issues or by trolls abusing the pinging power. It is not advised to use a ping-based reporting method in larger servers due to how easily it can be abused.
Do you want to track the activity of your moderators? This is not possible for some methods. If your rules forbid advertisement via direct messages and moderators are to take action upon this being made aware of this violation, you should choose a reporting method that allows for screenshots to be shared.
*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.
Every community can benefit from having different reporting tools in place as this will help you keep your community a safe space for your members. Different reporting options have different benefits and challenges and you should take the time to analyze what option may best fit the needs of your community and moderation staff.
There are six distinct reporting methods available via Discord’s native capabilities and bots:
Your server size will often dictate the best combination of the above options to find what reporting tools will work best for your team from a moderation standpoint, but you should also keep in mind the preferences of your community when it comes to reporting violations as your users also have to be comfortable when it comes to using your chosen report methods.
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.
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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