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Discord is Also Shit

October 27, 2020 at 2:10 AM
Category: Internet

Let me say this upfront... as of writing this, Discord is a habitual program for me. I operate a server on the platform, I regularly talk to my friends on there, and it's been a very useful tool to bring everyone together for a QuakeWorld deathmatch, a premiere, or a random conversation. I really like how servers can organize discussions into a bunch of channels and provide the ability for users to hop into any voice channel to stream video output from their webcam, capture device, screen, or anything like that.

Yet I have many gripes with the platform. The entire program is written in JavaScript, and desktop executables run under a Chromium wrapper. That has to be the worst foundation for any program, even worse than Java or Python. Discord also happens to be yet another tech company which does data mining, an objectively dirty practice that violates the privacy of DMs and aggregates your activity to a very disturbing extent. Many potentially useful features are locked behind arbitrary paywalls, and the same goes with completely pointless ones that allow users to pretend to be more important than others.

Why can't you let me use this with Windows 95???

Discord being rooted in a Chromium wrapper wouldn't necessarily be as much of a problem as it is if it allowed the use of third-party clients or some form of compatibility with IRC, Jabber, or the like. Chromium is just a modern IE4, if not worse. Discord, being as large as it is now, certainly has the resources to employ people with intimate knowledge of Win32, Cocoa, or GTK beyond porting a web browser. But, you know... software developers are so lazy, I guess. I've programmed in C before; it's hard to get a program well refined, but C is uncomplicated and highly portable! What happened to the days of compiling your own programs?!

Also, why are so many programs totally incompatible with Windows 95 or NT 4.0 these days? What new API functions does SHELL32.DLL in Windows 10 have that I absolutely cannot deliver in Windows 95 some other way? Seriously, I'd like to know! Why do programs need to tie up 512MB of RAM at an absolute minimum? So much of these resources seem to be devoted to useless eye candy, too. Working with Windows 95-style 3D objects with very minimal flair is much more pleasing to the eyes.

Paywalls!

On top of Discord profiting off of your activities on their platform, they also enjoy extracting money from the wallet of YOU or YOUR PARENTS! Many perks that could greatly enhance a user's experience or otherwise annoy everyone are locked behind a number of paywalls. I can understand wanting to charge more for larger upload sizes, but using custom emojis on all servers or giving your server a banner? What a piece of shit!

What's worse is that server boosts, which are used to enhance a server's functionality are not permanent. You have to maintain a monthly subscription to allow boosts to persist, and boosts can be withdrawn by users on a whim, so operators can lose any functionality they once had, like higher quality audio channels. What if someone doesn't want to be on a server anymore? Tough luck!

Discord's most recent abomination is currently in a soft launch. It's a little something called stickers, which are really nothing more than oversized emojis sanctioned by Discord. They happen to be collectibles, too, so for no reason, you can only get them for a limited time. This is much like the nightmare of Steam trading cards. It's as dumb as it sounds.

Painful Cult Brainwashing Marketing

When a company successfully establishes itself as that cool, regular guy which cares about everyone, it allows them to get away with a ton of nefarious bullshit. It worked with Valve, and it worked with Discord... but at least Valve doesn't have the indescribably painful marketing you can find on Discord's YouTube channel. What is it with their marketing, exactly? It's not quite the same kind of phony PR coming from YouTube, but it's not exactly organic, either.

I mean, what do you make of their "35 Reasons to Work at Discord" video? Or a bento box that looks like it fused with a birthday cake? I find their channel genuinely disturbing for some reason. It's forcibly awkward and over the top with its cutsiness, so much so that it ends up being notably hideous. Don't be fooled by their branding. This isn't someone on DeviantArt drawing a heartwarming pile of sneks for their followers to come home to after a shitty day, it's a multi-billion dollar corporation that happens to be run by jackasses.

What is the purpose of saying "shubby-wubby" to someone ordering a product or applying for a partnership? It's as if Discord is talking to us like we are dogs if they knew how to use a keyboard and mouse to the same effect as a largemouth bass... okay, I give up. My best guess is that the deliberately awkward talk alongside their employees being treated with very happy things like video games, giant plushies, beanbags, inflatable pool toys, or whatever, is that there's a devious strategy at play here. The insane branding and the paradise goods and services being provided to both employees and users is all to brainwash you into a cult. It makes you feel warm inside, so delighted to be here, not ever wanting to leave... considering that Discord was under FBI investigation for all the data thieves using their platform to facilitate child grooming, I honestly wouldn't be surprised.

I think Cr1TiKaL put it best when he talked about how Discord not taking itself seriously bleeds out into more stuff than it needs to. You can have an adorable mascot and not have your marketing and change logs be fart noises. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to goof off a lot and not make everything so damn sterile, but, please, not like this.

Where Do We Go Now?

When a platform is too "good" or has too much of a strangehold on an industry, how do we escape the nightmare? What we're really gonna need in the long run is a new platform. I'd love to create a real time chat client/server application that does some of what Discord does much better and have it run on Windows 95 and NT 3.51... if only I knew how!!! The most I've ever done is character mode programming.

I have respect for those who make strong efforts to push back against big tech, even if I have my own gripes with these people elsewhere. I know someone who made a website with a fully functional chat service, proving that HTML5 can be used for something that isn't a mountain of garbage. I can't be bothered to name it, but I do think more people should be making efforts to move away from shady platforms. The internet has made this perfectly possible, and yet we've chosen not to do it... did we just let our guards down, or were we hit by nuclear blasts?

Also read this: http://stallman.org/discord.html


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