Discord Sucks Part II
June 23, 2023 at 8:40 AM
A few months ago, I deleted my Discord account permanently, following the removal of my server on there last year. I've had plenty of time to think about my whole experience there since then. I can safely say that I made the right call, no question about it.
Many chat protocols have come about over the years, plenty of open and locked down ones. But you know we're not in a good position when the first one many people think of these days is Discord. This platform is pure evil, more so than most might think.
Discord is a Corrupt Platform
From the very beginning, Discord was founded with malicious intentions. How do I know that? Well, do you remember the old days of mobile gaming, back when telephone UI graphics were still as glossy as the screens themselves? Those were not good times, either. If you've ever played a popular telephone game before, chances are it was integrated with a platform called OpenFeint.
On the surface, it looked like something that integrated social networking, leaderboards, and achievements with games using a common API any developer could link to, but it turned out to be an extreme form of malware which rooted itself into phones to data mine the living shit out of users. Developers using OpenFeint were not even made aware of this function.
While the company behind this was sued for such malpractice, the guy who formed OpenFeint later went on to create Discord. That's a red flag on its own, as it should give you an idea of how much you really can't trust Discord for transmitting sensitive data.
Worse yet, Discord's policies forbid users from using proxies or third-party clients - you know, things that would probably help with securing communication, especially for such an all-encompassing chat service. Even fucking Facebook was more than happy to let you use its chat functionality through your own Jabber client.
Should you post media to Discord and later decide to delete it, expect it to be cached for a long time before it does finally wither. It seems it's usually a few days, but I have received a testimony from a contact of mine that it could also take as much as two years. Could that really happen? I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised.
Should you go to delete your account, there's no real function to delete all your messages with it. I had to spend multiple days deleting all of my remaining messages by hand in DMs and servers I wasn't operating to better position myself, and that was not fun in the slightest. Good thing I wasn't in so many different groups.
Even then, you can't really be sure if whatever you post on Discord can ever truly be deleted. I know MySQL has a built-in trigger function that can be used to create records on another table in a database whenever something is to be deleted. That in itself is not necessarily shocking to think about; it's probably common practice for organizations to retain data for at least a few years, possibly for legal compliance. You can't trust that Discord is handling the data is honestly, though.
How did something so sinister manage to sucker in so many people? I think it has everything to do with the immense functionality Discord offered to its users upfront for free, combined with initial marketing that felt "relatable", which I guess included using the word "senpai" in their official videos. It initially pitched itself as the chat platform for gamers to overcome some supposed deficiencies in existing platforms and protocols, but its userbase quickly expanded to people with much more diverse interests, including people who pumped out content of varying sorts on the internet and those who sapped it up.
That was how it nabbed me. One surreal animator I had followed opened up his own server, and in November 2016, I guess I felt compelled enough to join it, so I signed up for the service. My immediate reaction was that I was stunned by its immense flexibility and ease of use. Sure enough, I began to develop my own server in February 2017, during the break I was taking and right in the heart of the boom I was having with my videos. The server went public the following month, and it seemed a great future was right up ahead. Oh boy, how wrong that turned out to be.
The Community is Damaged
It's really strange, isn't it? I've met some of the best people I've ever known on Discord - people who helped me pull out of my worst moments, people who truly understood my vision, and people who helped me realize greater potential. But I've equally known some of the very worst, some of the absolute scumbags who go their whole lives only knowing how to stir up shit on the internet to ruin it all for everyone else.
But how do I even begin to describe the wider scope of the Discord userbase? If you throw enough people into a room, you're bound to encounter some of the most bizarre drivel you could possibly imagine. There's people who only know how to talk in memes and pass them off as legitimate arguments, and others who are only there to gang up on someone for the dumbest reasons imaginable - even for being Italian. This is not a joke, I've seen it actually happen once before.
Unlike on Twitter, you could at least try to make an intelligent conversation on Discord with a much higher character limit for each message, but it's not like a lot of people I've seen there really try to write anything meaningful in long messages (those that do end up being ridiculed for writing these "text walls" or "essays" just for typing longer than 30 seconds). For the longest time, Discord had a default file size limit of 8MB as well, which is only about enough to pass around mostly shit tier memes, and possibly floppy disks if you're lucky. Shortly after I left, suddenly everyone got their file upload limits raised to 25MB. Wow it crazy!
Yet it seems everyone wants to run a Discord server these days - not simply every little Timmy down the street, but corporations as well. Isn't that asking for too much? Shortly after I abandoned Discord, I left home for a while to visit my other grandma for possibly the last time, as she's moved out of state for health-related reasons. I was talking to her daughter/caretaker about the platform for a while; she's in her 50's or 60's by now, and it came as a bit of a shock that a platform I only know as a shitposting shithole is something she uses for some of her clients in a professional setting. Discord in work environments... if you were to ask me, that is a BAD idea.
I can't wrap my mind around how anyone could be in more than, say, 10 servers at the absolute maximum; that's just asking for brain rot. There's only 24 hours in a day, and they are all precious. It would be absolute insanity to expect others to join in a server where they're gonna get frequently pinged with obnoxious announcements, if not lousy GIFs depending on how crazy the moderators are. And boy, can Discord moderators be crazy!
If anything, it shouldn't have been possible for me to have as much leverage as I did, bringing as much as 25 users on board for a call to marathon some videos together, or experience a brand new piece of software under 64 kilobytes in size.
The Way Out
Looking back at it now, I'm shocked at how much trash had piled up in my years at Discord. Was the server I ran even for supplementing my own works? It's hard to tell anymore. Whatever the case, it was a clear sign that this platform was really not what I hoped it would be when I first joined it.
On the day the server was slated to die, some people asked me questions about transferring ownership of it to someone else instead. To say the least, that's completely missing the point. As described above, Discord is not a safe place to talk, and deleting my server was the only logical option.
Had I tried something else, there's a chance the server would possibly have burned down even harder, to the point where it would have absolutely nothing to do with its original vision, possibly becoming nothing more than a racist echo chamber with enough of the wrong hands changing. At least a good plenty of you here should be aware that this is exactly what happened to one familiar figure. He was betrayed multiple times in the servers he ran, so it should really come as no surprise that he's moved away from much of the community by now.
It already happened to me once, too. My first server was a wreck, largely because of an awful friend I had, and my lack of vigliance to tell him to shut the fuck up whenever he crossed the line. The server was supposed to be a simple community about whales, techmology, and stuff, but ended up being more of a brainfucking zombie for much of a full year before it was purged in the start of 2019.
Would I be where I am today without my second server? Possibly not; one person who joined is now a close contact of mine who operates two websites here, and another helped me switch to Linux completely and finish my programming of The First Cell.
Nonetheless, I destroyed my last server there for the greater good. Plenty of months passed, and I developed my own superior methods to get in touch with some of my friends. Eventually, it came to my mind that I really needed to pull out of Discord as soon as possible. I absolutely did not want to have more of my talks stored in such a high stakes database.
After that tedious 14 day wait, my account was gone. Good riddance. I don't regret purging it in the slightest. From what I've heard, some people want me back on Discord, but to them, all I can say at this point is "tough shit, you're on your own".
My Grave Concerns
As Discord is so hostile to the privacy of its users, and as it's consuming the conversations of more and more people, one has to wonder - is your private server on Discord really private? You might feel compelled to talk a little bit more than you would otherwise, given it offers the ability to isolate communities. The social media experiment that tried to blanket everyone in the world and create a "town square" already failed, so it's no wonder more people have turned to Discord to begin with. It looks bound to take a throne in big tech whenever any of the social media giants collapse.
No, your community is not private when it's on Discord. Discord bastardized the community isolation principle that allowed the internet to work so well in its early days; what is basically does is blanket and partition. Users can't tread on each other unless they are invited in by some means, but everything is still stored in one gigantic database. Social media faltered by trying to leave everything out in the open.
That's the biggest problem with Discord. Even if you don't give a flying fuck about telemetry, perhaps the prospect of hackers will unnerve you. Remember all those conversations you had with others talking about your life problems? Did those take place there? Well, if and when Discord suffers a data breach, it could very well be the leak of the century. It would probably get published for everyone to freely obtain, so that anyone with their own grudges against anyone else can put some ever so juicy messages to the spotlight. Yay! I attacked bigguynon999! Give me some Cheetos now!!
This is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS for people who have mental or emotional vulnerabilities, the kinds of people who need to talk to others who care about them to keep themselves afloat. If such a leak were to happen, there is a chance that they may end up committing suicide over it.
Don't go that route. Anyone who is craving for an opportunity to bring you down at any cost is a fucking loser and is far worse off than you. Everyone knows this. Keep sticking to those that matter to you, and devise other means of communication so you can lessen the impact in the long run.
As for running a public community in general, regardless of which platform or protocol it takes place on, such a task seems to be completely inviable now. I could tell you about how my two servers on Discord crumbled, but how about this: Newgrounds has been operating a forum since 2001, and in its prime, it developed a reputation for having possibly one of the most batshit communities you could find on the internet at the time. Yet it was only a few months ago that Newgrounds decided to lock out the general and political forums permanently. It's obvious as to why the latter would be shut out, but the general board?
To me, that's a sign that the overall average maturity of internet users is significantly degrading as many more people are hopping on board, compared to how the landscape was laid out back then. I checked the forum shortly after it got archived, and one of the first things I saw was some awful Snapchat-esque phone meme captioned with some cheap insult. I hadn't paid attention to what was going on at Newgrounds which led to shutting down the general forum, but I figure that picture told me everything I needed to know. It became one of those things.
As such, I doubt it would really make any difference if I was to attempt to run a self-hosted public community. I mean, it probably would have trouble taking off either way. While I'm able to reach my closest contacts pretty much every day using my own methods, other friends of mine have become harder to reach, because everyone else is so invested in Discord that it's often too difficult to pull them away.
It would've been fucking sick to get the DOSBox Deathmatch Club on board with IRC, as, for one, that would make way for an opportunity for people to play their DOS games on appropriate hardware and have a direct line to the community via an MS-DOS or Windows for Workgroups 3.11 program... all without ever having to move to a different computer. But I guess most people care more about the illusion of convenience rather than independence and security. I certainly can't do anything about it at this point, as I don't have any stake in the group apart from providing hosting for the site.
People seem to love to hate me for taking a stand against corrupt websites, but... how are they any different? If anything, for every exhausting rant I've written on my blog, there's at least a hundred more times Discord users have latched onto some benign rage bait based on sketchy or misrepresented information.
I started writing this article three months ago, but kept withholding it because I'm that tired of discussing how screwed up the internet has become. I just want to post more cool stuff about old hardware and software, but that seems to hardly ever stick. It's so much more exciting to be stuck in some epic cliffhanger and never try to resolve it, isn't it?
Recently a new chatting protocol was introduced - matrix. It's completely open source and has many clients and many server programs that can be used to host your own server. https://matrix.org/
Discord is way to heavy and busy. You should open an IRC channel, on Rizon. There is also DC++. A modern resurgence of Hotline (server/client) is probably in order.
I used to think I was being held back from leaving discord due to contacts that I had on there. However, the closest friends I had made there were willing to contact me on other platforms and it made me realize that I was just trying to cope. I haven't been on Discord since may 2022 and it has been nice.
Discord is a pointless piece of garbage, sadly i can't quit the platform like that because i have friends there.
I don't join public servers because they're guaranteed to be gigantic dumpster fires
...And You Blocked Everyone Who Was Following You Including Me on Twitter
WOW! TIME TO PLAY MERIO IS MISSING ON 86BOX oanjoghjeohaogheohaoghuehoauhgouhreouahoughohoiughrous
On Windows 98 / Windows XP computers, you could use Teamspeak 2 if voice chat is the goal. It's an efficent program with old codecs and runs on a P3 well while playing games. TS2 is proprieatary, but does nothing wrong (so it doesn't phone home in any problematic ways). Also, a TS2 server can be self-hosted.
Noodle: Oh my god it is you How are you doing? I still have your artwork of Flatorte somewhere in my PCs and I would love to see you drawing a character named March 7th from the game Honkai: Star Rail since she is so lovely cute but I do not know where to contact you By the way you may leave a few messages to mChat at aftersleep.org where I get my own emailbox and subdomain.
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