New To Discord Guide

New To Discord

So you’ve just made your Discord account, and you’re ready to get into exploring what the service has to offer. Allow us to make the start of the journey less steep by laying out some of the ways Discord operates for you!

First steps

If you have trouble understanding the guides provided to you here, please confer with the terminology section below for better explanations. We highly recommend you first and foremost start on Discord by setting up and managing your user settings. The benefits of doing so will add up fast.
The app provides a better experience overall than using browser.

Privacy and Safety

The primary focus of the Privacy and Safety section is to manage your users relations to other users. This is useful as it can prevent random messages and other annoying content from other users. It also helps protect you from getting e.g. borderline content from users you do not wish to receive.
If you’re a minor or the guardian of a minor, we especially encourage you to set these settings to be more restrictive than open. Discord has made their own guide that you can read here.

Voice & Video

One of the core features of Discord is to allow users to communicate over voice, and to share their screen or video. Managing these settings and tuning them to be just right is doing yourself and others a big favour.

Voice

Interestingly enough, this voice debug article covers all the different settings you can fiddle with, and how they might impact your voice quality.
Additionally to this you should try to make these settings come together to best make your microphone display your voice.

Tip: Instead of doing the very intuitive thing of asking others to determine whether your audio is ok, you can use the Let's Check button in the Voice and Video settings to hear it for yourself, and save others from much needless agony.

Video

The video settings are fairly straightforward, you can change the video encoding and stuff like that, but ultimately it’s not very consequential.

Tip: Turn on the Always preview camera setting to avoid having yourself accidentally revealed at inopportune times where you get a bit too touchy with the video button. This does not work on mobile.
If you fear your camera turning on on Discord, you can on most phones turn off the apps access to the camera itself.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Under the “My Account” section in the user settings you will find the ability to turn on something called 2FA. We highly recommend you do so as it helps secure your account from being hijacked remotely should you be unlucky enough to click on a malicious link or leave your computer open at the local internet café.
You can learn more about how to set up 2FA here.


Servers

Discord is classified as a private messaging service, with very advanced features users may use to interact. The largest step one can take on Discord is to join a server, and this is where one can potentially meet the most people. Whilst most of what servers functionally are can be understood from reading the terminology section, this section about servers aims to explain to you how to go about your experience in servers.

Server creation?
I really do not recommend making your own server to begin with, it can be very confusing, and take you down the very explored path of wasting time. If you truly seek to make a server there are tons of guides out there. I do not consider making servers as something important for new users on the service, and as such i will not teach that in this section.

Joining a server

There are a few ways to join a server. Server Discovery is the one i recommend most strongly, as community servers have higher standards for their servers than just any server you might come in touch with. Other ways in require invite links and codes.

Servers on Discord come in all forms, shapes and sizes. What they all have in common is that they are all islands with their own structures, social hierarchies or lack thereof. One server may be completely different from the next. Joining a server should be done with some degree of respect for its established setup, it does after all exist because someone decided to make it for a specific purpose.

When joining a server you are like a person washing up on the shore. Maybe the inhabitants built a seawall to prevent strangers from accessing without being approved. Maybe they did not, but have an initiation ritual. Most servers have a set of rules, some don’t (they don’t last very long).
Your experience with servers will vary drastically, and these next sections will try to introduce you to some of the concepts you might run into.

Server Discovery

There are many community servers on Discord, some of which are listed on the Server Discovery section. You find the server discovery section by either pressing the compass at the bottom of the bar on the left side. Once there, you can search for likely tags a community you think you might enjoy would have.

Invite links

You can also join servers by using links or codes. These codes can be made by some users, and handed out between users. These codes can be found anywhere online really, so long as a person has wanted to put it somewhere you can find it there.
Invite links can be set to expire after a time or x amounts of uses. That means for you that some invites might not work if you findd them online, and the best tip is to use ones friends of yours know of.
That being said, if you seek to go beyond that, you can use server discovery sites.

Lobby verification

Some servers will upon joining them require you to pass some form of verification process, ranging from messages in DMs, in text channels, emojis to external websites. These can vary widely in complexity, but they all rely on these similar concepts:

Sending text
Some servers require you to run a command to join. They tend to list what you need to send. Often it can be text like -agree or !verify, but also many oother forms.
Some people require you to find the process for yourself, so do make sure to click on some seemingly channels and read their contents to see what you can do to be verified. If it is unclear to you, asking for help is always ok.

Emoji reacts
When hovering over a message you should get a prompt to the right looking like a smiley with a + on it. This alllows you to put emojis on messages. Sometimes there already are emojis on a message that you need to click, as there is an automatic system in place that recognises your action once you do it, and will pass you through.

Answer questions
Some servers take their vetting process very seriously, and wish to know varying degrees of info about you. Ranging from overall questions like “where did you find us” to “what is your intention here”, all the way to “what is your ideology” and “how old are you”. Other servers may on ask such questions, but they can be quite invasive at times. Personally i have experience with servers asking for passport based age verification. I left, i did not think that was safe info to give out.

External verification
Some servers rely on you verifying yourself on an external site outside of Discord. You log into the site with Discord (make sure you trust the site, do not log in if you do not trust it) and follow the steps it outlines for you. Once complete it can grant you access in the server.

No lobby
Some servers do not have verification systems, and allow you to enter them very easily. Personally i do not like being in such servers, because it tends to be a signature that the person maintaining it doesn’t know what they are doing. Not having a lobby or verification process makes a server vulnurable.

Now what?

Loosely speaking, this is where uniformity ends, and the creativity that is different server niches begin. Discord as a platform can be a lot of things, and servers have a lot of tools to play around with for much cool customisability.
In this section i will go over some very common but not guaranteed features servers will have:

Rules

Read server rules! A servers rules are the implicit contract that allows you to stay there. It’s like the creators of the server saying “Hey, we want to do the things allowed by these rules, please follow them so i do not have to remove you for going against our goal”.
Seriously, read server rules. If you have questions about them do ask them. If they take issue with asking questions at all, leave the server.

Roles

Servers can grant users cosmetic roles like affiliation, personal tidbits of information to display or just the colour of your name. Or they might choose not to. Role channels most often function by clicking emojis on messages, but can also use external sites to apply them.

Announcements

Announcement channels are places where information which to varying degrees depending on the server, is related to the servers purpose. Messages will often notify you with pings in this channel.

General

A lot of servers have general text and voice channels. It’s where they direct all baseline activity. These channels can be messy and unruly at times. Good place to start interaction however.

Bot channel

Some form of channel for the use of bots tends to exist. Be curteous and use bots there instead of elsewhere to avoid cluttering up channels.


Terminology

Understanding what the things we’re talking about actually are can be of great help. We’ll therefore be using both text explanation and a visualisation of the relations in the image below.


Discord (organisation)

Discord
Refers to the whole app, or the company itself. A good way to distinguish the two is that the company is referred to with the phrasing at Discord, whereas the app uses in/on Discord.

Trust and Safety
Refers to the Discord projects very own rulekeeping body. You can always reach them and make a report by following the steps in this How to Properly Report Issues to Trust & Safety guide, with or without an account.

Trust and safety enforces and interprets the Terms of Service and the Community Guidelines, both mandatory documents every user on Discord is supposed to read. We highly encourage prioritising reading the Community Guidelines first, and you might fall asleep during the Terms of Service.

We encourage users to contact the moderation team the individual server they reside in first, and if they do not act, then to move on to reporting content to Discord. As of writing this article Discord is experiencing a high amount of reports, and they are unable to handle them all. The more issues we handle on the ground level the better priority your actually very important report will have.
In our Server of Open Debates the right place to bring up your concerns is our fully confidential Modmail Bot.

Tip: By pressing the F1 key when in the app, you will be taken directly to the Discord Help Centre, from where you can easily make reports. This does not work when using Discord in browsers.

Discord Support
Refers to the support team at Disocrd reachable via the same page you may contact Trust and Safety through. They handle other issues that are not related to content on Discord.


Discord (App)

User
Refers to accounts on Discord.

Private Messages
Refers to messages between users. Any message sent from one user to another in their private messages is not visible to uninvolved users.

Group chat
Refers to expanded private messages that can have up to 10 users in it.

Server
Refers to a specific designation within Discord where a lot of customisable options are granted. One server can have many users, roles, channels and varying permissions.

Channel
Refers to a space in a server multiple multiple users can access simultaneously. How users can interact with any given channel depends on type and something called permissions. Often referred to as a chat.

Connecting / Disconnecting
Refers to the action of joining or leaving a voice chat or stage channel.

Permissions
Refers to the different kinds of things a user can do in a server, and can be toggled and changed on a server wide level, or on a channel specific level. Permissions can also be changed via roles!

Roles
Refers to permission carrying labels a user can wear to gain or lose permissions in a server or channels. Roles can have custom names and sometimes even icons. They can also have colours. The topmost role you have determines your colour.

Mention
Refers to writing our someones name or the name of a role with an @ prefix and sending it. Doing so will notify the user or group of users.


Actions moderators or administrators can do

Server Mute
Refers to being prevented from speaking in a voice chat. If a red mic is next to your name you have been server muted.

Server Deafen
Refers to being prevented from listening in voice chat. If a red headset symbol is next to your name you have been server deafened.

Mute (Colloquially understood)
Refers to being applied a role which prevents the user from interacting in the server, but they can often still see channels and what goes on.

Kick
Refers to removing someone from a server. They can still come back.

Ban
Refers to removing someone from a server. They can not come back.

Timeouts
Refers to being removed from access and roles for a specified time using the Discord integrated timeout option.


Actions you can do

Volume
Refers to the volume slider which appears on the menu when you right click a user.

Local mute
Refers to a user having locally muted or lowered someones volume to unhearable levels. You can do this by right clicking the user.

Self Mute
Refers to when you click the mic icon on yourself to mute yourself. This prevents you from being heard when speaking.

Self Deafen
Refers to when you deafen yourself by pressing the headset symbol. This also automatically self mutes you. This prevents you from being heard when speaking, and from being able to listen to others speaking.


If you take issue with anything in this article, wish for something to be added or expanded upon, shoot me a message on the forum or on Disocrd, i’ll happily hear you out.

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