SGM Official Discord? - A Proposal

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Opalium, Sep 2, 2017.

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  1. Opalium

    Opalium Stay Awesome Banned VIP Silver


    SGM Discord?

    Hello, SGMers! Thanks for stopping by again. This is once again Opalium, your favorite fruitlead.

    Today I want to discuss a special topic with you. This is a topic that has been circulating with the administration team for quite a while, and increasingly so in the recent weeks. It was only a matter of time before this would eventually be brought to broader discussion.

    I am talking, as you can already guess, about an Official SGM Discord server.


    So, Discord. The magnificent and advanced communication platform, offering high quality voice and text chat on PC, Web and Mobile as one - and all that for free. Unless you lived under a rock for the last few years, you probably already heard about this service. And indeed, Discord has been pulling large crowds of gamers from all over the world, keen on the task of dethroning the current kings: Skype and TeamSpeak.

    Discord has been gaining unbelievable popularity in the last year, and this phenomenon has not skipped our community members. For months now the idea of an official community Discord was brought up over and over, both by players and staff. Numerous non-official servers are already up and running with quite a lot of members, but so far we remained radio-silent about anything official.

    This changes today.

    For the last week or so, the administration team was exploring our options on starting an official Discord server. While at first sight it may seem like an obvious pick - "we can and it's free" (bonus points to whoever gets this reference) - unfortunately it's not as straightforward.

    In this thread, I want to bring this down to you, our players, and openly discuss it with you all. This is a rather-big project to take upon ourselves, and it will change some core features of our community with it. This is why it's important to let you voice your opinion on this.

    I'll go first:
    I'm personally all in for a community Discord. This has been something I've had in mind for months now, ever since I got to know the platform better. I see it as a central hub for all of our member's interactions, integrated with all our services to become even more powerful. Yes, even with our game servers. I already have a few ideas in mind but I cannot disclose much just yet.
    But just think about it - Discord has it all. It's a modern and more appealing replacement to things like our TeamSpeak and shoutbox (more on that in a second), and at the same time has impressive extension options to allow us to tailor it better for the needs of our community. I'd personally prefer a lot to have a single, all-in-one place to communicate and hang out with everyone else, and if it can do even more than that, what's not to like?

    One thing I really like about Discord is, as mentioned, it's extension options. Things like bots, API controls and webhooks allow the more tech-y of us to do some impressive things. From automating a big chunk of the moderation and maintenance of the server through bots to integrating Discord directly into games - it's a pretty solid win. As the manager of a community such as ours, having so much power in my hands allows me to provide a much better experience to our players.

    And, of course, you can't forget the last bit - it's free and it's fully hosted on a separate, dedicated infrastructure. While the price for our TS3 server is not really that high, it's still another line in our monthly bill. The more important point here, however, is the hosting: our TS server is very vulnerable to attacks and other misdoings, and sometimes there isn't really much we can do about it. We are a community running on donations in the hands of volunteers - we simply cannot allow ourselves the "big" solutions against those attacks, and this means less stable service. And, of course, maintaining it is also a hassle we need to go through.
    A Discord server, on the other hand, is hosted on Discord's infrastructure, where it enjoys industry-grade protection and hosting, without any hassle or payment from our side. In other words: they do all the work for us. This is a huge advantage, especially from the technical side of our community management. The relief and quiet of mind it gives is definitely something I'd love to have.

    However, not everything is as perfect as it sounds.
    The first and probably most significant disadvantage of moving to Discord is that it will probably mark the end of our TeamSpeak server. And while TeamSpeak is quite dated and not as active as it was before, it still holds a special place for many members of SGM. Discord is able to provide many of the functionalities that TS has to offer, but it's still not exactly the same.

    The second disadvantage is that, even today, not everyone is familiar with Discord. TeamSpeak has been around since 2001 - that's over 15 years. Everyone knows it by now. Discord, on the other hand, is much younger, and I still sometimes stumble into players who never heard of it. This brings up an important point: people will have to migrate and learn how to use Discord. Yes, honestly, it's super simple, but it's still something new to some and may not be as straightforward as we think.

    The last disadvantage is that a Discord server will make our shoutbox redundant. The plan I have in mind is to actually replace the SB with Discord, integrating it directly into the forums and empowering our SB with the advantages of Discord. However, this comes at a cost: it will require people to be a part of our Discord server to use the SB. We're still planning out the actual details of how this will work, but this is most likely going to be the case. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so, but some people may see it as a hassle.

    That's about it for my opinion on this subject. Let's move on.

    (Character limit hit - continues in the next post)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
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  2. Opalium

    Opalium Stay Awesome Banned VIP Silver

    The Plan(?):
    Now, to give you a better idea on what exactly we are discussing here, I figured the best idea would be to detail the general plan I have in mind regarding our Discord, should it be accepted. Hopefully with this in mind, you will be able to make up your mind.


    So, here it is: the SGM Discord project rundown.

    • Our Discord server will serve as the main hub for community members communication and interaction, both through text chat and voice chat.
    • It will offer both public and private channels of both types, allowing users to dynamically set up their own channels for whatever purpose they wish, under certain restrictions:
      • There will be multiple public text and voice channels, and also channels dedicated to the games hosted by our community. They will be permanent, of course.
      • User-created channels will have a limit, to avoid flooding the server.
      • The user-created channels will not be permanent, and will automatically close after being unused for a period of time.
    • The management of the Discord will be mostly automatic with the help of your best new friend, OpalBot.

      • OpalBot is a fully custom bot, written from scratch by myself, and tailored specifically for our needs. It's SGM exclusive, yo.
      • OpalBot will be responsible for things like channel management, user management, commands handling, permissions management, automatic moderation, and more.
      • I am currently considering adding more fun options to OpalBot, like music streaming, minigames, fun and silly stuff, and more. However, these will most likely only be added after the server launch to avoid delaying the project for too long.
      • One main concept I followed when writing OpalBot is to avoid the spam and annoyance other Discord bots usually cause. OpalBot is much quieter and is very unlikely to bother you unless you directly interact with it. Hell, it even cleans up after itself!
    • Our Discord, with the help of OpalBot and some technical wizardry, will have special integration with our game servers. More details on this as we continue to develop the idea.
    • The Discord server will be open for everyone to use.
      • However, to avoid spam, attacks and other nuisance, unauthenticated users will have limited access.
      • Limited users cannot create channels, and cannot use some of OpalBot's options. In addition, their chat will be restricted as well.
      • To authenticate yourself, you will need to link your Discord account to your forums account. This will be done through a new button on the forums, and once done will immediately set your permissions and lift any limitations.
    • Our shoutbox will undergo changes as well. Currently there are two options:
      • The first option is to completely remove the Shoutbox, and replace it with a dedicated Discord chat widget, allowing direct chatting with Discord through the forums. This is the preferred option as it's cleaner, more stable, and much much easier to implement.
      • The second option is that the Shoutbox will be powered by the Discord server, instead of being a standalone module. This means that it will technically be a "window" into our Discord, and will simply reflect a dedicated text channel in the server - but will maintain the same look and interface it currently has. This will still include automatic moderation by OpalBot. I am less in favor of this one because it's far more complex and error-prone.
    • TeamSpeak will remain operational for a while after the Discord launch. We will be monitoring its usage and see if it's influenced by the Discord server.
      • Should most people ditch TS in favor of Discord, we will most likely shut it down.
      • If Discord will not catch well and a significant amount of players will still prefer TS, it will remain online.

    Woo. That's a lot of details. Like I said, this is the general plan, and is subject to change according to what you guys will suggest.

    Now it's your turn.
    Let's get into this. What do you think? Is it time for SGM to progress towards the age of Discord? Or is this not something we should look into? How is the plan I offered? Is it good? Bad? How can I improve it? What about TS and SB? These are all big questions.
    Let's hear you out.

    Have a great one, friends.

    EDIT: Just to clear out some things:
    • OpalBot is not a replacement to our staff, but an addition. We will still have human moderation - our admins and mods (which thanks to Discord's flexibility can also help in moderating now, instead of just the admins like in SB right now). OpalBot will monitor and moderate for things like spam, illegal content and other issues like these, but it is not meant to come in place of the usual moderation. It's mainly there to both reduce the load from the staff and allow them to focus on the actual moderation, and to protect the server from trouble makers when staff are not immediately available (late night or mornings, for instance).
    • Voice quality mostly depends on your distance from the server. Currently the base location will be US Central, as the largest portion of our players can benefit from this.
      Discord allows instant location changing, so one idea I had in mind is to automatically rotate the server location between US Central and Europe when its peak hours for those regions. In other words: during the US daytime it will operate at US Central, and during EU peak day hours it will switch to Central Europe. Then it'll just cycle through those. That's just an idea though, and I don't know how well it will work. What do you think?
    • I'm still checking our options for SB. It seems the second option I suggested is more wanted, and I will be researching in this direction, but I cannot guarantee what the final outcome will be. There's still a lot of work ahead so it'll take some time, but once I have more to tell I will.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  3. Skyrossm

    Skyrossm Ideal Female Moderator? VIP Emerald Bronze

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  4. firemac

    firemac Mac N Cheese VIP Silver

    Discord would be amazing.
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  5. Kythol

    Kythol ok Moderator VIP

    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Silly

    Silly Fantasy VIP Silver

    • Like Like x 2
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  7. Xproplayer

    Xproplayer VIP Silver

    since Opalium made it that means I made it which means massive support
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  8. Carned

    Carned ✘o ✘o VIP Silver Emerald

    I cannot see a single reason to keep Teamspeaks outdated software running when discord allows so much more... (even if I won't be able to shit talk without punishment in this one grr)

    Also opal shoutbox should just go it's a piece of shit
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  9. Timo654

    Timo654 EU BEST VIP Silver

    i like how sb looks right now though, if it gets replaced with discord widget it'll look different right ? :(

    plz no replace sb but i like discord

    but i like sb

    but if sb still looks the same visually im ok
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  10. ink

    ink Genuine Happiness VIP Silver

    Discord had emojis, and ability to continue to use our current smilies. Plus, you can also configure discord to look very similar to SB, but with material design and more modern look. SB will be upgraded imo.

    Also, EMOJIS
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  11. Alias♥

    Alias♥ VIP

    I really like the idea of maybe tying shoutbox and discord together. I feel like it would overall improve the forum and maybe it'd cut down on trolls who make an account go into sb and immediately post porn or something to that effect. Having the need for that extra layer of authentication could help discourage people like that.
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  12. Timo654

    Timo654 EU BEST VIP Silver

    no I mean in forums, the widget. Plus who cares about when discord emojis when u can have :eggonface::blackalien::finger:
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  13. Fregley

    Fregley ThErE aRe StOrIeS wAiTiNg To Be MaDe VIP Silver

    I am 100% willing to give Discord a shot.
    +1 from me.
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  14. CorallocinB

    CorallocinB Animeme lord VIP Silver Emerald

    i gave discord a shot when i became staff member ages ago

    you get my -1
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  15. Zypther

    Zypther #SuitUp VIP Bronze Iron

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  16. Opalium

    Opalium Stay Awesome Banned VIP Silver

    In either case, we're probably going to have the main forum smilies in Discord as well.


    (WIP, don't panic :whistle:)
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  17. Adrian Shephard

    Adrian Shephard VIP Silver

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  18. DrkSephy

    DrkSephy VIP Bronze

    I'm fine with either.
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  19. Timo654

    Timo654 EU BEST VIP Silver

    no :eggonface:, I (n).
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  20. Dwardu

    Dwardu School tmrw? VIP

    I'm personally really glad to see this post, Discord is basically taking over TS3 in most cases, especially when you take into account Gaming communities. Don't get me wrong TS3 served it's purpose, but I feel as though switching to Discord would be a good idea.

    For one, it's much harder to actually cause some form of damage to the Discord server itself because you'll need to hit their server now, not SGM's. Also the fact that OpalBot will now handle some stuff by itself, we'll have an auto-moderated "SB" as well, which is great!

    One thing which people might miss is the TS3 channel description cringe, poking and some other backend stuff, but I still feel as though this needs to be given a +1.
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