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If I am honest with myself, I have to admit that I am resentful of Discord. I hate that it exists, I hate that it is used, and most of all I hate that it is popular. It's irrational hatred (I think distate is legitamate), but I can't deny it. I don't know if it's my general aversion to gamer culture, or the fact that it's an electron application, or that it just came out of nowhere, and suddenly was everywhere. I decide not to use it, but still feel left out. I'm glad and sad. I go out of my way to ensure that my contacts don't use Discord. At the begining of the pandemic, my friends wanted to use it (the TeamSpeak server we used to use was full), but it didn't work on my end, AFAIK because of strict browser policies. Luckly we swiched to mumble, and it works great. The effort to configure it at first it greater, and the defaults can be improved, but I'm far happier this way, without being sucked into another horrible service.



I feel similarly but for different reasons. It effectively killed forums, and the context-switch-heavy UX design enables more people to do drive-by, low-quality posting, rather than more deliberate and thought out discourse. Gaming culture has been severely downgraded as a result.


Though forums were of course dying before Discord came around, probably mainly because mainstream users aren't going to register for a bunch of different forums. So a centralized forum like Reddit had the advantage of people not needing to be enough of an <interest> fanatic to join <Interest>Forum.com but enough to want to poke around on r/<interest> from time to time. So r/<interest> is going to have an advantage over the forum.

And people also like interactivity and group chats. Group chats weren't a thing when I built my slowly dying forum, but they are now. And now I'm in like 5 group chats. And Discord is just an extension of that desire for interactivity that isn't just f5ing a forum. There's more to life and human interaction than writing paragraphs to each other on a forum. Something isn't lost just because people find other casual ways to interact online.

And I don't think Discord is as competitive with forums as you think. My forum has a Discord. Yeah, people hang out on it, and now it's an essential part of the community. A lot of our casual conversations and friend-making is just shooting the shit which forums are awful at. But now I see my users engaging each other on more and more personal levels and getting to know each other.

But as someone who spent a summer of my youth arguing on forums that Xbox > PS2, I don't see gaming culture as something that's gotten worse. I think it's much better now because it went mainstream. When I was growing up, being a "gamer" still had that loser virgin stereotype. Now I see my friend's 13yo son in Discord voice chats when I'm hanging out at their place and you hear a healthy assortment of even women gamers. Seems so so much better than when I was 13yo. Also, 20 years ago my friend and I were voice chatting by strapping our house phone to our head with headbands.

There are always things that change for the worse in these kinds of shifts, but it's also important to understand the upsides.


>And people also like interactivity and group chats. Group chats weren't a thing when I built my slowly dying forum, but they are now. And now I'm in like 5 group chats. And Discord is just an extension of that desire for interactivity that isn't just f5ing a forum. There's more to life and human interaction than writing paragraphs to each other on a forum. Something isn't lost just because people find other casual ways to interact online.

You're cherry-picking a specific use-case of a forum and constructing a straw man out of it. Forums are (at least more than Discord) a very good tool for discussing strategies, making counter-arguments, posting guides, or organizing information.

> But as someone who spent a summer of my youth arguing on forums that Xbox > PS2, I don't see gaming culture as something that's gotten worse.

Except that wasn't what gaming culture was at the time for everyone. Because the attention economy is now concentrated on unthreaded discord chats, you have more drive-by commenters, messages taken out of context, lack of deliberate information, and more hoops to go through to get good information organized. Pinned messages aren't obvious to everyone and the UX for those limits the utility gained from it. Therefore it becomes much harder to disseminate good information to your community, guild, or whatever. People just aren't going to see it as much. That becomes baked into the culture, and the notion of sharing or teaching becomes seen as a thing for "boomers" or "autists" (actual words I've seen people use on the subject). This system might be an upgrade if you're getting drunk or doing drugs with the homies on a Friday night, but if you take gaming and teamwork seriously, it's a massive downgrade.

> Also, 20 years ago my friend and I were voice chatting by strapping our house phone to our head with headbands.

Ouch, depending on the model those have been known to emit 5000 times the RF radiation that a cellular phone typically emits. http://www.emfrf.com/how-green-is-your-cordless-phone-report...


I don't think your hatred is irrational. I, too, hate discord and everything it stands for. Your points are very valid indeed, but I think the main reason I hate it is because it really showed me that I am in the grave minority when it comes to caring about the issues you listed. Nearly* all people I know don't give a fuck: They don't give a fuck that it's a web browser with web widgets and humongous spacing everywhere. They don't care that it cannot be customized. They don't care about who runs the whole operation. They don't care where the money comes from. They don't care that I (I know, I know) have to fill out about 15 captchas every time I want to interact with the thing. They don't care that other clients are forbidden and a bannable offense.

Every time someone invites me to discord, it shows me that the world indeed couldn't care less about the values that are central to me when evaluating software. But I wouldn't expect that from the gaming community anyways, those guys never cared. The true pain comes when I find some free software project where all developement talk is on discord. Because it shows me that even the people I'd expect to care at least a tiny little bit about all those points, are okay with this.

I also want to add that I want to punch an executive every time someone calls his discord space a "server". It's not a server. It seems that fight is lost as well. Discord servers are what people think of now when the word server is used, and this change of meaning will not be reversed.

*Except my two best friends, who continue using a self hosted teamspeak/mumble with me and of whom one shares my grief about the whole discord situation.


>I also want to add that I want to punch an executive every time someone calls his discord space a "server". It's not a server.

As far as I know, they don't even internally use that name, but call it a "guild", which is kind of a bad name in its own right (because not every community using Discord is a "guild" - not even in gaming, since mostly fantasy-MMORPG-style games call their game-internal groups "guilds", other games often use different monikers, "clans" or "corporations" or whatever fits the game world). However, I must admit that it was a genius idea to market the thing to users as a "server", because that invokes the idea of an actual dedicated server as they were typical for earlier Teamspeak/Mumble solutions, which usually was a significant time and money investment. By calling Discord communities "servers", people who switch over from one of these classic self-hosted setups subconsciously think they are now getting the same thing for free that they usually had to pay a significant sum of money for.


I don't believe anyone who every ran his own voicecomm server has the feeling that he's getting the same thing as before, especially since the operations where a bit more involved. My guess is the terminology is purely for the little guys, the users who never ran a server themselfes. I used a server a friend's friend of mine hosted for a long time before setting up my own and most of the time I got the feeling the users really where a bit jealous of the admins in their own little Kingdom. Now, discord has given all of those people the power to create a kingdom of their own with the press of a button, running somewhere in a datacenter without the involvement it took before.

Don't get me wrong, this point I deem mostly good for the users, abusive admins bullying people where a problem since the bbs times, but the new price is more than I'm willing to pay. I'm just so very, very sad that everyone else is for some reason fine with being bullied by discord instead of someone's older cousin.




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