Chatting

Discord adds Reddit-like forum channels to discuss specific topics TechCrunch

If you’ve ever waded into a new Discord server and were immediately overwhelmed by a fast-scrolling wall of conversation with no obvious entry points, a new feature should make that process a little less overwhelming. Discord is rolling out a new channel flavor to make it easier to follow a server’s conversation without getting stuck in chat.

Discord describes Forum channels as “a place designed for focused discussions, not just open-access discussions” and members of the server will be able to browse these channels to find what’s relevant or create a new one for a new topic. Server owners and mods can choose to create a Forum channel, Text channel, or Voice channel, and the new channel type will live in the same place but will be distinguished by a chat bubble icon. Clicking the icon brings up a list of specific threads posted under a given topic, which should go a long way to making Discord both more organized and more relevant for people who can’t always hang out in real time.

Forum channels will roll out immediately to mobile and desktop on most servers with community features enabled. Discord notes that not all users will be able to use the feature right away, but it will continue to expand access until forums are universally available.

Discord first announced Forum channels in February, although the feature was in limited testing in a handful of large communities at the time. Big servers need more ways to organize their mass of tangled conversations into something understandable to the average community member and forums were designed as a solution to the problem. While most of Discord is real-time – and nearly impossible to follow or catch up on a busy server, if there’s anything you’ve missed – the company wants to create a more asynchronous side of the app that gives people a way to access the conversation even if they haven’t followed every beat.

Picture credits: Discord

The explosive popularity of Discord communities is a double-edged sword. A large Discord server brings together tons of people like few other social apps can, but these servers can host hundreds of thousands of people online and chatting at the same time (Genshin Impact’s server currently has 330,000 people in line simultaneously, for example). With a third of a million people interacting at the same time, it’s hard, if not impossible, to keep up with what’s going on, unless you find some corner of a busy server talking about exactly what interests you and jump in the chatter at the right time.

Forum channels are designed to give structure to the chaos, providing “organized” conversations that people can pop in and out of without missing a thing. Online forums and message boards are ancient internet history at this point, but Reddit’s enduring usefulness makes it clear that even in a world of endless video and audio content, searchable text forums are still essential. for certain tasks.

When you need to know something really specific (What’s the best shrimp taco in my micro-neighborhood? Has this Fortnite quest where I have to kill Darth Vader been bugged for someone else ?), Reddit is pretty much the only place you can go to easily search for a hyperspecific answer to something that’s fairly niche to begin with. It’s wise for Discord to add more functionality for people who want to use the app like Reddit, just as it’s probably wise for Reddit and other social apps to combine their own experiences with real-time Discord-like functionality.