If you stand for freedom on the internet, why are you using Discord as the main hub for your community?
Discord was never intended to be the main hub. In retrospect I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I had no idea the community would grow as large and as fast as it did. I used Discord because I used it more than any other social app to communicate with my friends. I figured that if I wanted to make a place that anyone could join, Discord was perfect because - people already know what it is, how to use it, and likely already have accounts.
Self-hosted/decentralized/open-sourced apps are awesome, but they have two primary problems for community-building:
The first problem is two-fold: the level of complexity for both the administrator and the users.
- For administrators:
- RE: Self-hosting: I recently successfully installed a self-hosted alternative to something and it was absolute hell to get working. On top of that, who knows how viable that alternative will be? As long as I can afford hosting and domain registration? (Believe it or not I have been criticized for renting a VPS instead of hosting on my own physical server - not self-hosty enough). I wouldn’t be able to maintain the widespread use of something like that because I have no idea how half of it even works!
- For users:
- The user interface/experience on some open-source software is atrocious, and often has a learning curve. Regular people don't want to install 3 different chat clients just to communicate with their social circle at once. There are tons of open-source 'hosted' solutions for regular users but they generally cost money. Above all else, if you’re just gonna drop into a community and check out the vibes before deciding if you want to spend much time or effort participating in it, are you really going to download something you’ve never used just to do so?
These problems are often overlooked by the greater tech community, who appear impatient and sometimes even hostile with the general public when it comes to understanding their hesitancies, fears and doubts about technology. Some look down on those who don’t know or understand technology as well as they do, a form of elitism. (Consequently, these are the same people who have called us out for not using a better platform than Discord).
Instead of working with people to explain to people why Discord is bad, and why they should/how to explore other options, it becomes a cycle where those who break free of the mainstream consider themselves superior and look down on those who have not. This does not accomplish or solve anything.
The second problem is that many ‘decentralized’ apps in particular have garnered a widespread reputation for hate speech. In many of these spaces (IRC included), “free speech” becomes synonymous with “hate speech”. It’s no surprise that one would be reluctant to associate themselves (especially a community) with that kind of reputation.
We’re not advocating for Discord by using their client. It’s an accessible solution that allows regular people to easily join and decide if they want to participate. I’d LOVE to leave Discord but it’s just too perfect for the community at this point in time.