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Serebii Discord Server

The fanfic discord should...

  • go back to being public

    Votes: 14 82.4%
  • stay as is

    Votes: 2 11.8%
  • be dissolved

    Votes: 1 5.9%
  • other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    17

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
So for the past couple of months the Discord server's been in kind of a weird limbo where it exists and people hang out on it, but it's no longer connected with the forums. If you didn't already know it was there, you probably wouldn't even suspect the fanfic section even had its own chat channel.

I don't think this is a great situation to be in, since it means stagnation for the server as a result of fewer new members joining, and also, I think, more insularity, since it really is its own little bubble now that people can only get into if someone on the server actually invites them or they search it up. Personally, I think it makes more sense to have the server publicly available the way it used to be, so people can know it's there and join or not as they choose. Or, if people don't like the server and think the forum would be better off without it, I think it would be better to dissolve it entirely rather than leave it hanging. The semi-private status it's at right now seems like the worst of both worlds to me.

So yeah. Don't know if this has been bothering anybody else, but I figured I'd create a thread to see if anybody else had any thoughts on the matter. Or if you think there's other options here, I'd love to hear them!
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
I'd be in favor of it becoming public again, as the private nature will almost certainly lead to stagnation. However, this would obviously require a new rules post being drawn up and potentially more mods since bobandbill can't be online all the time, haha. I also think we would benefit from nailing down what we want regarding guidelines for the server to avoid some of the pitfalls that have come up in the past (For example, lately we've been getting much better about making forum threads about topics that come up in the writing-chat. We want this trend to continue.)
 

Bay

YEAHHHHHHH
If the Discord were to be back made in public, I think one of the channels (specially #fic-love) either should be rid of or changed. I remember me and a few others felt underappreciated when only a few authors get shout outs there, so I'm worried new members would feel the same way. For fic recommendations, I think the Reviewing Leaderboard does the job fine.
 
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Ambyssin

Winter can't come soon enough
Personally, I'm not sure I really have much of a leg to stand on, here. I consider myself really bad at using Discord. The biggest issue is that it could create a divide of sorts between people on the server and people not on the server. Which, I think, is a potential cause of problems. Though, I'm not really well-versed in that sort of thing. I think if it's going to be made public again, I agree with Bay that #fic-love needs to get the axe, with a redirection toward the existing review/recommendation thread. I mean, that specific channel has pretty much died since mid-October, and I'm surprised it's even still around to begin with.

On top of that, I think if it goes public again, there needs to a pretty clear distinction that it's geared toward real-time conversations, quick feedback about something specific related to your writing, and/or getting to know other authors better. But that more generalized conversations about writing should stay in this board. Along with that, if there are going to be events, and they're not taking place directly on the Discord, but through, say, a streaming site, there should be a way to advertise them here (like a "community events thread" or something), for anyone who doesn't want to use the Discord. And, of course, people need to do a better job policing themselves with not talking about people who aren't on the server (myself included). I don't think it's in good taste to do that.

I think I have some other thoughts but I can't coherently express them right now, so... yeah. >.>
 

DeliriousAbsol

Call me Del
I'm strongly for it being public again, but like others have said it will need to be changed a bit. I agree that the #fic-love channel should be changed or removed, especially with the Leaderboard in place. That means love for 'fics remains solely on the forums. This, I feel, would tie it into the forums more.

The server could also have its own events that encourage forum activity. Sort of like real-time writing sprints to help each other out with our writing, or even review sprints to see who can review the most in a set amount of time. All reviews can then be posted to the leader board, as normal. (I'm just throwing ideas into the air, here.)

Maybe social events like streams in the Discord could be advertised on the forums, too, so those who might not have joined yet have the chance to join in with a social activity, removing that 'little social bubble' feeling and opening it up to a wider audience.

I feel the Discord server has actually improved my activity on the forums and has helped me to come out of my shell, so it would be a real shame to see it go. If I come up with any more ideas, I'll be back with them =)
 

Manchee

extra toasty
I only recently got back into the forums and fan fiction writing, so I'm not sure how much my opinion weighs on this conversation, but.

I miss when I used to be on here frequently. The forums were a lot different back then, especially with how many active people there were. I really liked always having people to talk to when I logged in, and when poking around this section I've seen the discord server mentioned here and there and kind of secretly wished that I could be part of something like that right now to get to know some people better. It looks like there is a really nice group of people in this section right now, but having been gone so long I really feel like an outsider and tend to have a tough time getting more involved.

Having the server open or available to more people would be a nice option for those who want more participation. Or, like it was mentioned in another post, to get some quick tips or something from others about writing. I know that I've been struggling a little right now to effectively start a new idea of mine but I don't really want to make a whole thread trying to get help and don't have anyone that I can go for that kind of advice.
 

canisaries

sometimes i get a deadache, yeah
I'd say access to a Discord would make me more active on forums if anything, since it's a good casual way of getting to know people so you can get more comfortable around them and maybe hear about their fics? Idk, I joined the forums only a while ago so I'm not sure if I can really have any say in this. I'd have to see the server itself before making any more judgments.
 

Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
I guess the initial reason the Discord was introduced still stands -- it's quicker, less formal, and more approachable for some people. I just also think that the reasons it proved so divisive also still stand -- that it draws activity off the forums, making the forum itself seem less active than it is to potential new members (and it already isn't very active), and it can potentially become very inward-looking and stressful to hang around in. I'd agree that cutting it off completely from the forums simply reinforces that, but in the end I'm really not sure whether the right answer is to dissolve it or to reform it -- I guess the fact that I no longer frequent it means I'm probably not in possession of enough data to pass judgement on it, ultimately.

On top of that, I think if it goes public again, there needs to a pretty clear distinction that it's geared toward real-time conversations, quick feedback about something specific related to your writing, and/or getting to know other authors better. But that more generalized conversations about writing should stay in this board. Along with that, if there are going to be events, and they're not taking place directly on the Discord, but through, say, a streaming site, there should be a way to advertise them here (like a "community events thread" or something), for anyone who doesn't want to use the Discord. And, of course, people need to do a better job policing themselves with not talking about people who aren't on the server (myself included). I don't think it's in good taste to do tha.

The server could also have its own events that encourage forum activity. Sort of like real-time writing sprints to help each other out with our writing, or even review sprints to see who can review the most in a set amount of time. All reviews can then be posted to the leader board, as normal. (I'm just throwing ideas into the air, here.)

Comments like these make me swing at first towards the idea that maybe the Discord is salvageable in public format after all -- word wars and writing sprints seem like exactly the sort of thing that a Discord for a fic forum should be intended for, as a more effective vehicle for the sentiment behind the "What have you written today?" thread. And if it is possible to self-regulate and bring the Discord in a direction similar to what Ambyssin describes, that does feel like it might be a positive thing to run alongside the forum itself -- the key word there being alongside, obviously. I just don't know if any of this will actually happen in practice. When you're trying to foster a sense of community and you have a clear distinction between people who are in one small subset of the group and people who are not, that really easily goes sour -- as previous events have proven. What's to stop that happening again? As it stands ... kinda not much. Nothing has materially changed since then. Which I guess brings me back to where I started: sceptical about the whole thing. I just don't see, in the end, how we wouldn't just be repeating what happened before.
 
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Firebrand

Indomitable
I'm... very ambivalent about this. I'm not that interested in the Discord anymore because I feel like the discussion is fairly stagnant, and while an argument could be made that some new blood on the server could change that, I'm not optimistic. The few people who have trickled in have mostly just settled into the discussion patterns of the people already there. Call me a cynic, but that's how it seems to me. That being said, I'm also not sure it's fair for new members of the community to come in and be left in the dark about a secret chat server that the old guard hangs out on, so in that sense I could see the case for opening it up again.

But if you all want to do this, I think it's really important that we read over the whole previous thread we had talking about this and the problems and pitfalls the server fell into. There was a lot of discussion there about issues on the server and how those issues impacted the forum that (in my view) got railroaded into softball questions about how to fix forum engagement, because that was easy and simple and made us feel good because we accomplished something. But the issues we as a community discussed are still kinda there, and I think if we as a community want to bring the discord server back to the forum, we need to have a conversation about some of the more uncomfortable problems therein, problems that may not really have a solution but that we can at least be aware of and try to avoid going forward.

Basically, I think if we are going to make the discord server an official forum thing again, we need to remember that the discord is a supplement to the forum. Right now because it's in this weird limbo space, yeah, it's a secret chatroom our in-crowd can go to and hang out and chat, and it doesn't really matter if the activity in the chat server translates to the forum because it's not attached anymore. But if we do make these things attached again, then it's important that it doesn't come at the expense of the forum. I can already see in the responses to this thread that people are sort of saying "Hey, yeah, if I could be on the discord, I'd totally be active and chatting there moreso than I would be here" and... that's literally the reason the chat server was cut adrift in the first place, y'all. We can talk a big game about how fostering a community on the discord will spill over to the forum, but we talked a big game about that a few months ago too, and I think we need to ask ourselves if we've made any real progress on that? There are a few more AC threads than there were before November, but is it really engaging the community? What more can we do in tandem with reviving the discord, because forum-wide events like contests and yuletides and games and whatever always get things buzzing, but we can't have those on all the time, so what else can we do?

Ultimately, I think if we reopen the discord to the forum and make it public again, we need to do two things. The first is that we need to come up with a set of rules and stick to them. Right now, the discord is effectively just a bunch of people from Serebii hanging out on a server that isn't necessarily connected to Serebii, so we don't exactly need stringent community guidelines. But if we're attached to this, a large forum, we can't be just some pastoral anarchy, because the forum has rules that we need to abide by, and the nature of the discord is different from the forum, so we'll need to adapt/adopt other rules to deal with that different nature, just to keep everything safe and civil for everyone. And tying into that, secondly, if we open it up again, we need to keep in mind that the discord is connected to the forum is not supposed to take the place of the forum. Our community is based here, on this board, and while a livechat may be fun, this is the community we need to help flourish, not one offsite. If we want a vibrant community that attracts new members, we need to keep the forums lively and engaged, and have the kind of community that makes people want to get involved.

I don't think reopening it is a bad idea, but I think it shouldn't be a hasty decision just to get some new voices on the offsite chat. If we do this, we need to do it right.
 

Dragalge

Custom title: If specified, this will replace the
I’m no frequent member on this subforum but why would you make a Discord server for a certain section on SPPf private? It doesn’t help that the server has the Invite button disabled making it more private than it needs to be. And before you bring up potential trolls infesting the place, banning them is pretty simple. In addition to all that, of course you’re going to alienate the forums in some way due to its convenience although I admittedly appreciate the effort being made in this subforum to remedy that so there’s a good balance between both.

At the very least, enable the Invite Members button. That would be a decent start lol.
 
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diamondpearl876

→ follow your fire.
The problem with self-policing is that Discord might no longer feel like how it should. Discord is a live chat, but with self-policing, it potentially doesn't feel natural, doesn't feel genuine, and doesn't feel comfortable/inviting at all when those people talk. Mods are one thing, but if you've got everyone in the server thinking, "Is it okay for me to talk in here? Does this go better on the forums or not? What if everyone disapproves of me saying this?" then, well, why keep it? No one's going to want to stay around if they second guess themselves consistently.

I think the community is generally okay about being kind and whatnot about "hey, go to the forums with that topic, it'd be fun!" although I haven't been on the Discord recently to say for sure. Regardless, I think the Discord would be at risk for feeling stagnant, awkward, and just overall filled with tension if everyone's on the lookout for what belongs on the forums and what doesn't.

Are we more engaging as a community now? Good question. There's some threads that people can post in daily, but that doesn't mean anyone's interacting with each other. I see some members responding to other posts, but it's a minority. Long discussion threads and more in depth topics usually just have people posting their thoughts and then leaving. More threads and more posts in general don't equate to engaging, no.

What's engaging is being able to establish connections with other authors. This is what the Discord can be good for. I'm willing to bet that the people perceived as part of the "clique" group enjoyed being part of the community more than they did previously since, you know, they were allowed to interact with other members in a variety of ways. I know I myself felt closer to the community than ever before with the spikes of activity and whatnot, but unfortunately, I felt uncomfortable with all the recent events that unfolded and have since detached myself all over again.

While I agree the bridge between Discord and forums should be encouraged and so should making everyone feel included, people should not be made to feel bad for making friends on these forums and connecting to some members more than others. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to interact in the same exact ways, all the time. Obviously, there's a line that shouldn't be crossed (ie., cliques, outright ignoring members, and so on), but again, this kind of stuff has to come naturally. It will not be engaging if it is forced.

As far as events go, contests are not engaging. People don't have to talk to anyone at all to participate. I like the responses between writers and judges at the end, but focus would probably better be served elsewhere.

Yuletide's great because it gives back to the community. The leaderboard's great except that it offers no incentives for people who cannot keep up with those who review practically daily. The fifth gate was nice as a reviewing event but was too secretive overall, almost the exact opposite of engaging. I suggest more events like the Exquisite Corpse and events involving multiple posts and people having to respond to the previous one (ie., write a sentence that follows the sentence written by the poster above) or the like. I liked Cutlerine's interactive stories in particular, although for a community event, there'd have to be some tweaks to allow more free reign from a multitude of people.

The last thing I want to mention is expectations, and not the usual "I expect people to review a variety of fics rather than the popular ones." It's been touched on elsewhere that this also should be a community effort, so I won't go into that again, although I'll reiterate that talking about this stuff in these sorts of threads isn't enough. Actually acting and being a role model is what's going to change things. If you don't usually review and you want more fics reviewed, do it yourself, too. Otherwise, the likelihood of people taking action for you because you said some pretty words on these threads is very, very low. I understand we've all got lives outside of these forums, but there's plenty of updates of chapters going around. Surely some of that writing time can be set aside for reading/reviewing time.

Also, there's been talks of the "ups and downs" of activity here, but it's not realistic to be an active board every single day or even every single weeks. There are busier times, and there are freer times. A lull in activity does not mean we are not being engaging; it simply means some people are temporarily too busy and/or need to take a step back to not get burned out.
 
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Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
I'm... very ambivalent about this. [...] I don't think reopening it is a bad idea, but I think it shouldn't be a hasty decision just to get some new voices on the offsite chat. If we do this, we need to do it right.

Cut for length, but I'd basically like to throw my weight behind this viewpoint -- Firebrand's put it much more clearly and eloquently than I was able to, and I think this captures the essential difficulty of the situation really well. The Discord always sounds good when we talk about it, but as it stands, it kinda just doesn't fill the positive, supplemental role that we keep saying it will fill. If it's going to be at all aligned with the forums, there has to be a real effort to make it fill that role, and to keep it on track.
 
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bobandbill

Winning Smile
Staff member
Super Mod
Basically, I think if we are going to make the discord server an official forum thing again, we need to remember that the discord is a supplement to the forum.
Firebrand hit the nail on the head, imo.

If anything - I'm willing to reopen the discord after we decide how it can best run together with the forum rather than hurting it.

However - note that this will absolutely have to be a fic staff decision in the end. (I'm not really partial to the poll on that note, as the issues with it and so forth can't just be summed up as a vote imo beyond 'other'.)

Another factor not mentioned is that after this discord server had been set up, Serebii Joe went and made an official SPPF discord server with little prior heads up. You can very easily argue that having this one is in direct competition with the one Serebii Joe admins, and while there is no writing-specific channels [yet], there is overlap with say the #general and #pokemon-gaming channels. Food for thought, and something that other higher staff may want to weigh in on.
 
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Manchee

extra toasty
If the main reason for a Discord server is to have a space for the fan fic community to have a general chat area and quick “writing help” chat location, would those two ideas work as threads in this forum? What is the benefit of having specifically a Discord server rather than threads for those topics here?
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
If the main reason for a Discord server is to have a space for the fan fic community to have a general chat area and quick “writing help” chat location, would those two ideas work as threads in this forum? What is the benefit of having specifically a Discord server rather than threads for those topics here?

Well, a live chat does have its advantages, like the previously organizing a word war. The issue is we don't really use the discord for that as it stands, it's mostly just a hangout. And iirc, we've also had "quick question" threads here on the forum before but they don't get used so much. I will say that a live chat has an advantage of getting you advice or input really quickly if you have a question about semantics or word usage, rather than waiting for someone to log into the forums and happen upon the advice/questions thread. I think the question is less "should we have a hangout/chat thread in the AC" (which, for the record, my answer would be "absolutely not") but rather "should the pre-existing chatroom of serebii people be reintegrated into the forum?"
 

Negrek

Lost but Seeking
However - note that this will absolutely have to be a fic staff decision in the end. (I'm not really partial to the poll on that note, as the issues with it and so forth can't just be summed up as a vote imo beyond 'other'.)
Sorry about that. I thought a poll would be a clear way to gauge general sentiment and we could work out more complicated stuff in the actual thread, but it probably isn't adding anything to the discussion.

In any case, the general consensus looks to be that if we want to continue using the Discord server, we want there to be some changes in how it relates to the forum-based community. So, I guess, what would the ideal be here? What would the "ideal forum community" look like? If we get a sense of what we want to be working towards, maybe we can figure out how we should handle any changes to the Discord to try and push things in that direction.
 

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
It's probably too simple to just say "use the forums for more involved topics, use Discord for quick questions/word wars/similar things" but... that's what comes to my mind, at least when it comes to that subject.
 

Manchee

extra toasty
I think the question is less "should we have a hangout/chat thread in the AC" (which, for the record, my answer would be "absolutely not") but rather "should the pre-existing chatroom of serebii people be reintegrated into the forum?"

Right, that's why I was asking about what it's main goals/purpose is. If it's able to provide the community with a way to have a general chat and get quick tips/help (where they would not work on the actual forum), it sounds like it makes sense to keep it. But I understand how easily off-site chats become a problem rather than a solution, so I do agree that it would have to be a careful decision and require more attention from those trusted to keep things running smoothly. Right now it sounds more like an exclusive hangout that doesn't serve the purpose it was intended to since not all members of the forums are able to access it, in which case dissolving it seems to be the better option.
 

diamondpearl876

→ follow your fire.
Right, that's why I was asking about what it's main goals/purpose is. If it's able to provide the community with a way to have a general chat and get quick tips/help (where they would not work on the actual forum), it sounds like it makes sense to keep it. But I understand how easily off-site chats become a problem rather than a solution, so I do agree that it would have to be a careful decision and require more attention from those trusted to keep things running smoothly. Right now it sounds more like an exclusive hangout that doesn't serve the purpose it was intended to since not all members of the forums are able to access it, in which case dissolving it seems to be the better option.

To clarify, the Discord was accessible to all forum members for a long time. It was a user's individual choice if they didn't want to join. When things went awry for many reasons already talked about, the public link was removed by the head mod so as to not make it an "official" server advertised here anymore, hence the current discussion.

It's already had careful attention and many months to run smoothly. It didn't work. I agree if it's reinstated that things should be discussed beforehand and planned more carefully this time around, knowing the dangers that the community faces now.

If it isn't already, I'd also suggest muting the current server until a decision is made. Kinda awkward to talk in here knowing that the exclusive hangout exists and is running on a day to day basis still (even if it's not exclusive for the time being at the fault of those in it). Consider it a trial, and see how the forums run without it in the meantime. All discussion about it should happen here regardless.
 
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