Discord Courtesy on Starfleet Command

Hello Everyone,

We've had problems lately with bad behavior on our Discord server. I think it's possible that a lot of people don't understand that their behavior is problematic or why, because Discord is still very new to us and etiquette regarding it isn't quite the same as IRC. So I just want to take a minute to explain these issues here very clearly for everybody.

Firstly, we've seen a lot of people very casually using Discord's mention system, where you can tag a message with an at sign in front of a person's nickname (e.g. "Hi @JoeP!"). This is perfectly fine to use as long as the person is actually online on the server. Where it gets problematic is when you tag users who are not online at that moment. When you mention a user who is not online, Discord will send that user a notification on any mobile devices that user has. This gets to be especially problematic when you consider that STF is a club with an international membership, so when you're goofing around in our Discord server because it's the late afternoon in your time zone, the person your mentioning can be either at work/school or asleep. The easiest way to avoid that, is to simply not mention people who aren't on the server.

Now, I know some of you are going to say "Well, those people can just turn off notifications on their phones, so I don't have to change the way I behave, it's really their problem." There's two flaws with this incredibly rude and selfish attitude. The first problem with it is that it assumes that people should know to shut Discord notifications off. The fact is that most people don't even find out that Discord sends notifications until you gratuitously mention them in your discussion about what kind of animal makes the best wallet leather at 10 PM in their time zone when they're trying to fall asleep and their phone beeps, and they go into a panic because nobody they know bothers them on their phone at that hour unless it's some sort of emergency. Frankly, they shouldn't have to go through a heart attack just so you can keep the ability to mention them during your boring discussion of wallet leather that they didn't ask to be a part of.

The second problem with just saying "Well, you people should turn off your notifications so we can mention you gratuitously at 5 AM in your timezone," is that some members of the club do not have the luxury of being able to ignore Discord notifications. TECH in particular needs to keep them on at all times, because if there's a very severe server crash, Discord becomes one of the only reliable channels of communication with the rest of the club that we have. The only other channel we have when the server is completely, totally down is email, and we can't rely on the mail forwards when the server is down because the mail forwards are managed by the server. So it's either Discord, or emails from people who know our personal email addresses or other methods to reach us. Discord is a lot more reliable than hoping that someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Joe will be able to fire off the appropriate chain of contact to reach Joe in an emergency at 2 AM, neverminding the fact that at 2 AM in Joe's timezone might be a bad time for Joe but a very convenient time for Matt Bernadin to handle the issue instead. But, using Discord to solve the server crash in the most efficient manner isn't going to work if everyone from TECH has Discord notifications off because they're tired of getting gratuitous mentions about something that's not an emergency at 5 AM. So let's just cut that out, please.

The last thing that I want to reiterate about our Discord server is that, as an official club resource, the same rules for appropriateness that apply to the boards apply there as well. The standard rule that we've applied to the boards is that the boards are rated PG-13, approximately. I know people have some problems with that loose definition and like to make legalistic arguments about what that actually means, but it still stands. We have that rule because we allow people to join the club who are age 13 and up, and several of our members at any given time are under the age of consent in their legal jurisdiction. That and, not everybody who is above the age of consent likes everything being vulgar and crass all the time, especially in the context of Star Trek which is generally not vulgar or crass.

The reason why this has been a problem lately with regard to Discord is that several of you are now operating your own unofficial Discord servers that do not follow these rules. That is perfectly fine and was something that people used to do under IRC also, but if you guys using those servers to discuss things which are not appropriate for the main server, you need to not mention those things at all in the main server. We've been seeing people say things in the main server like "Remember that orgy we were talking about in the other server?" No we don't remember it; we weren't there, we didn't ask to hear about that, and we don't want to hear about it. Please keep that to yourself. Please keep those discussions on your secret private servers secret and private, accordingly.

Going forward, in order to prevent more of these issues regarding courtesy, TECH is encouraging Operators to step up rule enforcement for a limited time. We've not actually had have Operators enforce rules very strongly for a long time, because usually having an Operator politely ask someone to stop doing something works. That doesn't seem to be working anymore, either because we're handling all of these incidents in an ad hoc fashion or because we have a lot of new people who have come in all at once who haven't heard all of this before. Whatever the reason, the status quo isn't working. So Operators are now directed to ban anybody from the Discord server who abuses the mention system. Operators are also being encouraged to be more forceful regarding issues of appropriateness of conversation.

During this period of heightened enforcement, there will be no prior notice required to be given to anyone for any Discord bans. This post acts as all the prior notice anyone needs, in addition to all of the warnings we've had to give out for the past couple of months. If an Operator bans you, they will email TECH afterwards, and a member of TECH will contact you regarding why you were banned from the Discord server and what the duration of your ban will be. Also, if there is a Terms of Service violation, TECH will escalate the matter to the President.

Once the situation on the Discord server has improved, we will quietly stand down from this state of escalated enforcement, and return to the previous state of asking people to not to problematic things politely first before taking an action as an Operator. We may decline to announce when we've done this, so that we don't encourage any new problematic behavior. If you have questions about this policy, you may ask me, as TECH has inherited the channel operation functions of the Internet Department, and I am the current TECH chairman.

Thank you for your attention and future compliance,
Joe P, TECH Chairman

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