First and foremost, if you have no idea what a Discord server is, Discord is an instant messenger program that allows servers to be created for communities to use for chatting (both text and voice) and whatnot. Iwaku has one, and you can find details on how to join it in this simple guide thread stickied at the top of the New Arrivals and Departures area.
The rules for the server are very similar to Iwaku's site rules, and this is because all Iwaku site rules apply to the Discord server. If you aren't sure what exactly that entails, now is a good time to go read Iwaku's Terms of Service and Rules and maybe poke around the FAQ as well. To simplify the hell out of it though, just don't be a jerk and you should be fine. If anything remains unclear, the Help Desk is a great place to ask questions, or you can message a staff member or admin directly if it's something you'd rather ask in private. However, there are a few things specific to Discord that you won't find in the site rules, thus the reason for announcements like this to exist.
Your Discord Nickname
On Discord you can set a nickname that's separate from your account name, and you can set a specific nickname for each server you're on. See the explanation in the above linked guide to joining Discord if you don't know how to do that. On the Iwaku server, your nickname must be close enough to your Iwaku username for people to identify you properly. Having a goofy nickname and then your Iwaku username in brackets after it is fine, but if it's something completely different without any way to tell who you are then you'll be asked to change it and removed from the server if you refuse.
The rules for NSFW content are a little different on the server than on the forum, but not by a ton. No porn or otherwise NSFW images are allowed in avatars, just like on the site, and if you have such an avatar you'll be asked to change it or kicked from the server if you refuse. Stuff that's inappropriate for a 13+ age audience, both text and images, should be kept out of basically all the channels. We're not going to be hyper strict about this, because teens are allowed to giggle at dirty jokes and talk about sex and whatnot, but stuff like racy images or talking about the graphic details of your own sex life and anything that would need a NSFW spoiler or need to be in one of the star areas on the forum should not be in the general areas.
The one exception is the we do have a NSFW channel, and you can put racy stuff in there (still no porn though). However, due to Discord's rules for that sort of content, it's restricted to adult members only. Yes, that means you have to be at least 18 to access the naughty channel, and that is different from our site rules, but such is life. If you want access you can poke an admin or staff member to get the role added so you can see that channel. If you are not sure what constitutes NSFW content that is allowed but ought to be put in this channel only, take a look at the NSFW Content Policies Resource.
Some things are just not allowed on our Discord whatsoever because of site rules, and many of them are listed in the above NSFW Content Resource. There are also some thing that are prohibited by Discord's Terms of Service. Below is a list of all things that are completely banned from the Iwaku Discord for easy reference.
- Pornographic images of any kind
- Instruction on committing crimes
- Links to sites that involve illegal activity (including torrenting or streaming sites that freely provide copyright protected media)
- Animal cruelty
- Promotion or glorification of self-harm (including anorexia and similar conditions)
- Content that defames someone (the Discord rules say things like revenge porn, but for our purposes this also includes 'airing dirty laundry' per our site harassment rules)
That's it for the rules portion, but etiquette is a more tricky matter. Socializing is messy, and a lot of us are awkward nerds who are bad at it (myself included). However, there are some things we can all do to make the chat experience better for ourselves and everyone else, and they're exactly the same etiquette guidelines the site rules are meant to enforce.
Guidelines for Avoiding Conflict
People fighting and arguing all the time is not fun for anyone, so we strive to avoid that on Iwaku, and by extension on our Discord Server. Here are a few handy tips for how to not be a cause of such problems.
For starters, there's an old piece of advice that has become a cliche that's worth remembering: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. If you're just going to insult someone or shit on the topic at hand, it's probably better to just walk away instead. If everyone did this then there would be little to no interpersonal problems on the server or the site as a whole, so try to be a positive influence on the community by simply avoiding being a negative one in the first place.
People disliking one another is inevitable. However, if you find that you can't stand someone, then you have an easy solution at your fingertips: make use of the block function so that you no longer have to see what they say. Block them on Iwaku too, if you intensely dislike their posts there as well. These simple tools will remove the source of annoyance from your internet life and make your Iwaku experience more pleasant, so long as you can avoid the temptation of checking all the hidden messages anyway. That sort of defeats the purpose, you see.
Disagreement and debates are inevitable, but if you're going to do it remember to keep it calm and civil. If insults or personal attacks start coming out then things have gone too far and it needs to stop. If people are heated enough that they'd be yelling if it was a voice chat or face to face talk then it has gone too far and it needs to stop. Walking away from an argument is always an option on the internet, and I highly recommend you exercise that power whenever you realize things are getting out of hand.
If everyone followed these three simple tenets then everything would be rainbows and sunshine and we wouldn't even need staff members to keep an eye on the server. If only people worked that way.
Respect Comfort Zones
There are also things that can happen that aren't precisely against the site rules but are still a problem. The best term to use to explain this massive grey area is 'comfort zones.' Everyone has their own comfort zones, and having someone else cross that barrier is not fun. Some of us have tiny little comfort zones and have almost no limits in what we're okay with, and some of us are uncomfortable with a broad variety of things for many different reasons ranging from past trauma to religious beliefs to simple personal preference. So how does that come into play for Discord?
As a general rule of thumb, if someone asks you to stop talking about a certain topic, or calling them a certain thing, or behaving toward them in a certain manner, then you should stop. Not only does it make you a jerk to not stop doing so, it can indeed constitute harassment or disruptive behavior if you persist after being asked to stop, and those are both ban-worthy offenses by our rules. Whether or not it verges on rule breaking territory is a matter of how many times you do it after being asked to stop and if it seems like you're doing it specifically to irritate one or more other people. To avoid that possible trouble, just don't be a jerk.
On the flip side, you should only ask for people to stop when it's actually an issue for you, not just to control the conversation. Asking people to stop talking about a movie because you didn't like it and don't want to hear about it is kind of a dick move, and it would be preferable for you to just go to a different channel or not pay attention to Iwaku's server at all if you don't want to see that conversation. However, if it's something that truly makes you uncomfortable, then you should ask politely for people to stop. You're not obligated to explain your reasoning, but keep in mind that giving something general to explain why you'd like people to stop talking about or doing a certain thing is more likely to get favorable results. Do be aware that sometimes you won't get your way, and rather than raising a fuss it might be better to just excuse yourself from the situation and go elsewhere until folks are done talking about whatever you have a problem with. However, if it's a matter of you being harassed and you've asked them to stop, scroll on down to the section about reporting issues on Discord to see how you can proceed.
Another good rule of thumb is that you should not make crude jokes about or flirt with people who you aren't already familiar enough with to know they're okay with it. Most people aren't OK with strangers joking about wanting to have sex with them, for example, and you'll look like a creepy jerk and make people uncomfortable if you do it. However, even if you think they're fine with it, if they ask you to stop then you need to stop. We all want Iwaku to be a fun place for everyone, but your idea of fun jokes may be seriously uncomfortable for people and drive them away. Try to keep that in mind before you say anything weird to a new person.
What To Do When Problems Arise
It'd be nice if all the above stuff was read and followed by everyone, but I'm not an optimist and the frank reality of the situation is that people are going to be jerks and cause problems sometimes. That's just how people work. Another important facet of etiquette is how to handle situations where one or more other people are being problems. Most of the time there's a big dramatic fight in a chat, it starts out as something small and then gets escalated into a Category 5 Shitstorm by people failing to handle it well. On the Iwaku Discord server (as on the site itself), when you see some trouble or rule breaking going down then there are a few steps to take.
- Remove yourself from the situation or don't get involved in the first place. Continuing or jumping into a problem situation is the worst thing you can do, and you may end up getting in trouble for being part of it if you contribute to the problems.
- Observe the situation for a little bit and see if things are calming down on their own. Give it a minute or two to see if it's going to turn into a fire or if it's just some harmless sparks.
- Report the situation if things are not calming down. Do not attempt to deal with it yourself. Good intentions or not, odds are you'll end up making things worse by getting dragged into a fight or making someone feel like they're getting ganged up on.
Seriously, that's it. Observe and report, do not get involved. That is always the way to handle Iwaku problems as a regular member, whether on the Discord server or the forum. Leave the problem solving to Security staff and the admins, because that's what we're here for.
If it's an ongoing situation, the best way to report a problem is to tag Security. Just like on Iwaku and many social media platforms, Discord lets you tag people with the @ sign, but it's also got the neat feature of letting you tag roles. So, on Iwaku's Discord server, to report a situation in need of immediate intervention just throw a @Security Staff role tag into that channel. This will give all Security folks and all three admins a notification, so whoever is online and available can jump in and deal with the issue ASAP. Fun fact: just the act of publicly tagging Security for a problem often makes people calm down and stop whatever they're doing. Don't abuse it though, frivolously tagging us for no reason is gonna get you slapped. You can alternatively send a message directly to a Security staffer or admin who is online, but this runs the risk of not actually getting a response due to that person being unavailable, so the public tag is generally better.
However, if it's not a time sensitive matter or if you're looking to report something that happened hours ago, a report can be filed on Iwaku itself. This Resource explains how to report (or ignore) someone on the forum, in case you aren't aware of how it works. When sending in a report on the forum, be sure to give a general time when the issue started (including your time zone so we can easily find the right place if we're not in your time zone) and please do not just send us tons and tons of text or screenshots of chat logs. Including a few very relevant quotes or images is fine, but we're going to be looking at the chat ourselves to confirm so we really do not need you to show us every single thing said in that channel for an hour or whatever. I know you want to be helpful, but trust me, just giving us the highlights and leaving us to read through the gritty details is much more useful than throwing a wall of text or a dozen images at us.
That should cover everything, but if you've got questions feel free to ask them in a message to an admin or staff member, or in the Help Desk.