This page gives a very general overview of how Discord works, and how the WisCon Discord server in particular will be organized.
Table of Contents:
- Joining the WisCon Discord Server
- Identities: Usernames vs. Nicknames
- Navigating the WisCon Discord
- Marking Spoilers
- Moderation and Safety
For a technical how-to on downloading the Discord app, creating an account, and joining servers, you may find it useful to start with Discord’s own Getting Started guide.
Joining the WisCon Discord Server
Discord resembles other services like Slack, in that you have a single account that can access multiple groups—on Discord these groups are called servers. You can access Discord via the web interface (https://discord.com/), but there are also free desktop and mobile apps.
The WisCon Discord server requires an invitation to join. Invitations will be (or have been) sent to the email address that you gave when you registered for the convention.
When you click the invitation link, you will have the option of logging into an existing Discord account, or creating a new account. By default, a new account would be associated with the email address that the invitation was sent to.
If you have multiple Discord accounts, or if you are creating a new Discord account, pause to make sure that you’re joining with the account you intend to use for WisCon! If you need the Discord invitation re-sent, email firstname.lastname@example.org. (It is not currently possible to log into Discord with more than one account simultaneously without a paid third-party app.)
Identities: Usernames vs. Nicknames
Your Discord account is associated with an email address and with a username. The username is a text string (case-sensitive), followed by a hashmark and a 4-digit number. The text string can be changed, but the 4-digit number cannot be. (Note that Discord username formats are changing in the near future, but this information is current as of May 2023.)
When you join a server, you can optionally set a server-specific nickname. This can be changed at any point. For the purposes of WisCon, it may be useful to think of this as being like your badge name. For example, you could set a nickname of Name (pronouns).
Your username (but not your email) is visible to everyone on servers you belong to, even if you set a different nickname. If you have an existing Discord username that includes a name that you do not want to share in fannish spaces, you may wish to create a new Discord account for the purposes of participating in WisCon.
Navigating the WisCon Discord
Discord servers are organized into a number of channels. Certain channels are accessible to everyone who belongs to the server; others are private, and restricted only to people with certain roles. You might be able to view a channel even though you don’t have permission to post to it—if you think you should have access to a channel that you don’t, send a message to ModMail to speak to moderators.
We have set up both general discussion channels, and channels specific to individual programming items.
- Information: #welcome-and-rules and #bulletin-board are where to go for general information on WisCon’s code of conduct and convention-wide announcements. Moderators and concom members can post to the bulletin board, if you want something announced on your behalf. #peer-to-peer-tech-help is a place to ask other WisCon members for help with tech issues.
- Community Text Channels: For general off-topic conversation, we invite you to join #lobby-con or #the-bar. Everyone who joins the server will be announced in #new-arrivals. The #meetups channel is available for organizing meetups on other platforms—want to hold a video conference with other attendees? Post here!
- Events: Each streamed event has a dedicated channel, arranged in chronological order.
- Gathering: The Gathering is the traditional opening event for in-person WisCon conventions, with a variety of activities spread out around the hotel ballroom. The channels in this section are intended to play a similar role, providing a space to gather at the beginning of the convention, immediately after the Opening Ceremonies.
- Panels and Workshops: Each panel has a dedicated channel for discussion during and after its slot, organized by day. You can use these channels for discussion, during and after the panels.
- Safer Spaces: The safer spaces have channels in this section. To gain access to these channels, visit #requesting-access-to-safer-spaces in the Information section.
- Spontaneous Programming: The #spontaneous-coordination channel is for announcing or planning upcoming Spontaneous Programming items.
- Birds of a Feather (BOAF): The channels in this section are for more focused discussion; we’ve pre-created some very general topics, but you can suggest new ones on any topic you want! To create a new channel, message someone with the @concom role.
- There are channels for other types of programming and events at WisCon! Visit the Discord server and see the full list.
Links to Zoom meetings and YouTube streams will be posted in #links-to-streams. They will also be sent out to registered members by email.
Channels on the WisCon Discord are text-only; you cannot request that a new voice channel be created.
Some channels, including #lobby-con, have slowmode enabled. This means that you can only post once per a certain time interval—we’ve done this to try to ensure that everyone gets an equal chance to post.
Discord servers allow people to be associated with multiple roles. When you first join the server, you will be asked to acknowledge the Code of Conduct, which grants the @member role and will reveal other channels in the server.
If you encounter a problem, you might want to contact one of the following roles:
- @admin: Members of our Online Con department
- @co-chair: The co-chairs of the WisCon convention committee (concom)
- @moderator: Discord Moderators manage the Discord server, can create new channels, change people’s roles, and ban people from the server (among other permissions). You can think of them as being the online equivalent of WisCon safety volunteers.
- @concom: Members of the WisCon organizing committee.
- @covid team: Members of the COVID-19 committee, who you can contact if you have questions about our policies or need support after a positive test
If a public message in a channel is appropriate, you can ping everyone who has a certain role by typing ‘@’ followed by the name of the role. The ability to ping @everyone is restricted on the WisCon server.
To allow members to easily contact anyone with certain roles via private direct message, we are using ModMail this year. Instructions are included in the ModMail section below!
While it’s easy to get excited about your favorite new media that have just dropped, please be mindful when sharing possible spoilers. Fortunately, Discord has two ways to mark a section of text as a spoiler:
- After you’ve typed your message but before you send it, select the text that’s spoiler-y, right click, and choose the Eyeball icon.
- Type two vertical lines (pipe characters: ||) before and after the text that’s the spoiler in the chat box, such as: Can you believe the protagonist’s fridge is taken over by ||sentient mold||!
When you’ve marked text as a spoiler, using either method, it will appear as a greyed-out box. When another person clicks the box, it will show your original text. You can’t un-see a spoiler, unless you leave a channel and come back.
Moderation and Safety
Throughout scheduled portions of the program, there will be Discord Moderators available on Discord. If you have concerns about something happening, whether in a WisCon space or elsewhere, please feel free to contact them, either by publicly pinging @moderator or by sending a direct message to ModMail.
You can also contact Safety anytime, by email (email@example.com), phone (608-618-0063), or the Safety reporting form (wiscon.net/report/).
On a personal level, you may also choose to mute or block other members of the server. To do this right click on their name, and select either ‘mute’ or ‘block’ from the dropdown list.
Anyone who is found to violate our Anti-Harassment Policy or the WisCon Statement of Principles may be removed from the Discord server by Safety or by others in the Moderator role, either temporarily or for the remainder of the con, and may also be asked to leave the in-person con if attending there as well.
ModMail works as a way to privately contact moderators in Discord. If you prefer, you can always contact WisCon departments by email or (in the case of Safety) phone! All conversations with ModMail are logged and viewable by Online Con Discord moderators.
To contact ModMail:
- Go to the left hand user sidebar in the WisCon Discord and locate ModMail under users.
- Click on ModMail to bring up a popup window and type your message into the “Message @ModMail” field at the bottom.
- If you haven’t interacted with ModMail before, the ModMail bot will ask you to allow it access to your Discord account.
- If you are on multiple servers that use ModMail, it will prompt you to select the server—follow the instructions it provides!
- Send your message. Someone from the WisCon staff (probably a Discord Moderator) will reply asking if you have a Discord tech question, a Safety issue, or a COVID-19 issue. Depending on your response, a different member of WisCon staff will take over responding. Responses will come to you as direct messages (DMs).