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Discord is a chat program and app that supports text chat, voice chat, and screen sharing. It is available as a standalone program for Mac and Windows, as well as an iOS and Android app. It can also be used in the browser. While Discord was originally popular among gamers, it has gained popularity in the NaNoWriMo community.
With its roots in IRC, Discord supports continuous text chat and uses IRC's server-channel metaphor, even though this isn't technically accurate. Anyone can create a Discord server, and a Discord server can contain multiple channels. However, the administrators of a Discord server control the visibility and access of the server.
While there is no official NaNoWriMo Discord server, there are multiple unofficial Discord servers, including a Discord for the overachiever community. Some NaNoWriMo regions also use Discord for their regional chat.
Discord supports roles and role tagging. Administrators can create roles in the Discord server settings and can also add other users as administrators.
While using roles is optional, they can help add color to a Wrimo's name so not everyone is the same color, going back to the IRC and AIM chat room days. Common roles include ML, admin, Winner, Camper (for Wrimos doing Camp NaNoWriMo), and pronouns. You can click or tap a user's name to view all their roles.
Multiple channels can help keep the server organized while not burying time-insensitive information. Like IRC channels, channels begin with a # (pound or hashtag). Wrimos can mute channels they're not interested in; however, too many channels can create clutter, overwhelm Wrimos new to Discord, and make Wrimos worry about whether they're posting to the right place or missing conversations.
Common channels for regional Discord servers include:
- Server Rules & Info
- Requesting a role. A bot such as Dyno can handle the role requests.
- General NaNo-related or writing-related chat
- Word sprints
- Write-ins, either for organizing in-person write-ins or hosting online events
- Off-topic chat
Other topics include a channel for Wrimos with chronic illnesses or disabilities, specific interests (e.g. gaming, books, memes), stages of the writing process (prepping, editing, publishing), or self-promotion. Beyond the basics, channels are up to the server administrator's imagination.
Discord supports adding bots to a server. Bots can perform roles such as time word sprints or add roles to a user.
Bots for running sprints include Sprinto, Talos, and Winnie_Bot.