The first thing you should do is turn on developer mode for Discord. This will allow you to copy user, channel, and server IDs which are extremely helpful for moderation, reporting issues to Discord, and dealing with Discord bots. Read here for instructions on turning on developer mode and getting IDs.
The Administrator permission is a special permission on a Discord role in that it grants every Discord permission and allows users with that permission to bypass all channel-specific permissions. Because of this granting this role to any user or bot should be done with the utmost caution and on an as-needed basis.
Because bots can automate actions on Discord, bots with this permission can instantly delete all of your text channels, remove your emotes and roles, create hundreds of roles with the Administrator permission and start assigning them to your other users, and otherwise cause unmitigated havoc on your server faster than you can even understand what is happening. While the chance of this happening with larger or more renowned public bots is low, you should be mindful that this is the sort of power you are giving to a Discord Bot if you grant it the Administrator permission and only do so if you are confident the bot and its development team can be trusted.
Before giving this permission to a user, consider if giving them a role that has every other permission enabled will serve your purpose. This way you can at least protect your channels via channel permissions. You may also find on further consideration that the user in question does not even need every permission, and will be fine with only a couple of elevated permissions. If you do give Administrator to anyone, it is highly recommended to enable 2FA for your server as described in the next section.
Discord has several role-specific permissions that grant what would be considered “administrative functionality” to users (not to be confused with the actual Administrator permission). These permissions are considered sensitive enough that if you are in a server where two-factor authentication (2FA) is required for moderators, these permissions are disabled. You can read more about what 2FA is and how to enable it on your account here. The permissions for which this applies are as follows:
*Unless you are using the channel description for verification instructions rather than an automatic greeter message.
If you want to use the remove unverified role method, you will need a bot that can automatically assign a role to a user when they join.
Once you decide whether you want to add or remove a role, you need to decide how you want that action to take place. Generally, this is done by typing a bot command in a channel, typing a bot command in a DM, or clicking on a reaction. The differences between these methods are shown below.
In order to use the command in channel method, you will need to instruct your users to remove the Unverified role or to add the Verified role to themselves.
If you aren’t using a bot for server moderation, your moderation is going to be done by using Discord’s context menus. How to access each menu and how its options work will be discussed in detail below.
The Server settings items allow you to configure the server as a whole, as opposed to managing individual members. Note that depending on the exact permissions you have as a moderator and whether or not your server has boosts or is verified/partnered, not all options shown may be available to you.
On Desktop: Right click on the server name and go to Server Settings
On Mobile: While viewing the server list, tap the server name and then Settings in the bottom right.
The important menu items for you to know are the following:
User options allow you to manage individual server members. You can manage them from the Members server option as noted previously or through the following:
Desktop: Right click on a user’s name anywhere in the server (online list, mention, message, or their voice channel presence)
Mobile: Tap a user’s name anywhere in the server and then tap the “manage” option. If you only want to kick or ban a user you can do so without tapping the manage option. You can also copy their user ID by tapping the three dots in the upper right instead.
The most important menu options for you to know are as follows:
These are accessed in a similar fashion to member options, but are only visible while the user is in a voice channel.
The most important menu options are as follows:
This menu allows you to manage a specific message on the server.
Desktop: Right click anywhere in a message, or mouse over the message and click the three dots to the right
Mobile: Press and hold on a message
The most important options on this menu are as follows:
Markdown is also supported in an embed. Here is an image to showcase an example of these properties:
Example image to showcase the elements of an embed
An important thing to note is that embeds also have their limitations, which are set by the API. Here are some of the most important ones you need to know:
An important thing to note is that embeds also have their limitations, which are set by the API. Here are some of the most important ones you need to know:
If you feel like experimenting even further you should take a look at the full list of limitations provided by Discord here.
It’s very important to keep in mind that when you are writing an embed, it should be in JSON format. Some bots even provide an embed visualizer within their dashboards. You can also use this embed visualizer tool which provides visualization for bot and webhook embeds.
Some permissions are integrated into other areas of Discord or are more implicit. The following permissions should only be granted to moderators or trusted users.
While some advanced Discord server configurations may require otherwise, the following permissions are generally good to give to everyone:
If you have the Manage Channel Permissions permission, you can also set channel-level permission overrides for both roles and individual members. By changing one of the permissions to a checkmark or an X, you can define a specific permission for that channel for specific members or roles that will be used instead of the permissions that are set on the Roles management screen. The permissions for channel overrides are similar to their role level counterparts, but the descriptions will provide you additional information as to exactly what they do. You can learn more about navigating the channel permission interface here.
However, it’s not enough just to know what buttons to click. It is vital that you understand how Discord determines what permissions a user actually has when you start involving channel overrides. Discord checks each permission in the following order and stops if there are any overrides set at that step.
This is fairly logical, but there is one important thing to note: if there are conflicting channel overrides on different custom roles and a user has two or more of these roles, Discord resolves this by allowing the permission.
For example, let’s say you run a server for World of Warcraft with a #guild-recruitment channel, where people can advertise their guild. You set a channel override to deny Send Messages to @everyone, then add another channel override for your Recruiter role to allow Send Messages. This way, only people with the Recruiter role can send messages in the channel. However, you also set a channel override to deny Send Messages for your Muted User role. If you have to mute one of the people with the Recruiter role by giving them the Muted User role, they will still be able to send messages in the #guild-recruitment channel because they have the Recruiter role. In this case, you have three options:
You can use whichever method is easiest for you depending on any Discord bots you are using and how your server is setup. However, this example is just one way that channel overrides can conflict with each other. Be mindful of the way you set your role permissions and channel overrides to use as few channel overrides as you can so that you can avoid unexpected conflicts.
Even though this comparison is important for better understanding of both bots and webhooks, it does not mean you should limit yourself to only picking one or the other. Sometimes, bots and webhooks work their best when working together. It’s not uncommon for bots to use webhooks for logging purposes or to distinguish notable messages with a custom avatar and name for that message. Both tools are essential for a server to function properly and make for a powerful combination.
*Unconfigurable filters, these will catch all instances of the trigger, regardless of whether they’re spammed or a single instance
**Gaius also offers an additional NSFW filter as well as standard image spam filtering
***YAGPDB offers link verification via google, anything flagged as unsafe can be removed
****Giselle combines Fast Messages and Repeated Text into one filter
Anti-Spam is integral to running a large private server, or a public server. Spam, by definition, is irrelevant or unsolicited messages. This covers a wide base of things on Discord, there are multiple types of spam a user can engage in. The common forms are listed in the table above. The most common forms of spam are also very typical of raids, those being Fast Messages and Repeated Text. The nature of spam can vary greatly but the vast majority of instances involve a user or users sending lots of messages with the same contents with the intent of disrupting your server.
There are subsets of this spam that many anti-spam filters will be able to catch. If any of the following: Mentions, Links, Invites, Emoji, and Newline Text are spammed repeatedly in one message or spammed repeatedly across several messages, they will provoke most Repeated Text and Fast Messages filters appropriately. Subset filters are still a good thing for your anti-spam filter to contain as you may wish to punish more or less harshly depending on the spam. Namely, Emoji and Links may warrant separate punishments. Spamming 10 links in a single message is inherently worse than having 10 emoji in a message.
Anti-spam will only act on these things contextually, usually in an X in Y fashion where if a user sends, for example, 10 links in 5 seconds, they will be punished to some degree. This could be 10 links in one message, or 1 link in 10 messages. In this respect, some anti-spam filters can act simultaneously as Fast Messages and Repeated Text filters.
Sometimes, spam may happen too quickly for a bot to catch up. There are rate limits in place to stop bots from harming servers that can prevent deletion of individual messages if those messages are being sent too quickly. This can often happen in raids. As such, Fast Messages filters should prevent offenders from sending messages; this can be done via a mute, kick or ban. If you want to protect your server from raids, please read on to the Anti-Raid section of this article.
Text filters allow you to control the types of words and/or links that people are allowed to put in your server. Different bots will provide various ways to filter these things, keeping your chat nice and clean.
*Defaults to banning ALL links
**YAGPDB offers link verification via google, anything flagged as unsafe can be removed
***Setting a catch-all filter with carl will prevent link-specific spam detection
A text filter is integral to a well moderated server. It’s strongly, strongly recommended you use a bot that can filter text based on a blacklist. A Banned words filter can catch links and invites provided http:// and https:// are added to the word blacklist (for all links) or specific full site URLs to block individual websites. In addition, discord.gg can be added to a blacklist to block ALL Discord invites.
A Banned Words filter is integral to running a public server, especially if it’s a Partnered, Community or Verified server, as this level of auto moderation is highly recommended for the server to adhere to the additional guidelines attached to it. Before configuring a filter, it’s a good idea to work out what is and isn’t ok to say in your server, regardless of context. For example, racial slurs are generally unacceptable in almost all servers, regardless of context. Banned word filters often won’t account for context, with an explicit blacklist. For this reason, it’s also important a robust filter also contains whitelisting options. For example, if you add the slur ‘nig’ to your filter and someone mentions the country ‘Nigeria’ they could get in trouble for using an otherwise acceptable word.
Filter immunity may also be important to your server, as there may be individuals who need to discuss the use of banned words, namely members of a moderation team. There may also be channels that allow the usage of otherwise banned words. For example, a serious channel dedicated to discussion of real world issues may require discussions about slurs or other demeaning language, in this exception channel based Immunity is integral to allowing those conversations.
Link filtering is important to servers where sharing links in ‘general’ chats isn’t allowed, or where there are specific channels for sharing such things. This can allow a server to remove links with an appropriate reprimand without treating a transgression with the same severity as they would a user sending a racial slur.
Whitelisting/Blacklisting and templates for links are also a good idea to have. While many servers will use catch-all filters to make sure links stay in specific channels, some links will always be malicious. As such, being able to filter specific links is a good feature, with preset filters (Like the google filter provided by YAGPDB) coming in very handy for protecting your user base without intricate setup however, it is recommended you do configure a custom filter to ensure specific slurs, words etc. that break the rules of your server, aren’t being said.
Invite filtering is equally important in large or public servers where users will attempt to raid, scam or otherwise assault your server with links with the intention of manipulating your user base to join or where unsolicited self-promotion is potentially fruitful. Filtering allows these invites to be recognized, and dealt with more harshly. Some bots may also allow by-server white/blacklisting allowing you to control which servers are ok to share invites to, and which aren’t. A good example of invite filtering usage would be something like a partners channel, where invites to other, closely linked, servers are shared. These servers should be added to an invite whitelist to prevent their deletion.
Raids, as defined earlier in this article, are mass-joins of users (often selfbots) with the intent of damaging your server. There are a few methods available to you in order for you to protect your community from this behavior. One method involves gating your server with verification appropriately, as discussed in DMA 301.You can also supplement or supplant the need for verification by using a bot that can detect and/or prevent damage from raids.
*Unconfigurable, triggers raid prevention based on user joins & damage prevention based on humanly impossible user activity. Will not automatically trigger on the free version of the bot.
Raid detection means a bot can detect the large number of users joining that’s typical of a raid, usually in an X in Y format. This feature is usually chained with Raid Prevention or Damage Prevention to prevent the detected raid from being effective, wherein raiding users will typically spam channels with unsavoury messages.
Raid-user detection is a system designed to detect users who are likely to be participating in a raid independently of the quantity of frequency of new user joins. These systems typically look for users that were created recently or have no profile picture, among other triggers depending on how elaborate the system is.
Raid prevention stops a raid from happening, either by Raid detection or Raid-user detection. These countermeasures stop participants of a raid specifically from harming your server by preventing raiding users from accessing your server in the first place, such as through kicks, bans, or mutes of the users that triggered the detection.
Damage prevention stops raiding users from causing any disruption via spam to your server by closing off certain aspects of it either from all new users, or from everyone. These functions usually prevent messages from being sent or read in public channels that new users will have access to. This differs from Raid Prevention as it doesn’t specifically target or remove new users on the server.
Raid anti-spam is an anti spam system robust enough to prevent raiding users’ messages from disrupting channels via the typical spam found in a raid. For an anti-spam system to fit this dynamic, it should be able to prevent Fast Messages and Repeated Text. This is a subset of Damage Prevention.
Raid cleanup commands are typically mass-message removal commands to clean up channels affected by spam as part of a raid, often aliased to ‘Purge’ or ‘Prune’.It should be noted that Discord features built-in raid and user bot detection, which is rather effective at preventing raids as or before they happen. If you are logging member joins and leaves, you can infer that Discord has taken action against shady accounts if the time difference between the join and the leave times is extremely small (such as between 0-5 seconds). However, you shouldn’t rely solely on these systems if you run a large or public server.
Messages aren’t the only way potential evildoers can present unsavoury content to your server. They can also manipulate their Discord username or Nickname to cause trouble. There are a few different ways a username can be abusive and different bots offer different filters to prevent this.
*Gaius can apply same blacklist/whitelist to names as messages or only filter based on items in the blacklist tagged %name
**YAGPDB can use configured word-list filters OR a regex filter
Username filtering is less important than other forms of auto moderation, when choosing which bot(s) to use for your auto moderation needs, this should typically be considered last, since users with unsavory usernames can just be nicknamed in order to hide their actual username.
As mentioned in the channel override section, one common use of permissions is to prevent certain users from sending messages in your server by giving them a Muted User (or similarly named) role. This is most easily accomplished by using a Discord bot to administer the role. The bot will first a “mute role” and then for every channel in the server sets the channel permissions for that role such that users with that role are not allowed to send messages or add reactions. When you mute a user through the bot, it assigns them that role and thus prevents them from interacting in the server’s channels.
It is also possible to set this up yourself and then manually assign the mute role to users that need to be muted from chatting.
A lot of moderation on Discord is done using bots. You can find plenty of them by doing some research online. Some options include MEE6, CarlBot, Zeppelin, Dyno, GiselleBot, Gaius, and more. You can learn about some of these bots and what auto-moderation looks like here.
To invite a bot to a server, you must have either Administrator or Manage Server permission
One additional component not included in the table is the effects of implementing a verification gate. The ramifications of a verification gate are difficult to quantify and not easily summarized. Verification gates make it harder for people to join in the conversation of your server, but in exchange help protect your community from trolls, spam bots, those unable to read your server’s language, or other low intent users. This can make administration and moderation of your server much easier. You’ll also see that the percent of people that visit more than 3 channels increases as they explore the server and follow verification instructions, and that percent talked may increase if people need to type a verification command.
However, in exchange you can expect to see server leaves increase. In addition, total engagement on your other channels may grow at a slower pace. User retention will decrease as well. Furthermore, this will complicate the interpretation of your welcome screen metrics, as the welcome screen will need to be used to help people primarily follow the verification process as opposed to visiting many channels in your server. There is also no guarantee that people who send a message after clicking to read the verification instructions successfully verified. In order to measure the efficacy of your verification system, you may need to use a custom solution to measure the proportion of people that pass or fail verification.
The goal of this article is to familiarize you with Discord permissions and moderation actions so that you can more effectively moderate or manage your own server. Now that you’ve finished reading this, hopefully you have a better idea of how to navigate Discord’s menus and manage your members and messages.
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