Starting a new job or position or activity will always be exciting. Most moderators are eager to help a community that they love and that they are an active part of to grow and prosper. You spend a lot of time there already, so why would you not want to do your part in helping that community be successful? However as time passes, interests can change and initial enthusiasm can wane. As a moderator, you might find yourself spending time in other communities or you realize your real world schooling and work is a priority over moderating, so there is the potential for anxiety to build as you try to juggle all of your responsibilities. Maybe your mental health is being affected by spending many hours a day on the internet, dealing with trolls and people who simply just want to cause trouble. This can mentally drain you, having to deal with negativity and conflict day in and day out. When moderating begins to feel like a chore, as opposed to a hobby, that’s when you might feel like moderator burnout has set in.
Burnout is the emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion you feel after a prolonged period of stress brought on by certain activities. Spending too much time in a stressful environment can easily lead to feelings of exhaustion, feeling distant from the activity or task at hand, or simply just having negative feelings when thinking about doing the activity or task. These negative effects on your body and mind eat away at you until you feel like you are at your limit and just do not have enough energy and motivation in you anymore to continue moderating. Sometimes burnout makes it feel like the only thing that can make you happy is to stop being a moderator completely.
One of the most common signs of moderator burnout is when you have been noticing yourself being less and less active when it comes to moderating, as well as being less active in the server itself. As a moderator, you have begun to feel like it is a chore for you to be moderating the server; something you feel forced to do, knowing it needs to be done with no joy attached to the task at hand. Time seems to move so slowly when you are moderating as you are constantly checking the clock, just hoping that an hour of your time is enough on the server. Your time spent on your server becomes less and less as the days go by until you have either stepped down or completely withdrawn from any activity in the server, moderation or otherwise.
A burgeoning lack of participation is another sign. If you know yourself well enough, you can probably tell when something is bothering you. Perhaps on any normal given day, you are social and engage with your other team members as well as with regular server members, but recently you’re only chatting in public channels, giving out the occasional public warning. You notice that you only really check the staff channels when there is a ping. Your account may be in the server and your name on the member list, but you’re no longer an active community member. At this point burnout has set in. There may be the urge to come in every day and give 100% but then you run the risk of giving too much, too quickly. You start to dread the amount of work necessary to do your part and eventually start to taper off.
You might notice yourself making more mistakes than normal. Frustration is another part of burnout that can affect the mental aspects of moderating. Feeling like you are making too many mistakes or are not doing as much as another moderator is a hard thing to put a reason to. Feelings of inadequacy may lead to reprimanding yourself internally, being your own worst critic, finding yourself in a rut, thinking everyone in the server is being difficult. You know you are making mistakes, others on your team see it, thinking they are helping by giving you constructive criticism. There is a lack of accomplishment that makes you frustrated, especially in moderating. Nothing you do feels like it is being done right, adding that to the difficulties of members of the server, and frustration kicks in. When telling members of the server to do something and they continue to post against the rules, you begin to wonder if you matter or are even making a difference.
Burnout can easily affect your attitude. Moderating tests your patience as some members of the server will purposefully push the line, seeing what they can get away with. As a new moderator, you might not be as strict, as you are wanting the community to not only respect you but to like you. As time passes, your patience may begin to run thin and you put up with a lot less while you get more irritated. You have a shift in your attitude and can become bitter at what you have to deal with when moderating a server.
After taking time to look at the signs of moderator burnout, it is important to know how to avoid it so you and your team can find your groove again and remember what it feels like to enjoy being not only a moderator but a community member.
Everything is healthy with moderation, including, well, moderation. Knowing when you need breaks and encouraging yourself, as well as other moderators, to take these breaks can really help with mounting stress levels. Moderating takes a toll on your mental health, so being able to step away and catch your breath can really help reset your focus. Reach out to other members on your team that can help with moderator duties and shoulder the workload so those that are experiencing burnout can feel that it is okay to step away. A big part of working on a team is being honest with each other when things are good and when things are not so good. You may be surprised at how eager your team members are to help prop you up when you’re feeling low. Remember- you're not alone in this, so feel free to take those breaks and be assured that the server is not on fire and that there are eyes other than yours that are there to share the workload. Offline life and your overall health should always come before any aspect of online life.
Make sure you are not taking on too much, but also have enough to do. This can be a tricky balance. Depending on your moderation experience and skills, it can be hard to determine what your work load capabilities are, especially as offline life changes. Be upfront and honest with what your team expects from you, but also let them know that if you are feeling overwhelmed, that they can talk to you. Always have an open line of communication so you can find ways to help yourself, as well as the others you moderate with. Something that has worked on larger servers that you might be able to incorporate to your server is having a summary of the channels. With the summary, you can have moderators on your team sign up for which channels they enjoy moderating, as well as the others, and not feel like you have to be in too many channels at one time. Delegating work makes it seem more manageable and less daunting. Encourage yourself and your fellow moderators to try new channels after a couple weeks to change everyone’s scenery, as well allowing various team members the chance to interact with certain server members that might only hang out in channels that they don’t normally moderate. As a moderator, you might feel yourself wanting to do more and seek to add to your responsibilities. Suggesting community events and helping out organizing and running these events makes for a great change of pace to contrast the normal moderating duties of watching chat. Events are great for bringing regular members together with moderators. It is a fun task that can bring activity levels up and spread some excitement.
Create an environment that is fun to moderate in. Having or suggesting a staff channel where you and your fellow moderators can be yourselves or vent is a great way to relieve some stress and have your team get to know one another. Ask them questions every day to encourage discussion and communication between your entire team. Building a team that works well with one another helps with the communication between fellow moderators, so they can express how everyone is feeling, and seek advice on stresses in the community. You can get to know each other’s personal lives and what other things in life might be causing outside stress. Getting to know each other’s personalities can help determine if someone might easily burn out or if they are just more introverted than other moderators on your team. Holding events, such as game nights, where you all play a game online together can really help you and other moderators feel at ease, bring enjoyment to everyone, and help everyone reset for the next day of moderating.
One of the biggest, and perhaps simplest, things you can do to help with moderator burnout is just being thankful. Typing the two little words of “thank you” can go a long way. As a moderator, you spend your free time helping the server, so let your fellow moderators know you appreciate that they chose this as their hobby.
To that end, positive specific feedback is one of the best ways to let someone know that they did a good job and what exactly it was that they did well. By being specific about what you’re thanking your moderator for, you’re letting them know that their hard work is recognized and valued and seen. Recognize when they put in a lot of hours on the server and are here on a day-to-day basis. Finding ways to reward them, whether through gifting Nitro or a special recognition in the server, can be really fulfilling to them. It reassures them that they are an important part of the server and are making a difference when helping. Be gracious with your words and remind them that they are here with you. It starts a chain reaction and you will see moderators thanking other moderators for their hard work.
*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.
Moderator burnout can happen to anyone at any time. It is important to understand what it is and how you can help. Whether you are an owner, administrator, or another moderator, it is important to support your team and look for the signs of burnout so you can suggest ways that might help them in how they are feeling. Always have an open line of communication with your team that fosters honesty. Encourage them or yourself to step away when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and thank each other for helping in the server. Servers are a lot harder to run when doing it alone; moderators that are excited to be there are an important part of making sure things operate smoothly.
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.
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.
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.
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