In this post, I’ll discuss our communications platform as a community and the future.
First, a little background…
I’ve focused a lot on member experience for years now. What is it like as a new member joining and familiarizing themselves with our community? Many new accounts are created by interested people, who never really engage with anyone. One major element of that is getting members onto our chat program Telegram. Some have said that once they engage online and chat, you quickly get a sense of the active community we have. So I began to map out what a new member is faced with and realized there was a deficiency.
So now onto the trial of Discord that has been going on...
As with any major decision, I’m focused on the objectives of our communication platform and what we value as a community. The objective being to provide an easy means of communicating and engaging with the community.
For Telegram, that often means heading to the app store and downloading a new app. Or getting it running on a website. You might eventually find yourself in DB general chat in the middle of a conversation, or not, with some chat history about, whatever the topic of the day is. You get a bunch of emails from the site with a bunch of names and links. You might eventually find your way to more focused conversations about fiction, or graphics. Once you’re in a Clan you get invited to a Clan chat that’s a subset of the larger chat but generally focused on the same thing.
So I looked to Discord, another relatively newer chat application that has really taken off for online communities. In some research Blade did for me nearly every other Star Wars community online is using Discord and we are the only one on Telegram. That isn’t to say we need to be like everyone else but joining a new Discord server is effortless, getting a new application running is possible but a barrier. When you join, you are dropped into a welcome chat. Authentication assigns you roles and access to a range of channels comes with it immediately. The whole community is just there.
So looking at the experiences of the two, we started a trial. What work does it take and what would the member experience be like in Discord versus Telegram. So I’ll list the gaps that have come to mind in feedback to date where Discord falls short of Telegram.
Overall I think there are some things to be understood in how Discord, as a chat application has some quality of life features missing. Ones that all have their own similar way they work inside Discord that require some time to get used to.
Where Telegram falls short of Discord currently are leaning in a harder to overcome direction than just getting used to the specific UI.
There are also many externalities that could be listed about benefits, but while those are great and all, I am really focused on what makes it a great move for the community with an eye towards growing the community and bringing in new members. As seen, I have made some large moves to get RP running, and there are many people out there active in Star Wars RP-related communities. None of them are on Telegram. All of them are on either Discord or just online forums.
Everything above is meant as an official update to the membership on where I’m at in a decision-making process about a move. I’ve already received feedback from the leaders of all of the Clans that support a move. I do not take a move lightly and the disruption will certainly have a short-term negative impact on our membership experience. However, I hope it positions us alongside the rest of the Star Wars and gaming communities to provide a better experience long term.
With everything in mind above, I’ve told the SCL to make preparations, along with the rest of the Dark Council for an official move by October 1st. This may change depending on any technical setup issues we encounter with the bots or channels.
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