|2015 – present
|multimedia chat and voice platform
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Discord is a free, online voice and text chat platform originally designed for gamers as a feature-rich alternative to hassling with TeamSpeak and Skype, and is quite similar to Slack. It has gained popularity among Tumblr users as a way to create fandom- or pairing-specific group chats, since Tumblr only temporarily had group chat capabilities. Each group chat is called a "server," within which are multiple "channels" for different kinds of content.
Discord is well known for its group voice-chat capabilities as well as its ability to support server-specific custom emoticons and "bots," or computer accounts that automatically perform a variety of organizational and functional tasks.
Many anime, gaming, book and other fandoms have established group chats on Discord as a way to share ideas and fanworks. Fan-based Discord servers have become steadily more popular over time, particularly since the Tumblr NSFW Content Purge in late 2018 pushed many fans to leave Tumblr entirely. Generally, there are four different types of fandom Discord servers: Fandom-specific, Ship-specific, Character-specific, and RP-focused (within a given fandom). Moderators of each server have the power to "boot" members not adhering to the server's rules, as well as create custom emojis of fandom characters.
These servers are generally gen-only chats, possibly with certain channels dedicated to ship-specific or NSFW content. Access to discords for Youtube or other Internet content creators are increasingly rewards on the content creator's Patreon.
Ship-specific servers developed in response to growing shipping wars and malicious cross-tagging on Tumblr and the need to have hate-free spaces to discuss shipping content.
Dedicated group chat for a specific character or group of characters.
Servers within a fandom (or group of fandoms) that focus on RP content and finding RP partners.
Popular fic or fic writers will occasionally have their own fan servers. The writer's presence in these servers is not necessary, and many writers are only sparingly involved with the Discord about them or their work. In some fandoms, discords for fanwork creators that aren't focused around a specific fan creator are common.
Typically channels will be grouped according to a broader topic, i.e. Fanworks, General Discussion, Shipping Discussion, Non-fandom Topics etc. Different channels for specific types of content will be listed under these umbrella terms, such as Fanart, Fanfic, and Videos under Fanworks, or different ship names under Shipping Discussion. Often there will be separate NSFW channels that are only accessible by invitation, a non-topical channel where users can complain about their daily lives, and a separate group of channels for server administration purposes such as Introductions and Announcements.
"Salt" channels, where people can complain about discourse, shipping wars and wank are also popular. This is viewed as a way to keep the salt out of public view on Tumblr and to avoid causing more fandom drama.
Example Fandom Servers
|Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.
- Sheith Empire, a Sheith-centric Discord server for all ages
- Legendary RPers, a VLD RP server for all ages
- Potato's Assassin's Creed, an AC server
- ShouToko Discord Server, a shipping server for all ages dedicated to the pairing Shouji/Tokoyami (ShouToko) from Boku no Hero Academia.
- The X-Files, a The X-Files server that focuses on XF-episode and -movie discussion
- The Basement Office, an X-Files server that focuses on social rewatches and fan-work recommendations
- The Hanged Man, an 18+ Dragon Age server for fan writers, betas, and fanfic readers to discuss writing fanfic and share fan-work recommendations
- Dokapon Discord server, the largest server for the English-speaking Dokapon fan community.
- Heliocentric and We're all just Dreaming of Sunshine for the Dreaming of Sunshine fandom.
- Marvel Studios, a Marvel Studios and MCU server
- Harry Potter Fanfiction Club (18+), an 18+ server for discussion about Harry Potter fanfics
- Why So Many in Fandom Have Taken to Discord by Kaila Hale-Stern for The Mary Sue (22 Nov 2019). "The ease of use makes Discord friendly to even Internet seniors and fandom olds like me, and I’ve made wonderful friends in spaces that are celebratory of content that I love. While it sometimes feels unfortunate that we seem most productive and happy inside a walled garden, it’s an incredibly welcome relief from the public spotlight of social media, where a misguided Tweet or an unpopular opinion can take on a vicious life of its own."
- Please Stop Closing Forums And Moving People To Discord by Luke Plunkett for Kotaku (15 Sep 2021). [Discord]'s a river running in real-time, and while it does have search functions, the way the whole app is structured means you’re simply never going to get the same levels of detailed discussion or archived information as we can get from forums. If places want to open a Discord and run that as something else, then cool, but using it as a replacement for forums is a disaster.
- Tumblr post by centrally-unplanned, 16 Sep 2021.