Lately I’ve noticed a trend of companies not having a forum for users to help other users, and instead the turn to Discord. I found Remnote doing this recently and it feels like another step in a terrible direction and I’m not the only one to feel this way.

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Discord isn’t a Forum

Remnote is now using Discord in place of their forum, but Discord isn’t a forum. On a forum you have a long term repository of information where users help users, and sometimes companies help their users. The great thing about this is that the next person who has the same issue can search and find the same forum thread and possible find an answer to their question…without engaging with the company directly for support.

Forums have topics and easily identified replies to those topics in a single place. Discord is a firehose of messages with no clear question/reply structure. I’ve struggled to figure out what someone is replying to every time I’ve dropped into a busy Discord. Even when I’m in a discussion if more than one or two people are also in it, in the midst of other chatting, it’s hard to track with the entire conversation.

Forums are also searchable in a way that Discord is not. I’ve tried to search Discord for questions that I know were asked and answered in the past because I participated in them…to no avail.

A busy Discord server isn’t just a single firehose of information, it’s a firehose of information for most channels that are active, and it’s a terrible way to help your customers.

Much like Slack, Discord is a distraction machine stealing your concentration in a way that a forum is not. Sure when I check the few forums I frequent I may see a notification, but it’s not an ever scrolling thread of replies that I can barely read fast enough to stay on top of. I can dip in and read the items I want and the replies that are interesting without needing to check in every few minutes to see the firehose of information go by.

The only reason I can think that companies are moving to Discord instead of forums is that people then think they have more intimate connection with the company, while the company does less to actually help customers.

For all the reasons above, I don’t participate in Discord. I even have one, and don’t use it because my focus is far too valuable to spend on random information flowing by all the time.