How Can Discord Benefit SCRF

The goal of this post is to provide a discussion about how to reorganize Discord and how SCRF can best benefit from Discord. Discord is meant to be a place to help this community grow and so your voice is an important part of how we shape that. Please consider this effort as a starting point of taking a collective approach to re-organizing our shared space.

Discord is a communications platform that integrates chat, media, events, live streaming & meetings.

A primary value add for SCRF is the Discord ecosystem of servers and their overlapping communities. It is common for users to discover related Discord servers to the ones they are in already. There are two steps SCRF can take to better take advantage of this ecosystem and bridge into adjacent communities.

First is to overhaul our existing Discord server channels, streamline events, use Discord to host virtual meetings, and integrate a variety of bots as needed to automate as much as possible.

Secondly is to bridge community outreach via ambassadorship, co-hosting events, specific channels for other communities, and lots of other ideas.

SCRF Test Discord

In order to achieve the first step with as little disruption as possible I’ve set up a test Discord server.

The SCRF Test Discord server is available for anyone interested in helping me beta test things. Just send me a message and I’ll invite you.

Once the test server has been approved the live server will be updated to match.

In this process existing channels will be moved and some collapsed. The intention with this process is to be as non-destructive as possible. If anyone has a particular concern about how this content will map please do reach out.

Onboarding Process

When a new user joins Discord they will receive a welcome message from the bot. The default role will be restricted to the #rules and #start-here channel only. This channel will feature a Reaction Role requiring the user to click a specific emoji verifying agreement to the SCRF community guidelines. Pretty much don’t be a jerk, we don’t want to add more rules. There can also be more roles a user can self assign.

New user welcome messaging is less about detail and more about the roadmap. Brevity is important at this step as it’s best to let the user choose their own path of interest and then reveal more granular content. Having pinned messages in each channel is one way to provide a call to actions that leads back to specific SCRF Forum endpoints for example.

It’s also important to have a very clear organization of content and community. It should be easy to at a glance see where people are talking, what events are coming up, what kind of content (webinars, forum content, etc) is available, and what stuff can be followed along to be notified about.

This will help create a comfortable landing for our traveling Discordians.

Community interaction on the SCRF Discord will drive engagement back to the SCRF Forum. It will help serve as a water cooler chat, a place for nebulous ideas to form and be shared. Less formality than the forum but still a place of serious discussion.

Bridging Discussions From Discord To the SCRF Forum

A primary goal of the SCRF Discord is to elevate discussions, ideas, and community engagement back to the SCRF Forum as quality and qualified content.

Discord is a great place to host less serious conversations that would otherwise might be considered a distraction on the SCRF Forum. These light hearted conversations can lead to real value and so it’s important that they are nurtured. These kinds of discussions take a life of their own within the community context of Discord and have the opportunity to mature. It’s a kind of digital equivalent to a water cooler chat. Remember those?

Use of Threads to Elevate Chats in Discord

Threads allow multiple topics in a channel to exist and grow with their own dedicated space temporarily without having to commit to a new channel for the server. They make it easier to follow along with an unexpected topic that gains popularity and eliminates confusion when multiple, big topics are happening within a single channel.

https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/articles/4403205878423-Threads-FAQ

On the Matter of Shilling and Trust Me Bro

As an open community SCRF invites anyone with a vested interest in a project to join the discussion. We do ask that when people post their own projects, or projects of interest, that they post research to qualify and validate the content. We should consider a dedicated space on our Discord for people who want to bring attention to their own projects.

Reorganize SCRF Discord Channels

The goal of this reorganization is to provide a clear structure of community and content.

The use of announcement channels allow users to subscribe and be notified whenever content from that channel is shared (published). This is a great way for users to find where content gets posted and stay up to date.

Category SCRF

#Introductions are introduced as a dedicated space to allow people to introduce themselves. Currently, introducing in #general has a few drawbacks. It can be intimidating for new folks to interrupt and chime in and it’s hard to get a feel for the room. With a dedicated #introduction channel we can suggest a template of information to help get people going. Also, it will be nice to scroll through the #introduction channel and see who exactly is part of this community. As such, I would recommend that everyone in this community take the time to do so once this launches.

#research is the chatroom where the SCRF talk of this community is conducted. It’s a great place to post links and content from the SCRF Forum.

#opportunities chat combines the topics of SCRF mentorship, bounties, and grants.

#water-cooler-chats is the everything else channel. A place for casual but respectful :poop: posting. It’s comfortable here.

#events is a feed of events posted by a bot for all SCRF related events. This is an announcement channel.

Category CONTENT

#community a place for people to share content of any kind that would be of interest to the SCRF community. Anyone can post here.

#youtube, #twitter, #linkedin

Each announcement channel is an official SCRF social media end point. A bot will automatically post in the channel whenever content is added to the social media property.

Category FORUM

This category is mostly the same as it is currently on Discord but changing each forum thread to an announcement channel.

Category LIVESTREAMS

A dedicated space to host all our virtual meets. Currently we use a mixed combination of Google Meet and Zoom. Discord is a great platform for virtual meetings and will further drive community building on Discord.

Category INTERNAL

There will also be further categories for internal use defined by user roles.

Event Specific Categories

In order to better provide a clear taxonomy of content to the community of SCRF it would be useful to have dedicated Categories for events that SCRF attends such as ETH Denver. Around the time and during the event, the specific event channel can be moved up to be high on the Discord list of channels - probably at the top. This will help capture and organize the energy and ideas around that event year over year. It is common for Discord servers to have many Categories of content. Ours will certainly grow over time.

Discord and Web3

SourceCred is a Web3 based tool for communities to measure and reward value creation. It features a plugin for both Discourse and Discord. It will enable actions taken within Discord such as reaction roles or chatting to award Cred, the token of SourceCred. This will help demonstrate a way in which Web3 can touch both our Discord and Discourse community.

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@brian.alexakis You’re re-stating (in a clean, fresh way) something that we in moderation and engagement have been calling “getting more of the Discord vibe into the Forum.”

I think you’re right to separate the two “venues” — Discord and Forum (including the comments section of Forum posts) — as distinct places with their own virtues. One is not more “human” than the other, but Discord is certainly more relaxed, casual, and lighter than the Forum. And if it’s true that “many a wise thing can be said in jest,” it’s also true that many a wise thing can be said when your Forum-armour is down.

So I’m excited about what you’re doing here and eager to help in whatever way I can.

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First of all, thank you for designing our “new home”. I’m excited about the clean layout and appreciate all the work on details and efforts to socialize the reasoning behind every setting.

This is a very important change, so participating in this discussion is one of my priorities. The ideas presented below are heavily biased by niche needs from our vertical and may even come off as inconsiderate to other needs of SCRF. Apologies in advance if anything comes up as offensive.

1. Category Internal

1.1 Overarching Topics

This category, although not explored in the post, is one of the categories I see the most potential in boosting productivity. Generally:

  • We are sharing work across five different verticals at SCRF, yet that way of organizing responsibilities is not captured in the chat design.
  • We cannot add people into internal channels as they get more involved with SCRF activities, because we can only give people to (almost) all or none of the internal channels by design, so the decision is difficult and happens infrequently.

Therefore, I look forward to seeing

  • Multiple internal chat categories, organized by verticals.
  • More Discord roles to reflect the work people are taking on at SCRF, and access to channels that reflects responsibilities.

These are examples that I have come up with for the content vertical:

1.2 Content Pipeline Chat

1.2.1 Purpose

Working on a summary for the content pipeline is somewhat agreed as a milestone of significance for community participation. Yet we are not fullying capitalizing on this ethos.

The process of writing a summary is now a lonely one because there isn’t a very straightforward way to find peers to discuss questions that come up in the drafting process. We need a home for these important conversations, such as getting feedback on a first draft, finding a peer to discuss a section that is particularly challenging to summarize, or resolving questions on rules or conventions.

If these discussions can take place, I believe it would be beneficial to not only the experience of the summary creation (and ultimately the quality of the summary) but is critical to scaling the content pipeline.

1.2.2 Access

Anyone that has a summary in the content pipeline should be able to have access to this channel (by granting users with something like a “research summary author role”). It will be available to any community member that has an active summary in the pipeline, even if this is day one for the summary author at SCRF.

1.3 Content Review

1.3.1 Purpose

We are in the process of standardizing how the third stage of the content pipeline, dubbed “peer review”, is conducted. Yet standardization has its limits, and therefore we need a continuous process of having conversations around how we improve research summaries by doing these reviews. This will also be a space to coordinate responsibilities and arrange relevant meetings.

1.3.2 Access

Anyone actively peer reviewing or aspires to can join. Similar to the content pipeline chat, they need to be active participants that are compliant with the processes.

1.4 Content Chat

1.4.1 Purpose

The previous two channels are dedicated to content pipeline activities. This channel, however, is a place to have conversations around overall activities of the content vertical, which includes but will not be limited to:

  • Strategy: What are we focusing on, and are they important?
  • Process: Bug-reports to content processes and feedback on design choices.
  • Research Papers: Relevant discussions on finding novel research and highlighting their impact.

1.4.2 Access

Relevant SCRF members (“researchers”) and people that work directly with team projects.

2. Category CONTENT

This category sounds like the go-to for people to find all non-forum content that relates to SCRF or Web3. Yet this name I would really appreciate if it’s reserved for the category to channels of the content vertical, or just to not confuse the role of the content vertical with responsibilities of the engagement or discovery team. Can we please go with something else, such as “socials”?

3. Category LIVESTEAMS

It’s an exciting idea to host community calls in Discord. We’re going to save time from scrambling the right meeting link (well, at least I am :))

The reason why we separate APAC and Americas community calls is to make calls accessible for people in different timezones, therefore it’s not likely that we will ever need two spaces at once, or we would’ve just merged them. So from a functionality perspective, it’s ok to have only one live steam channel. This will also avoid confusion on why other geographical locations are at the surface do not have dedicated regional community calls.

4. Category SCRF

4.1 Opportunities

SCRF is indeed a place with many unfilled opportunities. A channel to discuss and raise awareness on this or answer relevant questions will be a win-win for the growth of our organization and that of those who join the journey.

Yet given that it seems to be framed as a chat space, do we have a way to pin these links and FAQs so they are easily accessible?

For example, we have an idea proposal form that welcomes anyone interested to pitch and start a research summary for the content pipeline. We made the link available in the content pipeline and the internal announcement channel, yet from the feedback, we are receiving there is much room for accessibility. Discord might be the right place for these pinned links.

4.2 Research

Research is indeed at the heart of SCRF, and putting that at the top category of our server to highlights what we care about is indeed a mindful way to mark our unique role in the space.

Yet I worry that this can cause confusion given the discrepancy between the naming and what is discussed. Quoting from the description in the test server:

:microscope: │ research
Research is the focus of our community and mission here at SCRF. This channel supports that mission through the facilitation of conversations related to the research generation process at SCRF and also discussions around what is happening in the blockchain space. Expect to see research coordination here as well as discussion on process.

To the best of my knowledge, as of now, SCRF does not own any “research generation process” that will be possible to become a sustainable conversation topic for a dedicated channel. The description looks more like the #general channel with a priority to encourage forum discussions.

From what I see, although I may not be fully taking into the nuances considered, the seemingly banal names of “forum discussions” or “general”, though generic, would more effectively convey the channel’s purpose.

6 Likes

Thank you for this great overview of the Internal section. I’m going to spend some time adding this to the test server along with relevant user roles to support.

Using Pinned Messages within a given channel is a great way to highlight relevant and focused content and direct links back to this forum. Adding a dedicated FAQ channel sounds like a great idea. I’ll create some examples of this on the test server and reach out to you directly on Discord to demo that.

Great point. I’ve changed the channel to SCRF Live and we can create an Event for each discrete meeting. SCRF Live can therefore be a general purpose livestream channel.

4 Likes

Thank you for taking the lead with this and @Twan for the extensive feedback (and to others who provided feedback off forum). Excited to get some of these changes going soon and to shift the community calls to discord too.

I’ll start off with some of the high-level topics that I think should be in our discord (a bunch of which is captured between your ideas). R1 = initial role everyone gets, R2 = what confirmed the welcome gets people to, R3 = internal folks (and we can get more nuanced with roles over time

  • welcome / start here (R1)
  • general / SCRF (R2)
  • events (R2)
  • internal channel (R3)

Welcome / start here

Can we combine start here and rules? Any reason to keep these separate? Adding role assignment with time makes sense.

General / SCRF

Totally onboard with: intros, research (though we might want to call it something different, will add more), opportunities, off topic/water cooler. I would argue that we should twitter, YT, and LI here as everyone should see that. In terms of calling research something different, if we call it research, that might unintentionally make the channel less approachable for people who want to ask questions relating to basic web 3 things or posting relevant news or things along those lines that are still relevant but aren’t really focused on just research. Maybe web3-chat? FAQ could make sense but I also thing that should be looped into more of an onboarding channel of some kind as I imagine that’s what most q’s would pertain to, at least to start. I wonder if it makes sense to make opportunities and onboarding a single channel until we have such a volume that we should spread them out as having too many dormant channels also isn’t ideal.

Events

I think this could include: events and livestreams. Events would be more of a calendar and q’s about events taking place. What about creating threads per live event? My concern with doing a channel per event we’re part of it is that as we do more, it’s going to be hard to stay on top of. If we have the overall channel for permanent announcements and then threads per event, that could also be an easy way to coordinate with event specific discussions. For example, we recently sponsored The DAOist’s Mexico event and if we had a thread for it, we could have shared that with the folks we gave our tickets away to in case they had any q’s for us.

Livestreams for community calls, onboarding calls, or any other community wide calls we create over time (none of them should be running at the same time so I think a single channel works for this).

Internal

This is something we’ll need to put more thought into as this will directly relate to having more roles and if we’re considering using unlock/lit for anything. For now, I think having a single role to distinguish folks who have been onboarded to do work would be enough and people can find a channel that’s pertinent for them. I think the channels here should reflect our verticals: content, engagement, discovery, outreach, and operations.

We might also want a fourth role for now for those who should have access to a core ops channel.

@Twan I wonder if having a single content channel but a thread per sub-category could be another option to consider to get pipeline vs review discussions going. The benefit of threads being they’re collapsible so those who don’t want to see them can hide them while still seeing the remaining internal channels.

Other things

@brian.alexakis in terms of the Content category, I agree that we should change that name to avoid confusion with the vertical/pipeline related things. What would be the kind of discussion that should happen in community vs the research/web3-chat channel?

Some general q’s

  • Does it makes sense to combine opportunities and onboarding for now?
  • Should we combine our socials (Tw, YT, LI) into a single category so people can hide it if they want to or embed it as part of the general / SCRF category?
  • Does having an events category that includes our stream channel and any live event related things make sense?
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Can we combine start here and rules? Any reason to keep these separate?

Yes we certainly can. Some communities have very extensive start here pages and also long rule sets. I don’t see us have too long of either so it would make sense to combine them. I’ve updated the #start-here channel on the test server.

Events (R2)

A note on how Discord handles Events with regards to user rights and access in the section at the top of the listings.

When an event is added to Discord it will be shown at the top of the list of rooms. This event listing is a built in feature of Discord servers. The listing of events is not a chat room nor does it provide any community interaction - it’s just informational. I’m planning on using a bot to populate re-occurring events each week.

image

If the Event uses a Discord Livestream or Voice Channel location which is part of the SCRF discord the event wont show up for users who don’t have user rights for the hosted channel. However, if the event links to something like Zoom or Meet, or even a chat channel in the SCRF discord, then there will be no user rights check and the event will be displayed to everyone. Worth noting, the user wont be able to access the channel but they will see the event and the link to it. If a user tries to click the event location link they will see this:

image

FAQ could make sense but I also thing that should be looped into more of an onboarding channel

Agreed but it is fairly standard to have a dedicated FAQ channel and also to have a selection of impactful FAQ items duplicated in the onboarding channel (start-here). I’ve added an FAQ Channel under SCRF.

I wonder if it makes sense to make opportunities and onboarding a single channel until we have such a volume that we should spread them out as having too many dormant channels also isn’t ideal.

Here again I think we can duplicate the relevant information. Discord is a great store for community content and we should not shy away from throwing a lot of content at it. These aren’t dormant channels in a sense that we expect to see active conversations. It’s more like a self serve kiosk providing a more detailed set of information about what we have to offer. To your point though, we should take care to not fragment our audience into too many chat rooms until we have an appropriate sized community that would need more.

Events: Events would be more of a calendar

The actual calendar functionality is the section I outline above in this post. It could also be possible to have the calendar bot post events to the #events chat and optionally pin them. Another example of meaningfully duplicating information we can use to make finding this information easier.

If we have the overall channel for permanent announcements and then threads per event, that could also be an easy way to coordinate with event specific discussions

Yes I agree and this further reinforces what I was trying to establish by having a hierarchy of content. Here the event specific channels are tucked away listed down at the bottom. The key is that the channels have discrete URLS that can be used and shared which makes it very useful for planning and preserving/enshrining relevant information there. Further, specific user roles can easily be added to support if needed.

Should we combine our socials (Tw, YT, LI) into a single category so people can hide it if they want to or embed it as part of the general / SCRF category?

I wrote the below paragraph in response but I’m not sure I agree with myself. Going to think about this and would love to hear others thoughts.

In terms of a taxonomy/hierarchy of content I think it makes sense to separate them. At the top level of Community is general info about SCRF and the main chatrooms. Below that is what I think of as content to consume, videos, news, educational material - the stuff people like to circulate on socials. It’s a lower level tier of content not necessarily originating from SCRF or its community. To this point, I could see adding a community channel under Content for anyone to post these kinds of materials they think the SCRF community would be interested in.

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One thing that might be useful to the community – how about a jobs in research feed? We might have to embargo posting in it, but we could have trusted researchers and platforms post job listings

This sounds like a great use of a bot. If we could identify places we trust then a bot could automatically repost the content of those feeds as posts.

I’m also adding this within the SCRF.io Portal Project Planning as a possible data source to use. We could also present a custom form that a user with sufficient rights could submit their job posting to. Thanks!

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