Discord 101 for the Brick River Community
Never heard of Discord? Fear not! You don’t have to be a coder/gamer/Gen Z-er to use this cousin of Slack (though it’s also cool if you are any or all of those things). This guide orients new users to Discord, specifically the Brick River community server. (Wait, server?! No need to panic. See the Helpful Terms just below!)
Like most platforms, there’s a little bit of lingo involved. Knowing the basics will help you navigate Discord (and the remainder of this guide):
Server: An invite-only home for your friends or community. As a Brick River user, you’re invited to join our server on Discord.
Channel: A group discussion about a specific topic. For example, we have a channel specifically for discussion of the UMC Appointment Tool.
Post: Like a side chat. Posts are created in forum channels, connect messages related to a specific conversation and keep notifications to minimum for those not involved in that discussion. All discussions begin as a post.
Message: A response to a post. Much like a comment on a Facebook post or adding to a thread on Reddit.
Direct Message: A private message to another Discord user on your server. Similar to Messenger on Facebook.
It may be helpful to think about it this way:
Previously, we utilized Basecamp to facilitate conversation between users, take product suggestions and solve the world’s problems. But Basecamp sent too many email notifications, so we stopped using it.
Discord allows us to create separate channels for each element of the product. You can opt-into the channels relevant to you. Discord provides you with more options for controlling how and for what channels you receive notifications. More on that below.
Additionally, we’re big fans of the easy-to-use direct message function and the way it enables quick collaboration. Think of it as more casual than an email and easier than digging out your phone to send a text. And yes, there are emojis and GIFS.
WAYS YOU CAN USE DISCORD
Participating in the Brick River community on Discord has numerous benefits:
- Idea-sourcing: Curious if anyone has ever used the reg system for that? Send a message in the appropriate channel for other Brick River users to weigh in.
- Troubleshooting: Run into trouble? Wonder if it’s user error? Hit up the Brick River community for quick help.
- Connect with other users: Send direct messages to Brick River users for one-on-one discussions related to the product.
- Stay up-to-date with Brick River: When we make product updates and release new features, we’ll post the news here first.
Before accepting an invite to the Brick River Discord server, you need to download the app on either your computer or mobile device (or both). Follow this easy guide to get up and running. Note that the remaining guidance in this doc is primarily for the desktop app.
Next, accept your invite to the Brick River Discord community. Do that at this link.
Make sure to customize your profile by setting your username and updating your profile picture.
Now that you’ve downloaded the app and set up your account, you’re ready to join the Brick River server. Click the link emailed to you and follow the steps.
Once you’ve joined the server, you’ll see a series of channels on the left side of the screen.
All public channels are accessible to anyone on the server, but you get to control which channels send you notifications.
To “join” a channel (aka get notifications when there’s a new message), click the bell on the top menu towards the right and select the appropriate setting.
While we’re talking notifications, you’ll want to modify your email notifications as well. We know Basecamp got to be too much for folks because of the massive amount of emails. We don’t want Discord to suffer the same fate. Learn how to adjust your email notification settings in this article.
In our Discord environment, there are two main ways to contribute to the conversation: Starting a conversation by creating a post or discussing an existing topic by sending a message in that post's thread.
CREATING A POST
To create a post, navigate to the desired channel and select the purple New Post button at the top of the middle pane.
- Give your post a clear and informative title, add any media by clicking the square in the upper right of the new post area, and enter the main text of your post.
- Make sure to choose a tag for your post, if applicable, by selecting one or more options from the tag row.
- Hit submit when you’re ready to share it with the community!
Once you’ve posted your post to the channel, you can view it and any related messages in the right side pane. To edit your existing post, hover over your existing message and select the edit pencil.
SENDING MESSAGES AND THEIR OPTIONS
In Discord, community members respond to existing posts by sending messages. It’s much like commenting on a post on Facebook or adding to a thread on Reddit.
In a message, you can send text, files, GIFS and emojis. Note that messages are capped at 2,000 characters (Read: more than a tweet but not enough for the next great American novel).
Select a post you’d like to respond to, and view the existing conversation in the right-side pane. The chat bar at the bottom of the screen allows you to construct your message.
When you hover over a sent message - whether it was sent by you or someone else - additional options appear:
- If you sent the message, you can edit it.
- Reply: Connect messages by using the reply option to respond to a specific message and keep the conversation going.
KEEPING UP WITH CONVERSATION
Generally speaking, bolded text and a dot to the left of the channel or thread name means it has unread messages. If you’ve missed several messages within a channel or thread, a purple banner indicating the number of messages sent since a certain date and time appears alongside the option to automatically mark all the missed messages as read.
Like most other digital messaging platforms, Discord has an inbox with notifications of messages across all servers. Access your inbox by clicking the mail tray icon in the upper right on the top menu bar.
FINDING MESSAGES AND FRIENDS
A few other helpful functions to know about:
- Use the search bar in the upper right to search messages in the server you’re currently in as well as your direct messages.
- Access your direct messages by clicking the Discord icon in the upper left corner.
- Need to send a direct message? Select a name from the member list of any channel, located in the right pane of the screen. A pop-up box appears. Type into the message box to start a one-on-one chat.
OUR DISCORD COMMUNITY
The Brick River server is governed by a set of sensical rules to help keep us all professional and sane. Check out the guidelines before you begin messaging by clicking on the Rules tab at the top of your channels list.
Currently, the Brick River server includes the following channels:
- Developers: Techie discussion with lots of code.
- UMC Data Core: Discussion related to the UMC database and its modules.
- UMC Appointment Tool: All things UMC Appointment Tool, both V1 and V2.
- UMC Clergy Comp: Discussion for the UMC clergy comp module.
- Base Product and Co: General product discussion and updates.
A FINAL WORD
The Brick River Discord server is only as good as its participants. Collectively, members will get what they put into it. Jump in, meet other users, ask questions, and offer solutions and ideas!