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Chat Service for Furry Network

Digby (Community Manager) 2 years ago • updated by Rykomi (Support Admin) 2 years ago 4

We've had staff discussions about the possibility of using a chat service for members of Furry Network - we feel this would help bring the community together. While members wouldn't be required to use it, this would give the opportunity for members to talk, share submissions, and have a good time in a live setting. We'd like feedback about if this is wanted by the community as well as the chat system we would use.


Here are the options that we've looked at so far:

Discord

Pros

  • This system is extremely easy to setup and use.
  • We can have both voice and text channels.
  • A large portion of the community likely already has this program.
  • It's easy to create channels with permissions (especially regarding SFW/NSFW material).

Cons

  • Discord is currently revising NSFW guidelines; it's still unclear exactly how this will be enforced, and we'll want to keep an eye on the policies. However, it appears to be moving towards allowing NSFW content.

I've looked around, and it seems like a good number of other furry websites have a Discord server setup; they've opted to take the risks. If we did go this way, we would also have that risk; I worry about what we would do if the Discord server were shut down. The current shift of policy is definitely making this less of a risk, though, and we'll want to watch how it works. Even with that risk, it may be the best option for now.


Slack

Pros

  • The servers are simple to create; they're a little more difficult than Discord, but they're still reasonable.
  • The service does not prohibit NSFW material.
  • Many members of the community likely already have this program.
  • Channels can be created with specific permissions; it's not as easy as Discord, but it's reasonable. This way, we can have separate SFW/NSFW channels.

Cons

  • Joining a server can be a little difficult at times, especially for people who have never done it before.
  • The program is more oriented towards work environments.
  • There is no voice chat.

I personally think Slack would be a reasonable program, as well; we wouldn't risk having the server shut down, but it would be a little more difficult for people to use.


IRC

Pros

  • We pretty much have free reign over how it's setup.
  • Reliable servers exist within the fandom that we could use.

Cons

  • Most people don't use IRCs these days.
  • Servers can be difficult to setup.
  • New users may have difficulties using the system, especially if they've never used an IRC client before.

I would personally only go with an IRC server as a last resort unless we had a huge demand for this.


What do you think? Are there any other programs that you would consider for a community chat system? Please let us know!

I like Discord the most here since it's the only one with group voice chat. It's a shame the TOS clearly states NSFW stuff isn't allowed. I know of two alternatives you may want to consider though: Teamspeak and Mumble. They're not as easy to use as Discord, but the rules are a lot more relaxed and practically non-existent if you host your own server.

As far as text-only goes, Telegram is a fantastic service. I can't seem to find their TOS though which might be a problem.

Teamspeak and Mumble could be possible. My initial reaction, though, is that those services are primarily meant for voice communication; they're also a bit clunkier, so I'm not sure how many people would be willing to take the time to set it up. Being more relaxed about content is definitely a plus, though.


As for Telegram, there's not any language against adult content, and there are tons of furry groups already. Pretty much every furry has Telegram, but I'm worried about a few things:

  • There's really no way to organize chats; Discord has channels, but Telegram becomes a firehouse of messages.
  • Some members have expressed concern elsewhere about linking information like phone numbers to group chats. In general, I'm not seeing others' phone numbers in groups unless we already shared info with each other, so I'm not sure that's actually an issue.

I personally have seen some drama happen in Telegram groups that wasn't easily managed, and it's a little less of a formalized setting than I'd usually want. If there were enough support for Telegram, we could go that way, but I'd lean towards a different system.

    We've done a little more research into Discord. It looks like they're more open to NSFW content than previously thought. From their guidelines:


    The following is not tolerated. We will remove content and issue a warning. Subsequent misconduct and cases of extreme severity will result in account deletion:

    • Not properly labeling NSFW channels. Some content just isn't appropriate for kids under 18, so let's do the right thing in our community. Discord requires that you label any channel containing adult content as NSFW. This will add an age gate to the channel, protecting those who wish not to see.

    As long as we stick to these guidelines, we should be able to setup a Discord server that allows NSFW content. Some of this was literally updated less than an hour ago, so I'm wanting to watch this and see where they go; in general, it seems like they're going to loosen the restrictions on NSFW content.

    Discord, discord, discord. \o/