Introduction to Discord at CU Boulder
CU Boulder students are wanting to connect online more than ever before. Some students and clubs have found Discord a solution for this online connection.
Discord is a free social platform designed for creating communities. Users can communicate via text, voice, video, and media in private chats or as part of communities called "servers". Servers are a collection of persistent text and voice chat channels.
While OIT does not provide official support for the use of Discord, we have created some resources to support students using this tool:
- If you are a CU student looking for other CU-affiliated student-led Discord servers, learn how to access Discord’s CU Boulder Student Hub.
- If you are an administrator of a CU-affiliated Discord server, see Recommendations For Student Discord Administrators.
- If you would like guidance on privacy and safety in Discord, see Discord’s Safety resources.
What are the benefits of Discord?
Discord has several benefits compared to other, more traditional chat applications.
Discord is good for building communities. Servers are free to create and are extremely easy to join and use. Servers embody an unofficial town -square where students can discuss specific topics, and it is also easy to move into smaller, more restricted channels for on-topic discussions.
Because Discord was originally created with gaming communities in mind, it has robust support for low-lag voice and video chat. This service can be particularly useful in situations where lag can impact the natural flow of conversation.
Finally, Discord has excellent integrations with external services, such as YouTube, Spotify, Twitch, etc., and can further be customized and automated with user- created bots.
Accessing Discord’s Student Hub for CU Boulder
If you’re a student looking for other CU Boulder student-led servers to join, or if you’re a server administrator wanting others to join your server, check out Discord’s Student Hub for CU Boulder.
Visit Discord’s Student Hub for CU Boulder invitation and select Accept Invite to join.
If your Discord account is connected to a personal email address other than your CU email address, Discord will ask for your @colorado.edu email and will send a confirmation email with a verification code to use to access the Student Hub. After this step, you can continue to use Discord with your personal email address.
For more information about this Discord feature, see Discord Student Hubs FAQ.
Does OIT officially support Discord?
No. Discord is a free service that is not officially supported by OIT. However, knowing there are a number of Discord users in the CU Boulder community, OIT has partnered with students to create recommendations for CU Discord users and administrators.
If you need help with Discord, reach out to the administrator of the server or try Discord’s Help Center.
Since we cannot guarantee the stability or FERPA-compliant privacy of Discord servers, OIT does not recommend using Discord for official classroom activities. If you are looking for a more private, CU-affiliated communication experience, OIT’s official recommendation is Microsoft Teams.
Does Discord meet CU Boulder accessibility standards?
Since OIT does not provide official support for Discord, we have not validated its compliance with CU Boulder accessibility standards.
- Servers are the individual spaces on Discord that generally. In general, a server represents a discrete community, organization, group, or shared interest.
- Most servers are small and invitation-only (private), but many CU-focused Discords are large and open to the public.
All servers are organized into individual subunits, called channels. A channel is usually dedicated to specific topics, and can be either text or voice.
- In text channels, users can post messages, upload files, and share images for others to see at any time.
- In voice channels, users can connect through a voice or video call in real time, and can share their screen.
Direct Messages (DMs and GDMs)
- In addition to joining Servers, Discord users can send private direct messages (DMs) to other users, as well as start a voice or video calls.
- Users also have the option to invite up to nine others to the conversation to create a private group direct message (GDM), with a maximum size of ten people. Group DMs are not public and require an invite from someone in the group to join.
- Soft Ban: A soft ban is an informal ban used by some servers. In a soft ban, a user is kicked and all messages sent that day are deleted.
- Temporary Ban: In a temporary ban, a user is suspended from accessing a server for some duration of time.
- Permanent Ban: In a permanent ban, a user is indefinitely removed from a server.
- Platform Ban: In a platform ban, if a user violates the Discord Terms of Service or Discord Community Guidelines, Discord can ban users from the platform as a whole.
When a user is kicked, they are removed from the server until they rejoin.
A kick is a temporary way to remove a problematic user, or forcibly indicate that their behavior is unacceptable without resorting to a ban.
When a user is muted, their message and voice privileges are removed for a duration of time.
When a user is given limited permissions, their ability to send links or use emotes is removed for a duration of time.
Premium Features (not included in free version of Discord)
- Nitro is Discord’s premium subscription service for users. Nitro offers special perks for subscribers, such as the option to customize your Discord Tag, the ability to use custom emotes in every server, a higher file upload cap, and discounted Server Boosts.
- Server Boosts are Discord’s premium service for servers. Server Boosts give servers special perks like more custom emotes, better video and voice quality, and the ability to set a custom invite link. Server Boosts can be bought with Nitro or purchased separately.
Types of Discord Users
A Discord user with no assigned or elevated role.
The moderator(s) of a server are below administrators, and are responsible for interacting with users, managing bans, and driving community engagement.
- Staff are all the privileged users on a server, including administrators, moderators, and bots.
- For CU Boulder student organizations, staff are often the same as club leadership.
- The administrator(s) of a server are the top authority. They oversee the server as a whole, including technical and user management.
- For most servers, administrators and moderators are the same. However, for larger servers, they are often discrete positions.
Bots are automated Discord accounts managed by a community created program that can help automate server tasks. These can be found online in ‘Bot lists’.