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Why we don't have a Discord guild...


Also FYI: If you get banned from Discord (which can happen for utter nonsense reasons, including just hanging out with people they dislike which the company even admits to), you will (probably) lose access to any purchases (games, IAPs, nitro) on your Discord account without a refund!

The rant above was posted after the latest in a series of nonsensical takedowns inflicted on us by Discord.

Now here is the full story:

Swamp Servers, a Garry's Mod gaming community, is a relic of the time when the internet used to be free. Within the game, I allow our users to say basically whatever they want short of calling for violence or extreme edgyness, so our users tend to have a very "libertarian" view of what they presume to be allowed. This has made it difficult to operate a Discord guild, as in my experience Discord's policy is that whenever someone says something in violation of Discord's ToS, they not only take action against that user, but they also take action against the guild they posted in and that guild owner's account.

We've had our guild taken down several times, and after the first time I lost my personal account because of what someone else said, I wisened up and started using alt accounts to make the new guilds. Every time the guild is removed, so is the owner's account. When the takedown occurs, I get an email like this:

This is hilarious because these emails are going to the alternate accounts that I use to make new guilds. The accounts which are recieving this and being terminated have literally never posted a single message on Discord.

We quickly figured out that Discord expects us to enforce their ToS for them, and that a failure to do their jobs for them is itself a bannable offense.

The vagueness of their community guidelines made it difficult to do this and we continued to suffer takedowns. They absolutely refused to give a more specific reason than "bullying" or "dehumanizing" for any of our takedowns, but we figured out that whenever the server got banned they would also ban the account of whoever posted the message that got us banned, so we were able to somewhat narrow things down by figuring out what that person had recently posted.

We disallowed the all of the typical "edgy" content but continued to suffer repeated takedowns, which is frustrating because much of the content we prohibited is easily discoverable on other Discord guilds. We suspect that we're suffering takedowns because someone has been obsessively reporting things in our guild.

What this means is that any non-partnered guild and its owner is vulnerable to being terminated if someone simply reports every remotely offensive message (maybe from different source IPs/accounts). Moderation has to be both very strict, and active 24/7 (as Discord sometimes takes less than an hour to act on reports), or the guild and owner's personal account are vulnerable to being randomly terminated. A malicious user could easily post an edgy message from a sock-puppet account, then report it, and cause the server and owner's account to be terminated.

It's also worth noting that if your Discord account is terminated, you will (probably) lose anything you've purchased on it (games, IAPs, nitro) without a refund. Imagine your entire Steam library being taken from you because someone else posted a racial slur in the comments on your profile; Valve would never do that, but Discord literally does it as a standard procedure. It's spelled out in their ToS under "TERMINATION", and as this page demonstrates, they terminate accounts for utterly frivolous reasons.

For the last few months we operated a guild in which we were not allowing any slurs whatsoever, any memes about or negative discussions of race/religion/LGBTQ whatsoever, or any discussions of other guilds (as this may lead to raiding), yet we still got taken down again. We investigated, caught one of our players talking to his friend on GMod about how his Discord account was banned at the same time as our guild, and asked him what he had posted on our guild. He reported that the only remotely offensive thing he did was talk about court-ordered chemical castration of child molestors, which presumably, our moderators did not see a problem with, nor should they have.

•   Steam PM from the banned guy (user 1) to one of my moderators:

•   Confirmation with the banned guy about the nature of his ban:

•   Corroboration from user 2:

It is absurd enough that Discord, unlike any other social media platform, expects us to enforce their rules for them and punishes us personally if we don't do it to their liking, despite our honest efforts.

It is absurd enough that they refuse to give anything other than extremely vague information about what we are expected to enforce, which is again unlike most social media platforms, where you're given an indication of which video or tweet it was that you posted violated the ToS.

But now, Discord is requiring guild owners to PROTECT CHILD MOLESTORS and banned our guild because we were not doing a good enough job of it!

I got fed up with the absurdity of all this and posted the rant shown above on my other, read-only Discord guild. After the rant above, I later posted this:

It may not be surprising to hear that my actual personal account (not just the alternate account used to make a server) was terminated immediately after this (for "dehumanizing"), but I actually did not expect them to do that. Once again, other social media websites (youtube, twitter etc) are full of people complaining about website policy and insulting and calling out the company in a similar manner which never get taken down in retaliation. So either Discord T&S is run by a bunch of overgrown toddlers, who simply made up a reason to axe me because I insulted them, or they actually banned me for this particular message:

Either way, Discord can go to hell.

My only suggestion for Discord is that they should revise their takedown emails to be more accurate:

But seriously, the actions of Discord Trust & Safety severely undermines Discord's business - they're trying to build a game distribution platform in direct competition with Steam, but people won't spend thousands of dollars on Discord games like they do on Steam if they worry it might all be taken away for a bullshit reason - so this group needs to be kept on a much tighter leash by the directors of this company, and clearer and fairer policies need to be enacted so consumers have a reason to trust this platform with their money.

Although we are tiny compared to Discord, we are still one of the top Garry's Mod servers in the world, so we hope this statement carries some level of legitimacy.

None of the content on this page constitues libel. We sincerely believe these claims to be true, have shown good evidence for them, and we have made numerous attempts to reach out to Discord about this through many different channels, none of which garnered a substantive response from them. We feel that if these claims were false, Discord would have responded at least once to deny them.

We did not want any of this to happen; we have been making 100% honest attempts to enforce Discord ToS in our guild but have suffered endless increasingly inane takedowns and this latest takedown for literally not supporting child predators pushed us over the edge.

Edit (6/3): Discord has once again terminated my latest personal account (for "dehumanizing") even though I didn't post anything significant from it. They likely tracked it down in retaliation for making this page.

Edit (6/6): I appealed the latest ban, but instead of writing an appeal I just said "Does anyone actually read these or are they automatically denied?" and they have not responded in 3 days, which implies someone is actually reading these ban appeals and upholding all the absurd bans shown above.

Edit (6/10): Discord just retailiated against 16 of my moderators by disabling their accounts - evidently just for associating with me. These people did nothing wrong and have no control over my actions, but Discord hates me so much that they are banning not only all of my accounts, but the accounts of my associates as well!

Edit (6/12): Many of my moderators appealed the Discord ban and recieved the same "you're staying banned, fuck you" response showcased above except one who got a real response from them and had the ban lifted. The response is quite incredible; Discord unambiguously states that guilt-by-association is a valid ban reason on their platform.

I believe the "content in extreme violation of the community guidelines" they refer to here was a link to this article posted in the server. I don't think there was anything else on it at the time these takedowns happened.

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